Saturday, April 22, 2006

Images and an Aesthetic-Ethical Divide

What do I mean when I speak of a peculiar aesthetic-ethic divide? Do I mean the divide between aesthetics and ethics?

To get something across about this, say that the Wachowski brothers are playing one or maybe five steps ahead of the rest of us, including the "intellectual aesthetes," especially those who don't believe that anyone can be playing ahead of them.

The object of playing ahead is to suck people in and make them a target audience. There's no further alterior motive, and there doesn't need to be - this is already evil enough.

The Wachowski brothers know that certain motifs and symbols make the intellectual aesthetes begin to think that something is happening, and thus they begin to mobilize to try to get at that... they begin to "go to work" to find out what that is.

The Wachowski brothers are now the "employers" of these "workers."

The Baudrillard reference at the beginning of The Matrix set a lot of people trying to figure out the connection between the film and the writings of that French philosopher.

However, there is nothing there to get at. There was no connection between The Matrix and the writings of Baudrillard. These employers get these employees to work for free... they get these employees to pay the employers to go to work . The employees pay the employer.

What kind of work is it that the employees are doing?

I don't know how idiosyncratic this association is, but I remember reading " Our Lady of the Flowers," by Jean Genet, one of my favorite authors. Towards the end of the book, Divine, with whom I felt quite comfortable by that time in the book, quietly and somewhat daintily murders a small child by pushing it from a balcony.

I can't quite describe how I felt when I read that. It was partially as if someone much more intelligent than me had set me up and gotten me implicated in a heinous crime. As if I had been charmed and lulled and rolled along by someone who was charming and lulling and rolling me along with an aim toward my corruption, my ruin.

It is done in such a way that it isn't merely a fictional corruption, a fictional ruin. ( At least you can't get jail time for it - that is, in a way, the only reprieve.)

I've never seen a discussion about the work of the Wachowski brothers that did not end in confusion. ( Actually, the discussions are pretty messy throughout.) The people I discuss their work with are looking for some "deeper" message, and in the meantime, they are smacking their lips at such things as the humiliation and degradation of attractive young women, etc.
There is no "deeper" message. There is only their own deeper implication in desiring humiliation and degradation, in the desiring of their own repression and the repression of others.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yusef writes (masoochistically) at the end of his good post:

"There is no "deeper" message. There is only their own deeper implication in desiring humiliation and degradation, in the desiring of their own repression and the repression of others."

Don't reduce yourself to the "workers" you describe. Of course The Matrix is good to analyze in its Platonic parallel universe concept. As intellectuals we are free to interpret whatever we feel like. Don't get too paranoid about the "evil" ideas of Hollywood directors and screen-writers. Remember what Deleuze got out of movies - without feelings of guilt about being had - or conned.

You yourself were victimized into the worker-role by Jean Genet. Or you just lost whatever innocence you had at the time.

Baudrillard himself would love the reference to his writings in The Matrix - and he would have toyed and played with it - with glee if he had spotted it or been told about it.

Be free. And playful. Philosophy is a "gay science" (quoting myself from an earlier post, quoting Nietzsche!)

Keep posting. Your comments are greatly appreciated and enjoyed..

by Orla Schantz

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adding to my just published post:

Wasn't it Adorno who said that most of the philosophy of the 20th century was the PHILOSOPHY OF SUSPICION?

Don't fall into that trap.

All the best from a fan,

Orla Schantz

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

Thanks for commenting, Orla.

You see it - there is a problem that I have - I don't understand how to play without at the same time falling into terrible traps!

As you have mentioned - there is even a trap of not playing!

There is even a falling into a trap of being too suspicious of traps!

I want to write further about Deleuze and cinema - specifically to try to understand how his thoughts on cinema might relate to his later ideas of a "society of control."

Without hesitation I agree with you that Deleuze got a great deal from the cinema. However, he did not throw caution and critique to the winds - he remained suspicious.

Deleuze chose to write about masterpieces of cinema - he didn't concern himself with the drek. He didn't confuse the one with the other, either. Maybe that's the positive approach that I'm missing.

Anyway, I will continue to work towards a gay science, and thanks again.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Alperen Myung said...

Saying something like: "There was no connection between The Matrix and the writings of Baudrillard"- so argumentative, provocative and speculative...

Yes there is no connection!!! Perhaps if you watch this clip you can't see any connection with Matrix... Yes, this clip -absolutely-which i gave you its link has no connection with Marcuse's "One Dimensional Man" Baudrillard's "Simulacra and Simulacrum" or "Society of Consumption" thesis.

Your writing is an example of how to... Something like: How to read a movie, but -contrary-your post is an example of how not to read a movie...

Matrix -as an idea and conceptualization- itself is an example of hyper-reality and a "perfect other" as a Lacanian Concept. I also agree your idea about there is no hidden message in this film. This connection between Lacan and Baudrillard is so manifest and not to understand this connection needs an ability. Enormous resistance to understand!!!

İt is not a coincidence that Watchovski's invitation to Baudrillard having a role in this film as Architecht.


6:25 AM  

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