Friday, September 24, 2004

The Cupidity Awards [from Notes 4 Yugoslavia by Mick Collins]

[In honor of Bosnian Ahmed Imanovic's new (still unedited) 'gay film', Go West, which takes place during the 1992-95 war in BiH, here's some pre-9/11 stuff about the movie biz from a collection of CM/P essays, Notes 4 Yugoslavia.]

[from : Notes 4 Yugoslavia by Mick Collins]

The Cupidity Awards
(26 March 2001 - Paris)

Yeah, well, it's that time again. Funny that the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia two years ago (in support of the same Albanian narco-terrorists that have recently invaded Macedonia and are now drawing fire back onto US peacekeeping troops in Kosovo) started around Oscar season. Lots of other prevailing forces in play, certainly. But when you consider what a celebration of cupiditous self-congratulation and craven betrayal is this whole gathering of the fashionably lame, it seems more and more like the perfect monument to the moral invalidity of American culture, and all those other peripheral ‘democratic’ cultures who tune in just to suck it off.

Consider recent Hollywood contributions to Eastern European history: 'Welcome to Sarajevo', Michael Winterbottom's hopelessly contrived and distorted attempt at raising Bosnian Muslims to martyrhood and giving the British Press some completely delusional sense of dignity (really just a 35mm version of the potted Bosnia death camp report Penny Marshall did for ITN); and 'Harrison's Flowers', Elie Chouraqui's attempt to make the Western-sponsored seccession of Croatia from the Yugoslav Federation, with its gruesome attacks on the Yugoslav army and civilian population (eventuating in the 'ethnic cleansing' of several hundred thousand Serbs from the Krajina) seem like a plot by drunken, bearded Serbs to create a new hell on earth to adjoin to their Greater Serbia; and 'Enemy at the Gates' (expediently renamed 'Stalingrad' for the European markets: whereas the name 'Stalin' is a big turn-off to most US movie goers, unca Joe still sells tickets in Europe—wonder why!), Jean-Jacques Annaud's contribution to the French fine art of collaboration with the winning side—another explicit Oscarian tendency—in which a couple old pals, Ed Harris, as the Hugo Boss mannequin comme Narzi sniper, and Bob Hoskins, as Bugs Bunny (or maybe Elmer Fudd?) doing Nikki Khruschev, do some fine, if futile acting. None of these films even comes close to understanding the political or military dynamics of the wars they depict. Yet they all err on the side of congratulations (or apologies) for the strong (Fascism) and ridicule and humiliation for the weak (Communism). To paraphrase a line from 'Stalingrad', which the movie seems to take all too much to heart: People of Russia! The Nazis are not your enemy—Stalin's Bolsheviks are your enemy!

Even many Jews now bask in the reflected glories of a, however deferred, Nazi victory in the great counter-revolution that was the 20th Century. They transfer their righteous anger against the barbaric Hun, mediated by a thorough anti-communist intoxication, onto their fellow Semites, the Palestinians. Their shrill indictments of Stalin's Russia (which gave 20 million souls to defeat Hitler and liberate his death camps, while Blood’n’Guts and Ike awaited their heroic fates on the safe side of the Elbe) and Milosevic's Yugoslavia (whose history is one of constant, unwavering and unfaltering opposition to Fascism and its inherent anti-Semitism) seem ignorantly cruel considering the sanctuary these two socialist societies historically offerred the Jews—and Belgrade continues to offer, being the last truly multiethnic city left in the Balkans.

A long letter in the last Balkans Infos asked 'How could they?' How could Jews like Madeleine Albright, Wes Clark (?), Wm Cohen, George Soros et alia, have come down so hard on Serbia; to the extent of equating this former ally with the Nazi enemy and Milosevic with Hitler? The answer is pathetically simple: Most Jews and Gentiles and Muslims and Buddhists and Rosicrucians want to be on the winning side—everybody wants to stand with the strong. A moral rationale for this kind of treachery and cowardice will come with the next edition of historical revisions that Hollywood so gladly and greedily and certainly will furnish.

And to prove just how democratic is its ruthlessness and how ruthless its democracy, Hollywood will close itself down again this Spring to further roll back the pathetic few advantages left to its workers in the terms and conditions of their collective bargaining agreements. This time it will be the Writers' and the Actors' turn to yield even further their rights to compensation for work in the new technologies. The Industry never really recovered from the choice betrayals of the 80s, when the Directors, with the sanguinary single-mindedness characteristic of America's best businessmen, cut the throats of every other union in town by making sweetheart deals with themselves, really, since most A-list directors were producers as well, or certainly had more to gain by hanging with Lew Wasserman than with old radicals like Richard Brooks or Marty Ritt, and effectively ceded control of all production on video cassette and cable—and by now the Internet—to the AMPTP*. It is especially appropriate that the Academy Awards should announce this season's ritualistic shafting of the Hollywood workforce as that was why the whole clambake was started in the first place back in the 20s: to break up the growing solidarity of the unions by getting everyone's eyes on the producers' prize.

So while the kings and queens and princes of Hollywood celebrate their soulless lives in sleeveless gowns, the peasants and serfs and vassals in the Balkans count up the lifeless souls—and the Peacekeepers will watch the awards in Albanian-mafia heroin and pussy bars. It looks like Democracy is just Feudalism with a swoosh.


*AMPTP is the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers.


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