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26.10.05

The MIC / The 'Tarantino Effect'

It's hardly a new idea, the industrial war machine, the economic correlation of war and industry; even in Godard’s films of the 60s there is frequent mention of the double relation, of money and commerce working along the same logic as military or authoritarian order. I give you the theory that Tarantino doesn't make films, he makes Soundtracks.

Wartime nations give free reign to an authoritarian, centralised economy under a panoply of rhetorical banners: nationalism, necessary defence, patriotism, unity etc, which aren't dissimilar from hard-core Republican thought (ie, serving industrial interests). We aren't just monkeys to Tarantino's hip revisionism, we are willing accomplices in his cultural force, because we're bereft of new art and the ability to recognise geneuinely far-reaching talent.

Critics of the war machine are branded Leftists, seditionists, unpatriotic freedom-haters or liberal dunces. Tarantino 'works' in our depraved entertainment industry because he's as safe as Best Of compilations or drive time track listings.

Defence is the last little command-economy and authoritarian rhetorical gambit governments can wield to bludgeon their people. His entire shtick is sidereal revival: I remember when Pulp Fiction came out, all of a sudden these nearly-forgotten artists were making comebacks on (inter)national television (Channel 9 especially): directly, live, or through experts in the field: there was Dick Dale on Hey Hey (spouting vague environmentalisms after roaring through Miserlou) and there was an 'expert' on Midday revamping Dusty Springfield.

Why does all power, even in the most token democracies, inevitably divert itself to a model of harsh authoritarianism with draconian laws and oppressive paranoia and restricted rights and censorship? All made indirect reference to PF's retro fun and revivalism without addressing the Great Cultural Wheel of Repetition that drives the industry. Why does such power always attract the biggest industrial and media players? Tarantino is in the enviable position of being a cultural director (in the non-cinematic sense) and he knows damn well ("you know?") he holds this power, just as the faceless powers behind him pat his back. Wasn't it Mussolini who said that fascism is assured when big business holds sway over governmental power? Which implies that ultimately QT is only as good as his songs, which as the Hip-Hop/sampling industry knows, is ultimately a reductive, unsustainable stance.

Machiavelli was lucid and correct, I believe, in charting the necessary movement and courses of power; but he also saw that it couldn’t be explained away or diffused by rational intelligence; he was, it seems, somewhat melancholic and fatalistic on the continued suasion of power’s movement for all time. Only the quick cuts of action films provide the necessary drugging-cover to divert attention away from profound repetition, formula, shallow shtick.

In the face of the Military Industrial Complex, I preach the Individual; from the gestation of my own conscience I perceive the spurious deception of my fellow man; I say cleanse your mind of cant and realise how we're being fucked over every day. Pop reference and allusion are ultimately redundant; they add nothing new to the culture of expression that runs through humanity.

We're all in this together. We've forgotten what expression means and can be.

posted by rino breebaart  # 12:24 pm
Comments:
Surely the level of wit and invention tied to the referencing matters? The Simpsons and The Family Guy (from what I've seen) are soaked in allusion and pop reference - but then I suppose the shows are full off the writers and animators own gifts. The references are icing, gift. Whereas Tarantino, at his worst (Kill Bill contains some of the best too, to make the argument all the more complicated) is a mere arranger of nod after nod, this cool totally cool bit from De Palma followed by this awesomely cool life from blaxploitation.

If there is sufficient art present in the new set of hands wrangling the old works, I don't think I mind so much. But then I am addicted to pop and referencing. So be gentle.
 
I meant "awesomely cool lift", not "awesomely cool life".
 
"sufficient art" is of the essence here. Totally. D'accord.
 
Rino, why pick on Tarantino? Most Hollywood films are a collection of cliches. But at least Tarantino can still shock or amuse, unlike your standard action-movie. I don't really see the connection between his work and the MIC, or Pulp Fiction and anti-terrorism laws... what am I missing? You can tell me to read your post again but I just don't follow. Did he say or do something recently that I'm not aware of?
 
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