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26 May 2007 @ 11:49 am
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: Just a few personal impressions  
So I went to see AWE yesterday, together with cavendish at the Lichtburg Essen.




Can't say that I didn't enjoy the experience. Much to my own surprise I felt sufficiently entertained, laughed, cheered and was rather delighted by the few moments of true movie magic that flickered up once in a while.

Altogether a considerably less disjointed and tainted affair than DMC was. No severe pacing issues, no Cannibal Island to be outraged about. AWE is fast, silly, visually impressive and blissfully self-ironical. From a fannish point of view, however, it left me completely cold, with only one single scene (Elizabeth and Papa Swann) making any kind of deeper emotional impact.

No inspiration. No substance or quiet character moments to be intrigued by, or to speculate about.

Thinking about the finished, already half-typed PotC story in my notebook makes me feel very foolish for investing any time, any thought in these characters or this fictional universe. But still, I love doing these kinds of things. Imagining a very lost Mr. Gillette, all on his own in London at the dawn of Australian colonization, or James Norrington dealing with all the major and minor catastrophes of his life. Papa Swann being a very sweet elderly gentleman and hard core Macchiavellian at the same time.

If it all boils down to philosophical world views in the end, I guess there are just two kinds people. Those who believe that Horkheimer and Adorno got it all right in the first place when they depicted the mechanisms of a culture industry. And those who also believe these mechanisms do indeed exist, but actually prefer to not to care, for private reasons that are not even fully known to themselves.

Count me in on the latter.
 
 
Current Mood: sadsad, pensive
 
 
 
xchristabelx: fire! Vinnyxchristabelx on May 26th, 2007 09:58 am (UTC)
Ok, I managed not to read, but could you maybe put this behind cut, because there might be people around on your friends list who haven't seen the movie yet. ;) I'm going in exactly five hours. lol
Bimo: Norrie_plaid_shirtbimo on May 26th, 2007 10:25 am (UTC)
Just put the entry behind cut tags as you suggested :-)

there might be people around on your friends list who haven't seen the movie yet. ;)

I know, I know. And trust me, I really thought of them when writing the entry. Apart from mentioning the very fact that two characters had a scene together (nothing about the nature of that scene), the whole entry is completely free of spoilers. No plot points, no anything. Just a few personal musings and impressions.
xchristabelxxchristabelx on May 26th, 2007 10:50 am (UTC)
Ah, ok. lol I didn't mean to bug. I've just been jumping over spoilers so much over the last few days. lol And now in a few hours that shall be over. XD. Sure, I've seen reactions, but yeah. No major spoiler-reading yet.
Molly Joyfuljoyful_molly on May 26th, 2007 11:38 am (UTC)
Thinking about the finished, already half-typed PotC story in my notebook makes me feel very foolish for investing any time, any thought in these characters or this fictional universe. But still, I love doing these kinds of things.

That's what fanfic is all about: we can give the lives of the characters our own spin. We're not restricted to a script or have to bow to producers and lobby groups. We gave the characters backstories, loves, troubles, fears, families, lovers. We gave them a life. And I'm looking forward to see your spin and read about the life you've given them.
Cavendishcavendish on May 26th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
independent fandom - not really

>We're not restricted to a script or have to bow to producers and lobby groups.

Of course you bow to producers and lobby groups; indeed you (meaning fandom, not you personally) make a deep curtsy in front of the movie industry. In dealing with the movie, you accept, indeed have to accept, the product in its core, if not in every detail. You pay the price for what producers and lobby groups offer, you buy their product (i.e film and or DVD). In doing so you support whatever lobbygroups support a film for whatever reasons. The very nature of forming a fandom suggests that you tend to do this more likely than not with big productions which offer a well advertised campaign.

In giving the characters the movie industry creates and offers a live etc. you do what the lobby groups and producers want you to do: You invent not only money but time and thought in their product. Why the producers want you to do so, is a matter of political opinion and I will not indulge in that.

But I do think your claim of an "independent" fandom is, from a very basic pov, wrong.
Molly Joyful: Erestorjoyful_molly on May 26th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
Re: independent fandom - not really
indeed you (meaning fandom, not you personally) make a deep curtsy in front of the movie industry.

As I'm part of the fandom, "you" does mean "me", and I'm not quite sure why you thought I was in need of this lecture. Being involved in a fandom does not automatically mean "zero political awareness" and blindness to the way the business works.

My writing does not bow to producers and lobby groups, and that was all this was about. Nobody is looking over my shoulder and orders me to cut that text or add that line because group x might not like it or because sponsor y would prefer if his product was mentioned in a different context.

In giving the characters the movie industry creates and offers a live etc. you do what the lobby groups and producers want you to do: You invent not only money but time and thought in their product.

That's true - but unlike what you imply, I do so willingly and in full awareness. That's my own free decision. I pay money, they deliver entertainment. Do I become a member of the evil mouse empire if I write POTC fanfic? Could be. But every person who is reading a political or any other rant on my (personal) LJ does so because they first met me through fandom. Maybe it's a way of reaching out to people that does not meet your standards, however, it does meet mine.

You pay the price for what producers and lobby groups offer, you buy their product (i.e film and or DVD). In doing so you support whatever lobbygroups support a film for whatever reasons.

Of course I do, I'm aware of that. But where would you draw the line? You're on LJ - have you checked their business? Do you know who has his fingers in the Russian LJ? I wonder - what is worse, supporting lobbygroup x or putin-buddy y? Or is it fine because you have a free account and don't contribute any financial support?

But I do think your claim of an "independent" fandom is, from a very basic pov, wrong.

The thought of complete independence itself is wrong from a very basic pov.
Cavendishcavendish on May 26th, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC)
Re: independent fandom - not really
>As I'm part of the fandom, "you" does mean "me", and I'm not quite sure why you thought I was in need of this lecture.

I did not mean to lecture, but to express my heart felt anger at the very idea. I said, it was, since I do not know you, not personal. (Bimo assures me, you are quite nice, btw.)No, to say it again, the very idea made me angry.

>My writing does not bow to producers and lobby groups, and that was all this was about.

I have expressed above, I am not of the same opinion here.

>Do I become a member of the evil mouse empire if I write POTC fanfic?

Evil? I do not know about this. I did not say as much. Capitalist, most likely. But yes, I would say fandom becomes / is part of this.

BTW, I enjoy fandom. I like reading fanfiction at times. Normally I do not write fanfic though, but I do not write much at the moment anyhow. But I can not see fandom as an independent creative community, on the contrary, I think it a highly dependant creative community, more dependant than others. This is basically all I am sying.

>Maybe it's a way of reaching out to people that does not meet your standards, however, it does meet mine.

Ahh, my standards. You do not know me, but you know what my standards are, then, do you? Now that is interesting. Sorry, I do not apply standards to people.

>You're on LJ - have you checked their business? Do you know who has his fingers in the Russian LJ? I wonder - what is worse, supporting lobbygroup x or putin-buddy y? Or is it fine because you have a free account and don't contribute any financial support?

I would need to check this, and if true, would at least not support them financially. Would you?

No, but I did not _claim_ not to bow to lobby group X or Putin buddy Y.

Speaking of which: yes, if I get aware that certain lobby groups support a film / book / product I try to avoid the product. If I hear of racist notion in this or that film (e.g. Pirates II), I do avoid it also. This is my feeble attempt of not bowing. I know, most of the times it does not work, but I try. I would like fandom to try this as well, but I think most of the time they do not. Was there a cry of "I stop write fanfiction because what they did?". I would have thought this a good idea, really.

Of course, I know also that I am phony, because I went to see the film yesterday, so you do not need to tell me. I am not saying I do things right or better. I am not sitting on any high horse, really.


>As I'm part of the fandom, "you" does mean "me",

Maybe it means a part of you; I do not know. I meant just the notion you expressed above. I do not know you; I have no reason to attack you. If comment on a person I do not know, I comment on the idea not the person.
I believe lj a public place and notions offered there open to criticism.

Frank

Re: independent fandom - not really - joyful_molly on May 26th, 2007 02:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
No, I am not evil :-) - cavendish on May 26th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
So, da bin ich wieder - erestor on June 9th, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Und weiter gehts... - erestor on June 9th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Aber nu! - erestor on June 9th, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Aber nu! - cavendish on June 10th, 2007 07:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Aber nu! - cavendish on June 10th, 2007 07:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
Bimo: DRD_bewarebimo on May 26th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
Re: independent fandom - not really
*Glances around nervously*

Hi joyful_molly, meet cavendish, hi Cavendish, meet Joyful_Molly...

I'm not quite sure why you thought I was in need of this lecture

Because he thinks that everyone, including me, should get this very lecture once in a while. I can wholeheartedly assure you that he's not evil, though. Just a little "diplomatically challenged" at times ;-)
Re: independent fandom - not really - cavendish on May 26th, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Cavendishcavendish on May 26th, 2007 12:45 pm (UTC)
>No inspiration. No substance or quiet character moments to be intrigued by, or to speculate about.

I, for my part, thought this to be a very enjoyable two and a half hour of a movie. Indeed I do think it had some quite inspired moments (even silent ones).

I do know that this kind of movie does want to do exactly this, keep me from thinking for some amount of time) but at least this one made it nicely.

How such a movie can made one "sad" does escapes me, except for the loss of time; which I did not feel here. (For comparison: The 9 hours I invented in LOTR I_III I do think wastes. They did not even provide entertainment; I just couldn't resist the peer group pressure (and advertising campaign here.)

As I have pointed out already, I felt quite well entertained yesterday and very much thought it to be fun.

I you do want intellectual inspiration you can still read Joyce, cant you? Although I fear there might not be “Ulysses fanfic” ;-)

I do not like hearing you being sad, though. Maybe you like to hear that I got you a new air mattress.

Frank
Bimo: Obi_povbimo on May 26th, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
I do not like hearing you being sad, though.

No need to worry :-) It's just a very mild, essentially very fannish form of sadness. I've read so many stories in which fan authors managed to portray the movie characters in absolutely wonderful ways. Funny or touching, intelligent, subtle, very well-rounded and charming. And I kind of missed these qualities when watching the film.


Maybe you like to hear that I got you a new air mattress

You are a treasure :-)
Cavendishcavendish on May 26th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
>Funny or touching, intelligent, subtle, very well-rounded and charming. And I kind of missed these qualities when watching the film.

The difference is, maybe, that I never expected them ;-)
galadhir on May 26th, 2007 01:16 pm (UTC)
Yes, I haven't been to see the film, but from everything I've read recently - and since DMC really - I am beginning to wonder whether I've reached the point where frankly I don't give a damn. I don't feel foolish, exactly, because I feel that these characters have become my characters, but I do feel that their moment of final seperation from the fandom they originally belonged to has come.

Horkheimer and Adorno got it all right in the first place when they depicted the mechanisms of a culture industry

What did they say? Heh, you need to add a third kind of person who is too ignorant to even know what the mechanisms are - that's me!
Cavendishcavendish on May 26th, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)

>What did they say? Heh, you need to add a third kind of person who is too ignorant to even know what the mechanisms are - that's me!

;-). Does one have to know a 50 year old essey? But it is really something that is worth knowing though.

You'll find a text of their famous essay here:

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/adorno/1944/culture-industry.htm

It is not, as the link implys, Marxist theory at all, as you will find in the text, although it is left wing cultural criticism.

I do not think it is true in every respect, do not get me wrong, but it is an interesting read.

Here is a nice quote:


"The analysis Tocqueville offered a century ago has in the meantime proved wholly accurate. Under the private culture monopoly it is a fact that “tyranny leaves the body free and directs its attack at the soul. The ruler no longer says: You must think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do; your life, your property, everything shall remain yours, but from this day on you are a stranger among us.” Not to conform means to be rendered powerless, economically and therefore spiritually – to be “self-employed.” When the outsider is excluded from the concern, he can only too easily be accused of incompetence.

Whereas today in material production the mechanism of supply and demand is disintegrating, in the superstructure it still operates as a check in the rulers’ favour."
galadhir on May 27th, 2007 12:31 pm (UTC)
This is very interesting, and yes, it chimes very much with what I feel as a totally powerless disliker of the PotC sequels. I can say what I want, but it doesn't matter, because everyone will ignore me anyway. However, what struck me most was this:

They are confined to the apocryphal field of the “amateur,” and also have to accept organisation from above.

But any trace of spontaneity from the public in official broadcasting is controlled and absorbed by talent scouts, studio competitions and official programs of every kind selected by professionals.


Because I had just been reading this Old school Marxist analysis of fanfiction and the attempts of FanLib to put in a 'professional', 'legitimizing' board of directors on top of it.

I would probably agree with joyful_molly that fanfiction is (or can be) a reaction *against* the big business nature of the entertainment industry. Something which takes their product and transforms it into a dialogue. However I would also agree with you that there comes a point where you have to register disapproval by refusing to buy the product - which is why I won't be going to see AWE or buying the DVD.
Cavendishcavendish on May 27th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
First many thanks for sending the link to this insightful article. And also glad you enjoyed the essay. I do think it does show some of the mechanisms still at work in the culture industry even at the present day.

what struck me most in the article you sent me was this:

Fandom is a community, which relies on social ties, an internally created hierarchy, and constant communication between its members. It is tight-knit and wary of outsiders, not because it has been burned in the past, but because of its intrinsic nature. Membership in the group must be established by spending a certain amount of time interacting with other members of the group, and your place in the group is determined by the network of social interactions you have set up.

For one thing, this definition puts me into the position of an outside observer with some ties to but not a part in fandom itself. So all I say is necessarily an outsiders view.

But the question I would like to raise is this: Assuming for a moment, that Horkeimer / Ardorno are right in seeing the uniformity of the product, the lack of surprises, etc. and the willing acceptance of the consumer as well with the product as with the system it represents, assuming that this premise is right, the question would be: Does fandom counter this notion, is it as you put it, a reaction *against* the big business nature of the entertainment industry, or does even more willingly fit into the system without even being aware of this.

The argument could work in both ways: Giving a certain character created by the culture industry a life, a background, a story; adding the sexuality they lack because of restrictions in Hollywood, etc., you could argue, that fandom very much undermines, in an anarchical way, the uniformity of the product.

On the other hand, the willingness to include the prefabricated stereotypes the cuture industry calls “characters” into your own creativity, to include them into your most private, most intimate activities, that is creating art, can be seen as the final triumph of the culture industry over the individual while the individual is under the illusion of being subversive or, sorry for the pun, being an individual.

Does a fanfiction writer express his / her individuality or does she / he loose it to an unimaginable degree?

And who is to answer this? (IF the question is allowed at all) Given the character of fandom as an in-group (as proposed by the quote above) would render any criticism made by an outsider suspicious. (Even if it is not as aggressively put as my comment above unnecessarily was). But at the same time it would make a fundamental or radical in its philosophical sense) criticism dangerous for any member of the group because he / she must fear to loose the position / the social interaction of the group and thus must fear to isolate her / himself. (Adorno again).

I'll leave it at that. I do not have any answers. I am distrustful of poeple who have; but I love people who state opinions because, as I have said above, I do believe in discourse. Contrary to what is said in the above article, I think that discourse over the borders of a given group is essential for the group. (saying that of as a member of some, though not internet based, groups over the years. ). Example:

When I was considerable younger, the writing group I was in organized readings e.g in the public library; in front of an audience of strangers (friends and family not counted), including critics of local newspapers included. It was a good, but also frightening affair. Of course we had offered the texts to our group before, discussed and critizised the there, but this was entirely different. We went “out there”. We exposed ourselves. Sometimes I envy you because the fandom experience is so very different. Sometimes I think the exact opposite.

But I seem to be getting nostalgic, which is a dead sure indicator that I get tired. Lets leave it at that.


(no subject) - galadhir on May 28th, 2007 10:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cavendish on May 28th, 2007 11:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - galadhir on May 28th, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cavendish on May 29th, 2007 07:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - galadhir on June 2nd, 2007 11:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cavendish on June 3rd, 2007 06:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - galadhir on June 3rd, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cavendish on June 8th, 2007 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - galadhir on June 9th, 2007 11:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cavendish on June 10th, 2007 07:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
Hi. I'm committing thread necromancy in bimo's journal. - hmpf on December 8th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)