Friday, March 15, 2013

March 15th Reading n' Shit

So, today I'm reading a book recommended by a friend. (He's fucking weird in that he's able to go buy these awesome second-hand books and then, when he's done reading them, gets rid of them when there's no more room on his shelf for new ones.)

Anyhow, it's by Alex Butterworth and it's called The World That Never Was: the true story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists & Secret Police. This nitwit reviewer at the Guardian seems to think it's a scathing condemnation of the anarchist dreamers, but most of the reviewers at the link say it's more a condemnation of the hypocrisy and immorality of the official guardians of order, which is certainly how the pages from 1-21 have made me feel. (One good reason to call that reviewer a nitwit is his sniggering at the science-fantasy visions of the 19th Century radical Louise Michel. Yes, certainly, a courageous fighter for workers' rights and radical democracy, who was exiled to a South Pacific Island where she would later side with the indigenous inhabitants against the grasping French colonizers, is an obvious loon for thinking that maybe one day there would be colonies under the sea. Her principles, the justice of her cause, her heroism, her belief in the rights of all people, ... all of it to be denigrated because some of her hopes for the future resembled a Jules Verne story.)

Butterworth begins by saying that the police campaign against anarchism is similar to the campaigns in today's "war on terror." Perhaps he's too subtle for some, but it seems he's not entirely a devotee to the capitalist-imperialist hypocrisies so obvious in that struggle. I've only just started it and I'm sure I'll become infuriated.

Watched "Casino" by Martin Scorsese again last night. Films like "Goodfellas" and "Casino" are (as you probably already know) morality plays about man-children and about US capitalism. Scorsese's hoods at first seem to be on top of the world. Nobody fucks with them and they get whatever they want. But, eventually, their egos, selfishness and greed, bring them down.

But check out this scene:

Could you picture mobsters in any other country besides the USA being able to do this shit and steal so much? Think of all those informants Pesci's character has helping him; all for a cut. Just think about the amount of wealth that's necessary before an operation like this can be worth the while for these criminal parasites.

Then, at the end, as DeNiro's character laments the passing of his version of Las Vegas, reflect upon how this mob-created empire of glittery misery, and fostered by official hypocrisy, was swept away by an even bigger, gaudier corporate version beginning in the late-1980s. It's still separating people from their money, sometimes with tragic consequences, but the corporations got the money to do it as a result of the "pro-business" policies of the "Reagan Revolution." What I'm saying is to think about the political-economic changes just hinted at in that last part of the movie.

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