Acting-Out Politics

Weblog opens discussion about the psychology of Bushmerican style of behavior.

You can judge a society by how much truth can be told about it in the art. The problem is that most people these days don’t think art should tell us the truth about ourselves. They think art should be congratulatory. They want lies in politics and in their own lives.
Edward Albee

The title “The Third Generation” refers to the three generations of terrorism… The first generation was that of 1968. Idealists who wanted to change the world and told themselves they could do it with words and demonstrations. The second, the Baader-Meinhof group, went from legality to armed struggle and to total criminality. The third is that of today, which simply acts without thinking, which has neither ideology nor politics, and which, without knowing it, let itself be controlled by others like a bunch of marionettes.
RWF, 1978

Style is just the outside of content, and the content the inside of style, like the outside and inside of human body – both go together, they cannot be separated.

First there was Greek civilization. Then there was the Renaissance. Now we are entering the Age of the Ass.

I pity the French cinema because it has no money. I pity the American cinema because it has no ideas.
– —————–

Ingmar Bergman in his “From the Life of the Marionettes” (1980) shows how anomic conditions of life and commercialization of human tastes, communications and values make people lose the ability for intimate and private relationships which are possible only if people are disinterestedly and selflessly connected with their beloveds, spouses and friends. We see how the very organism of genuine love between two remarkable human beings became destroyed by a life which for years trivialized and devaluated the couple’s emotional reactions on each other. Fassbinder in his “Die Dritte” and Godard in “Every Man” emphasize not only how human beings are changing in their personal and social relationships under the influence of socio-economic environment, but how people psychologically mix with their surroundings which degrade and trivialize their souls – how the characters in the films become inseparable from a flat and miserable artificial environment. In both Fassbinder and Godard’s two films the personas of different human beings are literally swallowed up by the psychological complexes literally inserted into them by the system. People lose their individualities and dissolve into the sociological field as standard elements of the crowds and the personifications of chaotic times.

– ————–

From Dialogues between dehumanized souls from RWF’s film

I can only thank the German lawyers for not adhering to constitutional law in pursuing their investigation (referring to the Mogadishu hijacking and events surrounding it).
Helmut Schmidt, Chancellor of the Federal Republic to Der Spiegel news magazine in 1979

[Whatever happens under the skies] You always pull the short straw! Scrawled above the second urinal from the left in the public toilets on the corner of Schluterstrasse and Kudamm, West Berlin

– All Turks are bastards. They stink and all they think about is fucking.
– Exactly.
– Give Germany back to the Germans. Send all the others home, every last one of them!
– Yeah! Send the bastards back!
– Why bother to send them back? Just gas them. They should be wiped out, preferably gassed. Wiped out and gassed.
– But not the Jews!
– You a load of pitiful idiots.
– Nazi pig!
– Filthy communist!
– It will be your turn one day, so help me God!

Unattributed ongoing dialogue in the men’s toilets at the Kade department store, 18.1.1979

Cunts don’t make sweet music. They don’t sing you any songs. They are just a little resting place for your nice stiff dongs.
An old poem that popped up again in the men’s toilets at the Freie Volksbuhne, West Berlin 26.12.1978

Slave seeks master to train me as his dog. I have no ties and I am willing to sacrifice everything to do exactly what you want. Here again next Thursday at 4 p.m. Every true sadist will immediately recognize me as a slave. A slave that’s ever willing to sacrifice himself, whatever the consequences.
Message in the men’s toilet at Bahnhoff Zoo, cubicle on the right, W.B. 26. 12. 1978


When terrorism is organized by the enemy of terrorism – when rebellion against meaningless social life became as meaningless and absurd as this life

From a casual exchange between a billionaire P.J. Lurz and the Chief of Berlin secret police Gerhard Gast (Hark Bohm)

The immortal ghost of strategic financial calculation

The expected appearance of the mighty global businessman P.J. Lurz (Eddie Constantine) in his German office looks as if he has suddenly incarnated from the air. The composition of the shot underlines the tiny area of humanity of disinterested (without any calculations) human feelings – the mini TV screen playing Bresson’s film “Devil Probably”). But the tycoon Lurz is just a contour on the grey sky.

Monsters of manipulation and the Woman-body, woman-beauty and woman herself

The father (the Chief of secret police) of Susanne Gast’s (Hanna Shygulla) husband (a creative musician) has an affair with his son’s wife Susanne. Here he is in bed before intercourse with her. He is laughing at her “idealism”. Does he know that she and his son are members of a terrorist organization (naturally, they call themselves with a more respectable names, like revolutionary organization or rebels against immoral status quo)? Only close to the end of the film we learn that he knew perfectly well all along that “his children” are terrorists ready for action. More, he wanted them to become more active.

Lurz and Gerhard Ghast both appreciate Susanne’s physical beauty blended with her intelligent emotional reactions

Here is Susanne herself split between her husband Edgar, his disgusting father, and her dedication she shares with Edgar – to alternative way of life.

Forced symbiosis between an emancipated woman-professor of political history – and a professional killer

When Hilde Krieger (Bulle Ogier) is explaining to her students the various and always controversial and tricky political situations from the past she tries not to insert her personal political views into the discussions and follows the college rule not to mix personal emotions and “objective” facts.

Because of Hilde’s secret membership in the “liberation organization” as she herself calls it, her life became intertwined with a professional killer (a new member of the organization) Paul (Raoul Gimenez) – male with conservative manners and quite traditional demands.

For the sake of keeping her belonging to the organization of resistance to the economy of financial fetishism Hilde has to subdue herself to Paul – to everyday life of archaic and humiliating domination.

Grandpa (Opa) – Klaus Holm, and his grand-son Edgar (Susanne’s husband – Udo Kier)

Pay attention to Klaus Holm’s facial expression – his character: Opa in a big upper middle class family, already for many years has been looking at the face of his teacher Arthur Schopenhauer and, as if, hears his magnetic words about the necessity to have wars for every human generation.

Opa’s grandson and Susanne’s husband Edgar seems sad – he is not sure how to understand the socio-political revolution. He feels that something like this is necessary but what and how? To the left of the shot we see out of focus the presence of his mother (Lilo Pempeit) – as if through fog personalizing the foggy condition of her soul.

The “Intellectual” and the “Genuine soul” joined the rebellious group by chance

The intellectual (Bernard von Stein – Vitus Zeplichal) is cynically killed by the police chief personally, while his friend with genuine soul (Franz – Gunther Kaufmann) out of despair let himself to be killed during a police raid.

Philistines as terrorists

This shot introduces us to Petra Velhaber (Margit Carstensen) who became a member of the terrorist organization because of her growing with years hate towards her husband – the banker.

While robbing a bank with her comrades in arms to get the money for their terrorist operation Petra cannot resist killing her husband. Behind her is the “genuine soul” who cannot believe that she is using the situation to kill her husband. Today, it’s objectively impossible to separate what is a revolutionary action from what is a terrorist one, what is business from what is robbery, who is a politician and who a crook.

Financial calculation as terrorism (I, 2, 3, 4)

Chat between the billionaire and the secret police chief, #1

Chat between the billionaire and the secret police chief, # 2

Chat between the billionaire and the secret police chief, # 3

Chat between the billionaire and the secret police chief, # 4 Chat between the billionaire and the secret police chief, # 4

The secret and precious political agent of the wealthy elite (inside the terrorist organization)

Person of many talents, appearances, personalities and functions (August Brem – Volker Spengler), who works not only for super-generous rewards, but for pure interest and for perfecting his professional virtuosity

Cognitive pearls of a subdued mind

Mother Gast (Lilo Pempeit – Fassbinder’s mother) is trying to help Bernard von Stein (“the intellectual”) to realize the absurdity of fight between the rebel-terrorists and terrorist police.

Terrorist act masked as a mass-cultural celebration or entertaining event looking like terrorist act

The leader of the group Edgar Gast (Udo Kier) dressed as a clown

Susanne Gast (Hanna Shygulla) with a real machinegun camouflaged to look like a plastic toy, and with masterful makeup masking her face

Terrorist as a transvestite. The just kidnapped billionaire P.J. Lurz is collaborating with the terrorist kidnappers on making a film confirming his capture. He hopes for a “reasonable” compromise between the sides – offering terrorists’ demands in exchange for the billionaire’s life.

Revolutionary terrorists and Lurz work together on an “official” proposition to exchange his life for terrorists’ demands

It looks like P. J. Lurz is ready to exchange his death for an incredibly profitable business deal for his company. You see, some billionaires can be ready to go so far as to sacrifice their lives for extra-money.

Paul Godard (Jacques Dutronc), the filmmaker who cannot make films he wants to make

Pay attention to Paul’s almost completely crushed smile – the echo of an almost destroyed soul. It’s a semi-smile of a body socially separated from its soul.

Paul Godard looks for justification for being creatively shattered by the transformation of cinema into profit-making technology

Paul is losing his ability to fall in love. Here, he is sitting on the same bench where an obviously a proletarian family is enjoying its togetherness – Paul is, as if, trying to feel close to their family happiness which he personally has lost and frankly, never had. But soon it became obvious that this family is “fake” – these people just hope to make a little money by impersonating a family happiness.

Paul is suddenly “attacked” by a gay man (valet in the hotel where Paul was living) who started to beg Paul to use him sexually, without any commerce involved. Paul retreated like a boy running from police.

Paul Godard and his former mistress Denise Rimbaud (Nathalie Baye)

Paul and Denise already have stopped to live together but still like to see each other outside. It’s not that the love they had is broken or has ended. But life demands permanent hustling for money and search for opportunities – such life seems like multiple survival paralyzing existence together.

We see that Paul and Denise somehow are still connected with one another. It’s, as if, they needed their intimacy which at the same time cannot be realized

Sometimes, when a person doesn’t know how to realize love he/she feels it’s necessary to do something eccentric and absurd. Without understanding what he is doing, Paul frantically jumps at Denise over the table where they were eating. But in reality such impulses are mute. They’re just futile despair of togetherness.

Dreams and Plans of Denise Rimbaud (Natalie Baye)

No, it’s not Denise Rimbaud “flirting” with cows. But it’s a representation of one of Denise’s dreams or short stories about an alternative to vain urbanism – she is idealizing country life, preferring bicycle over car, imagining how the hit from cows is radiating in the cowshed, etc.

In many places in “Every Man for himself” JLG uses unexpected short stops (stills) with various meanings. Here we see the “spirit” of Denise on the bike amidst the field being prepared for the crop. It’s, as if, Denise is enveloped by the mist of the country life she loves so much.

Paul’s ex-wife and their daughter Cecile

On their daughter’s birthday Paul’s ex (Paula Muret) came with her (Cecile – Cecile Tanner) to meet her father to get their monthly check and presents for the daughter.

Pay attention to Cecile’s contemptuous grimace when she is looking at her father. Indeed, she feels just a disgust toward him who cannot be successful in society. In her age and in the atmosphere of the merciless fight for success it is easy to look down at losers.

In this shot Godard shows Cecile’s dream – she, as if, passing the orchestra playing in her honor. Technically speaking it’s not her dream at all – she just passing through the area, but Godard underlines the importance of moments of Cecile’s self-centeredness for our understanding of her perception of life. She is opposite of her father – she is still psychologically alive, but in a wrong way – she is a typical plant of her super-busy bravura society.

An episode when a girl refusing to choose between two guys

Corrupting consumerist concept of choice and its subduing influence on the human beings. Sometimes, acceptance of the right to choose is a conformist gesture. The choice between two or several objects as goods is a conformist behavior as soon as these objects have a purely consumerist value: superfluous and vain – existing just for appropriation, as a part of financial exchange.

Paul Godard stuck in between life and death 1, 2

Last minutes of Paul Godard 1

Last minutes of Paul Godard 2

Sexual function is appropriated for financial dominance over human love and life (the story of Isabelle Riviere – Isabelle Huppert)

Customer #1 (Fred Personne)

Sexual domination through financial function or financial domination through sexual function – aspect 1 (comfort)

Sexual domination through financial function or financial domination through sexual function – aspect 2 (choice)

Sexual domination through financial function or financial domination through sexual function – aspect 3 (appropriation)

Customer # 2 (Roland Amstutz)

Torments of power 1

Torments of power 2

Polymorphous prostitution as a modern condition

Hope as thinking and thinking as hope

Isabelle and Denise (human pact without optimistic – aggressive profitmaking)

Humane and gentle prostitution (with a milder/softer or even without domination is still prostitution because it’s still domination of money over human beings)

Isabelle Riviere’s sister (Anna Baldaccini) as a future, may be, temporary prostitute (the sacred breasts as wage earners)


Life becomes less and less reliable for both – working people and for entrepreneurs, and this makes workers furious and xenophobic and the rich in panic and ready for any financial trickery and fraud. Employees permanently need to change their profession or to improve their qualifications (and this often without any guarantee of higher salary). For the business owners it’s often necessary to reduce or the freeze salaries for workers or to change the working conditions from full employment to part time or temporary jobs in order to pay less. All these and other stresses are reflected in high blood pressure, mental and physical exhaustion, growing despair, chronic fear of losing business or job, shame of being a loser, psycho-somatic illnesses, etc. Rising cost for the rent, medicine and medical care adds to the picture, etc.

Even more terrifying situation is for the younger people who are entering a world of intensified fight for money and success. They were dreaming to work in a more normal – more balanced conditions but instead have to face a world which is impulsive and permanently changing like planetary temperature under the global warming. They quickly learn that besides readiness to work honestly and well they have to permanently manipulate the circumstances and calculate and stage their success – not just compete but fight for the future. Growing drug addiction and suicide amongst the young are only two among other morbid reactions on this situation.

For all the people who are forced to function in an environment of high stress, the world looks like a monster. And they try to adapt, and one of the tools at their disposal is to change their perception of the world – to fight for themselves while ignoring and even not noticing the world’s monstrosity. Everything they touch, everything they see is in permanent and unexpected instability and changeability. People stopped to see the world as an existing miracle and other people not as competitors, but as human beings. They stopped to live. They stopped to live with the feeling of living. They stopped to live with meaning, they have started to live for the effectiveness of techno-survival – to live in between realities – just from effort to effort, from one attempt to the next attempt, from failure to failure, from failure to success, from success to bigger success.

The world has lost its existential concreteness. Some people try to create an alternative identity (AI), without or with acting it out. It’s not surprising that among such AIs can be some artificial and criminal ones. That’s why various characters in Fassbinder’s “Die Dritte Generation” became members of the underground political organization which before they were provoked by the secret police just existed as goal in itself without any revolutionary or terrorist actions. They were rather conformists but with the feeling that they’re different than the most people, although their human potentials were not able to develop. In Godard’s “Every Man For Himself” the conditions of life have provoked the main character Paul Godard feel and behave in absurd manner. He cannot even try to make a serious and honest film as he would have wanted, he is depressed and doesn’t know what to do. With his mistress Denise Rimbaud Paul is only capable for exaggerated and impossible acting out. When life is losing its existential concreteness – and when existential details are stopped to be perceived as reliable (full of themselves), human beings are prone to invent artificial relying points like recreational sex – sometimes like Hydra with many heads, like obsessions with movie-, athletic- or rock stars, high-tech guns, Ultimate Fight, Trophy Hunting, etc.

Indeed, with life provoking in us the desire for unlimited multi-entrepreneurship and for opening up of new local spaces for social success – we invent fetishes to balance our restlessness – populist political fakes, obsessive hobbies, wealth and property appropriation, alcohol, pills, drugs, money-money-money in order if not to forget, but at least to soften our worries, worries, worries. The world carries dangerous surprises, it can betray us at any moment. You need likeminded friends but even these common identity buddies for a common survival are like the world and their survival-success may not include yours. It’s felt necessary to make a group as one person – with a common, collective mind. So, totalitarian tendencies become stronger and stronger – group against group, ideology against ideology, difference against difference, team against team, country against country.

Because of all exhausting problems and dangers we, inhabitants of the postmodern world semi-unconsciously develop at least two obsessive-compulsive strategies – storing our survival (like people who’re afraid of the coming hunger store food) and consuming moments of our living – our very vitality, moments of our ecstasy. By storing our life and our joy – we with maniacal passion are trying to persuade ourselves that we are alive in spite of everything.

Storing our survival as an absurd – magical psychological effort is our greedy super-consumption of things including guns, techniques of self-defense (martial arts), services and entertaining images and means for this feverish consumption including money, career and fame. Over-consuming our vitality is the precious moment of our intense joy, pleasures and inspirations including the righteous feeling of hating others or feeling ecstasy about our dreams (in some cases creative like in Paul Godard’s mistress Denise Rimbaud in JLG’s “Every Man for Himself”) – when we give ourselves to these experiences we are forgetting what the world is doing to us and how we helping it. One of our most intense tactics to overwhelm ourselves with consumption of our vitality is our sexual abandon. Already for several dozens of years sex has more and more distanced and separated itself from love and has become even more independent from marriage then before. Sex is more and more used as a strategy to release stress and soften frustrations of living in today’s social environment.

Let’s focus on how some characters in RWF’s “The Third Generation” and JLG’s “Every Man for Himself” use “storing of survival” and “consuming vitality” to keep themselves socially functional, although already absolutely incapable of developing their own existential spirituality, moral fitness, psychological integrity and nurturing and keeping intact their humanistic orientation and control over their government officials’ behavior and intentionality.

Let’s start with P.J. Lurz (Eddie Constantin) who for the sake of getting more billions not only invests into a new surveillance technology but into surveillance of the underground terrorists (some of whom he knows personally) and into provoking them not just to sit quietly with their subversive feelings in their hearts as they prefer to do, but to activate them to come out and start to commit real terrorist acts. More, Lurz is risking his own life for the sake of becoming even wealthier than he already is. On the other hand, Petra Vielhaber-a house wife (Margit Carstensen) – a member of the terrorist organization and a person without any political ideology whatsoever, when being enflamed by the trapping actions of the secret police – uses the situation of robbing the bank where her husband is the manager-boss, following the impulse of killing him. While Lurz systematically, with stubbornness of a squirrel hiding its food under the soil, “is storing his survival” even so far as after his physical death, Petra Vielhaber with hysterical happiness “is consuming her violent vitality” into her last breath.

Gerhard Gast-the secret police chief (Hark Bohm) is also like Petra prone “to consume vitality” – his affair with the wife of his son makes him euphoric, almost like handling and eliminating terrorists. And so his son-terrorist Edgar Gast (Udo Kier), who with his infantile fear of police is prone to have paroxysms of panicky despair connected with the fear of being arrested – he masochistically consuming his panic, like Paul Godard in “JLG’s (Every Man…) dives across the space jumping on Denise, as if, he is god flying down from the mountain to catch an earthly female. Paul Godard’s foul language about his daughter’s sexual attractiveness keeps him kind of alive in a world that makes him depressed and apathetic, while Denise keeps herself hopeful by her petti dreams about her creative success “one day”.

Edgar Gast (Udo Kier) in RWF’s “Third Generation” with all the disgust he feels toward the philistinism of his family members likes to live in the prosperous family house and is troubled when the time comes to leave it, he is a little similar to Paul Godard (Jacques Dutronc) who cannot resist sharing the public bench with a family that seems to him is irradiating basic – primordial warmth. Paul Godard, Edgar Gast and his wife Susanne are people of everyday prosperity. P.J. Lurz-the-billionaire and Gerhard-the police chief admire Susanne not only for her beauty, but for her intelligence, though appreciation from them is far from being a compliment. In essence she is limited by being just a wife and a woman. Clients #1 and #2 of the prostitute Isabelle Riviere (Isabelle Huppert) in Godard’s “Every Man For Himself” belong to the same category of people as Gerhard Gast, a political policeman and an efficient murderer. They live and make sex like creatures of power. They command woman how and what to do. Isabelle Riviere is like a river clinging to every stone and every stump she is touching on her way. Godard shows her in the moments of being sexually humiliated and in a situation of her well-deserved luck when casual meeting with Denise Rimbaud provided her with chance for a softer-gentler prostitution – the one almost possible to tolerate.

Landscape As A Metaphor Of Human Coupling

Francis Picabia, “Idyll”, 1925

We see here representation of urbanistic-industrial way of life inside man’s head and even neck (as if, growing out of his spine brain) – man’s mind awakens with the drive to manipulate the space for the sake of his survival. We also see the determination of man’s attempts to transform/modify life to unite with eternal femininity (moon, quietness, silent lake and boat with virginal sails) for a trip not in space, but in time, in the company of feminine eternity enveloped in the blanket of blissful silence. Picabia delineates man’s space and woman’s time as different metaphysical realms – man’s movement and woman’s existence, man’s strain and woman’s still, man’s action and woman’s consummation of it.

The man grasps the woman’s gloved hand (embellished by pattern) a bit predatorily – her hand for a moment looks as a decorative revolver squeezed between man’s thumb and index finger feeling the trigger – is Picabia hinting here that gun becomes part of established life – marriage or at least solemn togetherness, with the necessity to protect the value of the sacred mutuality? The man is looking at the woman, but we don’t see his eyes – it seems that for Picabia there is nothing important about his eyes except the very function of seeing, so he drops the topic of man’s eyes with matter-of-factly certainty. We also don’t see his face. May be, it’s also superfluous – the urbanistic-industrial contents of his brain function are, probably, sufficient justification for this ellipsis too. Can it be that for Picabia in “Idyll” the presence of man’s face in general is pure excess if to consider man’s instrumental orientation in life? Indeed, what is really important for a serious man is his job, career, work, success, profit and woman. Why a male person should have a face or eyes as a “mirror of the soul”? It couldn’t be practical, it even would be not rational, even wasteful for nature to “work hard” to provide something like face and eyes to male’s body and brains.

But Picabia in his “Idyll” makes the female face super-expressive. The woman has four eyes and four lips! While his man’s face is monotonous except the pictorial brightness of the content of his brains (urbanistic landscape and settlement), woman’s face includes pink, white and “blond” colors, not to mention red and dark-red lips. Her upper pair of eyes look overburdened by the necessity not to lose attention on the various men around who can be her future suiters, in case they will be needed. As we see, even now, when her hand is squeezed by a man, whose nose almost touching her forehead, she cannot relax her permanent search, as we today with our need for multiple jobs. Her lower pair of eyes, contrary to the higher pair, is looking – not at her actual suitor but in relation to his closeness – her gaze is concentrated on emotional contact with the man, not on him. The fact that her right eye is moving towards her nose – crossing, tells us that she is really focused on relationship which is already happening, already under hand. The task of woman’s upper pair of lips, it seems, is to advertise the richness and promising fullness of her kisses, while her low pair of lips is preparing for and offering the kiss.

Francis Picabia is an example of extraordinary painters working in the period between two European wars in the 20th century and soon after WWII. During this time some artists could allow themselves creative risk of heaving meaning in their works of art on top of their artistic talent. They had the courage to do what today artists poisoned by extreme financial orientation as a raison d’etre of our epoch cannot dare to do – they nurtured their ability to elaborate their criticism of human life not in simplistic images but through rich metaphors capable to characterize real problems with profundity, details and contexts. By studying their work we learn not only aesthetic tools of cultural expressiveness but what they considered as their sacred obligation – to tell the truth about the conditions of human life. In comparison, many artists today are addicted to the flat images, like the viewers today don’t need to concentrate and analyze what they see in art expositions.

When Those Whom People Perceived As Role Models Become Impulsive, Vulgar And Outside The Norms Of Civility

Bunuel made his “The Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie” in early seventies, when many comfortably liberal specialists in cinema appreciated film as masterfully sarcastic and witty in a refined way and capable of arousing welcoming smiles among the culturally enlightened. But for us today, living in the 21st century and doomed to see the behavior of our political, financial and military leaders, Bunuel’s film is not only a matter of directorial elegance, but a nightmarish prediction became true. Just look up at today’s social hierarchs quarrelling with journalists and reporters and scandalizing with simple people. They are the creatures for whom personal profit became the equivalent of political sense and who cannot refrain from insulting and smearing even the mildest critics who disagrees with their absolutist positions and remarks. These people behave disrespectfully and rudely even when they didn’t mean to be. And they’re full of matter-of-factly haughtiness.

Look at the pictures down, how easy and naturally “the best friends” – The Ambassador of an invented (by Bunuel) South American country and colonel of the French army came to a boorish behavior with one another. That’s how wars can start one after another, as a golden chain reaction.

The wealthy hooligans in the ‘60s-‘70s were almost as ruthless as today, but people in the position of the viewers were different – they could take the saber-toothed members of political elites not seriously – with humor, as objects of easy laughter, while today the society’s hierarchs are objects of admiration, worship and fanatic defense on the one hand and fear and envy on the other. That’s how far “democracy” has come from the second part of the 20th century to the first part of 21st one.

That’s how (international) diplomats and hierarchical tip-tops start their relationships – with being “best friends” – with smiles-and-drinks, drinks-and-meals paid by the taxpayers of their corresponding countries.

Quarrel between the Ambassador of Miranda (Fernando Rey) and the Colonel (Claude Pieplu) – 1

Quarrel between Ambassador and Colonel – 2 (pay attention to the configuration of the Ambassador’s lips while he is talking)

Quarrel between Ambassador and Colonel – 3

Quarrel between Ambassador and colonel – 4

Quarrel between Ambassador and Colonel – 5

Look at this face with… incredible – simultaneously greedy and… tender facial expression. In this way the predatory animals look at their prey-food. The eyes of Fernando Rey in the role of Rafael Acosta, ambassador of the Republic of Miranda, are almost caressing his victim, like a lioness’ tongue and gums – the flesh she is in the process of consuming. The Ambassador’s smile is almost sentimental faraway to his opponent he just killed (the distinguished and decorated lout himself, played by Claude Pieplu).

Bunuel ends the film with a resume of the ambassador, Don Rafael’s personality. Does he eat here, under the table – meat or banknotes and checks? May be, meat as banknotes and checks or banknotes and checks as meat and in both cases he, for sure, takes equally intense pleasure.

A man plucked a nightingale and finding but little to eat, said: “you are just a voice and nothing more.”
Plutarch, “Moralia: Saying of Spartans”

Nightingale’ voice here is, it seems, a metaphor of a culture (as a combination of responsible cognition and aesthetics of taste), a culture which we’re losing with catastrophic results or have already lost. What will happen to civilization without love for nightingales, to countries which are interested in appropriating and consuming (including “plucking” the natural resources), and in storing value in the unnaturally abstract form of money? It can become and already becoming a place of mute souls, a place where politicians lie with solemn propagandist fervor, billionaires calculate private profits while hermetically smiling and entertainers blabber and dribble, while regular people whisper or chat with alcohol and drugs and keep company with hate for dissimilar others (liberals, eccentrics with humanistic educations, people with “strange” tastes and beliefs, refugees, etc.) and dream to one day take away their civil and human rights, roofs over their heads, food and the air to breath.

Before, everything we did – good and bad, was a product of our hearts, minds and hands. Gods have rewarded or punished us. But dreaming about power and looking for it we intuitively created (without really understanding – what we are doing) a world of abstract (outside of our souls’ sensitivity) knowledge which step by step has incarnated into a monstrous artificial organism – a technology motivating us to do what it “wants” instead of being obedient to us. It could be different if technology would serve human being as such, not mainly the wealthy and powerful, who armed with money and yearning for domination have appropriated technology for their own private needs. Technology stimulates human gene of domination – the very condemnation of human race – this gene is sucking power from technology and transforms the world by dividing it into strong and weak, superior and inferior, glorious and exploited, those who are in charge and their obedient hangers-on. And technology with dizzying speed has created a robotic meaning of life, artificial beauty, fake cognition and pseudo-justifications for cruelty, indifference as an inevitable benevolent necessity, pleasures connected with the power of seduction by artificiality and hate as a function of indifference.

Technology articulates our desire for domination! Technical science and technology have liberated us from being human without asking for our agreement. We’re transformed into characters of video-games we have been made to enjoy. Technology has trapped humanity by making us depend on it for our survival. Today it’s like this – either we survive through technology by becoming a part of it or we will die as hopeless humans.

But the trick is – if we will survive as a part of technology we are already will be dead as humans. We have to choose between two deaths – as humans or as a part of technology: as robots by behavior. We will still have our blood, our sensations and remnants of emotions. But our behavior will be robotic – based not on moral choice which belongs to an outdated frame of reference – but only on survival and fighting with obstacles for survival (survival will be felt and understood not in human terms as a part of our Being, but as a continuation of functioning according to the criterion of effectiveness/non-effectiveness). Money in the form of work-wage in exchange for functional efficiency won over moral choice.

Our business is to exist, not to live, or to be more or less excited or more or less satisfied than somebody else. Like there are effective or less effective machines we are more or less effective than others. Our ability to survive depends on perfection of our robotic function.

We did it ourselves – helped techno-science and technology (TSAT) to trap us not in a mild “dehumanization” but in a radical robotization (RR). TSAT is the super-effective form of human armor and weapon. Soldier’s body-and-mind is a rudimentary-parasitic extension of his/her armor-weapon. Step by step human armor-and-weapon will become modified into a giant mechanisms of projected destruction including technologies of surveillance, misleading the dissimilar others as enemy and destroying it. It appears that it’s our destiny not only die as humans but die as indestructible robots. We don’t need to worry – tasty foods and sexual pleasures will be also perfected (and made temporary) through farther robotization of life.

GOPists Are Today’s Extremist Pseudo-conservatives With Their Trumpeting and Trumpery, While DNCists Are Doctrinaires-Democrats With Their Cowardly Over-carefulness

No doubt, it would be unjust to claim that today’s democratic and conservative politicians are bad in comparison with what they were before, but in the 21st century they became much worse than they were before, in 20th one. What a magic can be created by the very calendar transition from one century to the next! Of course, the unseen powers of historical development, economic processes and psychological conditions were helping the Demiurge to preside over the present degradation of human mind and soul. On the one side, GOPists’ predecessors – conservatives were already unable to be in charge of money – we don’t only mean the steadily growing chaos in the financial investments, but psychologically, in the sense of controlling the Golden Calf as such. Instead of being in charge of the bull of money they became his servants, but even American Westerns know that the bulls are good as servants, but are nightmarish as masters. On the other side, DNCists’ predecessors – democrats already in the past were almost as bad, because they deprived the poor among Americans of free humanistic education on college level, which could enrich them with understanding of the social life and how to balance the faceless logic of industrialization with the development of human soul and existential spirituality.

Money gradually became master of human life and taste and a muse of human dreams, and entertainment has occupied the space of culture and became a sweaty, fatty and dopy equivalent of fast food – both compensating the tired people for their efforts of modern survival. The absence of humanistic education eventually led to the situation when mass people just repeat whatever the supreme leader is saying to them through the ingenuous mechanism of mass media, repeat without any mediation of meditation. Cognitive abilities of human minds and human self-critical and critical intellectual potentials are “handled” with rock concerts, Ultimate fight and American football. Those who need free humanistic education more than anybody else and more than desperately, without even knowing it, are more and more deprived, and the catastrophic results of this state of affairs is already here. The poor people who are supposed to be in the vanguard of the demands for democratic change, are in reality motivated by impulsive irritations, infuriation and hate towards dissimilar people whom they consider as responsible for their pauperization amid growing austerity.

While GOPists are with bloody-eye-categoricalness against trumpeachment – naturally, they don’t want to lose the support of the gnomes and gremlins of giant wealth (who in turn don’t want to lose the supreme leader’s generous handouts – tax cuts-and-breaks and numerous subsidies and loopholes), DNCists are with the symmetrical oppositeness are “hesitant” about trumpeachment, because they’re afraid of public negative resonance (of the public stirred by supporters of the top–leader), etc., etc.

People who don’t understand the real reasons for austerity, unemployment, homelessness, crowding emigrants and refugees all around and growing pauperization become the very weapons in the hands of those who are the reason for austerity, unemployment, low salaries, homelessness, pauperization, refugees, rising prices…

“Dear America: you are waking up, as Germany once did, to the awareness that 1/3 of your people would kill another 1/3, while 1/3 watches”**

Werner Herzog (1942…)

Many Americans today will not connect today’s events and moods in US as having any even superficial similarity with the development of German Nazism. They will refuse Werner Herzog’s warning as a sentimental gesture of a person who lives in a world of cinematic imagination. They could respond by saying something like the following:

“Dear Mr. Herzog, thank you for being worried about us and our homeland, but we don’t share your pessimism about our great and progressive nation. We believe, they could say, in our Northern America, which enjoys the international status of being the exceptional country, as one of our Presidents Barack Obama recently said. In our country, Mr. Herzog, there is no a possibility of happening something similar with what happened in Germany in the 30s and 40s. Thank you for your care about us, but we, who live here don’t see the reason for us to worry about our future“.

These people can disagree with Werner Herzog, but as soon as a person of such exceptional experience in life and in serious art found the reasons to express his worries about our country, we ought to be listening attentively and scrupulously and think hard about what’s really happening with our lives in our country which, it seems, is changing very rapidly. We didn’t see fascism in its development, but Herzog knew about the social and psychological symptoms of a totalitarian transformation of the country with a mature humanistic culture. We have to take what Mr. Herzog is noticed in our country and what’s made him alerted about our life very seriously. Is our country really the same, as it used to be in the 60s-70s? Has behavior of our people changed between 20th and 21st century? Has the style of our leaders’ behavior and their public talking changed or not? There is nothing unpatriotic about paying serious attention to what Herzog has said in his short memo to us. Who is rather right – a person who empirically knows the danger of inhumanity and indifference and cruelty of people towards another people, or we who have been growing up on entertainment and athletic competitions and look at the world with the gaze of optimism and achievement?

Before we’ll refuse Werner Herzog’s expertise we should very seriously check our everyday life, our real motivations, our dreams and expectations from the future to understand better what’s going on with our country. And we have very quickly (because we can not to have enough time) and intensely learn how different groups of people in Germany felt and thought around 1933 and onwards. Only then we’ll be sure that we are genuine patriots and not brainwashed jingoists.

*Werner Herzog is not only a German and an American film director with unique cinematographic achievements but also a screenwriter, author, thinker, actor and opera director. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

**Look at the gaze of the person who said to us what he said. Look at this face which expresses suffering, but not like people who are still able to cry while suffering – to soften their torment with tears. The person we see on the photo carries the burden of his truth without any emotional relief. The secret of his gaze is that he is simultaneously looking and not looking – made his gaze petrified – blind. He is not looking at the unbearable reality he is warning us about. But he is still looking at us (we have a concrete impression that he is looking at us). His gaze is already closed – at reality, but still opened at us (he still hopes that we will avoid the future he predicted).

Who And What Invests Into A Fascist (Totalitarian) System More – People Who Directly Commit Crimes And The Totalitarian Ideology Itself Or The Conformists And Conformist Mass Culture (That, As If Is Outside Of Fascist Ideology)?

Conformists-philistines (During Fascist Periods) and Philistines-conformists (During Post- and Pre-fascist Periods)

Bernardo Bertolucci (1941-2018)

In one of his interviews about the film Bertolucci confessed how psychologically difficult it was to go through making the film – how the monstrosity of the characters and their feelings about life and other people was poisoning him and the actors. The film is not depicting the Concentration Camps, incineration of people alive or séances of torture, although in the film about the period in and around WWII was impossible to avoid visual comments about human physical cruelties towards other humans. “Monstrosity of feelings and the characters” carrying them belong to the conformists, not direct fascists, to people who successfully or almost successfully adapted to fascism and are not “genuine” fascists. Of course, the “almost successful adaptation” personified by Marcello Clerici, doesn’t mean that conformists didn’t participate in fascism, more, very often they “helped” it to a much stronger degree than many “genuine” fascists.

Unfortunately, before Bertolucci film-directors weren’t able to make the “tricky” differentiation between a totalitarian (fascist) style of perceiving the world and conformist manner of accepting the fascist status quo without “complete” surrendering to it with your soul. Conformists – intelligent and often educated people oriented on a very good life, were living happily during the intervals between wars and continued to do so under the Fascist regimes. These Middle- and Upper-Middle-classers were even more widespread “collaborators” than the perverted combination of unity between the fanatical rightwing leaders and their fanatical supporters among poor. People with soft-gentle manners, delicate feelings and rather sharp minds, like Marcello Clerici (played by an emotionally sophisticated actor Jean-Louis Trintignant) apply for prestigious jobs in any political system including totalitarian/fascist ones, as soon as it’s in between their orientation on prosperity if not “by any price”, then at least “first of all”, and their “financial gourmet tastes”. What else for them to do except smiling to people from whom depend our decent salaries? The widespread expressions “decent job” and “decent money” already long ago lost moral and aesthetic connotation and used in a conformist way defining monetary reward. In short, people with good education need to have decent jobs even in a totalitarian – fascist systems. Without conformists Nazi leaders could use only lower ranks and low level of qualification.

The conformist monstrosity Bertolucci depicts in the film is not obvious hate for people or human stupidity based on the megalomaniacal beliefs in “our exceptionality” (euphemism for “superiority”) – it’s several social structures internalized by our unconscious – the desire for financially prosperous life, the psychological need for fundamentalist marriage, proneness for playful amorous games, proclivity to recruit people into political fight “on our side” using authoritarian overtones, and love for being entertained and for mass culture in general. Combination of these “innocent” features, according to Bertolucci’s film is the assortment of conformist behavior not only in pre- and post-fascist periods, but also during totalitarian or fascist historical epochs. Those who are philistines in a non-fascist societies are conformists in a fascist ones (in reality philistines are conformists of non-fascist/non-totalitarian societies).

Conformist or mass entertainment culture

Marcello met mass culture of entertainment long before he applied for a prestigious job of a secret service agent in Mussolini’s government

Piano, string music and girls-singers were emotional and aesthetic prelude to the start of Marcello’s successful career

Simultaneously liberating and seducing music touched his heart as the smooth female faces and bodies – his soul

Building of mutual help relationships

Soon after becoming a secret agent, Marcello betrays his mother in order to, through his new colleague Manganiello, prove to his new bosses that he is a reliable human being

Manganiello came to Marcello’s aid when he has lost confidence in himself after being pressed by his love Anna into becoming an antifascist fighter

Playing with Marcello the incarnation of the experienced and courageous power Manganiello overcomes Marcello’s neurotic weakness and restores his self-confidence.

Fundamentalist marriage of iron ties and gentle gust of amorous distraction

Marcello’s passion with his wife Jiulia (Stefania Sandrelli) is imitative to its core

Oh, how elegant – how genuine mutuality respects individual will!

Marital love will not be love if at least sometimes it’s not be a bit voracious and even predatory

Marcello is in love. In a certain moment he even offers Anna (Dominique Sanda) to forget everything and go with him to Brazil, but Anna has another plans – she wants Marcello to join her and her husband in antifascist intrigue

Playing funny and gracious games

Oh, how wonderful and daring to joke-dance in front of the simpleminded people who take everything so seriously!

Oh, how incredible to be admired!

How monumental and irresistible people’s positive attention – “people will remember us for a long time”!

Anna and Professor Quadri‘s political heroism

Cognitive weakness of the intellectuals – underestimation of the barbarity and ruthlessness of the right-wing activists, fascists and to a certain degree – conformists

Anna is too straightly insisting on Marcello to become her and Luca’s antifascist ally and this makes him to be stubborn and resisting

Luca made a pact with Anna should he be killed by the fascists she will inform the whole world about what fascists done to him. She, trying to overcome her feelings, agreed for the sake of their antifascist victory. But to win it’s necessary to have help – Marcello‘s.

But Marcello refuses to help and leaves Anna to the fascist murderers (not because of her authoritarian impatience with him, of course)

“Liberation” from conformism and looking to a future of pleasant philistinism

We thought we’re saying goodbye to Marcello Clerici-the conformist seeing him still “imprisoned” by his prosperous life under the fascist regime, but…

Fascist regime has changed – now Marcello looks at a young homosexual with a graciously seductive gesticulation. He looks through the iron bars, as if – outside of fascism, but “sexual freedom” will not liberate Marcello. He will continue to live a life fighting for personal and his family’s prosperity and enjoy mass-cultural vanity. Probably, but not necessarily he will have a new wife. Instead of being a conformist he will be a philistine – that is conformist of post-fascism. He will continue to lead a consumerist semi-existence based on social inequality and injustice, less aggressive and hateful than it was under fascism until a new fascist wave will come, probably, more impatient, greedy and cruel than before.

Leonora Carrington, “The Giantess (The Guardian of the Egg)”, 1947

The mighty figure of a giant woman with a small childlike face and a sunny hair, fragile feet and tiny hands, as if embracing a miniature egg – here is Carrington’s Giantess protecting the bird’s egg. She stands on the bottom of the world – on earth with trees, animals, people (including women) – all like insects in comparison with her – a giant and gentle, huge yet humble. Can we recognize her in the women we know, in spite of her tremendousness? Can she be recognized as a woman at all?

Women are too much subdued to be capable of saving human race. Many men kill other men often because of ephemeral rage or chronic hate and they respect themselves even more after killing, although some – more sensitive amidst us, suffer mental anguish. Men love to use special tools for killing – that’s how hundreds of thousands years ago they started to invent weapons to kill animals to eat their meat and gradually “conquered” the whole planet. They’re proud of it and even more proud of wars with other humans. Today, they’re especially rewarded for killing skills. So, woman doesn’t have the ability to save her own children, let alone to be savior of humankind. When women want to boast about their massive emancipation the best they can do is to imitate men – physically (by becoming police-women or militaries or mentally – by becoming CEOs or even technical scientists). They are readily leave their children to standardized care in kindergartens and schools for the sake of career, financial reward and healthy competition for family prosperity, and they successfully compete with the thickness of men’s wallets by the solidity of their purses. Mothers today have become proudly equal with the fathers. And the uniqueness of their emotional and intellectual bonds with their children and their qualification to form the next generation’s existentially spiritual souls are exchanged on the market of generalized services. And all this civilizational robotics is alien to the personality of Carrington’s giantess (as we can feel while looking at the painting).

Is she a traditional woman or an emancipated one? Is her archetype a queen? May be, a princess? Is she a matriarch? Is she a peasant? Rather, she is a nurse, she is a nurturer of life, the nurse of the living world. How she is looking at us – not looking! Her gaze is the gaze of the presence, of being here, of being with life. Yes, she is a nurse of everything living. She cannot save human beings who live to kill, not to live. The best that can be said about most humans is that they live to survive, not to live. Then the best Leonora Carrington’s giantess can do is to try to save not human babies, not human embryos, but egg of a bird. How many alerted, worried, afraid birds are hovering around her in the air! We sense something apocalyptic in the very atmosphere of the natural world!

The distressed birds of nature create atmosphere of an apocalyptic contrast with the artificially bright and, as if, frozen lake utilized by humans who, as if, not have even noticed nature’s turmoil. But our giantess is unconcerned about the human rituals depicted on her inside robe. She is interested neither in human activities on the lake, nor in structures of social rituals. She wants to save the bird’s egg. She cares for future. She is caring life through apocalyptic seasons. She belongs to the rarest type of a woman – woman-non-conformist, somebody who disagree not only with traditional, frustrated dogmas, but with fresh despotic customs greedy for success.

How could Leonora Carrington come to depict dedication to saving nature? She didn’t know the horrifying consequences of Global warming, its radical threat to our survival. But she knew WWII, she knew running in panic from the war. And she knew how to be a maverick and a hermit. From her partner and lover Max Ernst she learned how unjust, cruel and inhumane the human world is and how desperate is the life of a genuine (non-entertaining) artist who is always not understood or misunderstood.

Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)

Leonora Carrington with Max Ernst

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