Sunday, October 18, 2009
Slumdogs, Extracts, and Fascism At The Movies
The right-wing preaches that Hollywood, California is Leftist/Marxist occupied territory. It is true that there have been a great deal of films with a leftist bent in recent times, not including Michael Moore’s documentary film Capitalism: A Love Story. It is indeed true that the recent film Surrogates has an anti-capitalist and consumerist message, as do other great films like V for Vendetta and Revolutionary Road.
However, recently Hollywood has released two films of a racist, sexist, and “survival of the fittest” nature that preach anything but a leftist message. These films, though poorly put together, have been raised as “great art” by the ruling class and treated as such, one of them winning “Best Picture” at the Academy Awards of 2009.
“Slumdog Millionaire” Speaks for Billionaires
The film Slumdog Millionaire is a right-wing, pro-capitalist rant. While it imagines that it is the “grapes of wrath” or “Schindler's List”, it is simply a right-wing propaganda piece with “epic” content and a Horatio Alger plot.
The film portrays a young, impoverished boy in modern India. When Muslims attack his family, the government sits by and lets it occur. He travels throughout India in poverty, and is taken advantage of by a man who tries to blind him. The man attempts this in order to take advantage of those who would give him “charity” with their “compassion” because of his condition.
The Message: Compassion rewards cruelty and the weak.
Of course, through his “free will” and “intuition” the main character triumphs and wins on India’s version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”, but he is tortured by the Indian government, because they refuse to recognize he is capable of success. He is punished brutally for succeeding, by the supposedly lesser human beings who run the state. John Galt would probably wet his pants with happiness at this crude, hateful, right-wing film.
The main character’s brother turns to crime, and ends up dead, of course. He could have got by “honestly” and become a millionaire like his brother, but he broke the “social contract” and became a “criminal.” So, of course, he deserves to die because of “personal choices.”
Two particular sections in this film portray the disgusting atmosphere as blatantly as possible. In one section of the film, the boy is being beaten. A tourist couple from the U.S. stops the man from beating him. The innocent “John Galt” child cries out: “This is what the real India is all about.”
The U.S. couple looks down on him with smiles, and hands him a wad of U.S. federal reserve currency, and tell him: “This is what the real America is all about.”
They rub him on the head, as any good compassionate imperialist carrying their “white man’s burden” would.
The message: The white western civilization of the U.S. is an honest, free market society, in comparison to India, a nation depicted in the film as filled barbaric brown skinned people who do not have “free market” ideas.
In the second sequence the main character looks out from a construction site at a city and speaks of how great it is becoming now that western capitalists have come.
The Message: Western Capitalism and Domination is saving India from its ways.
Slumdog Millionaire foams with racism and colonialism to its core. It tells us that India is a pre-capitalist hell-hole, that is gradually being saved by the free market and Imperialism. The film glorifies western capitalism and depicts the brown-skinned people of South-East Asia as barbaric and ignorant, in need of the guidance and domination of western Capitalists. The film portrays compassion, sympathy, and such as a character flaw, and champions ruthlessness and “the rule of law.”
Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Ludwig Von Mises could not have written a better propaganda film. The worst part of this, is that some on the left are confused, and somehow think the film is an exposure of the poverty created by capitalism. They don’t seem to notice that the thrust of the film is the lie that capitalism destroys poverty and saves indigenous people from their supposed inherent idiocy and socialistic tendencies that justify imperialism.
Another film could show the same horrific conditions, yet champion the Naxalite Rebels of the countryside or the worker’s movements of the industrial centers. These movements do have a chance of stopping these atrocities, and are motivated by a desire for liberation, not capitalist greed.
But this is not the message the film portrays. This film is a product of the “Revolutionary Right-Wing” that proclaims that the world must go backwards toward “good capitalism.” The admiration of western civilization, the demonizing of the indigenous peoples, and the Neitschzian “ubermenchen” theme make this film the kind of magnum opus to expect from Leni Riefenstahl or D.W. Griffith.
“Extracts" of Exploitation
Unlike Slumdog, this fascist piece does not pretend to be an “epic” “groundbreaking” film. Rather, this anti-working class hit piece pretends to be a comedy. It has the snide, crude, nasty cruelty found in every Glenn Beck rant in which he fumes with rage at the oppressed, but of course, throws in a few laugh lines to keep us from drowning in his venom.
The film starts out reminding one of “The Office” or “40 Year Old Virgin.” It’s about a factory that makes vanilla extract, and working at the factory there are slew of funny characters.
The boss who owns the factory, cannot get his wife to have sexual intercourse with him. After consulting a friendly bar tender, he comes up with an elaborate, semi-humorous scheme to morally reprieve him of infidelity by tricking her into being the first to commit adultery, with an intellectual challenged male prostitute who he pays to seduce her.
If this sexist, patriarchal, idiotic plot twist isn’t enough, soon the story shifts from forbidden sex, to the ranting anger of a middle class capitalist against the “idiots” of the working class who don’t appreciate his greatness.
The factory workers attempt to strike to keep their jobs fearing they may lose them if he sells the company, the owner says “why not take the whole company!” He fumes with hatred at the inferiority of the workers. This is clearly an indirect attack on Republic Window and Door Makers who did exactly the same, seizing the plant in order to save their jobs. I suppose whoever wrote this film hates the idea of worker’s believing they have the property right to their jobs.
It seemed to me that nearly a half hour of the films content is merely the main character, a petty-capitalist, bemoaning the fact that “everyone” supposedly sympathizes with the proletariat, but no one sympathizes with him, the guy who owns some means of production and has the ability to exploit the labor of the proletariat because of his “initiative” and “creativity.”
We hear about how this oppressed boss “invented a new formula” in college, and “gave his life to the company that produces.” This is ironic and deceptive as most new chemicals are invented by hired proletarian chemists. Their inventions are then copyrighted by the capitalists who hired them to create it, who reap the profits from their creativity. Inventors, innovators, and such are rarely among the ranks of the modern bourgeoisie. The big dogs of modern capitalism are the bankers who own mountains of stock and mountains of capital to “invest” in other people’s sweat and blood.
The main character bemoans his persecution, and points out that he is not an evil corporation, but a small businessman, who gives all for his employees unlike the ruthless big capitalists who are corrupt and faceless to their workers. I almost expected him to begin parroting Alex Jones about Rockefeller, the union busting monster was a “socialist” because he supported contraception.
Yes, the persecuted middle class, and its love of sarcastic Glenn Beck anger flows out in every line of this films dialogue. I should have seen this bombastic propaganda coming, when I noticed a statue of shrugging Atlas in one scene at a bar.
The "Capitalist Victim" : Fascism's Friend
These two motion pictures share the same theme. That theme is “capitalism is great” and “supermen” are persecuted by the ignorant masses and the demagogues who manipulate them to fight for “handouts” and steal from the “supermen.”
These films point toward compassion as a character flaw, and also portray the rich who “succeed” as “victims” of the “heartless mob” of workers who childishly think they are entitled to what the oh-so-persecuted rich have.
These films are unrealistic by all stretches. Small vanilla extract companies are few and far between. The chances of an impoverished youth from the slums of India winning a million dollars are also slim. It is also ironic that the star of the film, a young boy from India, was homeless once again, after he starred in the film that won “best picture” at the Academy.
These films play into the “Tea Party” mentality. They are films in which the petty-bourgeoisie is glorified as victims of the ruthless “free loaders” of the working class. There is occasionally a bit of anti-corporate petty bourgeois rhetoric like that of Father Coughlin or Huey Long in times before.
These two films, most likely the first of many to come, are the ideological manifestos of the far right-wing fascist movement erupting in response to the dying capitalist system. Though they have an “anti-establishment” air to them, they are dangerous, elitist, anti-proletarian films, that set the basis for the smashing of Democracy to preserve capitalism and imperialism, without the threat of Socialist Revolution.
These films would have you think the National Healthcare, Trade Unions, and Progressive Taxation, are the “tyranny” that needs to be overcome. The logical conclusion of these films is that the state must defend the “supermen” from the “rabble” and the demagogues who manipulate them. This translates to smashing trade unions, outlawing the Socialist and Communist Parties, and in some cases, mass genocide in order to “purify” and “breed” these “supermen” who come from the great “western civilization.”
It will be interesting to see if the battle on the screen of Hollywood will continue to rage as the economic crisis becomes more acute, and more people align with the two anti-establishment armies of Socialism and Fascism. I must of course, recall the 1930s when racist films like “Gone With the Wind” that worship the “oppressed slave masters” filled the screens, countering the radical films like “The Grapes of Wrath” that championed class struggle and “The Watch on the Rhine” that hailed Anti-Nazi resistance.
I suspect Hollywood, will do as it always does, and reflect the contradictions of society. Let us hope soon, when the contradiction is resolved, we are watching film like the master-pieces of Eisenstein for free during May Day Celebrations, not sitting in theaters watching “The International Jew” with guns to our necks, and our hands cuffed down to our seats.