Posts Tagged ‘violence’

Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-2014-Poster7

Conflict’s in the genes: The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The Greanville Post

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes can be viewed on a number of different levels, possibly not all of them present in the minds of its makers.  First, it can be viewed as a remarkable achievement in high-tech/special effects movie-making.  It is one thing to see Andrew Serkis motion-captured as the chimpanzee leader Caesar, who becomes totally convincing (no masks here) and conversant in at least three languages: Simian sign language, human sign language (apparently), and English.  (Being in California he may also speak some Spanish, but we do not have the opportunity to find that out).  But it is quite another to see literally a multitude of totally life-like chimpanzees engaged in big-game hunting or swinging through the trees on their way to an engagement with a group of surviving Homo sapiens holed up in downtown San Francisco.

Second, it can be seen as a fairly conventional action-adventure movie, man vs. man-like ape, the latter being originally a lab creation of the former.  (By the way, in terms of the story-line, except for a few names and superficial identities, the current “Planet of the Apes” series has nothing to do with the [original 1968 film] directed by Franklin J. Schaffer, with the screenplay by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, that was based on the 1963 French novel La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle, and starred Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Maurice Evans, and the most appealing Kim Hunter, or its then-successors.)  

Third, it can be seen as a morality play, with a guess-which-group lives to a higher moral standard theme.  Fourth, it can be seen as an essay in paleo-anthropology, which is how I have come to see it.

Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-Wallpaper

A group of Simians and a group of Homo sapiens are survivors of a world-wide, highly fatal infectious disease epidemic which the humans conveniently name the “Simian flu.”  That it has nothing to do with the Simian population but rather was created in a Homo sapiens lab ([the recent CDC anthrax-smallpox episode], anyone?) is of course a product of the Homo sapiens media naming it the “Simian flu,” but what else is new?

The Simian population consists primarily of chimpanzees with few gorillas and one rather intelligent orangutan thrown in (the latter possibly being a throw-back to the Dr. Zaius character of the original).  They lead a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in a communal setting.  While they have one acknowledged political leader, Caesar, no one appears to have either a) any control over the hunting-gathering processes or b) any material advantages over anyone else.  They also appear to not engage in inter-Simian violence, as a routine.  When one episode of that sort occurs, an attack on Caesar, when the latter wins he condemns the perpetrator to death. Before he does so Caesar pronounces the profound words: “You are not an ape.”

Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-Caesar-eyes

The Homo sapiens population is classically Homo sapiens.  They have guns aplenty and with few exceptions are ready to use them at a moment’s notice.  Violence, against other species and within their own, is commonplace and for the most part fully accepted.  This characteristic doesn’t show up in this particular scenario, because there are so few of them left (having somehow acquired immunity to the disease).  But they are members of one of the very few species of animal on the planet that slaughters each other in numbers that have grown ever larger in the brief period of time that the species has existed in its so-called “civilized” mode of organization.  They are devious, both with each other and with the Simians.  Unlike the Simians, the Homo sapiens cannot exist for very long without converting one or more elements that they find in their environment into one or more goods and services.  It is the struggle of the Homo sapiens to get to an abandoned dam that lies to the north of where the Simians live so that they can have electrical power that forms the basis of the plot-line.  They are about to run out of power as the fuel supply for their generators runs out.

So the fundamental conflict in the movie is between an apparently egalitarian society of hunter-gatherers, which among other things rejects the use of use of intra-species violence, and the classic Homo sapiens society.  There is no historical indication that if the latter would somehow manage to survive, it would not eventually revert to its economically hierarchical organization based on intra-species violence.  Why?  Because [as I have discussed elsewhere], what has happened in Homo sapiens history is that the ownership means of production that converts elements found in the environment into the goods and services that Homo sapiens needs/uses for survival has been in private hands.  And it is that mode of ownership that eventually leads to violence within and between societies on a larger and larger scale.

I said in the introduction to this column that the movie could be seen as a parable of the conflict that took place tens of thousands of years ago, between the Homo species that we call “Neanderthal” and our own.  [By the way, that name comes from the name of the valley in Germany where the original fossils of that species were found, the Valley (“thal” in German) of the German river “Neander.”)]  It will be fascinating to see where the movie series goes with this one.  And oh yes, the next sequel is set up at the end of the film.

Dawn-Of-The-Planet-Of-The-Apes3-e1396236946120

There will eventually be a sequel to this column as well, dealing with three questions. 

A) Apparently Homo sapiens and Neanderthals co-existed for tens of thousands of years.  Is there evidence that the former killed off the latter over time, or did the former succeed them, simply through better adaptation to the shared environment over time? 

B) Is there a gene or genes for intra-species violence in Homo sapiens that exists in few other species?  (If they are to survive, all animal species need to have one or more violence genes directing activities at one or more other species.) 

C) If Homo sapiens does have one or more intra-species survival genes is it selected for by the organization of Homo sapien communities around the private ownership of the means of production?  A consideration of these questions will not be appearing your local theater any time soon.


Greanville Post Senior Contributing Editor Steven Jonas, the polymathic author of this article, has published hundreds of essays on politics, history, culture, health and economics, and penned more than 30 books.  His essays normally appear on many venues on the web, including the leading political sites. Dr. Jonas’ latest book is The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A futuristic Novel, Brewster, NY, Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, and available on Amazon.

10285748_542214075889379_5667817193889529831_o

A mixed bag of mutants.

Much feels familiar in this next installment, the fifth or so generally and the second with this semi-relaunched cast.

However, the secret weapon in Days fo Future Past is Mystique, the sexy blue mutating Jennifer Lawrence character. The story hangs on Mystique and her actions, set up with an incident from the distant past, 1973, and then hinging on a time travel plot to alter history. Time travel can be interesting or cheezy, and this one is both. Laughs are played, anachronisms, one-liners. It’s Wolverine who gets the call, as he’s the only mutant with the wear and tear to survive the brain mangling.

It’s lighthearted, but it’s also very, very talky. The first half borders on obligatory yawns with the amount of exposition coming out of the mouths of the mutants. We’ve got old Xavier and young Xavier, Magneto and the young one. And everyone constantly needs to be brought up to speed.

As they say, “show don’t tell;” it doesn’t seem to have hurt this production with $700M in box office so far to show. There’s a do as I say, not as I do, sensibility in Hollywood, which is filled with know-nothing smarmy know-it-alls.

xmen-days-of-future-past-poster-mystique

 

Back on track – the second half picks up. Actually the break-in to the Pentagon is a good adrenalin boost, with a unique scene involving a speedy mutant who’s a lot of fun to watch.

In the interest of avoiding spoilers, I won’t say much more, except for this. The film maintains a strong moral compass on the side of peace and non-violence. For that I was grateful (and surprised), and impressed. Much is made over the act of killing, killing one man. To kill one is to initiate a war. Killing and war are so closely related, and the mindset of a murderer is the mindset of a soldier. That was unexpected, and it had me by the end of the film hanging on the plot.

I’d rate the previous film First Class a tad higher than Days of Future Past. This owes to the scattered plot and diffused focus. The battle with giant robot drones was a letdown too, more sound and fury signifying not much.

On second thought, there is a theme involving power and weapons. The weapons have grown beyond the ability to control them. This makes sense in the 1973 world, but is less clear in the current one. The supposed modern timeline was a bit too reliant on special effects extravaganzas, and these distract. The blitzkrieg of CGI reduces the whole thing to video game sensibility, and the same barrage we see in every modern Hollywood FX movie.  The director here is a bit smarter than most, but relying on the same old big light show at the end was disappointing.

4/5

 

 

 

70b7c591c811196c8c8a2f50e83f0a05

 

What the fuck is the world coming to?  Nazis in Greece, Ukraine now Sweden.  This VICE investigation focuses on leftist resistance to the Nazis who are fighting it out in the streets.  They look like legitimate resistance, but always beware of infiltration and manipulation to blame the left for “terrorism.”

 

 

Provocateurs are undercover agents who initiate violence to blame it on a particular group.   In this case the provocateurs appear to be working directly for the  Ukrainian police, but are dressed to appear like “pro-Russian” protesters.

These provocateurs shot bullets at a pro-Kiev football crowd, and this led to the complete anarchy and mass murder at the union hall.

Ukraine: Massacre in Odessa – So-Called Pro-Russian Masked Gunmen Coordinated by Local Police

odessa3-225x300

 

odessa1-300x200

 One of the identified coordinators was deputy chief of the Odessa Interior ministry branch Colonel Dmitry Fucheji.”

odessa21

125250_original

 

odessa4

 

 Original at Oriental Review.

Also see: Odessa Provocateurs: Censored News

Russian news coverage:

 

 

cca0fa76668c35c7ec4f0fe9ef1442c4.i600x405x475 (1)

 

The violence started when the pro-Kiev crowd was met by what looked like anti-government activists. They were wearing St. George ribbons – identifying them as pro-autonomy – and red bands around their sleeves. Some of the riot police officers present at the scene were wearing the same red bands around their sleeves.”

 

That would be in the CIA playbook, page 2.  Total chaos captured on video:

 

 

more

 

People wait to be rescued on the second storey's ledge during a fire at the trade union building in Odessa

 

Extreme right gangs firebombed a trade union hall where pro-Russian separatists had fled, killing at least 38 in terror bombings similar to their tactics in Kiev this February.  The arsonists are suspected of being neo-nazi “Right Sektor” members.

Odessa slaughter: How vicious mob burnt anti-govt activists alive (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

odessa-fire1
odessa-guman

A protester wearing a Ukrainian flag walks past a burning tent camp and a fire in the trade union building in Odessa

clockwork-orange-806445-1680x1272

Making Clockwork Orange

 

6

Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders – leaked EU’s Ashton phone tape

Don’t let this slip down the Memory Hole.  This is how modern coups succeed.  They create violence, and the US / corporate media blames the targeted government for said violence (as in Libya, Syria and now Ukraine), when in fact the violence is caused by rogue elements in the anti-government coup itself.  This pattern repeats over and over again, and the US presstitute media covers the story wrongly 100% of the time, never retracting, never setting the record straight.  We now inhabit a fictional geo-politcal reality where our co-citizens have no idea whatsoever what actually went on.

“And second, what was quite disturbing, this same Olga [Bogomolets] told as well that all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides,” the Estonian FM stressed.

The Estonian FM has described the whole sniper issue as “disturbing” and added, “it already discredits from the very beginning” the new Ukrainian power.

 

d7a8963c-81af-11e3-_508559c

 

Apparently we’re supposed to cheer for Neo-Nazi anarchy now.  That’s “democracy,” and “activism.”

 

2013_kick_ass_2-wide

 

Roger Ebert once called Fight Club a “fascist movie.”  Although that might have been misplaced, it may apply more aptly to these murder is fun films, Kickass and Kickass 2.

It’s so frustrating when the ideas are so nakedly presented to offset the other malignant ideas that were just presented moments ago.  The level of manipulation reaches schizophrenic heights when torture is fun, but all of a sudden another character pretends to have a moral conscience.  We have a battle of marketing manipulation memes, selling fascist ideas, but trying to also wrangle those peacenik dollars and assuage the consciences of parents who let their kids watch these assaults.

I was shocked at the prospect of “Hit Girl” (Chloe Moretz) the moment I read about the first film in production.  This was a kind of line that had to be crossed, inevitably, but for what purpose?  What is the meaning of Hit Girl?  She’s some kind of super enforcer freak show that could never exist in real life.  She’s also a bloodthirsty mass murderess, with flashy colors and makeup to sell killing as cool.  Of course a collection of lowlifes are presented for her to mow down.  What are people to make of this murder as fun and games, it’s all part of the modern lifestyle, kind of vibe?

The society has drifted quite a bit from the times of peace protests and antiwar movements.  We’ve regressed to a kind of infantile love of mindless violence.  Meaning and consequences are stripped away in favor of blood and circuses.  Now in Amerika it’s easy to sell violence as the solution to just about anything.  Little girls playing dress up is now little girls playing dress up with hollow point rounds and machetes.

The title character, Kickass (Aaron Johnson), represents the common knave. He’s brought into the world of murder for fun and Hit Girl, as a way of establishing his own identity as a superhero.  He’s a scaredy cat and inept.  The contrast between the two remains throughout.

With Kickass attempting to bring balance to the vigilante ideal, the films meander toward gore and death and back toward justice and forgiveness.  The people behind it coldly manipulate the storylines to sell death and supremacy one moment and high school innocence and the rule of law the next. 

Vigilantism is pitted against a useless law and justice system that essentially does nothing positive, ever.  This is an ideological attack on the idea of a justice system at all.  Never are the police called or do they do anything positive.  The only solution is massive force and violence by unaccountable individuals.  Similarities to other vigilante comic book stories (Batman) are intentional, but to what end?  What is it these people think they’re saying in the end?

My guess is that they’re saying: ‘we put x in there to counter y, so give us lots of money, assholes.’

Sounds about right.

No trailer.  Fuck you, Kickass.

2/5

 

burgerman1021214

twisted new photo series by artist Jon Burgerman

burgerman7021214

 

WeNeedToTalkAboutKevin_poster