:: Essays

Dancin’ With Manson published 06/03/2017

Trained up by years spent in Army Intelligence, Tate calmly picked out daughter Sharon and her friends from the graphic crime-scene photos taken on the morning after the murders. Tate’s appearance as first witness was a skilled piece of scheduling by the prosecution team, focusing the jury on the personal loss suffered by the victims’ families.

Excerpt from Simon Wells‘ recently republished book on the Manson ‘Family’ trials, Coming Down Fast.

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Cities in Cinema 2: Gomorrah published

Yet Napoli is more than a neutral stage. The people we encounter are the essential products of the city’s toxic soil, corrupt institutions, dysfunctional housing estates and decaying public spaces. Don Ciro, Pasquale, little Totò; they all issued from the cankered kennel of the city’s womb, and are every bit as poisoned as the peaches thrown into the gutter by Franco.

John P. Houghton‘s latest column for 3:AM.

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(Identity) Politics & Prose published 04/03/2017

Let’s put one thing up front: using one’s genitals or epidermis as a way to gain political legitimacy is corrupt; to think with them is intellectually shallow; to adhere one’s aesthetic to them when making art is absurd. I’m not concerned here with a case for or against any one political movement that also has literary and theoretical roots, like Feminism, but rather how this awareness enters into literature, where it appears and how it shapes the writer’s sense of duty––meaning that how we choose to think about aesthetic value in art can become dependent on our non-literary allegiances.

Jared Marcel Pollen on identity politics and literature.

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‘Broken’ Matt published 01/03/2017

‘Broken’ Matt is the nearest wrestling gets to poststructuralist philosophy because there’s no essence underneath—just more and more stuff: another story, feud, or challenge; another broken chapter in a larger broken drama; like a kaleidoscope on repeat. This stuff keeps us watching and our psychic investment in ‘Broken’ Matt accrues value—social media magnifying the stories, feuds, and catchphrases—a psychic investment allowing tributaries of profit to flow at ever-increasing volumes. Wrestling needs stories for this reason. Wrestling is a technology to guide the flow of story—and the flow of money.

Paul Walsh on ‘Broken’ Matt and the politics of wrestling.

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Paradoxical Progress – The Art and Politics of Gilbert and George published 28/02/2017

Gilbert and George are realist artists. They are also right-wing artists. An avalanche of embarrassed apologia from admirers has sought to bury this inconvenient truth. Surely this most playful pair are merely having us on with their conservative bon mots?

Ben Granger on the paradox known as Gilbert and George.

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Emancipative Disillusionment. Subversion/ Agitation/ Transgression/ Critique published 25/02/2017

They pose – like Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will – the question of cinema itself: fascism was the only major ideology to be born of a cinematic consciousness – it was (and is) cinematic to its core. Its subtle expansion into all aspects of daily life, via the evolution of TV and new media, the pervasive seductions of advertising and the omnipresence of computing algorithms designed to reinforce our collective narcissism, represent an almost insurmountable dilemma.

Louis Armand on subversive cinema.

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Cities in Cinema 1: Le grande bellezza published 23/02/2017

Can the soul of the man and of the city be saved? That is the question at the heart of Paolo Sorrentino’s 2013 Academy Award winner for best foreign language feature. We follow Jep on an epic emotional journey as he is forced to acknowledge the spiritual vacuum that has left him feeling ultimately dissatisfied, despite his wealth and fame. What elevates Le grande bellezza beyond the familiar cinematic trope of ‘middle-aged man seeks meaning in life’ is the fundamental connection that director Paolo Sorrentino forges between the man and the city.

A new 3:AM column by John P. Houghton.

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The Ideology of the End of Ideology: Pontecorvo/ Godard/ Fassbinder published 17/02/2017

In 1968, at the height of a renewed political engagement in all areas of social life, Jean-Luc Godard stated: “There are two types of militant films, those we call ‘blackboard films’ and those known as Internationale films. The latter are the equivalent of chanting L’internationale during a demonstration, while the others prove certain theories that allow one to apply to reality what has been seen on screen” (La Gai savoir).

Louis Armand explores options for radicalised cinema.

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An Introduction to a Fractal Ontology published

All knowledges are an attempt to bring order to noise—to forcefully organise the chaos continually fixing everything together in an asymmetrical block of concurrent becoming. We can call this instantaneous zigzag a fractal ontology—a set of concepts and categories that show the properties and relations between them. The following is an introductory exploration of some of the phenomenological implications of such an ontology—of the vital mutations of becoming that operate as a material intensification of existentialism, a thorough going-beyond of Martin Heidegger, an exploration of Friedrich Nietzsche’s maps, as well as declaration of war on Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant.

AT Kingsmith introduces a Fractal Ontology.

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Deleuze & Dougy published 16/02/2017

Like Zarathustra’s donkey, cynical comedians choose to carry weight they are no longer required to carry, even if that weight is just the ruins of institutional Christianity or any other grand narrative. Maybe they don’t have a choice and their slimy, miserable Will to Power makes it impossible for them to appreciate or show reverence for anything. Either way they are – unlike Christians and others who subscribe to grand narratives – doubly condemned to both freedom and the inability to enjoy that freedom.

Will Johnson riffs on Deleuze and some.

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