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From red pills to red, white and blue Brexit: how The Matrix shaped our reality | Film | The Guardian
Baudrillard died in 2007, a year before the financial crash saw the wheels come off hypercapitalism. He may not have been surprised that confronted by a genuine rip in the fabric of the system, the response among both public and politicians was a frantic attempt to go back to normal and never mention it again. Instead, a bogus new reality arose – the reanimated far-right. With awful irony, the stunted boys of 4chan and Reddit appropriated The Matrix. To “redpill” became a verb, opening the eyes of new recruits to their hated oppressors – feminists, people of colour and progressives. Morpheus became the face of memes that asked: “What If I Told You Hitler Was A Socialist?”

And here we are now, in the Britain of 2019. It is, of course, pure Baudrillard, a country manically returning to an earlier version of itself that never existed. Our unreality is operating at a heightened pitch. Global leaders lie so openly as to mock the very notion of truth. We exist as plots of online data, the last real things in an internet otherwise home only to bots and deepfakes. There is even an updated model of the brain in the vat – “simulated universe” theory, in which you are, right now, part of a computer program. Elon Musk is a believer.

Inevitably, as the 20th anniversary of the film has approached, plans have emerged for a Matrix reboot. Reports have suggested that after last year’s cancellation of their Netflix project Sense8, the Wachowskis may retire from filmmaking. But Warner Bros, as the owners of the movie, did not seem to be involving them anyway. Instead, it was said, the studio would take their intellectual property and create an expanded “multiverse” of related characters and storylines. A whole set of new Matrixes, in other words – all accompanied by the ghost of Jean Baudrillard.
TheMatrix  film  reality  BaudrillardJean  Wachowskis  redPill  metaphor  alt-right  misinformation  Brexit 
january 2019 by petej
Nostalgia Mining | Amber A’Lee Frost
The real commonality among these films, though, is their affection for miners but not so much for workers. To put it another way, the films seem to like miners best when they’re playing a flugelhorn, marching in gay pride parades, or driving their creative children far away from the coalfields so they can dance ballet. Miners were always more than just miners, but it’s a lot harder to talk about the actual jobs they were fighting for. I don’t blame the filmmakers too much for falling short here; it’s hard to explain why preserving such difficult, dangerous, and unhealthy work was so politically strategic, but those jobs gave working-class Brits a hand on the lever of both the welfare state and the industrial policy of the United Kingdom. It’s not that there’s some overlooked romance in pickaxes and pit ponies; workers controlling mining meant that the workers who built the country might be able to run it too, and not in some symbolic, protesty, “whose streets? our streets!” kind of way. I mean really run the country. And they came so damn close.

My fixer says he worries that a recently invigorated love for the miners might have something to do with the fact that they’re no longer a threat to power, and I can’t say I don’t share his concerns. It’s true that there was plenty of vocal support for the miners during the strike, but the difference between mercy and solidarity has become ever-blurrier amid the disastrous global decline of the labor movement. Mercy is for Christians, and solidarity is for socialists. It’s not that the two categories are mutually exclusive (and a little mercy certainly makes the world more bearable), but one is hardly a substitute for the other. Mercy dictates support for the miners because they were wickedly and ruthlessly felled; solidarity dictates support for the miners because the union makes us strong.
UK  mining  miners  coal  MinersStrike  NUM  tradeUnions  history  RedHills  Durham  nostalgia  preservation  ScargillArthur  Stalin  class  film  solidarity 
october 2018 by petej
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