Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Lady (movie review)

In some ways this movie reminded me of Logicomix, probably because of all the shots of Oxford, and all those famous people (e.g. Bishop Tutu), making an appearance.  My own little life is kinda "comic book" to me, ala Crumb decor at Laughing Planet (a frame in a frame), so don't think I'm "putting it down" in comparing this movie to a comic book, or "graphic novel" if you prefer.  Anime.

The meditation it inspired was again about nationalism and its failures.  I think of the patch quilt of nation states applied as a layer as an especially Anglo invention that reached its peak with the Anglo empire.  Our suspended disbelief in nations was most suspended back then.

Of course (goes the thinking) every people needs a flag, a central government, ministries, agencies, bureaucracy.  "Is Greenland a country?" I asked a member of the Yorkshireman race.  "Of course it is, want me to look it up in the CIA World Fact Book"?  Antarctica isn't a country (yet).  The Vatican is a country.

Sony (as in Sony Pictures) is a company, not a country.  Disney with Disneylands could be a country, if it wanted to be.  EPCOT shows the nations as World Expo style pavilions, facing Tomorrowland, all companies (named The Grunch by Fuller, the BuckyBall an anchoring motif).

Some companies are bigger than some countries, though their assets may be more globally dispersed.  They make alliances with nations.  East India Tea... British Petroleum -- these companies have their own diplomats and embassies so to speak, not to mention bureaucracies, but the namespaces are different (logos instead of flags, though both use decals and stencils).

Then we have these more illegal-sounding names, like "cartel".  Burma has a lot of company cartels, no doubt with their internal rivalries, but from the outside it behooves them to don the "dress of nations" and parade around on stage with the others.  It's a lot about style & fashion, and whether one carries weapons, and whether it's socially acceptable to use them.

The presentation on Zapatistas at the meetinghouse used the word "gang" and "party" (as in "political party") somewhat synonymously.  These were violent actors.  They would sweep through and seize property, vandalize with impunity.  This is how warring groups attempt to assert control and/or deny rivals the benefits of having inventory. 

As a veteran of Laughing Horse Books and Video Collective movies, I'm quite aware that "companies" and "nations" fade into the underworld pretty quickly, with few hard edges.  You get to violence, bullying, coercion, imprisoning pretty quickly.  England has as sordid a history as the rest of them.

Companies seize land from peasants at gun point, often using nation state armies to do so.  Smedley Butler wrote about this pattern in War is a Racket (just delivered to my Kindle for $2.89).

Some peoples had the good fortune to work out some agreements before the weapons got so powerful and effective.  Imagine the US Civil War with carpet bombing and long range missiles.  Submarines were only just getting going.  With the US and others exporting outward weapons to pay bills, strengthening the hand of those opposed to weapons use becomes a critical business.  Countdown to Zero is a part of that strengthening, and is popular with non-aligned nations (those without a "superpower" complex).  The intelligence community tends to be supportive, somewhat by definition.

We packed the living room:  Steve Holden, myself, Lindsey & Melody, mom, and JenQ.  Melody and I went to Freddies and stocked up on popcorn.  I projected using mom's Sony VAIO, directly on the wall.  The picture quality was sharp, the sound plenty loud.  The sound track is quite musical, featuring piano and violin music.  Pachelbel's Canon rises to the level of theme music.