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Thread: Share literary/film analysis

  1. Top | #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordKiran View Post
    I started reading the gulag archipelago at Jordan Peterson's recommendation because it perhaps gives one some insight into how he views things.("You need to read it if you want to understand what's happening." Roughly his words) I'm not even 100 pages in and I'm already sick with exhaustion. That said I have noted some interesting points:

    -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn attributes a large amount of the arrests in the soviet republics to the system of government quotas for arrests. It's actually one of the first things he points out.

    -The USSR immediately began the business of destroying their political opposition in the aftermath of the revolution. There wasn't much of a "Step by step..." things definitely got worse as time went on but it parallels Hitler perfectly in that they didn't wait for their opposition to consolidate power and do much organizing.

    -The USSR made a point to destroy its prisoners slowly and as secretively as possible, such that the entire scope of their crimes could never be brought to light, contrasting with the holocaust which Eisenhower meticulously documented but could only do so as a result of prevailing in armed conflict with the third reich.

    -Part of the way the USSR maintained control was to pit the cities against the country and visa versa and to feed their outrage against so-called parasites. In this regard they're not much different from modern conservatives!

    -Another way was by creating an atmosphere of paranoia. "Who can we trust? Who's an informant?" It speaks to the efficacy of the USSR's ability to paralyze the creation of new political opposition (Though small movements seem to have persisted regardless)

    -The soviet union did not care for socialists because they threatened the power of the totalitarian state and made efforts to hunt them down, also not much different from hitler funnily enough.

    I'll maybe go further in depth if/when I finish the book but I am finding it a good read so far.
    If America ever tries socialism, there will be no Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

    Not sure if full on socialism is a good idea, but as things get tighter and tighter for the average working joe in this country, I'm starting to wonder if America just can't handle capitalism without fucking everyone over. Believe me, there are days when the bread lines sound good.

    The problem with the Soviet system wasn't economics. We can argue that was a failure (bread lines), but it was the political structure that was a complete failure, and their political structure was a Dictatorship of the Proletariat, which should have been obvious bullshit to anyone who read Marx even before the Soviet Union existed.

    Marx was really good at identifying the problem, but equally terrible at suggesting solutions.

  2. Top | #22
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    Decided to put this here rather than the Movies thread because of minor spoilers.

    Black Panther: Black Excellence vs Flawed Heroes

    Let me talk for a moment about some of the competing expectations Ryan Coogler was juggling in making Black Panther.

    First, this film had incredibly ambitious sociopolitical goals about changing narratives. It wanted to change the narrative in Hollywood about black directors and predominantly black casts in big budget movies making money overseas. They wanted to change the narrative in America and other former colonial powers or slave powers about the identity of the African diaspora, who they are, and what they can be in the future. They wanted to change the narrative about how Africans see themselves. They wanted to talk about the relationship between Africans and the African diaspora.

    The concept of black excellence was critical in selling many of these attempted narrative changes in society, in politics, and in the entertainment industry.

    Competing with the needs and desires of the African-descended audience is the expectations of comic book nerds, who are also part of the target audience.

    Marvel heroes are flawed.

    That’s been part of the Marvel identity since back when Marvel comics was called Timely comics. Marvel fans expect this and we complain when this expectation is not met (movie Hawkeye is less of an asshole than comic book Hawkeye, and that’s unforgivable).

    Wolverine, Tony Stark, Jessica Jones, even some more obscure characters like Quicksilver, Northstar (the premiere gay character in Marvel) and many others are straight up assholes. Tony Stark, Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), Banshee, Jessica Jones and others have drinking problems. Punisher and Moon Knight are mass murderers. Scarlet Witch, Punisher, Legion, Moon Knight, Jean Grey and others are probably at least a little insane. Peter Parker is basically an adult version of Charlie Brown. Cyclops is cold and a control freak. Charles Xavier is manipulative and tends to sabotage his own romantic relationships with incredibly intelligent, strong, politically connected women.

    DC heroes are often perfect idealizations of something. Superman is truth, justice and the American way. Wonder Woman is compassion and feminine strength. Batman is the vengeful side of justice. DC characters are often idealized archetypes, but Marvel heroes are generally more screwed up, and thus (for Marvel fans) more relatable.

    If you had asked me to make the Black Panther movie, I would have seen these goals as conflicting. Giving more to one would take away from the other. And so I would have come down on the side of black excellence and sacrificed the flawed heroes thing because I would have reasoned that the social goals of the movie were important enough to simply ignore the expectations of comic book nerds like myself.

    And I would have been wrong.

    Thank goodness Coogler was the one doing this and not some idiot like me.

    The movie Wakandans are as xenophobic as I ever remember them being in the comic books. Several prominent Wakandans take traditionalism too far. T’Chaka (father of T’Challa) was far more flawed than he is in the comic books. In fact most of the conflicts in the movie are driven by mistakes he made in the past. T’Challa himself starts out siding with the Wakdnan isolationists and only changes his mind as a result of his conflict with the antagonist of the movie.

    There was no shortage of flaws in the hero and the ones closest to him, and yet it doesn’t feel like black excellence was sacrificed at all to give us wonderfully flawed, complex heroes and a sympathetic and even more flawed villain. It did not seem that either was sacrificed to make way for the other.

    If you ask me, Coogler pulled off a minor miracle managing conflicting expectations.

  3. Top | #23
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    I'm not a DC fanatic like him. I prefer Marvel. But I do like DC (I just like Marvel better), and I do wish that the DC movies were better.

    This guy does a short video essay about how Spider-Man was introduced to Captain America: Civil War, and how Flash was introduced in Justice League. The Marvel movie explains to us Peter's motivation. We know why he decided to be a superhero, and so we gave a damn about what happened to him when the action started. What was Barry Allen's motivation other than not having friends?

    Comic book fans already know what Barry Allen's motivations are, but why couldn't the movie have given us a couple of lines about why he decided to dress in a goofy costume and fight to save the lives of strangers? Comic book fans know that Barry Allen is motivated by the the fact that his father was falsely convicted of his mother's murder. He's eager to right wrongs because his family has suffered injustice. This could have, should have been something that allowed Batman and Flash to bond over the same way Tony Stark recognized the guilt in young Parker's eyes. We didn't even need to see previous movies to see how guilt motivates Stark, because the same movie introduced an all new thing for Stark to feel guilty about and blame himself for.

  4. Top | #24
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    Trigger Warning:

    The above video discusses the themes of racism in the movie Zootopia. If you are the kind of sensitive snowflake who gets triggered by the mere acknowledgement that racism exists, you probably should not watch this video, at least not without a box of tissues.

    For everyone not suffering from white fragility, this is a relatively in-depth look at all the subtext and the specific issues referenced by this or that event or bit of dialog in the movie.

  5. Top | #25
    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    Another analysis of the same movie:


    (View video on YouTube)

  6. Top | #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown View Post
    Another analysis of the same movie:


    (View video on YouTube)
    Loved it. Thanks for posting that.

  7. Top | #27
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    Just had an odd thought about the Mavel cinematic universe and theme, subtext, motif, or whatever you want to call it.

    Movie Theme
    Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 Flawed fathers
    Thor: Ragnarok Flawed fathers and colonialism
    Black Panther Flawed fathers, colonialism, and racism

    If Marvel did that on purpose, then they are slicker than I thought. Well played. If this was an accident, then what a happy accident!

  8. Top | #28
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    In case anyone missed the colonialism subtext in Thor: Ragnarok:


  9. Top | #29
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    Ok, I'm trying to get into the habit of offering summaries of videos for the benefit of those who can't watch videos for one reason or another, but I just don't know how to do that for a Lindsay Ellis video. This thing is 36 minutes and 49 seconds of analysis.

    Some highlights:

    • The original Lord of the Rings books were supposed to be a sequel to Silmarillion, not the Hobbit, but the publisher wanted a Hobbit sequel because it sold so many copies. So Tolkien retroactively whacked The Hobbit with a crowbar to make it fit into the Silmarillion/Lord of the Rings universe. The Hobbit was meant for children, while Lord of the Rings meant for adults. Getting the 2 story spaces to get along created some problems.
    • The Hobbit (book) didn't really follow a 3 act structure. It was meant to be made up of relatively self-contained chapters so that parents could read one chapter per night to their children. Trying to get that to fit into a traditional 3-act movie necessarily created narrative problems.
    • So of course they decided to make not one, but two 3-act movies out of The Hobbit, which created even more narrative problems and necessitated more extraneous additions to the story to make it fit into two satisfying 3-act movies.
    • Then someone decided to change two 3-act movies into three 3-act movies, necessitating even more changes and turning the whole thing into a mess. Not only did they have to make a lot of changes to make three 3-act stories out of this, but they had to add an awful lot of material to justify filling out three movies. For example in the book, the Battle of Five Armies was perhaps half of a Chapter, but most of the third movie. The move to three movies meant that the death of Smaug, a significant protagonist became a footnote in a prologue instead of a climax in its own right. Also, they decided to add a lot of characters that were popular in Lord of the Rings just because they were popular in Lord of the Rings.


    I'm not even going to try replicating Lindsay's wit and humor.

    The Lord of the Rings was a genuine triumph of cinema, so it's upsetting to film geeks that essentially the same creative people working from similar material managed to make three Hobbit movies that were mediocre at best.

  10. Top | #30
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    Smaug was an antagonist, not a protagonist. Sorry for the stupid typo.

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