Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ready for that Rocket?

The Surreal World of Preparation to Enter Other Galaxies
Hollywood uses a plethora of grey in the new films that it makes for viewers in  cinema halls and of television. The subdued lighting, whether it is space age fiction, or murder mysteries or espionage tales, all tell us that the world has to be understood with it’s new significance, that there is no longer black, white or colour, which will inform our  post modern understanding. The subtlety of this choice is overplayed, not just by shooting indoors, often in laboratory settings or in toned down apartments, but the threat perception is exaggerated with evening scenes and clouded skies.  With post terrorism appearing in the west, the battle lines have changed. The new forms of warfare know no boundaries, there is no ethic, no sportsmanship on either side, and even less,  etiquette. The advertisement breaks return the viewer to the real world, as there are routine chores for the housewife,  such as food to be prepared, and water collected, before the family returns. In a way, the sophoric romances too, so appealing to couch potatoes, have been replaced by sullen dramas which paint old age as vicious, children as traumatic and traumatising, married couples as continually adulterous or suspicious. However, when the  viewer returns to the t.v, she finds the same old advertisements are continually replaying. This nexus between the advertisers and the channels are probably worth millions, but it’s boring to be sold the same shampoos, soaps and face creams over and over again. It has the desired effect of making the viewer feel that the traditional remedies of orange or lemon scrub, papaya, turmeric, cream of milk and friendly oils such as sesame, are quite out of the pale.
Fair skin for men and women is such a premium that it makes one wonder what happened to the debates on skin colour and racism. The dark good looks of Omar Sharif or the great Shakespearean actor Sir Lawrence Olivier are a thing of the past. Their earthiness, their corporeality, their passion have been replaced by the fervour, cunning, athleticism and shockingly cereberal or erudite prowess of the new actors, well paid, handsome, and in tune with the Star Wars manifesto of having blank faces and quick  moves. Indian viewers of Hollywood realise that  every decade finds one or two takers, who can mimic the west’s ideal of how tropical faces can assimilate Caucasian orientations to beauty. Ofcourse, Priyanka Chopra, loved by admen, producers, and viewers equally has entered the world of recognition by the West. But is there a West, anymore? The world, through the contribution of Business Processing Houses is singularly round, and dialects and accents produced according to the consumer’s need. What makes the film industry so relevant is that it jumps ahead of it’s times, it memorises the details of scientific paraphernalia and jargon, is able to create Mars in studios, and to fly towards the other planets, destroying the Moon on the way. However, earthlings always struggle to keep the beauty of the earth going, and the simplest of horticulturists appear to return the earth to its former naivete, before the hazardous plants from scientific revolutions poisoned the earth.
Joan Kelly, one of the most powerful feminists of the last century, asserted that the single parent household should not be viewed as an anamoly. Would she conclude that even if one’s parent was thousands of light years away, love itself is sufficient to keep the bonds of the family together? Desire for knowledge, and for extra terrestrial experiences is sufficient to make men and women, trained for the job, to set aside the obligations to family and neighbourhood. The detachment, thus experienced is not detrimental, but it allows for the evolution of society. That society may not look like the one we know, or like, but the plane of intergalactic experience is such, that the viewer is actually zoned in to accept technological society as the ultimate good. In such a society, we have no right to our personal feelings, our motivations, our ambitions. We must submit to surveillance society, and the janitors who double officially as keepers of the law. The law is ofcourse, concocted by the moment. It is the oligarchy of technicians who decide what individuals may or may not do. The appearance of the individualist is the greatest anarchic moment. Hollywood states very clearly that whether it is war in the Arab countries against a terrorist enclave, or mars wars, the orientation to the doctored voice is the only clue the viewer has to what is good or evil.  We must accept the simian in the cyborg as Donna Harroway put it so brilliantly.

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