• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
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 her online at Exile in Happy Valley.

June 02, 2020
John W. Whitehead
This Is Not a Revolution. It’s a Blueprint for Locking Down the Nation
June 01, 2020
Joshua Frank
It’s a Class War Now Too
Richard D. Wolff
Why the Neoliberal Agenda is a Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
Henry Giroux
Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence
Ron Jacobs
The Second Longest War in the United States
Kanishka Chowdhury
The Return of the “Outside Agitator”
Lee Hall
“You Loot; We Shoot”
Dave Lindorff
Eruptions of Rage
Jake Johnston
An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations
Nick Pemberton
What is Capitalism?
Linda G. Ford
“Do Not Resuscitate”: My Experience with Hospice, Inc.
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Simple Model for Global Warming
Howard Lisnoff
Is the Pandemic Creating a Resurgence of Unionism? 
Frances Madeson
Federal Prisons Should Not be Death Chambers
Hayley Brown – Dean Baker
The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency
Raúl Carrillo
We Need a Public Option for Banking
Kathy Kelly
Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
An Open Letter to Joe Biden on Race
Scott Owen
On Sheep, Shepherds, Wolves and Other Political Creatures
John Kendall Hawkins
All Night Jazz All The Time
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Tim Wise
Protest, Uprisings, and Race War
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
Charles Pierson
Who are the “Wrong Hands” in Yemen?
David Schultz
Trump isn’t the Pope and This Ain’t the Middle Ages
Andrew Levine
Trump Is Unbeatable in the Race to the Bottom and So Is the GOP
Ramzy Baroud
Political Ambiguity or a Doomsday Weapon: Why Abbas Abandoned Oslo
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
A Growing Wave of Bankruptcies Threatens U.S. Recovery
Joseph Natoli
Conditions Close at Hand
N.D. Jayaprakash
No Lessons Learned From Bhopal: the Toxic Chemical Leak at LG Polymers India 
Ron Jacobs
The Odyssey of Elias Demetracopoulos
J.P. Linstroth
Arundhati Roy on Indian Migrant-Worker Oppression and India’s Fateful COVID Crisis
Melvin Goodman
Goodness Gracious, David Ignatius!!
Roger Harris
Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans:  a Critique of Overpopulation Ideology
Sonali Kolhatkar
For America’s Wealthiest, the Pandemic is a Time to Profit
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the Telecom Crisis
Paul Buhle
Why Does W.E.B. Du Bois Matter Today?
Mike Bader
The Only Way to Save Grizzlies: Connect Their Habitats
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail