Monday, May 16, 2005

Life Aquatic: a response

Culture (subconsciously) worships then destroys. These were the words of a "desperate housewife" who was interviewed on network TV (herself being the example). I recalled that this concept was one of Picasso's general principles when creating art. (creation-->destuction). Recently I've become aware that I practice this as well against the bourgesie culture, the bible, modernist poetics, my academic aspirations, my closest relationship.

I would like to explore whether culture itself has awakened to its own consiousness in our contemporary milieu. Perhaps I am more post-modern than I would like to believe (if p-mism is a tearing down of the icons and revealing their weaknesses--eg. Christianity, the University, or Michael Jackson).

Films like "The Life Aquatic" seem to practice such a concept--Director's ask, how can we break our viewers' preconceived notions of beauty, heroism, etc.? Yet what they are tearing down was itself a tearing down of previous beliefs. This process is endless when looked at in retrospect. When we speak of the beginning of philosophy in the west we refer to Plato, yet this was a reaction against a certain philosphy which preceeded it, right?

The main character (played by Bill Murray) is not the archetypal anti-hero Captain Ahab (upon which he is based), but an anti-Ahabian character twice removed. He is out to catch what he calls the Jaguar-Shark who devoured his friend on a previous mission. His madness is pathetic and his folly is considered wise by his followers; he is past his prime and has resorted to smoking marijuana as an escape from reality. One character (Owen Wilson) stands alone in questioning the motives of his illigetimate father. This becomes a Freudian game once Wilson overhears that Murray has chosen a mistress and the crew should stay away. Wilson "marries" the mistress despite the warning.

I have always considered postmodernism in America beginning with the Vietnam War when angry protestors questioned their father's motives to marry with the Eastern queen. Perhaps this is because when I woke up and discovered this concept it fell within a contemporary (postmodern) literature course.

Over the past several years I have been awaking to the nightmare that my fathers are mad (this is a personal statement referring to people and ideas, not institutions). Similarly, film makers have realized that people delight in poking fun of the status quo and making ugly what was once beautiful. My only complaint is that they are second and third generation destroyers. What will be left when there is nothing left to dissolve? Similarly, what will I have left after I have destroyed what was once so dear?

I suppose I will create myself anew which will most likely look alot like what I attempted to avoid.

I'm at a loss for a line from Oedipus...something about the irony of blindness.