FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Hollywood, Cinema, Pornography & Propaganda

It’s often said that there is a fine line between art and pornography, and this is true, but few people take the time to seriously contemplate where that line is. As a fan of both art and pornography, not to mention sociology, I have probably spent too much time on the subject. Most people view the dividing line between these two mediums to be the actions of its subjects, to put it bluntly, people fucking. But some of my favorite art films include graphic scenes of passionate and unsimulated coitus. And some of my favorite genres of pornography involve acts that many wouldn’t even consider to be sexual. No, the line between art and pornography is not defined by its subject matter but rather by its intent. The intent of art is to provoke and engage the audience intellectually. The intent of pornography is to indulge and engage the audience reactively.

Unlike far too many other feminists, I have no problem with pornography in and of itself, particularly if it involves Asian lesbians with small feet and plenty of rope, but there are forms of pornography that have nothing to do with natural human sexuality in all its perverted diversity. Propaganda would probably be my least favorite genre of pornography and this hardcore smut plays on cable news 24/7 when any child could be flipping through the channels. Propaganda is the ultimate form of malignant pornography. It is the complete antithesis of art, designed for the express purpose of keeping people reacting by making sure they have no time to think. The audience is blitzed with an explosive barrage of suggestions, largely parroted from the satanic conglomeration of big government and big business commonly referred to by woke freaks like me as the Establishment. “Fear! Fear! Be afraid! Be afraid! Vote! Buy! Vote! Attack Iran! Squirrels on jet skies! Lupus fun run! Drone strike! MONEY SHOT! Have you attacked Iran yet?” Some pretty sick shit. Ted Turner makes Bob Guccione look like Captain Kangaroo.

But while cable news may make the sickest porn in the biz, they don’t sling the most. That foul distinction belongs to Hollywood, a bottomless tar pit of brain-dead smut. I love cinema, I have since watching Bonnie & Clyde on Turner Classic Movies as a curious genderless tyke, but it is because I love cinema that I have grown to despise those perverts in Tinsel Town. Hollywood is the mortal enemy of any true cinephile because it reduces the art form into an intellectually masturbatory industry. And Summer is their jiz streaked Bacchanalia of mass banality, when big studio vampires lure wayward rubes to the cool shadows of the theater where they suck their wallets dry.

People in this country hate to talk about movies with me because I hate all their beloved stupid fucking movies with a furious passion that idiots tend to find off-putting. I hate the pandering nostalgia porn of Pixar, where computer generated mascots assault peoples clitoral-sensitive funny-bones with an endless stream of random pointless references like Robin Williams on a crystal methamphetamine bender. I hate the goopy inspiration porn of high-handed historical hagiographies, designed to glorify the state as a bastion of multicultural perseverance in order to sell the American Dream like a snuff film to the jaded foreigners on the festival circuit.”You see, Frenchy, America ain’t so bad. We got saucy colored gals making our Nazi rockets!”

I hate the endless assembly line of instantly forgettable remakes, cheesier than any Skinemax parody and twice as stupid, often advertised as progress just because they replaced all the main characters with this weeks favorite token minority. “Stay tuned for Paul Feig’s gutless remake of The Breakfast Club with all the leads…  Played by… Hermaphrodites with Marfan Syndrome?! Be there!!!” And I absolutely fucking despise with every cell in my chronically misgendered corpse that never ending assembly line of moronic blockbuster schlock that every errant asshole and their cousin adores called Marvel Studios. The one dimensional superheroes. The black and white moralism. The empty social justice pandering. The gratuitous abuse of green screen special effects. The thinly veiled appeal to hyper-jingoistic do-gooder interventionism. I fucking hate it all. Superheroes have long been the bane of good comic books, now they threaten to take Hollywood to new depths of pornographic sleaze as they turn the once moribund industry into a cultural juggernaut defacing the globe with American “values”. The basic premise of nearly every one of these cinematic abortions is identically simplistic; Here’s your fucking shit, now eat it. And eat it they do, by the boatload. I only wish Stan Lee was still alive so he could die twice.

This has long been the problem with American Cinema. People in this country view films as being roller coaster rides. They hand some toothless carny a sweaty wad of cash and get their cheap thrills for about 90 minutes then forget what the saw on the way home. And sometimes that’s OK, but to reduce an entire medium to mental masturbation sinfully underestimates the revolutionary power of cinema. Not to sound like a snob, but Europe still seems like the one place that really gets this on an above marginal level. People in Italy and France go to theaters to think and be challenged, to be provoked, and in a society so desensitized by constant war, plague and pestilence, it takes a lot of cinematic dynamite to provoke even basic empathy. That’s why a new wave of European directors have taken to resurrecting Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, a philosophy that preaches that the only way to drain the collective abscesses of a crumbling society is to assault audiences dulled senses with provocative imagery and tap into the subconscious root of their misery.

In this context, the director must not simply be an artist. They must be a terrorist, awakening the privileged to the suffering that will be returned to them by the people that their wealth oppresses if they fail to wake from their stupor. These auteurs of Europe’s so called new wave of extremity have turned the propaganda of modern cinema into a new form of what the old anarchists referred to as propaganda of the deed, using their Kalashnikov cameras to blitz the cinema with the power of uncensored imagination, raw, naked, dripping with blood. They use the once exploitative tropes of horror and eroticism to provoke philosophical debates on things even most Europeans would prefer to ignore.

As I alluded to above, the English speaking world has derisively called this new wave ‘Extreme Cinema’. They even find the gal to accuse it’s directors, terrifying visual Blanquists like Lars Von TrierGaspar Noe and Micheal Haneke, of being the real pornographers for the simple fact that they aren’t afraid to use the weapon of untethered sexuality to get their point across. We have witnessed similar knee-jerk reactions to nearly every significant avante-garde movement of the last century, from the Dadaists to the Vienna Actionists. The western press doesn’t want you to expose yourself to the masochistic lessons that only radicals dare to teach. They fear, as they always have, that you might run the risk of being awakened from your shackled slumber in this suburban purgatory capitalism has erected around us. But I implore you to ignore their breathless warnings, save your time, save your money or what’s left of it, skip the latest Avengers monstrosity, stay home and download something to challenge yourself, like Gaspar Noe’s latest intoxicating mirage, Climax, or the critic-eviscerating menace that is Mr. Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built. Prepare to be offended but resist the temptation to simply react. This is not Hollywood pornography. This is art. This is cinema. It’s supposed to hurt a little, but trust me, dearest motherfuckers, it’s worth the price of admission.

More articles by:

Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find him online at Exile in Happy Valley.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 19, 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Requiem for a Lightweight: the Mayor Pete Factor
Kenneth Surin
In China Again
Stephen Cooper
Abolishing the Death Penalty Requires Morality
George Ochenski
The DNC Can’t Be Allowed to Ignore the Climate Crisis
John W. Whitehead
The Omnipresent Surveillance State
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
Guaidó’s Star Fades as His Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud With Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela
Dave Lindorff
What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?
Howard Lisnoff
Try Not to Look Away
Binoy Kampmark
Matters of Water: Dubious Approvals and the Adani Carmichael Mine
Karl Grossman
The Battle to Stop the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, Revisited
Kani Xulam
Farting in a Turkish Mosque
Dean Baker
New Manufacturing Jobs are Not Union Jobs
Elizabeth Keyes
“I Can’t Believe Alcohol Is Stronger Than Love”
June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: USA Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail