Friday, January 22, 2010

The Decade in Hate, or, Reasons Why America and Americans Deserve Everything They Have Coming To Them, pt 2

In its most anti-democratic ruling since Dred Scott v. Sanford, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled today American elected officials may now officially and openly be purchased by corporations.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Decade in Hate, or, Reasons Why America and Americans Deserve Everything They Have Coming To Them

A partner series consisting of empirical evidence why our decadent and cruel empire, for quite logically explainable and rationally apprehensible reasons, deserves everything it has coming to it.

NYTimes reports that 107 people have died while being detained in American immigration detention centers. Many of these centers are privately run, that is to say, run by private enterprises whose guiding and primary concerns are the making of profit rather than ensuring the course of justice accordance with due process of the law in international standards of human rights. Many of the people held in these facilities have not been convicted of any crime, and many are not even clearly illegal immigrants but are in the midst of legal procedures that would determine their immigration status. The deaths have usually as resulted from neglect and abuse, and the report shows that both government and private entities made extensive efforts to cover the circumstances of many of these deaths.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Inarticulate Groans of the Rabble

Feedback on The Year In Hate

Hey weiner patrol, the year in h8 is gr8, however, your writing suxx and your personality though initially charming is ultimately and undeniably hollow.
- Screwge

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Year in Hate: Cinema Selection #2

A Serious Man by the Coen Brothers

Set a month before the Six Day War (a calendar reading May 1967 is visible in the scene with the First Rabbi), the Coen Brothers' very personal film about the Jewish suburbs of the Midwest America is astounding. Words fail where hate prevails.

The film is frequently hailed (or decried) as misanthropic. However, in order to make any universal statement one must make it by way of the particular, and critics have been dancing around an ugly truth about the film and the way it makes it’s case against humanity, namely, by way of a deep, profound, authentic, sincere, and—most frightening of all—justified anti-Semitism, an anti-Semitism made all the more sincere by its personal nature. This is not the vulgar, racial anti-Semitism of bygone years (embodied by the protagonist's anti-Semitic neighbor), but a vicious, rational renunciation of Judaism both as a theological-moral philosophy and as a secular culture, the latter denunciation much more significant given the secularism of the modern Jewish and specifically American Jewish Diaspora. The fact that the Coen Brothers are Jewish makes the film no less dangerous in the wrong hands, as anti-Semitism has always been accompanied by a certain intellectual pretentiousness absent in more vulgar forms of racism. But, in the right hands, this film offers a generous anti-Semitism, like that of Nietzsche's: an anti-Semitism which loses its particular character of singling out Jews because it is infact just one ray of a veritable rainbow of hatred, one aspect of a universal anti-humanism. As a friend put it, it’s a film that invites everyone to be Jewish for an hour and a half, and makes them hate being Jewish. A Serious Man does for anti-Semitism what The Girlfriend Experience does for misogyny: reclaims it as a legitimate means to allegorize the rottenness of our society.
Israel is the tornado.

The Year in Hate: A Multipart Series

Join us for The Year in Hate, a multipart series honoring the most destructive people, films, albums, and events of 2009 with homages of inconsistent length. The series will expire on Feb 14, the Chinese New Year, the only New Year that matters any more.

The Year in Hate: Cinema Selection #1

by Lars von Trier

Philosopher Nina Power, who for my penny has written the definitive criticism on the film, calls von Trier’s much-needed polemic against touchy-feely "green" ecological sentiment
so transcendentally misogynist that it fails to be applicable to any empirical woman that could ever exist… Antichrist is disturbing because ultimately there is no separating the natural from the unnatural, right from wrong. There is trauma because there is life and then death, and none of it means anything.

We would be remiss, however, to take all this as cause for despair. Afterall, von Trier has said that he made Antichrist as something fun to do to help pull him out of a crippling bout of depression, and Antichrist is nothing if it is not, in addition to being a metaphysical horror film, a really entertaining comedy. Any one who’s ever been truly nihilisticallydepressed (that is, depressed as much as a result of intellectual reasons as hereditary/biochemical ones--alas too few!) knows that such episodes vacillate between agonizing bouts of melancholy, disgust, and inarticulate aggression on the one hand, and an even more nihilistic state of dry bemusement on the other, whereby ones own suffering begins to appear to one as a pathetic spectacle, a bad joke. It’s a question of distance, identification, and alienation. One can only take seriously such sentiments as “Life is meaningless!” or “I hate everything, most of all myself!” for so long until they become hilarious, until one has achieved the a sufficient level of self-alienation to regard such thoughts as soft-headed, self-indulgent, adolescent, and useless. This distance towards ones own suffering (“No one cares about your feelings, so why should you?”) can often functionally improve the health of a depressed person, even as drives them further down the rabbit hole in terms of their thinking, and it is just a matter of time until this alienation from one’s troubles sours into self-hatred “My suffering was only a burlesque of real suffering, a parody of life's real troubles, and yet since it afflicted me so then I must be truly, rationally, and rightly contemptible.”). The whole cycle replays itself.

This entire affective economy, which trades in blackest hate and self-mockery, plays out in a single, infamous scene in Antichrist, [[SPOILER ALERT: AND REALLY, ANTICHRIST DESERVES NOT BEING SPOILED, NOT THAT ANYTHING ISN’T ALREADY IRREDEEMABLY SPOILED TO BEGIN WITH]] in which Willem Defoe stumbles upon a talking fox in a forest. The Fox, which has just been devouring its own intestines, snaps at at Defoe and declares, in an ominous booming voice, “Chaos reigns!”. Then--and here's the punchline--the sky opens up with rain. We are not at all mistaken to laugh at this, nor is the scene ironic or meant to be enjoyed in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. This scene is nothing more or less than a very good joke. One can picture von Trier tossing and turning in his bed, tortured by the revelation that "chaos reigns" until he cracks up with self-mocking glee over how fatuous and vacuous this sentiment is, how adolescent he is for allowing himself to be so affected by it, and deciding to debase his own suffering by putting this thought, the maxim of a vulgar cosmology, it into the mouth of a poorly rendered talking animal. The film has been criticized for its sophomoric use of Jungian mytho-dream imagery, which has been perceived not as the result of genuine naivety but as a cynical and lazy abortion of a potentially fruitful creative impulse. In fact the self-undermining stupidity of Antichrist’s allegorical flourishes is part of what gives it its power: the film does not just represent nihilistic depression, it induces it in its audience, or at least simulates for the audience a crucial and overlooked part of its self-cannibalizing affective cycle.

Is there a fundamentally subjective dimension to the universe other than humanity, or is the universe completely indifferent and alien to us? The sorrowful music of Tuva conjures in one’s imagination the expanse of the Siberian desert, the enormity and sparseness of which seem almost designed to symbolize the indifference of Nature to human suffering, and this indifference is itself sad. Sad for whom? To us, for sure, but also necessarily for some absent third party who can witness and thus fully appreciate this tragedy of missed connections. But since as materialists we have to insist that there is no possible third party, no God in Heaven to weep for is, this sadness can only be a feeling which nobody feels, and is for that reason all the more sad. This sadness is the mediating term or messenger particle between object and subject, the crack in matter through which sprung the hell of experience, and its name is Disaster.

Looking at the film we could say either Nature is complicit with the human horror (Women really are evil, gynocide is Natural, etc), or fundamentally indifferent to it, as Defoe’s scientific-rationalist psychologist asserts. The first is mere superstition, but the latter is not quite right either, since it may be the case that the indifference of nature to the human horror is itself horrific, the index of an even more ancient, primordial horror at the base of all Being. But this cannot be. This primordial horror is only a projection onto the world of something that can only be felt by people, and therefore, since it is only a feeling, can only exist in, through, and because of humanity. Humanity gives birth to horror, though we could not have conceived it alone. This is the true original sin to which von Trier's Eden bears witness, the sin of which Nature is the cause but for which we are to blame.

And this is all only the half of it, for the metaphysical horrors of the film’s second half are nothing in comparison to all-too-familiar domestic hell of the first, the exquisite and hatefully-rendered realism of which makes Antichrist the most damning allegory of heterosexuality since Miss Julie.