Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Corey Robin: "The White Moderate: The Greatest Threat to Freedom", quoting the letter from Birmingham jail and fantasizing himself our most eloquent and outspoken white critic of the occupation. And of course the Palestinian citizens of Israel are still on the back of the bus.

John Quiggin dreams of Shangri-La/ Ecotopia with images of city planning for the People's Republic of China, designed by architects from Singapore. It would be beyond him to recognize the irony. We're back to Shalizi, remembering previous examples of Quiggin's genius. If "Art" is "an enemy of the people", then Henning Mankell has nothing to tell us about social democracy or asocial technocracy: neither Mankell, nor Steig Larsson nor Tim Parks, nor history.

Oscillating between parody and fetish, animation and live action, ranging from the childlike to the infantile, at once hilariously crude and remarkably accomplished, this two hour assemblage (involving nearly 500 individual filmmakers) is played out on table-tops, beaches, and computer screens, in kitchens, vacant lots, and garages, by a cast ranging from Lego-landers and Japanese robots to infants, ferrets, and Pez dispensers, with cameos by Barack Obama and Sherlock Holmes. Steadily improving as it chugs towards a sublimely frantic action climax, “Star Wars Uncut” demonstrates a principle I associate with current “gentrification” of the Bowery. One badly-designed building is a grotesque eye-sore; a street offering 20 or 30 such misconceived, totally mismatched buildings is … a rich, discordant urban environment.

Anticipated by the “sweded” productions of Michel Gondry’s “Be Kind, Rewind,” “Star Wars Uncut” has intimations of Halloween parties, Sunday school pageants and amateur porn — not that you will find any of that! However outlandish, the movie is essentially well-behaved. The cross-dressing is discreet, the bathroom humor very mild — as is the blasphemy. (No one is so tasteless as to call George Lucas’s bluff by inserting a clip from “Triumph of the Will” into the closing sequence that quotes it so memorably.) It’s a midnight-unfriendly “G” and yet, the sense of libidinal investment, with 500 unconscious minds masticating the material, presents the possibility that, as Jack Smith wrote of the midnight classic “Pink Flamingos,” the screen might at any moment “erupt into a gilded torrent of filth.” Perhaps that job belongs to the spectators.
Le Corbusier, and Leni Riefenstahl. I doubt many of the the Star Wars fans would know enough to make the "tasteless" choice, though maybe the man who put it all together chose not to use the footage from the few who knew enough and did.

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