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139

Gothic Oedipus: Subjectivity and Capitalism in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins

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Needs summary

Fisher, M. (2018). Gothic Oedipus: Subjectivity and Capitalism in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. In Fisher, M. K-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher. Repeater, pp. 139-146

(verb) to destroy completely; wipe out / (verb) to pull up by the root / (verb) to cut out by surgery

139

the sentimentality it can never extirpate

—p.139 by Mark Fisher
notable
6 months, 1 week ago

the sentimentality it can never extirpate

—p.139 by Mark Fisher
notable
6 months, 1 week ago
139

Batman has contributed more than its fair share to the "darkness" that hangs over contemporary culture like a picturesque pall. "Dark" designates both a highly marketable aesthetic style and an ethical, or rather anti-ethical, stance, a kind of designer nihilism whose chief theoretical proposition is the denial of the possibility of the Good. [...]

—p.139 by Mark Fisher 6 months, 1 week ago

Batman has contributed more than its fair share to the "darkness" that hangs over contemporary culture like a picturesque pall. "Dark" designates both a highly marketable aesthetic style and an ethical, or rather anti-ethical, stance, a kind of designer nihilism whose chief theoretical proposition is the denial of the possibility of the Good. [...]

—p.139 by Mark Fisher 6 months, 1 week ago

(noun) the belief that the world tends to improve and that humans can aid its betterment

145

Wayne's language is not that of renewal-through-destruction (and here Schumpterian capitalism and fascism, in most other respects entirely opposed, find themselves in sympathy) but of philanthropic meliorism.

—p.145 by Mark Fisher
notable
6 months, 1 week ago

Wayne's language is not that of renewal-through-destruction (and here Schumpterian capitalism and fascism, in most other respects entirely opposed, find themselves in sympathy) but of philanthropic meliorism.

—p.145 by Mark Fisher
notable
6 months, 1 week ago
145

[...] The final way of solving social catastrophe is ... by the demolition of the mass transit system that ruined everything by literally raised the poor and put them among the rich: travelling together, social-democratic welfarism as opposed to trickle-downism is a nice dream but leads to social collapse, and if left unchecked terrorism that sends transit systems careering through the sky into tall buildings in the middle of New York-style cities—9/11 as caused by the crisis of excessive social solidarity, the arrogance of masses not being sufficiently terrified of their shepherds.

In all a film that says social stratification is necessary to prevent tragedy, and that it should be policed by terrorising the plebeians, for the sake of corporations which if there is a happy ending ... will end up back in the hands of a single enlightened despot, hurrah, to save us from the depredations of consensus.

apparently a comment on one of Richard Seymour's blog posts from 2005 (since lost to the digital ether)

—p.145 by China Miéville 6 months, 1 week ago

[...] The final way of solving social catastrophe is ... by the demolition of the mass transit system that ruined everything by literally raised the poor and put them among the rich: travelling together, social-democratic welfarism as opposed to trickle-downism is a nice dream but leads to social collapse, and if left unchecked terrorism that sends transit systems careering through the sky into tall buildings in the middle of New York-style cities—9/11 as caused by the crisis of excessive social solidarity, the arrogance of masses not being sufficiently terrified of their shepherds.

In all a film that says social stratification is necessary to prevent tragedy, and that it should be policed by terrorising the plebeians, for the sake of corporations which if there is a happy ending ... will end up back in the hands of a single enlightened despot, hurrah, to save us from the depredations of consensus.

apparently a comment on one of Richard Seymour's blog posts from 2005 (since lost to the digital ether)

—p.145 by China Miéville 6 months, 1 week ago
145

There is no doubt that the film poses finance capital as a problem that will be solved by the return of a re-personalised capital, with 'the enlightened despot' Bruce taking on the role of the dead Thomas. It is equally clear, as we've already seen, that Batman Begins is unable to envisage an alternative to capitalism itself, favouring instead a nostalgic rewind to prior forms of capitalism. (One of the structuring fantasies of the film is the notion that crime and social disintegration are exclusively the results of capitalist failure, rather than the inevitable accompaniments to capitalist 'success'.)

However, we must distinguish between corporate capitalism and fascism if only because the film makes such a point of doing so. The fascistic option is represented not by Wayne-Batman but by R'as al Ghul. It is al Ghul who plots the total razing of a Gotham he characterizes as irredeemably corrupt. Wayne's language is not that of renewal-through-destruction (and here Schumpterian capitalism and fascism, in most other respects entirely opposed, find themselves in sympathy) but of philanthropic meliorism. (It should also be noted that the masses who, in a pointed reference to Romero's Living Dead films, threaten to consume and destroy Batman are under the influence of the Scarecrow's 'weaponized hallucinogens' when they attempt to dismember him, although this image of the masses no doubt tell us more about the political unconscious of the film-makers than it does about that of the masses.)

—p.145 by Mark Fisher 6 months, 1 week ago

There is no doubt that the film poses finance capital as a problem that will be solved by the return of a re-personalised capital, with 'the enlightened despot' Bruce taking on the role of the dead Thomas. It is equally clear, as we've already seen, that Batman Begins is unable to envisage an alternative to capitalism itself, favouring instead a nostalgic rewind to prior forms of capitalism. (One of the structuring fantasies of the film is the notion that crime and social disintegration are exclusively the results of capitalist failure, rather than the inevitable accompaniments to capitalist 'success'.)

However, we must distinguish between corporate capitalism and fascism if only because the film makes such a point of doing so. The fascistic option is represented not by Wayne-Batman but by R'as al Ghul. It is al Ghul who plots the total razing of a Gotham he characterizes as irredeemably corrupt. Wayne's language is not that of renewal-through-destruction (and here Schumpterian capitalism and fascism, in most other respects entirely opposed, find themselves in sympathy) but of philanthropic meliorism. (It should also be noted that the masses who, in a pointed reference to Romero's Living Dead films, threaten to consume and destroy Batman are under the influence of the Scarecrow's 'weaponized hallucinogens' when they attempt to dismember him, although this image of the masses no doubt tell us more about the political unconscious of the film-makers than it does about that of the masses.)

—p.145 by Mark Fisher 6 months, 1 week ago