Friday, June 14, 2013

Cloud Atlas Reprise: The Conservative Hunger for Exploitation

There is a word very commonly used these days: "anti-communism." It's a very stupid word, badly put together. It makes it appear as though communism were something original, something basic, something fundamental. Therefore, it is taken as the point of departure, and anti-communism is defined in relation to communism. Here is why I say that this word was poorly selected, that it was put together by people who do not understand etymology: the primary, the eternal concept is humanity. And communism is anti-humanity. Whoever says "anti-communism" is saying, in effect, anti-anti-humanity. A poor construction. So we should say: that which is against communism is for humanity. Not to accept, to reject this inhuman Communist ideology is simply to be a human being. It isn't being a member of a party.  ―Solzhenitsyn, Washington D.C., 1975*
The weak are meat,
and the strong do eat.

    ―Old Georgie, c. 2400 A.D.
This review has some spoilers...

Having had a change to view this movie myself, just extra tidbits to follow up Contrariwise's review. The Fine Art Diner blog also had a thought-provoking analysis of the movie, but I thought a key point that it gets wrong is the idea that the fabricants are robots.  The fate of the fabricants should confirm for the viewer that they are organic.  (There is also a reference to the "genoming" of fabricants.)  I don't think we are given any indication that anything other than genetic predisposition and various forms of psychosomatic conditioning (including the "Catechisms" alluded to) produce the illusion of sentient beings without "free will." The post is worth reading for exposing the misuse of Solzhenitsyn as a general commentator on abuse rather than an all-out enemy of the great lie of socialism, though there are other gems as well.  For Solzhenitsyn, it was socialism that, in its penultimate incarnation as communism, had erased the humanity of human beings.

It strikes me that the most pivotal story line may well be the one that lies most squarely in the science fiction genre, that of the plight of Sonmi and her fellow fabricants in New Seoul, which is governed by "corpocrats," apparently evil 'corporationey' execs.  The opposition to the soulless Seoul is the "Union," the force for freedom.  It is almost laughably obvious--usually it takes a religious group to cudgel the audience with an allegorical bludgeon so crudely fashioned.  Do not expect subtlety here.  The wonderful Union hero even works in an environmentalism plug about the oceans rising.

Speaking of environmentalism, there are mixed signals about nuclear energy.  The film obviously connects with leftists' instinctive fear that nuclear energy endeavors must of necessity go the way of Chernobyl.  Only this time though, nuclear energy will actually free us from our addiction to Big Oil, an addiction publicly celebrated by the Big Oil villain.  But the nuclear power plant won't be successful because an oil company is going to keep it from being successful.  I would think that the only way Big Oil could really prevent Big Nuclear is through government interference (which allows public officials to be bought off).  They even blow up a plane to keep their secret because they can just blame it on the PLO anyway.  Yep, them PLO bombings were just corporations postponing 21st century technology.

The movie gives away a lot of endings from the very beginning--in the very first minute--and spends the rest of the time telling you how those endings are arrived at.  Sonmi will inspire the next generation, in which the forces against diversity and boundary-pushing (i.e. courage) are embodied in The Devil.  Yes, the devil.  The devil reveals himself to be the face of the culminated revelation of centuries of Evils as embodied in capitalism and social conservatism: he preaches the same social Darwinism that threatens the life of an abolitionist many centuries earlier.  Sonmi herself will be inspired by the long-past uprising of an unprincipled publisher who frees himself from an abusive situation caused by, yes, wealthy capitalists.  Yes, yes.  It's as though the script were a coded message: "Help! I'm an ultra-liberal screenwriter trapped in a tower forced to write confusing scripts!"  Keeping with the "Eternal Recurrence" theme of the film, the 20th century publisher himself says something to foreshadow the advent of future activist Sonmi.

But what it most interesting for me about the Sonmi story, is that to the filmmakers she is a means to demythologize Christ.  In the future Zachry will be tempted to kill Meronym, even though he likes her, because her heresies are just too upsetting to contemplate.  And he contemplates killing her knowing that the Devil (called Old Georgie, "HUGO WEAVING dressed up as A LEPRECHAUN impersonating THE DEVIL cosplaying THE MAD HATTER"), not Sonmi,  is the one prompting him to do this. (And why might liberals give the name George to the Devil?)

But it's ok, it's close enough to the whole religion-makes-people-homicidal meme that most college indoctrinates won't care.  It sounds true, and that's all that matters.  Old Georgie has his hooks in Zachry because he wrongly believes Sonmi is a divine being of compassion instead of a human being of compassion.  Nothing allegorical there either.  Believing that Jesus, the prophet of compassion, was actually God Incarnate makes people go crazy and kill other people.  Yeppers, that belief actually fills you with the Devil.  Is this a new low for the Looney Left?

No, Sonmi was just a regular person who stood up for what was right, and she was willing to sacrifice herself for it.  She gave an important message that inspired many generations to come.  But the knowledgeable people who aren't guided by superstition, they know the truth about Sonmi, and they honor her truth without the silly notions of praying to her.  Y'know, a truly brave movie would write in an equally obvious allegory about Mohammed.  So much obvious contempt for Christians.

But Sonmi's message was inspired by the Union guys who were freeing slave employees from the wretched consumers.  Just like Jesus used to preach.  Sonmi's message will free Zachry from Georgie's message of "social Darwinism" (the socialist's typical formulation of fiscal conservatism): "the weak are meat and the strong do eat."  There is so much more to say about how the Progressive message of the film goes beyond "equal protection of the law" to expound how far we are obliged to go to save the weak from the strong.  To them, it would seem, conservativism is about exploitation.

Another anti-consumerism theme worked is where Zachry enquires of Meronym what brought about the fall of the children of the technological age. She says that is was the "hunger for more."  Ironically, there was probably a time when it was envisioned that if only the common man had such-and-such amenities that at the time were only enjoyed by the rich, the common man could be happy.  As it is, the common man has luxuries that surpass those of the rich in times past.  And yet, there has always room for envy as long as someone has more.  (Is it "fair" that anyone has the luxury of not working?)  In fact, envy has blossomed as never before.  Ironically, the film may yet be right about what leads to our downfall, but not in the way it has in mind.

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