Culture For ‘Em

Tentatively I thought maybe at the weekend to have something a bit art/culture-ish (yeah that’s a word, wanna make something of it?). In one apsect I was inspired by this comment thread @ Complex System of Pipes, a fine post about fascist scum but because Buffy (the Vampire Slayer) was mentioned the comments talked a bit about that. That aspect has made me think there could be some enjoyment to be had by writing about works of popular culture film/tv/music/web etc not in too a rigid analysis mode (if you’ve ever had to endure some film analysis where someone expounds on diegetic sound in relation to ‘Transformers’ you’ll get the idea) but nevertheless making some mention of the political or social context the work exists in and what it might be expressing of interest to us no goodnik dirty lefties. But in an enjoyable way, I wanted to think of good name but so far only have “Weekend Culture For ’em” (from the joke title of a skit by-I think Trevor & Simon- where an Art Forum was “Art For ‘Em”)… maybe Buffy the Neoliberal Slayer??

Anyway I thought to start with Alien3, having recently seen the ‘assembly’ cut which restores and replaces some of the original version, however it is still rubbish and while it makes a good example of corporatism destroying cinema, it’s simply best forgotten. Really, there are two films in the Alien cannon- Alien & Aliens- after that they went to hell (incidentally after Murdoch bought Fox, hmmm). All others are objects of curiosity ( I cannot resist seeing them dammit!) but in no way continue the saga began in the first two. So I have sort of started with Alien3 but really am still too annoyed to bear writing more about it, what a waste, what a fuck up, no wonder Fincher refused to do a commentary, he knows he did wrong (and had wrong done to him by the ‘company’)!

So the official first entry is this image below-

From a BBC week in pictures thingy (item no. 3) the caption is-

Blood stains cover a bullet-riddled wall in the Lebanese town of Shwayfat. The country has been rocked by fighting between Hezbollah fighters and pro-government forces.

Yesterday I read Ann’s post at People’s Geography about a film ‘Waltz with Bashir’ at Cannes  that is a curious animated true tale of an IDF soldier, Ari Folman, to come to terms with the gaps in his memory surrounding the part he played in the first Lebanese war and the 1982 massacre of thousands of unarmed Palestinian civilians in the West Beirut refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.

I have read some about Sabra & Shatila, I was appalled Sharon got to be PM, news shows would perhaps sometimes call him ‘hardline’ as in I suppose Peter Sutcliffe was ‘hardline’ with his position on feminism. What a fucking murdering war criminal scum bucket, and he got elected Prime Minister! Anyway she included some links to testimony of the massacres, some I had read before the testimony of Dr Ang Swee Chai I had not (read it here). It is astonishing, utterly horrific, there can be no doubt that what the right wing Christian Phalangists aided by the IDF did was no different to the Nazi liquidation of Jewish ghettos.

Later on I came across the picture featured above and while the circumstances are different (although in some larger context it is in part violence supported by Israel and the US while they talk of peace) it is an image of the detritus of armed violence. However I find it also a striking image quite abstract from its immediate context, I would guess the photographer (an AFP person, well done whoever you are) also saw that. They have made an image that moves beyond its news context and certainly beyond the representation of violence it is both pleasing and disturbing visually. Whereas many canvasses or prints can look similar, this of course exists due to some person having possibly lethal violence done to them. As such it is utterly unique and too terrible a result to wilfully reproduce (just say no to snuff art!) but nevertheless for me it’s the most arresting artefact I have seen this week. That it comes out of a news context probably indicates my preoccupation with the human events on planet Earth (and dare I say the depoliticisation of much artwork in order to sell to the wealthy buying class, having said which this looks good -send me a review copy!) and it is disturbing to want to look at it, yet I do, like picking a moral scab.

Anyways, I see I have manifestly failed in this inaugural For ‘Em by going form a passing condemnation Alien3 to a somewhat less fun photo and memories of massacres and being quite serious. D’oh, sorry, but hey there’s no telling where a bit of kultchur(!) might take you, next week I shall try to plan it around a more lightweight subject. Frankly I blame Alien3 for being steadfastly bad, still.