Why Yes, I Love to Polish Sausages

Ore : 11:33 AM

This is about seeing things that aren't there.

This is not a review of a movie, as I, lowly rural prole that I am, will not be seeing the movie in question for another couple of weeks. Rather, this is a review of a review.

James Wolcott, God bless him, saw this coming, and is in a position to better do what I'm about to do. But anyone can appreciate a sparkling gem of bullshit when it's presented in a setting of its own precious inconsistencies and blinkered thinking. Among David Denby's possibly valid criticisms -- that the non-action scenes are ponderously handled, that Hugo Weaving is no James Mason, that Guy Fawkes and not Natalie Portman's Evey is "at the emotional center of the movie" (again, I've not seen it, but this "emotional center of film x" rubbish is too frequently deployed by the likes of Medved to pass suspicion) -- he tries to make the point that V for Vendetta "...celebrates terrorism and destruction..." because the protagonists destroy Parliament, that hallowed symbol "of liberal democracy," instead of, one is left to suppose, some arbitrarily created symbol of unequivocal tyranny. Never mind how often in the course of human history symbols have come to mean something other than what was originally intended.

More interesting is the mindset on display here, one analogous to that of anti-flag burners -- one cannot help but detect in Denby a willingness to, in defense of a beloved symbol, subvert everything that symbol stands for. It echoes the patriotic zeal of the current American leadership, who are convinced that we can protect our country only by dismantling those which have been its core principles for the past 225 years. "We had to destroy the village in order to save it." Some souls you can win over to the Lord only at the auto da fé.

More to the point, perhaps I should paraphrase a self-avowed conservative from V's IMDB message boards, a fan who was sure the movie doesn't glorify terrorism, as the targets were government and military, not malls or elementary schools.

Wolcott's right. Denby seems to have dropped anchor in the shallow bay of neoconservatism, if he has not already foundered on the shoals of abject Bush-worship:

"...in normal circumstances only a literal-minded prig would treat graphic novelists or big-screen fantasists as if they had any responsibility to truth."

Ah, but these are not normal circumstances, are they? So it would be unfair to call you a literal-minded prig. After all, 9/11 CHANGED EVERYTHING AND WE ARE FACING THE GREATEST TERROR EVAR!!1!!1!

We dare not present crimethink art to a guy who's more frightened of the owner of the local halal deli than he was of Soviet ICBMs during Reagan's reign.

I won't even get into his misappropriation of Orwell's 1984, which he seems to have grokked only partially -- a comprehension predicated not on the novel itself, but on years and years of yeoman work by think-tank bred "intellectuals" hell-bent on proving its staunch Rightism. Nor do I have the patience, caffeine, or time today to approach his hinted-at tautology that our Room 101s are just hunky dory because they're our Room 101s. But it is too much to ignore when Denby implies that "V" is only "allegedly antifascist" because it appears to "[lust] after fire and death." It is absurd to think that any cause inimical to fascism has not needed violence in support of its struggle. But this is typical of the lazy, "I'm in a bind because I want to stand by my W without overtly proving the point I'm trying to rail against" thinking presented by Denby. One needs only to see his half-hearted disclaimer that he wouldn't dare think of questioning one's right to free speech, however...[finger wag, tsk-tsk, etc.]

Again, Wolcott could have done this better, but he probably has to endure the guy at cocktail parties and run-ins about the neighborhood. I on the other hand suffer no such constraint.

This is about seeing things that aren't there. This is about how people who fight thought-crime will always fail, because they fail to realize that there is no such thing.

posted by teh l4m3 at 11:33 AM | Permalink |

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Comments for Why Yes, I Love to Polish Sausages
Do you know how hard it is to read your post when the title has one giggling the entire read? It's hard, let me tell ya.

V for Vadose Zone-

The area between the surface of the land and the aquifer water table in which the moisture content is less than the saturation point and the pressure is less than atmospheric.

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There it is. You will enjoy this.

Is it a vase or two faces? I can't tell!!!!!! ARGH!

At first, I thought the title related to my people, or at least to the sausages of my people.

As for the movie kerfluffle, we go through this all the time. Colors promotes gang violence, Natural Born Killers promotes white trash violence, Munich doesn't promote violence enough, yadda yadda yadda. Though I suppose the conservatives are eager to talk about anything other than the real-world mistakes of conservatism.

Denby's problem here is that he can't divorce what the Houses of Parliament mean to him from what they would represent under a dictatorship. And that's just dense. My own heart can swell (not to mention other things) with patriotic fervor - on occasion - at the sight of the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, but I sure as hell wouldn't feel that way (as I now so often do) if I knew they had been appropriated by Evil Fucks.
As soon as W (& Laura - I am with The Rude Pundit on her) either walks out or is kicked out, the fucking White House needs a thorough fumigation.

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