Tag Archives: Jennifer Lawrence

Divergents, Outlaws, and Rebels: the Vigorous Dissident Essential to Social & Political Health

The tense struggle between law, justice, and freedom was not the subject nor even a significant sub-theme  of Homer’s Epics the Odyssey and the Iliad, nor of Vergil’s Aeneid nor the Epic of Gilgamesh, nor of the Ancient Maya Popol Vuh.  

Justice and Fairness/equity vs. Law and Order, however, very much forms a core subject of the new movie Divergent and up to a point the movie Veronica Mars which I have already just recently mentioned on these pages.  I find myself comparing these movies to The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, but I cannot say that this competition defines movies, which concern mostly naked law and oppression divorced from any but the most cynical pretense of law or fairness—even the laws of probabilistic statistics being ridiculed in the refrain, “May the Odds be Ever in your Favor”…which is so patently false that a graffiti artist in one of the “Districts” writes more accurately: “the odds are NEVER in our favor.”

Veronica Mars, set firmly in the modern world of Southern California, indicts the police state as producing “the best justice money can buy” and similarly the prosecutorial system as responding more to the demands of “the court of public opinion” than anything else.  It also (and very accurately) belittles the world of “big money law” as serving no purpose but squashing the little man and his “frivolous lawsuits” against Fortune Five Hundred Clients…. 

Divergent, however, focuses our attention on other aspects of the current struggle.  In both Veronica Mars and The Hunger Games, family is portrayed as both natural and essential to survival, but the dystopian tyranny of the (current modern and future) American Dictatorships has not turned itself against the family, or dedicated itself to the destruction of human nature.  Indeed, in the Hunger Games, the future dictatorship of Panem capitalizes on human nature and human weakness, including family ties, to maximize its own power and control over the subjugated people.  

The three movie franchises have different regional roots and reflect their origins.  The Hunger Games is distinctly Southern, Confederate, and Appalachian in its cultural theory, including the matriarchal family structure and themes of tendencies towards racial segregation (Districts 11 vs. 12) fraught with intimate friendship (Katniss and Rue).  Veronica Mars expressly screams its California setting and cultural roots in almost every scene and dialogue sequence.  Divergent is set in the ruins of Chicago (which strangely look a lot like the current city of Chicago WITHOUT a major civil war).  (This just has to be the future American Civil War described/predicted by the propagandists for Chancellor Adam Sutler’s English Dictatorship in V-for-Vendetta).

I could be wrong, but I think that the association of Chicago with Divergent is very well thought-out and correlated with the socialist-communist background of the largest city in “the Land of Lincoln” (Abraham, that is, the Sixteenth and arguably the first covertly Marxist President of the United States, and a worthy forerunner to the current 44th President, also associated with Chicago and Illinois).  

The futuristic “Brave New World” of Divergent’s Chicago is a quasi-caste based society (divided into five broadly functional “factions” emphasizing not so much specific jobs or professions as “approaches” or “attitudes” in life—not entirely different from the Indo-European tri-functional society with subdivisions of each function, but not at all expressly Dumezilian in the way that Buffy or The Lion King were).  

In the “Divergent” world, the nuclear family still exists as the key reproductive unit but is frowned upon generally and entirely forbidden after puberty.  Life begins for “Tris”—the heroine of the movie, at a ceremony where she voluntarily chooses which to which functional faction she will belong.  This aspect of the future Chicago is much more benign than the Hunger Games, to be sure—there are no automatic annual sacrifices contrasting with great “movie-sports star” wealth in latter day Chicago…..  The only articulated motto of the Status Quo Establishment in Divergent is “Faction before Blood”, although the Dictatrix strongly suggests that suppression of human nature is the primary goal of government….

(Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World vision of a world totally without families, especially without mothers [aside from the State as Ur-or-Uber-Mutter], remains, thankfully, far in the future—although my former friend Jon Drew Roland, a false-flag, former freedom riding, and fear mongering “Libertarian” residing Texas, also with a Chicago connexion, assured me many times that “eu-social” social insect-like “Queen Bee” reproduction through the State apparatus is entirely foreseeable).   

The tension between law and justice, rules and fairness, legal and equitable values, seems to have arisen primarily because of the pronouncement of a vast inventory of laws Hebrew Bible, and the need for resolution of all doubts in favor of equity and fairness was first and perhaps best articulated by that noted Ancient Rabbi, thought by hundreds of millions around the world to have been the Messiah: Joshua ben Josef, aka Jesus Christ.  

The Kingdom of Israel & its secessionist spinoff, Judea, to both of which Jesus was allegedly the direct lineal heir, through the House of David, grew up in the southwest corner of “The Fertile Crescent” of the Ancient Near East, near the border of Egypt in northeast Africa.  The Nile and Tigris-Euphrates, with the Levant in between, were the two “cradles of civilization” in the Western World.  The Ancient Near East is famous for its early law codes, over which the Sun God Shamash (Sumerian Utu) presided, as an antecedent to Apollo in this role, but the division between rules and fairness seems to have only occupied a minor part of the Ancient Sumerian and Semitic Consciousness….at least until Jesus’ final year on earth. In Greece and Rome, “laws” were seen as the tools of the elite, while equity and fairness were seen as the pleas of the weak and defeated.  This is as apparent in Thucydides Melian Dialogue as in Cicero’s orations.  It was this world that gave birth to Jesus, of course, and his “equitable revolution” in thinking about Justice and Right.

In the history of world epics, after the Four Gospels, Dante’s Divine Comedy is the first to articulate the primary of law in the world, tempered with the concept of Justice, but Dante seems to have viewed Hell as a very legalistic place, with only the levels of hell discerning or distinguishing “levels” of fair or equitable punishment.  Ironically, it is hard to see the role of Christian forgiveness in Dante’s writings at all when he writes, in the Fourth Canto of Inferno:

Per me si va ne la città dolente,
per me si va ne l’etterno dolore,
per me si va tra la perduta gente.

Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore:
fecemi la divina podestate,
la somma sapienza e ‘l primo amore.

Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.

“THROUGH ME ONE GOES TO THE CITY OF SORROW,
THROUGH ME THE PATH TO ETERNAL PAIN,
THROUGH ME IS THE ROAD OF THE LOST PEOPLE.

JUSTICE MOVED HE WHO IS MY HIGH CREATOR.
I WAS MADE BY DIVINE POWER,
SUPREME WISDOM, AND PRIMAL LOVE.

BEFORE ME NOTHING WAS MADE,
SAVE ETERNAL THINGS, AND I ENDURE ETERNALLY.
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER.”

Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire; Are Lies and Murder the Essential Elements of Human Culture?

The late Anthropologist “Cultural Evolutionist” Leslie A. White, is justly famous for his antecedent definition of “culture”, which may be loosely paraphrased as “man’s uniquely extra-somatic adaptation to the environment, dependent upon symboling.”   The late “Conservative” British PM during WWII, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill (he had a great-grand niece named “Lady Diana Spencer”), is for his part justly famous for commenting something to the effect that men are the only creatures who periodically set out on campaigns of mass murder against their conspecifics for reasons only tangentially related to food and mating, the essential building blocks of evolution, if at all.

Preceding both White and Churchill was Sir James G. Frazer, the author of the 12 volume Golden Bough, “the mother of all” anthropology encyclopedias.

This week the beauteous Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss Everdeen in Catching Fire premiered in Los Angeles and happy I could be here to see it happen.  Suzanne Collins second book of the Hunger Games Trilogy is but poorly abstracted in the movie.  I’m not sure that anyone who had not read the book could really make sense of the plot.  The first Hunger Games movie provided a much more coherent summary of the written text, but luckily or unluckily that’s just not the point at all.  In some ways, spending two hours or so gazing at Jennifer Lawrence’s unique and unending deliciosity is quite enough but, after seeing the first movie some 17-20 times and reading and studying the trilogy intently for the entire summer thereafter, I have concluded and still believe that

The Hunger Games Trilogy is a brilliantly allegorical Revolutionary Text designed as a protest against the De Facto Reality of Modern American Statist (Degenerate Communist Realpolitik) “political reality.”    

Suzanne Collins officially states that her original inspiration for the story of the Hunger Games Tributes was the story of the Minotaur in Ancient Crete’s Labyrinth.  And this is quite on point and consistent with my own analysis.  The Minotaur mythically and allegorically recounted the historical transition from  rituals of human sacrifice to bull sacrifice to “game” among the ancient Hellenes.  Earlier this evening I was discussing Francisco Goya’s Tauromaquia series, and how this related to the story of the Minotaur and the Hunger Games.  (“Tauromaquia = tavromachia = “bull fighting”).  I feel I grew up with bullfighting in the Opera Carmen, in my years in Mexico, Colombia, Honduras,  Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Spain….although to be honest in all those years I never once attended a real live bull fight—call me a stuck up WASPY Prude, go ahead, I dare you…. but I think I understand that there is a strong emotional and psychological connection between games which involve ritualized murder and the risk of death…..the very story of the Golden Bough….

Or is it the story of humanity?  Are lies and murder the essential elements of human culture?  “Man’s uniquely extra-somatic adaptation to the environment dependent upon symboling… In that all symbols by necessity abstract reality in an arbitrary manner, are all symbolic expressions essentially lies?  Does all linguistic expression inherently falsify the real world?

Or are some lies worse than others?  The movie does not manage to portray the deviousness or the oppression of President Snow’s regime in Panem, or of the role the Hunger Games play in that reality.  But every element of politics in Panem is false and deceitful.  And the magic of Katniss Everdeen is that she possesses an emotional will to surmount the ritual combat, murder, and sacrifice for the sake of love…. So the Hunger Games seems to reduce life (by and with a marvelous array of symbols) to Freud’s abstractions of the forces of Eros and Thanatos—“Love and Death” (also the title of a marvelous movie by Woody Allen and Calvert Watkins’ selection of the primary elementary themes of all ancient myths and epics…)

Earlier this month I commented on Human Sacrifice in Africa—why indeed is Human Sacrifice—MURDER, so absolutely essential to human life and society?  If it is not essential, then why is it everywhere, universally and diachronically omnipresent?  In both Frazer’s original works and all spinoff commentaries, from Jessie Laidley Weston’s From Ritual to Romance to Gillian Feely-Harnik’s more recent commentaries, the question: WHY IS MURDER SO IMPORTANT TO HUMAN CULTURE? Remains unanswered, and yet clearly it is. 

Hollywood may be disgusting and degenerate in a thousand commercially successful ways (ok, possibly several million, actually), but it seems to reflect something real and genuine about the (quite possibly disgusting and degenerate) essence of human nature.  Hollywood could not make it through one week of television or cinema without killing off hundreds of people in more-or-less “true life crime” scenarios.  Why is that?   Why are all or nearly all religions, including everything from Christianity to Aztec Idolatry to the post-World War II “secular religion” based on the memory (or imagination) of the Nazi Holocaust, why are all human religions based on murder?  How many (if any) great stories can you think of which do not either focus on or center around one or more murders, unjust killings, senseless wars?  Can human culture exist without murder and deception?  Can human language exist without lies?

Excelsior! and Eureka! 165 Years of California Gold: from Sutter’s Mill to Jennifer Lawrence (January 24, 1848-January 24, 2013)

On January 24, 1848, gold (AU 79 on the Periodic Chart of the Elements) was discovered on the South Branch of the American River at John Augustus Sutter’s Mill in “New Helvetia” (New Switzerland), California.  Sutter’s history kind of set the tone in California for a culture of real estate piracy by “claim jumping” and disregard for any rights except those established by possession of money……

At one time the absolute ruler of what amounted to a private kingdom along the Sacramento River, John Sutter saw his immense wealth and power overrun in the world’s rush to pick California clean of gold.

Sutter was born John Augustus Sutter in Baden, Germany, though his parents had originally come from Switzerland, a lineage of which he was especially proud. In 1834, faced with impossible debt, he decided to try his fortunes in America and, leaving his family in a brother’s care, set sail for New York. There he decided that the West offered him the best opportunity for success, and he moved to Missouri, where for three years he operated as a trader on the Santa Fe Trail.

By 1838, Sutter had determined that Mexican California held the promise of fulfilling his ambitious dreams, and he set off along the Oregon Trail, arriving at Fort Vancouver, near present-day Portland, Oregon, in hopes of finding a ship that would take him to San Francisco Bay. His journey involved detours to the Hawaiian Islands and to a Russian colony at Sitka, Alaska, but Sutter made the most of his wanderings by trading advantageously along the way. When he finally arrived in California in 1839, Sutter met first with the provincial governor in Monterey and secured permission to establish a settlement east of San Francisco (then called Yerba Buena) along the Sacramento River, in an area then occupied only by Indians.

Sutter was granted nearly fifty thousand acres and authorized “to represent in the Establishment of New Helvetia [Sutter’s Swiss-inspired name for his colony] all the laws of the country, to function as political authority and dispenser of justice, in order to prevent the robberies commited by adventurers from the United States, to stop the invasion of savage Indians and the hunting and trapping by companies from the Columbia.” In other words, Sutter was to serve the California authorities as a bulwark against the assorted threats pressing in on them from American-controlled territories to the north and east.

Ironically, as headquarters for his domain, Sutter chose a site on what he named the American River, at its junction with the Sacramento River and near the site of present-day Sacramento. Here, with the help of laborers he had brought with him from Hawaii, he built Sutter’s Fort, a massive adobe structure with walls eighteen feet high and three feet thick. Two years later, in 1841, Sutter expanded his settlement when the Russians abandoned Fort Ross, their outpost north of San Francisco, and offered to sell it to him for thirty thousand dollars. Paying with a note he never honored, Sutter practically dismantled the fort and moved its equipment, livestock and buildings to the Sacramento Valley.

Within just a few years, Sutter had achieved the grand-scale success he long dreamed of: acres of grain, a ten-acre orchard, a herd of thirteen thousand cattle, even two acres of Castile roses. His son came to share in his prosperity in 1844, and the rest of his family soon followed. At the same time, during these years Sutter’s Fort became a regular stop for the increasing number of Americans venturing into California, several of whom Sutter employed. Besides providing him with a profitable source of trade, this steady flow of immigrants provided Sutter with a network of relationships that offered some political protection when the United States seized control of California in 1846, at the outbreak of the Mexican War.

Barely a week before the war’s end, however, there occurred a chance event that would destroy all John Sutter’s achievements and yet at the same time link his name forever to one of the highpoints of American history. On the morning of January 24, 1848, a carpenter named James Marshall, who was building a sawmill for Sutter upstream on the American River near Coloma, looked into the mill’s tailrace to check that it was clear of silt and debris and saw at the water’s bottom nuggets of gold. Marshall took his discovery to Sutter, who consulted an encyclopedia to confirm it and then tried to pledge all his employees to secrecy. But within a few months, word had reached San Francisco and the gold rush was on.

Suddenly all of Sutter’s workmen abandoned him to seek their fortune in the gold fields. Squatters swarmed over his land, destroying crops and butchering his herds. “There is a saying that men will steal everything but a milestone and a millstone,” Sutter later recalled; “They stole my millstones.” By 1852, New Helvetia had been devastated and Sutter was bankrupt. He spent the rest of his life seeking compensation for his losses from the state and federal governments, and died disappointed on a trip to Washington, D.C. in 1880.

On January 24, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.: I took time off from my somewhat manic-depressive studies of Louisiana Civil Law to  go to the Prytania Movie Theatre for a free showing a a movie “Haiti Redux” where I happened to sit next to an Iranian-American student of Real Estate at New York University named Alexander who identified himself as being from Beverly Hills, California.  It seems that one of the Professors from the Real Estate Department at NYU was one of the co-producers of this movie about the efforts of various small academic and artistic groups to help in the reconstruction of Haiti after the January 12, 2013.  They came to New Orleans as a kind of “study of comparative disaster sites” I guess (seven and a half years after Katrina).  

I have previously commented on how Iranians, especially Iranians of the Jewish Faith and sub-ethnicity, have taken over Beverly Hills, so it was a weird triangulation on the world.  The movie itself was slightly interesting but kind of pointless.  Why a bunch of “do gooder” White people from New York need to go down to Haiti to tell them what their “standards” ought to be for everything in life begged (in my opinion) the question of why Haiti is such a basket case of a country in the first place.  

It makes no sense to say that Haiti is the way it is because of White Oppression of Blacks, because Haiti was the SECOND INDEPENDENT NATION IN THE NEW WORLD, after the U.S., to fight for and win its own Independence.  Basically, after the French Revolution had started in the 1790s, the Black Slaves rose up and either slaughtered or exiled the French landowners, and their country has been a living hell ever since.  Coincidence?  Karma?  Genetics?  Some combination of all three?  The movie “Haiti Redux” did not explain.

January 24, 2013, at 10:00 p.m.: Since I was already at the Prytania, and kind of bored and frustrated by the Haiti Redux movie, I decided to stick around for “Silver Linings Playbook”, not having heard or read anything about it in advance except that it had 8 nominations for Academy Awards.  This is only the third movie of Jennifer’s I have seen, but I’m already quite madly in love with her and I am very happy that she has been nominated for “Best Actress” in this piece.  To begin with, the young Katniss Everdeen, I mean Miss Lawrence, outshines the rather more sensationally ballyhooed Kristen Stewart by a factor of roughly 10,000 to 1, both as a genuine actress and a beauty with sex appeal….well, beyond any effect I can describe without using metaphors of NASA technology and intergalactic astronomical explorations.

But the movie Silver Linings Playbook scores a more important victory.  It turns the past year’s penchant for portraying ordinary Middle-Class White people as insane subjects for clinical analysis and institutional confinement into a marvelous romantic comedy.  So of Jennifer’s three movie’s I’ve seen so far: in the HUNGER GAMES, she is a heroine par excellence, a beauty with skills and brains reminiscent of her own real Kentucky frontier heritage and background.  Katniss Everdeen’s mental strength and character in that movie equate with her physical skill and practical experience.  But then in HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET, Jennifer’s character, though still exquisite in every way, was drawn into a tragedy of mental illness and depravity of ordinary middle class White People.  This media theme is part of the Western Power-Elite’s current campaign to destroy all vestiges of the America that was pre-1965, pre-Johnson, pre-Vietnam, pre-Johnson-Nixon, pre-Watergate, pre-Nixon-Ford, pre-degenerate malaise, pre-Carter, pre-fake Neo-Con Restoration, pre-Reagan.

But a stroke of genius—you bring Katniss Everdeen together with “Deer-Hunter” and American Icon Robert DeNiro, and you have a recipe for REGENERATING the American Middle Class Dream.  It all started out, depressingly enough, in a mental institution, no Jennifer’s character wasn’t there but she COULD have been—showing yet another real aspect of modern America that men are treated much more harshly for their transgressions than women.  I thought initially it was going to be yet another—everyone who LOOKS American as Apple Pie is Demented movie.  But the movie totally transcended all that and convincingly showed that “Temporary Insanity” is actually pretty normal and that even people who have taken a sampler of the entire menu of the nastiest psychiatric drug menu imposed by Non-American Non-Whites who have their consciousness completely together.

I have this terribly depressing fear that Obama era politics will lead to an Academy Award going either to “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (which at least is incredibly original) or to “Lincoln” which is anything but original and in fact deserves to be panned on every single historical point contained within it, but I’m casting my vote for Silver Linings Playbook and Jennifer Lawrence as the incomparable Tiffany….  OK, I’ve also confessed in the past that I tend to fall in love with any and every girl I meet named Tiffany, but this is a personal hazard of mine which has no bearing on my evaluation of the movie.  Robert DeNiro is the best I’ve seen him in many years, and this movie has truly redemptive potential at a time when America Desperately needs it.  

Strange to think of the similarities between the California Gold Rush and Hollywood Movies as the parallel and independent but key defining features of California culture…. but there they are, separated only by the difference between Northern and Southern California….