Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Columnist Opeyemi Parham

American actor John Cusack at a Dow Jones' D C...Image via Wikipedia
My Cultural Creative Visit to the World of Moderns

The movie that should have been the blockbuster for the month of
November didn’t even come close. Michael Moore’s “Capitalism—a Love
Story” was in competition with the totally distracting movie “2012.”
Let’s keep The Masses asleep to their own pain and suffering. Let’s
actually play on their deeper psychological desires and wishes.

I am outside that Modern culture of malls and materialism.  Here is
what I saw, in that horrible film.  Moderns watching that film might
not notice the intense manipulation of their emotions.  It is no
accident that the hero—John Cusack’s character-- represents everything
to which Moderns SHOULD be waking up.  He is a writer, who writes
well, yet whose books don’t sell. He neglected his family in a vain
attempt to live up to the dominator culture’s role of husband and Dad,
then was divorced by his frustrated wife. As the movie begins, he is
sinking, and sinking fast.  He is employed as a chauffeur for a big
nasty Fat Cat.This is exactly the type of viewer that should be over
at “Capitalism—a Love Story”, getting an education on plutocracy,
dead peasant’s insurance  and gotcha capitalism. The promise of stuff,
and the reality of debt, exposed. But we aren’t at the Michael Moore
film.  We are at the big Blockbuster Fantasy.

Enter the end of the world, as we know it.  Mr. Failure has an
opportunity to re-invent himself, shining through adverse situations
one after another, ordeal after ordeal after ordeal, winning the love
of each member of his family back along the way, and guiding them to
safely take their place in the New World Order.  That is the narcotic,
designed for unhappy middle class American men. Ignore your
creativity, continue to just stuff it down.  A better day will come
for you, lottery style.

Then we move onwards, to the manipulative message for middle class
.  John Cusack’s wife is described as having dropped out of med
school to support her family, when her husband was trying to write.
Her character arc, as the world falls apart, is clearly written by a
man.  Ms. Former Pre Med is portrayed as a woman who doesn’t even get
up off of her ass to SEE what is going on as they are escaping, but
simply cowers in the corner, guarding her children. The plot
development and character arc on this one feeds on Modern women’s
CONFUSION about their roles in their families.  Many are finding
that—without a sufficient connection to a consciousness raising men’s
movement (similar to what happened for women in the 1970’s)—their men
are behaving like adolescent boys.  Here, the adolescent boy grows up;
he morphs into the man of her dreams (despite a pretty decent step-dad
to her children who has entered the picture, but is too “geeky” to
merit a place in the New World Order), The couple, reunited,  come out
of the ark into the sunlight together, Mr. Adam and Ms. Eve.

No Lillith, anywhere in the picture.

There is a homogenized version of the above scenario for us African
, too.  We are represented, magic negro style, in the
characters who earn their place in the New World order. Yes, we take
meritocracy values forward, with us.  In this case, the man is smart.
And the woman is the daughter of the president.   No, I don’t consider
her title of “Doctor” (a PH.D in art history) a suggestion that she
has actually EARNED her spot; it is her status as the daughter of the
president and her drop dead gorgeousness that gets her a “yes” vote.

Dare I continue on to the manipulative psychological messages for
middle class Modern children? In a culture of broken families,
children viewing this movie are presented with the option every child
of divorce longs for; their biologic parents are reunited.

And, having been so blatant in seeding this “my family is gonna win
the lottery as the world ends”  this movie grinds it in, laughing in
our faces with a few other disturbing messages:

     The brilliant brown scientist from India, the one who discovered
the disaster that will take us all out, isn’t even picked up to take a
place on the ark with his family.  Oh well.

    A mysterious figure whose wealth is evident, but whose political
position is never fully explained (Oliver Platt’s character), is
always at the right hand of the president. When the political ship of
our democracy begins to go down, he places himself in charge AND STAYS

     Fat Cats buy space in the arc at a billion euros a ticket. We are
manipulated into actually rooting for these scandalous plutocrats to
be successfully saved.

Why is all this of any importance? Because I pay attention when I am
feeling manipulated, emotionally.  I remember the comments after 9/11
that some folks made: “I felt like I was watching a movie”

PAY ATTENTION: forces out there want to shape Moderns’ reaction to a
real life catastrophe.  Post “2012: The Movie” don’t be surprised if
Modern Americans react to the next volley of severe weather as we
ratchet it up on global warming with something like: “What an
opportunity to get back together with my ex!”

                        Opeyemi  413-336-1291
“Be who you are, and say what you feel, because the people who mind
don't matter, and the people who matter don't mind"
Dr. Suess
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