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5 Dennis Allen · “The Madness of Slavoj Žižek”

Jonathan P Eburne Indiana University Press ePub

5

THE MADNESS OF SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK

Dennis Allen

There are literally thousands of clips of Slavoj Žižek available on the Internet, but perhaps the most entertaining one is a YouTube excerpt from Astra Taylor’s succinctly entitled 2005 documentary, Žižek! Posted as “Philosophy from a Bed View (by Žižek),” the clip seems singularly apt for our purposes if only because, in the process of defining the project of philosophy, Žižek touches on one of the key questions that this collection of essays is intended to address: What is the relation between reason and unreason? Sliding across a series of binaries, Žižek articulates the difference between “true” philosophers and “madmen” as the difference between metaphysics and hermeneutics. His meditations are worth quoting at some length:

What is philosophy? Philosophy is not what some people think, some crazy exercise in absolute truth, and then you can adopt, you know, this skeptical attitude: “We, through scientists, are dealing with actual, measurable, solvable problems. Philosophers just ask stupid metaphysical questions and so on, play with absolute truth, which we all know is inaccessible.” No, I think philosophy’s a very modest discipline. Philosophy asks a different question, the true philosophy. How does a philosopher approach the problem of freedom? It’s not, “Are we free or not? Is there God or not?” It asks a simple question which would be called a hermeneutic question: “What does it mean to be free?” So this is what philosophy basically does. It just asks: “When we use certain notions, when we do certain acts and so on and so on, what is the implicit horizon of understanding?” It doesn’t ask these stupid ideal questions: “Is there truth?” No. The question is: “What do you mean when you say this is true?” So you can see it’s a very modest thing, philosophy. Philosophers are not the madmen who search for some eternal truth and so on and so on.

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Medium 9780861967124

Chapter 1 The Matter of Vision

Peter Wyeth John Libbey Publishing ePub

Modern society3 has been the prisoner of three stern gaolers, Language, Consciousness and Reason. Each member of the troika has succeeded in imposing an image of its hegemony upon the mind of modern culture. The result has been the incarceration and repression of their opposite number, the target of this relentless campaign; Vision, the Automatic4 and Emotion.

The task of those images is to boost the prestige of their masters at the expense of their opposite numbers, and in that they have been remarkably successful. Jealously painting-out the real role of their opponents, they have consistently sought to reduce their status.

Language, Consciousness and Reason (LCR) are seen here in terms of their status as cultural5 artefacts, that is not things themselves, but the ‘ideology’ attached to each of them that reifies them above their real status. The question is not of their real relationship to their opposite numbers but the ideological ones that have developed around them.

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Medium 9780253010643

6 “You Know We Have the Goods”: The Flying Ace and Black Gold

Barbara Tepa Lupack Indiana University Press ePub

The Norman Studios in the Jacksonville suburb of Arlington, Florida, was a source of great pride for Richard E. Norman.1 Writing to an old friend in Des Moines, he bragged that he was “still in the movie business—bigger than ever. Haven’t struck it rich, but am making fair progress. Now have the finest plant South of New York and the only one in Jacksonville or near Jacksonville.”2 A picture of the new studio was prominently displayed on the company’s advertising materials and also on the letterhead of the stationery that Norman redesigned. “Above is a picture of our new plant located at Arlington, Florida,” he indicated in a letter to fellow filmmaker and distributor Albert A. Fish. “In it, we have every device for making motion pictures, props, scenery and costumes which will save you many hundreds of dollars if you decide to come to Florida and make your next picture.”3

With the new studio came new opportunities. One project that especially interested Norman was the possibility of a collaboration with Captain Edison C. McVey, the self-described King of Stunts. A skilled black flyer and one of the world’s greatest aeronautic daredevils, McVey had recently formed the Afro-American Film Producers, a small Texas-based company organized for the production of motion pictures that would illustrate the ability of blacks behind the footlights and prove their worth “as shining constellations” in drama and comedy. One of the company’s aims was to educate the public by bringing to the screen the teachings of the church, the school, and other institutions; another was to “open the avenue of producing within our race a Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks or a Charlie Chaplin.” Afro-American’s greatest asset was, of course, McVey; and he promoted himself accordingly: the company’s advertising brochure featured an image of him, in flight gear and goggles, superimposed upon an Ace of Spades playing card.4

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Medium 9780861967155

Chapter 20 Taylor Mead, a Faggot in Venice Beach in 1961

David E James John Libbey Publishing ePub

Marc Siegel

In the fall of 1963, while in Los Angeles with Andy Warhol for the artist’s show of Elvis Presley portraits at the Ferus Gallery, actor, poet, and filmmaker Taylor Mead joined Warhol for a radio interview with Ruth Hirschman of KPFK at Pacifica’s North Hollywood studios. During this seminal and much discussed Los Angeles trip, Warhol of course made his early experimental narrative Tarzan and Jane Regained . . . sort of (1963) in which Mead embodied the “Lord of the Jungle” as a scrawny sissy. Throughout the radio interview, Warhol remains typically circumspect and primarily leaves it to Mead to provide in-depth answers to Hirschman’s questions about pop art and the artist’s newfound interest in filmmaking. Following a brief discussion of Tarzan and Jane, Hirschman asks Mead if he thinks the films of the New American Cinema are “social comments”.1 He replies, “Oh, definitely. They’re brutal. Brutally satirical and completely thumbing their nose at Hollywood and TV and everything that’s present.” Mead explains that the films of the New American Cinema are aligned with the way “Hollywood used to work, in which there were idea men and you’d reel off a film in a day and you had a ball doing it”. He opposes this more spontaneous, amateur style of early filmmaking to what he sees as the deadening professionalism of contemporary Hollywood. As he puts it:

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Medium 9781770906396

5.07 Death and the Maiden

Crissy Calhoun, Heather Vee ECW Press ePub

Amara: I’ve been in hell for 2,000 years.

Damon: What’s another five minutes?

Amara: Let me die.

5.07 Death and the Maiden

Original air date November 14, 2013

Written by Rebecca Sonnenshine Directed by Leslie Libman

Edited by Tony Solomons Cinematography by Darren Genet

Guest cast Autumn Dial (Doppelgänger Acting Double), Elizabeth Faith Ludlow (Girl), Brady McInnes (Guy)

Previously on The Vampire Diaries Paul Wesley

Doppelgängers assemble.

For an episode with some heavy storylines and a high death count, “Death and the Maiden” is a heck of a lot of fun, thanks to bonus Ninas and Pauls, more Katherine and Caroline moments, and the triumphant last moments of two bitter-to-the-end badasses.

If there’s a thin line between love and hate, Tessa has spent two millennia balancing on it, protest as she may that she no longer loves Silas. Her ability to “let go, move on” (as Lexi advised Stefan in the season four finale) is less than zero, but she more than makes up for that lack with her snark, her ferocity, and her dedication to triumphing over Silas and Amara, and by extension the doppelgänger-loving universe that she believes conspires against her interests. Faced with the pain of Silas and Amara’s betrayal all those centuries ago, Tessa turned to bloody vengeance and never looked back. Her suffering at their hands was delivered many-fold upon them: for 2,000 years, Silas was trapped in a tomb, starving save for drips of blood, while Amara (getting the short end of the stick) was encased in stone, trapped, and subjected to the pain of every dying supernatural creature. (From that perspective, Stefan’s three months of drowning does sorta pale.)

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Medium 9780253017154

3. Eugene Jarvis: Games and Design

David S. Heineman Indiana University Press ePub

AS LONG AS VIDEO GAMES HAVE BEEN A COMMERCIAL MEDIUM, they have appeared in arcades. Their success there has waxed and waned over the decades, and for much of the past fifteen years the arcade business has seen most game studios ceasing production of coin-op games, have witnessed more arcades shuttering their doors than opening them, and have seen their historical role as a primary driver of industry trends shifted toward a contemporary role as a niche part of the video game landscape.

Eugene Jarvis, for all intents and purposes, is the “last man standing” in the arcade business in the United States. Jarvis cut his teeth programming classic Williams arcade games like Defender and Robotron 2084 before working on popular titles like Smash TV and the Cruis’n series for Midway in the 1990s. The company he founded in 2001, Raw Thrills, Inc., is the only U.S. game developer regularly producing new arcade titles. In recent years they have produced arcade cabinets related to the Fast and Furious film franchise, the Terminator franchise, and the Batman films and have developed several original properties such as the Big Buck Hunter series. They have found success in placing their machines in Wal-Marts and truck stops and in bars and restaurants, as well as in many other locations outside of the traditional arcade space.

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Medium 9780253014887

Coda

Alice Osborne Lovejoy Indiana University Press ePub

NORMALIZATION

Alexander Dubček resigned in April 1969. That summer, under his replacement, First Secretary Gustáv Husák, the prolonged process of “cleansing” Czechoslovak society of its reformist elements began. In spite of this, Army Film remained confident in its late-1960s course. Stanislav Čeřovský, in his summary report for 1969, continued to emphasize the social and military relevance of the studio’s critical films, particularly to Czechoslovakia’s youth. “The living environment, free time or ‘moral profile’ of [military] youth,” he wrote,

is connected with … these issues in [soldiers’] civilian lives, both before and after their time in the Army, which, in turn, strongly influence their time in the Army. … We can therefore demonstrate and confirm that these two spheres of Czechoslovak society cannot be separated, that they interpenetrate each other—and thus they must be interwoven in the Army studio’s work. It is true that this issue is a very difficult one—not only from an artistic standpoint, but also from an ideological standpoint. However, this difficulty does not mean we should disregard it; on the contrary, we must consider it with intensive attention and approach it with a very thoughtful, long-term philosophy and with serious, scholarly preparation of each treatment and screenplay.1

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Medium 9780861966899

Chapter 29 W.D. Phillips, “Cow-punchers, bull-whackers and tin horn gamblers”: generic formulae, sensational literature, and early American cinema

Abel, Richard John Libbey Publishing ePub

On September 25, 1907, the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company began to advertise Terrible Ted, a one-reel comedy directed by Joseph A. Golden, in which a pre-pubescent protagonist falls asleep reading the story paper Wild West Weekly1 and dreams himself into an episodic series of sensational adventures before being wakened by his mother in the parlor of their bourgeois home. This film has previously been discussed by several other early cinema scholars,2 yet for the purposes of this essay it is noteworthy primarily for its lampooning of sensational story forms popularized by the cheap print industry (dime novels, story papers, etc.) at the moment when the film industry itself was beginning to regularly appropriate similar generic formulae. Terrible Ted not only atypically foregrounds the significance of generic formulas during this period of burgeoning fiction films, but can also be read, as this essay will demonstrate, as a unique instantiation of the complex relationship between transitional-era cinema, the cheap print industry, and issues of class, particularly the gap between middle-class and working-class culture frequently noted in this period.3

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Medium 9780861967131

Chapter 5 Disney Character Tropes

Harrington, Seán J. Indiana University Press ePub

In 1930 Disney came into conflict with Pat Powers, the man who had sold Disney their sound system and had distributed their shorts. Walt had travelled to New York to ask Powers for money owed to the studio. Instead, Powers disclosed his plan to steal Iwerks from the studio in an attempt to blackmail Disney into signing another more restrictive contract. The venture ultimately failed and Disney terminated its contract with Powers. Thus the studio lost Iwerks, who went on to start his own animation studio. Iwerks may have been the superior artist but his cartoons failed to be as popular without Walt’s story-editing abilities. Walt eventually rehired Iwerks but never forgave him the betrayal. Disney was now in need of a new distributor and began working with Harry Cohn from Columbia Pictures. Cohn provided a great deal of capital for the productions, which had since doubled in cost to produce. Cohn also allowed Disney to retain absolute control over his product. Despite its success Disney was still struggling to maintain financial solvency. This and other factors led Walt to his first emotional breakdown in 1931. On the advice of his doctor, Walt and his wife took a short holiday. On his arrival back to work he took up horse-riding as a vent for his stress. Walt signed his next distribution contract with United Artists, a deal that provided a great deal of financial security for the company that had struggled for so long (Schickel, 1968, Wasko, 2001).

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Medium 9780253356680

6 Yasmine Kassari’s “Burning” Screens: The Sleeping Child (Morocco, 2004)

Florence Martin Indiana University Press ePub

In the twenty-first century, how would Dunyazad be able to hear and respond to a transnational incarnation of Shahrazad? To a sister who has migrated far away into a different culture and still whispers tales meant for her sibling left at home? For, although Dunyazad can recognize her sister’s world, lexicon, stories, although both have been sharing secrets, narrative twists and turns since childhood, Shahrazad’s narrative comes from afar, across various borders.

Directors from the Maghrebi diaspora such as Yasmine Kassari can address both a sister in the know, locally, and a more distant, global audience. These latter-day, diasporic Shahrazads then cross borders, switch languages, and alternate modes of communication in order to construct a narrative with at least a double audience in mind. Yet, such double-edged narratives also cause them to cross unimaginable cultural boundaries and lines of permissible conduct.

In her first fiction feature film, L’Enfant endormi/The Sleeping Child (2005), Moroccan director Yasmine Kassari shows how “burning” (i.e., crossing borders illegally to become an immigrant worker in Europe) is experienced and seen by the wives and mothers of the migrants.1 In the process, she shows how the initial male crossing of borders upsets traditional behaviors at home and leads to a series of transgressive acts by the women left behind.

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Medium 9780861967223

Appendix I James McDonald films catalogue

Emma Jean Kelly John Libbey Publishing ePub

Films by James McDonald of the Tangata Whenua He Pito Whakaatu A Te Maori Na James McDonald 1919–1923 The New Zealand Film Archive catalogue with The National Museum

James McDonald (1865–1935) began working for the Dominion (now the National) Museum in 1904 and in 1907 also began filming various scenic attractions for the Tourist Department. He made several ethnographic film records for the Museum (although his filmmaking was additional to his general activities there). In 1926 he retired from his position as Assistant Director, to Tokaanu where he organanized a school of Maori arts and crafts

Te Hui Aroha Ki Turanga – Gisborne Hui Aroha
1919 35mm, b&w silent, 10 mins

In 1918 James McDonald proposed an expedition to the Hui Aroha to be held in Gisborne the following year. The purpose of this, and the three subsequent Dominion Museum expeditions, was to collect and record information on the crafts, activities and tribal lore retained in the various areas.

The week long Hui Aroha, in April 1919, was organized to welcome home from France the Maori Pioneer Battalion, to honour those who did not return, and to celebrate peace. The Museum party consisted of their ethnologist, Elsdon Best, the Librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library, Johannes C Andersen, and McDonald. The surviving film shows poi dances and string games.

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Medium 9780253002952

4 The Art of Place: The Work of Diane Gamboa

Aldama, Arturo J. ePub

KAREN MARY DAVALOS

In 2008, Southern California witnessed its first major “post-ethnic” art exhibition in Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement.1 Building on the performances and visual arts of Asco, the Los Angeles–based collective originally composed of Harry Gamboa, Jr., Gronk, Willie Herrón, and Patssi Valdez, the exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) intended to challenge conventional parameters of Chicana/o art and offer one strategy for interpreting conceptual art produced by artists who came of age after the Chicano Movement. Co-curators Rita Gonzalez, Howard Fox, and Chon Noriega posit that the temporal curatorial model of art produced after something allowed them “the freedom to follow an idea, rather than represent a constituency.”2 Interestingly, the show was simultaneously a complete success and a dramatic failure. Ticket sales evidence that it was overwhelmingly popular, breaking LACMA attendance records. Yet local artists and critics found the exhibition lacking. They hosted several public discussions, generated hundreds of blog posts, and published articles in regional and national media to address the show’s historical, aesthetic, and positional errors. Some critics responded by producing their own exhibitions performed as errata that offered a corrective vision of Chicana/o art in Los Angeles.3

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Medium 9780861967131

Chapter 10 Disney’s ‘Good Neighbour’

Harrington, Seán J. Indiana University Press ePub

To diffuse tensions during the nine week strike Walt Disney was advised to leave the United States on a government-funded goodwill mission to South America. The political goal of the mission was to promote North American culture and values while at the same time encouraging support for the Allies in the event that the United States would have to enter the war. This was generally referred to as the ‘good neighbour policy’ (Smoodin, 1994, Wasko, 2001). While travelling Walt decided to make four films, each set in Brazil, Peru, Chile and Argentina respectively. The US State Department rejected the proposal to fund all four films and instead offered funding for a single film that would incorporate elements of each nation, reasoning that a single feature that incorporated national elements of several Latin American countries would reach a broader international audience.

Saludos Amigos (1942) was the result of this mission, featuring a mixture of live-action footage of Walt’s travels, fantasy settings and overt propaganda. These elements were used to sell an image of pan-American unity. The film is split into four parts, each featuring a typical Disney narrative while referencing places or images in Latin America. The goal of the film is quite simply to take Latin American iconography and present it in a friendly light within a specifically Disney context. The first segment features a small Mexican boy and his llama interacting with Donald Duck in the manner of a cultural exchange, with the boy teaching Donald his customs. The second features a baby aircraft named Pedro who must triumph over adversity to deliver a package and make his parents proud. The third segment uses Goofy to draw parallels between American cowboys and Argentine ranchers. The fourth segment sees Donald Duck learning to salsa and attempting integrate into Brazil with the help of Joe Carioca, a Brazilian parrot who acts as his guide. All these shorts are made to be as innocuous as possible; none would bear the sexual over-emphasis of The Three Caballeros (1945), the other feature inspired by the trip. Thus the film uses a particular type of sexuality, or the explicit lack thereof, to reinforce the image of pan-American homogeneity: the incorporation of Latin America into Disney, a North American icon.

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Medium 9780253017451

The Birth of the Strongman: Italian Silent Cinema, Stardom, and Genre

Jacqueline Reich Indiana University Press ePub

ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL STATE RECORDS, BARTOLOMEO Pagano, the actor who was to gain national and international fame as Maciste, was born on 27 September 1878, at Via dei Marsano 9 in Sant’Ilario Ligure in the province of Genoa, Italy.1 The town, about ten miles to the east of the port city, was where he lived most of his life and where he died on 24 June 1947 at the age of sixty-nine in his home, the Villa Maciste. Little else is known about Pagano’s life. The generally accepted story was that he was discovered by Itala Film while working as a stevedore at the Genoa port. He married Camilla Balduzzi, had one son, Oreste, in 1916, and suffered from sleepwalking after a severe fall (a fact that excused him from military service before and during World War I). He eventually retired from filmmaking not, as was often the case, due to the advent of sound, but because of a severe case of diabetes and arteriosclerosis. The salary he received for his work on Cabiria was 20 Italian lire per day; by 1921 he was making close to 17,000 lire per month, an extraordinary fee for a male actor at that time.2

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Medium 9780253015594

8. The End of Empire

Ruth Ben-Ghiat Indiana University Press PDF

8

S

The End of Empire

F

rom 1936 to 1941, the Fascist government’s investment in commercial empire films had been largely on an ad hoc basis. While some features had official or semi-­official origins (Il grande appello; Luciano

Serra, pilota; Sotto la Croce del Sud), others had come to Italy as a last resort or depended on foreign financing (L’Esclave blanc, Lo squadrone bianco).

The propagandistic exigencies of World War II made this situation un­ acceptable. In the spring of 1941, even as Emperor Haile Selassie returned triumphantly to Addis Ababa, the Ministry of Popu­lar Culture formed the Committee for War and Po­liti­cal Cinema to exert greater control over features. Films on imperial themes now came under this aegis. The committee took over preventive censorship duties, examining all war-­themed treatments (twenty-­t wo of seventy were approved) and drafted a multi-­ year production plan for movies that would celebrate specific units of the armed forces on the war’s major battlefronts. Films for children and his­tori­cal films “with reference to actuality” fig­ured in the mix, such as “a great his­tori­cal anti-­Jewish film” that would presumably compete with Jud

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