Genocidal Eros

World War Z – Official Trailer (HD)

The cinematic tsunami of dehumanized humanity dissolves under mechanized slaughter: This very special effect recalls and re-configures historical experiences for which the term nightmare is quite inadequate. It operates as cathartic memory dump and also, or so may we reasonably conjecture, as preparatory exercise in desensitization, but Daniel Drezner, foreign policy analyst and zombie aficionado, is worried about the adaptation of World War Z for other reasons. His concern is that the film-makers may be injuring the precious work of literary art, especially by focusing on what appears to be a conventional hero, played by world-bettering superstar Brad Pitt, of a type absent from the original narrative. “The closest thing to a strategic savior in the book,” notes Drezner, “is a despised Afrikaaner who modif[ies] a decades-old plan to preserve the apartheid government.” Whatever the possible omission may say about the movie, the origin of the book’s final zombie solution supports a certain theory of the political unconscious of the genre. As we have discussed, the zombie “holocaust” re-animates revolution and revelation as insurrection of the resurrected and two-sided genocidal war for the fun of it. Equality becomes destruction itself, utopia becomes necropolis, in a shockingly familiar materialization of total negation (“consummate negativity“). In those images from WWZ, it is as though the stacks of corpses shown to the world in 1945 and ever after – human bodies “like cordwood,” in the famous phrase – have all at once swirled up to undying vengeance. On the level of political-military history, the accelerated human wave assault re-enacts and compresses the ultimate tactic and counter-tactic of class struggle. On the intimate level, within the triangle of audience member, character, and zombie, we simply seek ecstasy in escalating depravation. The female lead character dies by emergency amateur Caesarian section, with coup de grace administered by her twelve-year-old son, though true fans may hope-fear that similar deeds, in keeping with the apocalyptic aesthetic, will in future be brought spectacularly to view rather than left respectably buried offscreen. Either way, macro or micro, imaged or merely imagined, movie or book, recollection or forecast, it is the same worse-better sadomasochism; the invigoratingly deadening, actively suspended inter-annihilation of opposites; unboundedly self-canceling and self-extending deathbirth; end of the world without end; schizo-hallucinated mass martyrdom in the media Colosseum without walls or borders (“and no religion, too”). It must be serious business, this empty escapism.


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  1. Well that scene in New York. that figures prominently in the trailer, doesn’t come up until quite a ways into the story, the book opening up in China, and segueing to Israel, and parts west, and east

  2. Well, good point, the Resident Evil franchise tried to answer that with the mutated crows, verisimilitute, sometimes is beside the point, they threw out Strazynski’s script to make it more actiony

  3. read “zombie survival guide” for fly and or carrion rejection of the undead host body. book is by max brooks and is fiction based in reality. real biology answers the carrion question……….fu

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TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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