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{Thursday}

 
WHERE THE HEART IS {11}

Interesting piece on SLATE about new "reality" shows in the States, whose closing line - "Reality television is out to identify every perversity there is." - made concrete for me something that had been hovering around my enjoyment of Michelle and Andy's Big Day [see below]: it hardly needs saying, but everything that we now call "reality" (on) TV, could just as easily be called "Fantasy" or "Phantasy". And as usual, it's the sort of thing that middlebrow critics will refuse to engage with - or rather, will refuse to engage with today, but will doubtless be forced to catch up with somewhere down the line.

(Michelle and Andy is perplexing precisley because it doesnt appear to want to - or know how to - obey the rules of either 'fantasy' or 'reality' - in however many senses that latter word now carries. Its central plank is "every little girl's ultimate fantasy" - the sort of thing, it is proposeed to us, many or most women have been "planning inside their heads for years", i.e., a kind of OTT fairy tale wedding. But the whole show is like a slow and cruel and painstaking destruction or deconstruction of that very "dream". It shows two people trapped inside the demands of various parallel "real life" or "phantasy" or "fantasy" worlds (pop music, TV, celebrity marketing), whose every personal decision has to involve the thought that A CAMERA MIGHT BE WATCHING. Michelle (= "me...hell"?) even has to transfer her wedding from the lovely little pastoral church where she really wants it to take place, because of the demands of various camera teams and photographers. Her wedding vows have to be - literally, as it turns out - re staged. In short, it shows celebrity/pop, for most of us, would be a living, breathing, Bentham-ite HELL.)

In ARTFORUM, in his Top Ten Movies pick of the year, JOHN WATERS has this to say about JACKASS 2: "Playing on more than three thousand screens, Jackass 2 was the number-one-grossing movie in America on its opening weekend—and the male stars eat shit and drink horse semen for real. They’re nude a lot, too. If this isn’t cultural terrorism, I don’t know what is."

Almost inevitably, one of his other picks is SHORTBUS ... and if mainstream "reality TV", certain bits of mainstream cinema, and certain, shall we say, MURKIER (or, at least, badly lit) bits of the Internet currently have anything in common, it might be covered by this motto: you wanna see it, we'll show it to you.

People are posting the most explicit details of their (sex) lives online for others - anyone, everyone - to pick over. It's the opposite of 'pornography" per se, it's more like a distant relation to Warhol's Factory films, because it is instant, and un re touched, and features real boides in real sexual poses, taking place in real rooms with real decor.

It made me wonder if this isnt all some sort of reaction to SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY. Sort of, get your revenge in first (?) If you can show the world your most intimate nook, cranny, or preferred 'bedtime' activity only a digital clck away - what's the big deal about an eye scan or CCTV in your favourite supermarket?

posted by Ian 12/07/2006 10:39:00 AM

Comments:
(john waters is in 'jackass 2' -- must be on a percentage)
 
Yeah, it's a grass yourself up culture, no doubt about that. Maybe it's like those beggars in India who chop off their own feet for a better take.
 
When I watched the first Jackass, at times it occurred to me that it was like watching a wacky gay s&m film, only without the sex (er... not that I'd know).

And then LITERALLY after hatching that thought, there was a scene where they were launching fireworks from their arses - an UNCANNY echo of Kenneth Anger's first film (!)
 
It made me wonder if this isnt all some sort of reaction to SURVEILLANCE SOCIETY. Sort of, get your revenge in first (?) If you can show the world your most intimate nook, cranny, or preferred 'bedtime' activity only a digital clck away - what's the big deal about an eye scan or CCTV in your favourite supermarket?

Christian Parenti discussed this a bit in _The Soft Cage_. I think the key difference has to do with volunteering information rather than it being harvested unbeknownst to the individual. But yeah, it establishes a weird barometer re people's expectations of privacy, etc.
 
Oh cool - I've got The Soft Cage on the shelves but so far I'd only dipped into it here and there...
 
re books to read on surveillance: John E. McGrath´s Loving Big Brother. A book that deals with surveillance as it pertains to reality TV/performativity/politics, taking in, along the way, Brecht, Artaud, Butler and others. Supposedly, I should say, I haven´t read it yet.
All the best
 
_The Soft Cage_ is a bit of a letdown after _Lockdown America_. I'm still waiting for dude to write the book on Afghanistan!
 
The heart is a muscular organ found in all vertebrates that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions. Heart disease describes a variety of disorders and conditions that can affect the heart.
 
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The heart is a muscular organ found in all vertebrates that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions. Heart disease describes a variety of disorders and conditions that can affect the heart.

Bingo

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