Sunday, August 5, 2012

Infinite Jest #7: Metropolis, The Dark Knight Rises and Infinite Jest

Think of these Sunday posts as jumping off places...discuss what I've posted, post something yourself, answer questions, ask questions, add whatever it takes to make this experience enjoyable and understandable for you!

These post will be CHOCK FULL OF SPOILERS for the reading for that week (Just in case you didn't already know that!). I think knowing this will stop those of us that aren't at a certain place from reading on and will enable those of us who are writing to do so without worrying if someone knows that fact or not. If you are reading ahead and want to post about the pages ahead please wait and if you want to talk about other books, not Infinite Jest and are giving spoilers please indicate that in some fashion...even a *spoiler* before the comment would be nice.

And, finally, if there is anything I can do to make this run more smoothly please don't hesitate to message me on here, on twitter or on Goodreads and I'll see what I can do.

Let's begin the discussion...
Ok, so last weekend was our 3rd year anniversary and in true Gen X meets Millennial fashion we celebrated with a movie, but not just any movie though...we celebrated with The Dark Knight Rises. Without giving anything away, hopefully, I got a little misty-eyed at the ending. OK, actually, I may have had real tears. Then I had to research the whole lot and in doing so I stumbled upon an interesting sub-point. Although Nolan claims no political affiliation, many believe that this movie has a fascist agenda. Heck, many believe that all comic book tales lean toward fascism. From The Dark Knight Rises is a Pro-Fascist Movie:

A note for clarity: I’m going to be using the words fascism and fascist a lot in this review. Since, as Orwell warned us, those terms have come to be used as synonyms for “stuff I don’t like”, I should pin down the sense in which I use them here. Fascism is a political ideology fixated on authoritarianism, militaristic imagery and action, and the use of authoritarian force against internal and external Others who are defined as threats to the continued existence of society. Fixations on nationalism and national or racial purity and unity are also common. Fascism is a phenomenon of the political right, and has always been fanatically anti-communist, communism being what happens when the political left gets equally douchey. 
That said, there has always been an intrinsically fascist subtext to all superhero mythology. These stories, which I have grown up on and still love, are predicated on creating a situation of such exaggerated threat that fascist solutions, i.e. strongmen acting outside due process to restore order by violent force, become not only plausible but desirable. To put it another way, citizens of Metropolis might be uncomfortable with having a nearly-omnipotent alien living in their city, answerable to no authority but himself, but when a week can’t go by without a giant robot trying to level the city, you’ll accept the alien as preferable to the robots.

I read the whole article and thought about it and wanted to talk about it, but couldn't. If you read the whole article be warned that it contains MAJOR spoilers for the movie. I watched it again with a friend a couple of days later and had the same reaction (only this time I was anticipating the ending). We talked about whether it was fascist or not. I'm still on the fence, she says 'No.'. And, there was still something at the back of my mind, right out of sight, but I knew it existed.

I started thinking about Metropolis (from Wikipedia):

Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist science-fiction film directed by Fritz Lang. The film was written by Lang and his wife Thea Von Harbou, and starred Brigitte HelmGustav FröhlichAlfred Abel and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. A silent film, it was produced in the Babelsberg Studios by UFA. 
Made in Germany during the Weimar PeriodMetropolis is set in a futuristic urban dystopia, and follows the attempts of Freder, the son of a wealthy intellectual, and Maria, whose background is not fully explained in the film, to overcome the vast gulf separating the classist nature of their city.Metropolis was filmed in 1925, at a cost of approximately four million Reichsmarks.[2] The film was met with a mixed response upon its initial release, with many critics praising its technical achievements while deriding its simplistic and naïve storyline. Due both to its long running-time and footage censors found questionable, Metropolis was cut substantially after its German premiere; large portions of the film were lost over the subsequent decades.

So, finally, this morning I googled 'Dark Knight Rises and Metropolis'...who knew?

How Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' Inspired Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Rises'
The Dark Knight Rises, A Tale of Two Cities, and Fritz Lang?

And, this post from the LiveBlog has tied it all together.


And, the connections just keep on coming...

What would DFW think about all that?!

1] Many of you have messaged me about needing time to catch up. Do I need to add another week onto our schedule? Do I need to exempt a Sunday convo day?
2] If you haven't signed up officially, please do so here.
3] Catch up on all of our IJ stuff and things here.
4] Come join in on the convo even if you haven't caught up with the reading. Just comment on the post for the weeks you have read. I miss the conversation.

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