Amoeblog

Holy Terror, Batman! Some Thoughts on Violence in The Dark Knight Rises

Posted by Charles Reece, July 22, 2012 11:56pm | Post a Comment
jeff koterba batman shooting cartoon

There are plenty more insipid cartoons about the recent "Batman shootings" where Jeff Korteba's came from. I don't use it as an example of the decrepitude of political cartooning (it's always been the world's lamest artform). Rather, the cartoon exemplifies a certain misreading of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy*: the vigilante Batman displaces real world law and order in the superheroic fantasy. In which case, the films' audience needs a reminder of who we should fantasize about, namely the guy who really puts his life on the line. However self-critical his films are, Nolan is too much the well-ensconced liberal advocate to ultimately use the character as anything more than an imaginary supplement to the status quo. There is a reason, after all, why the revolutionary violence in all three films is treated as pure chaos for chaos' sake. Batman doesn't represent change, but a much needed (or so the narrative goes) restoration of order.

Sure, the Joker scores some good points against hypocrisy when he sounds like Walter Benjamin in advocating "divine violence," a resetting of cultural values to zero, destroying the occluded underground byways of systemic violence that capital requires to continue (just think of the modern sweatshops used in manufacturing the iPhone, for example).** And Catwoman sounds like Bertolt Brecht as she gleefully portends what Bane's about to do to Gotham's stock exchange (e.g., "robbing a bank's no crime compared to owning one"). Nevertheless, these are the villains of the trilogy, not the heroes (Catwoman only becomes a hero when she fights to restore order). That's why Ben Shapiro over at Big Hollywood has it right: this is a conservative trilogy.

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The Late, Great Ernest Borgnine

Posted by Charles Reece, July 9, 2012 10:12am | Post a Comment

Here Ernest Borgnine tests the faith of William Shatner in The Devil's Rain. The former died yesterday.

The Late, Great Andy Griffith

Posted by Charles Reece, July 3, 2012 09:27am | Post a Comment

Was there a TV show greater than The Andy Griffith Show? Not many, that's for sure. Boy howdy, I love Andy Griffith! He had one of the great Southern accents, with which he could deliver any moral sentiment as if it were coming from a deep well of archaic wisdom; our agreement was a necessity. Of course, that has a dark side, too, which he portrayed in his obverse role as Larry Rhodes in A Face in the Crowd (see clip). The actor died this morning at age 86.

The Late, Great Andrew Sarris

Posted by Charles Reece, June 21, 2012 08:26am | Post a Comment
andrew sarris typing
Auteur theorist and Pauline Kael's former sparring partner, film critic Andrew Sarris has died.
Here's a lengthy audio interview with David Kurz from May, 2000.

Co-Host of Eric & Charles DVD Review Show is LA's Hot Artist

Posted by Charles Reece, June 17, 2012 09:55am | Post a Comment
eric brightwell maps

It's official -- so says that august emblem of journalistic credibility, the Los Angeles Times -- I recognize talent (at least, this is implied by omission). Joining the lofty, celebrity ranks of our other famous alumni, editor Eric Kench, my co-host to the legendary Eric & Charles DVD Review Show (a 100 spambots can't be wrong) and fellow blogger, Eric Brightwell, has now been acknowledged for his aesthetic brilliance. It's been said (or it will be once I've said it) that his cartography finds the sublime in the seedy byways of an oppressive Los Angeles sprawl. As the city of dreams and angels, this town has always prized the map over the mapped, which Mr. Brightwell captures on construction paper as our modern condition under the spectacle. The star-mapper has become the star, could Paris Hilton's boudoir be his next achievement?
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