Monthly Archives: July 2015

Hester Street (1975)

While there may be some truth to the idea that Jews invented the Hollywood studio system, there’s no question about what ethnic group owns the narrative around immigration. Like a a great ship, The Godfather (1972) and the Godfather Part II (1974) have carried everything in their wake. Organized crime is now the key metaphor […]

Why Am I Clapping? Why Am I Laughing? Psychoanalysis of a TV Set

In the beginning there was happiness… Smiley, the happiest brand ever, was founded by Franklin Loufrani in 1971 through a newspaper promotion to make people happy. using the logo to highlight good news, it allowed readers to see the bright side of life throughout any day. In a very short time Smiley became the most […]

The Superhero and Cultural Subversion

After sending an excerpt of my previous essay on the cultural place of the superhero to a friend, she took offense at the passage where I claim there’s no possibility of the female superhero because of the cultural discourses of power that create and maintain the superhero. She sent me to this New Yorker essay […]

The Superhero and American Exceptionalism

The archetype of the superhero has gone through numerous shifts since its inception in Action Comics #1 in 1938. Like much of the early history of comics, the appeal, genesis and audience was largely within the immigrant population. Earlier comic strips appealing to immigrants were largely vaudevillian hijinks organized around the family-think the Katzenjammer Kids. […]

The Political Economy of Snuff Films

The Baffler published an article on the relationship between various US news channels and Islamic State. Particularly interesting was their discussion of the decision by Fox to publish a beheading video in full to their website. An excerpt: Fox plays ISIS propaganda with the same intention that ISIS brings to its production: to make Americans […]

Are the Police Acting Like a Distributed Gestapo?

Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddy Grey, and now Sandra Bland, I’ve seen this movie over and over gain. The screenplay rarely changes. A young black man, or woman, gets into a confrontation with the police. He dies under suspicious circumstances. For the first few days, local newspaper reporters, who usually depend […]

The Literature of Mass Shooters

Stan and I were analyzing the mass shootings of Elliot Rodger, Dylann Roof, and James Holmes. The initial question being: “which ones qualify as acts of terrorism?” The initial conclusions: -Roof was a straightforward outgrowth of the white nationalist movement and therefore his shooting is terrorism. -Rodger was an outgrowth of the MRA movement so […]

Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)

In 1937, Adolf Hitler told British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax that his favorite movie was Henry Hathaway’s Lives of a Bengal Lancer, an American film that romanticized the British Empire in India. “I like this film because it depicted a handful of Britons holding a continent in thrall,” he supposedly said. “That is how a […]

Toward the Thing After Occupy: Pastiche, Parodic Capitalism, and the Need For New Resistances

There is great divide in the world. This divide is between the people who consider a large portion of the population disposable and everyone else. These are the lines on which we must resist. There is a great divide in the left. This divide is between those embracing the tactics of structuralism and those embracing […]

The Landscaping of Neoliberalism

Last summer I traveled the United States with my friend Brian in a beat to shit car sleeping on peoples’ couches. We were trying to find what the United States are right now and make a film about it. Much of what this involved was walking around random towns and cities photographing buildings or their […]