Quantcast
Video of the Day

Masthead

Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Managing Editor
Kara VanderBijl
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Senior Editor
Durga Chew-Bose
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Senior Editor
Brittany Julious
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.
Sunday
Aug232009

« In Which We Confine Ourselves To District 9 »

Space Age Sign of the Times

by ELEANOR MORROW

District 9 is about what happens when starfaring men become quarantined with a virus and send the ones they couldn't cure to Earth. Or perhaps this is only the most probable explanation for why a group of indigent aliens took hold of a ghetto in South Africa. District 9 takes the sf cliche of every alien species coming to America and imagines if they ignored America entirely, as it is far more likely they'd do. A parasite preys on the weak, after all.

The city of Johannesburg houses the contaminated populace, who love cat food and use a technology that surpasses humanity — except they can't use it to get home. Our hero is a bureaucrat, just another sad sack who shovels up the shit the government's been serving. He becomes contanimated himself upon attempting to evict a particular enterprising pair of aliens.

The bureaucrat's journey actually glorifies violence as a solution to human problems. This is at least in comparison to more diplomatic methods, which are death by an increasing series of steps according to the filmmakers. The bureaucrat goes into individuals hovels demanding a signature for eviction. This is implausible; what rights would aliens have on U.S. soil except the dignity granted to animals?

If this really happened, you can be sure there would be an alien commentator on Fox News before the day was out. This would be the most important political issue of a generation. In fact, the U.S. would probably feel responsible, even to aliens in South Africa. There's nothing our politicians love more than a messy international situation, for some reason.

Once infected with the virus, the bureaucrat finds his priorities changing rather drastically. He wants to reunite with his wife, but as what? Some alien scumbucket?

In real life, a smoldering, useless ship doesn't metaphorically represent a moral injustice. There is no ship over Johannesburg, no more reminder that whites enslaved blacks anywhere in the world. It is quite shocking that apartheid existed, but slavery also existed, very recently, in the country where we reside.

Slavery is a human custom, and a fairly old one. It's an aftereffect of religion; separating the haves and the have-nots for spiritual reasons. Men are often delighted to find something to wed themselves to closely, like a baseball team or a Democratic politician. And of course it is only ourselves we enslave, is the basic point of Neil Bloomkamp's movie.

We have pens that hold humans; seen the Palestinian territories lately? Go to North Korea — there are camps worse than Disctrict 10 in our world. I suppose my earlier charity towards U.S. aims grows cynical after all.

Eleanor Morrow is the contributing editor to This Recording. She tumbls right here.

"Fascination Street" — Metronomy (Cure cover) (mp3)

"Catch" — Art Brut (mp3) (Cure cover) (mp3)

"The Lovecats" — The Futureheads (Cure cover) (mp3)

Reader Comments (1)

What I take fooking exception to is the tendency of the white auteur to let the subhuman (eg, Planet of the Apes) or the grotesque (eg, the dreadlocked Predator or JarJar Binks or the big-headed humanoids of Alien Nation) signify human minority groups in their fables (even in Sayles' PC "Brother from Another Planet", the titular hero is a mute, three-toed slave). When it's Jeff Bridges as Star Man or Bowie as T.J. Newton or Chris Reeve as Kal-El or Michael Rennie as Klaatu, the message isn't about minority travail and the leads are therefore Messianically beautiful. In film, what you show is so much more powerful than what you "say"... what are all these hideous Sci Fi minority-stand-ins showing? Rhetorical q., btw.

August 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteven Augustine

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.