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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Cinema Africa One

posted by on June 7 at 11:44 AM

An action scene from Blood Diamond:
picuteonebd_wlp04_800x600.jpg What is Blood Diamond about? Not Africa, of course, nor about the evils of globalization, but about the maintenance of American middle-class values in the storm of the public’s growing awareness about the evils of globalization.

Middle-class values are entirely attached to property laws. Which is why the marriage in the middle-class system converts love to property, to an agreement, a contract. The symbol of that contract is the wedding ring, which is often the most valuable piece of property in a middle-class home. What Blood Diamond attempts to do is, one, make an ironic connection between the violence in poor West African countries and the diamond on a wedding ring purchased from an American jewelry store: death for love, pain for joy, and so on and so forth; and, two, to provide a solution that adjusts, rather than totally changes, middle-class values. The adjustment that will correct this evil (the false problem) is how one shops, how one buys diamonds and other products originating from the mineral-rich cradle of mankind. But the property value (the real problem) remains in essence the same.

What must be smashed to pieces first is the middle-class mind and its mousey faith in land ownership, in savings, and the laws that convert a marriage into a piece of property. These values are the burden of the world. They fill university class rooms with students not looking for an education (in the Latin sense of that word) but job security, for the sunshine of a big paycheck. The middle-class mind cant produce knowledge or low/high culture because all it can think about is building financial certainty. But the designs of the middle class are the same as a house being built on running water, on a river that can never be crossed twice. The middle-class mind is one of a slave who pays his absent master for the job of overseeing him/herself.

My next images for consideration will be, two…
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and three…
picture3constantgardenerblog.jpg

RSS icon Comments

1

This post has many words. Thank you.

Posted by Ziggity | June 7, 2007 11:51 AM
2

holy fuck, i knew this was a charles slog entry without even reading the authorship.

he has his own style but wastes in on this kinda crap. and by crap i mean utopian thinking.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 7, 2007 11:59 AM
3

You know what that movie needed? Natalie Merchant's big milky cow tits.

Posted by Jason Josephes | June 7, 2007 12:08 PM
4

Whoops, sorry. I thought I was Charles for a second.

Posted by Jason Josephes | June 7, 2007 12:09 PM
5

I fucking hated Blood Diamond. I can't understand why it was nominated for anything. There was nothing original and/or praise-worthy about it. I hated every fucking minute.

Children of Men was slightly boring, but it has one of the best scenes I've seen in the past decade (the car/ping-pong ball scene).

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 7, 2007 12:20 PM
6

My new favorite word = ironical

Posted by monkey | June 7, 2007 12:28 PM
7

There are many items in a typical middle class home worth more than a wedding ring, starting with the home itself.

Is the lower class mind better able to create low/high culture when obsessed with basic survival?

Posted by keshmeshi | June 7, 2007 12:41 PM
8

Charles, you are confusing wedding rings with engagements rings. Wedding rings are typically simple gold or silver bands -- expensive yes, but hardly over the top. Engagement rings are the ones with the mortgage-your-house diamonds.

Interestingly, the tradition of engagement rings arose about the same time "breach of promise" laws stopped being enforced. If a guy got you into the sack with a promise of marriage and then reneged, you used to be able to sue him for breach of promise. In order to continue to get the girls into bed after the law offered no such recourse, suitors began to present them with a surety bond in the form of a very expensive ring which they could keep for themselves if their suitor abandoned them.

Posted by David Wright | June 7, 2007 12:44 PM
9

What must be smashed to pieces first is the middle-class mind and its mousey faith in land ownership
I am a newbie to this area of economics, but don't tons of studies and scholarship find a strong correlation between economic stability and property ownership? That as the lower and middle classes are increasingly able to own their own land their standard of living/economic power and attendant political power and control over their lives increases as well?
I wouldn't dream of arguing with your perception of the American obsession with wealth, but you seemed to have strayed from calling out that obsession into "ownership itself is bad," which doesn't seem supported by the literature.

Posted by torrentprime | June 7, 2007 12:47 PM
10

torrentprime, sorry to get all commie on you, but that type of literature is produced by middle-class economists, who can only imagine their system as the best one.

wright, i know nothing about wedding/engagment rings. the whole business is too vulgar to be awarded my close attention.

monkey, forgive the error, my instincts: ironic was too strong a world and wanted something like ironic-ish.

keshmeshi, low culture, which is often transformed into high culture, is usually produced by the poor. hiphop is one such example, and so was jazz. jazz is now high culture.

Posted by charles mudede | June 7, 2007 1:01 PM
11

Pretty much all marriage contracts up until the last few decades were about transfer of property - the female, capable of producing offspring - from her original owner, the father, to the husband. That's hardly a middle-class value. That IS traditional marriage, marriage as a property exchange. The idea of marrying for any other reason than exchanging property for procreative ability is a fairly modern and radical one.

Posted by Geni | June 7, 2007 1:10 PM
12

I call BS on the "land ownership is bad" rap that commies tend to sell.

The beginging of land ownership (by those not in the clergy or monarchy) was actually by a poor farmer in Britian. He created the first "Will" of sorts that broke up his land into different sections for his sons. In Feudal Europe, land passed from father to eldest son, and the others sons got smaller portions. This was standard. The farmer in Britian actually put pen to paper and deeded the land. This was something that no one had done before.

Soon, as more land was deeded/willed out, and each farming plot got smaller and smaller it was harder for everyone to make a living off the land. This created a demand for non-farming jobs. So in France and Britian there developed a group of people who created goods and services for the town, ie: making high quality shoes, clothes, etc. Soon, these trades people realized there was a high demand for their goods by the clergy and the monarchy. So they packed up and moved to areas outside the castles and churches, creating small cities outside.

Soon, these trades people made enough money from selling their wares, that they demanded to have representation in the government. This was the very start of representative government by those who were of a created wealth (see Britain's sections of government). This was also a novel concept that created a flutter of new ideas for politics around Europe. This "middle class" created much of the political ideology that we have today.

I am at work, and therefore can not get all the sources/dates together on this, but the development of a middle class is not evil. Middle class is not evil. Middle Class secured many things in the western world. Middle Class took power away from the church and the monarchy, and put it in the hands of the people (to the best they could). In fact, the stronger a middle class, the more prosperous a country is (see: China's growing MC). Middle Class equates with security, stability, and low unemployment.

So I call shenanigans on all the blame that people put on the middle class. They helped you so that you could be a free "communist, socialist, anarchist, hippie, whatever" you wanted to. They secure good education, and good jobs.

Hating the Middle Class is the same as wanting to go back to divine rule. IMHO.

Posted by Original Monique | June 7, 2007 1:22 PM
13

"The middle-class mind is one of a slave who pays his absent master for the job of overseeing him/herself."

Chuck needs to get laid. (By a big breasted woman, evidently.)

Posted by Big Sven | June 7, 2007 1:26 PM
14

In addition, not having land ownership has hurt many people in 3rd world countries. In places like Brazil and other S. American countries, the people have lived and worked the land for generations, yet don't "own it" and therefore can not build on it, and must pay rent on the land. And they can't buy it from the government. Basically, they are slaves to land they don't own. Land that has been part of their family, but that they will be forever in debt to. Try and tell them that its just middle class desire to own land.

I believe that Africa suffers some of this as well, Charles. When people own land, they are no longer tied in debt bonds to the government. Land ownership is necessary for a country to grow. Plenty of economic papers have been written about this. And not from white, rich people, but from economists that are working on solving the poverty issues that face the 3rd world.

Posted by Original Monique | June 7, 2007 1:27 PM
15

Charles, the middle class is basically the only economic compromise that Western culture has been able to find between brutal and dehumanizing plutocracy, and brutal and dehumanizing communitarianism. Like most compromises, it can be criticized by almost everyone (including the middle class itself), lacking both the “high culture” of the very rich and the involuntary moral purity of the very poor (who hurt nobody besides themselves-- because they can’t). Criticizing the middle class for its materialism suggests an abject failure to appreciate the moral foundations of middle class fear: the middle class are constantly in danger of becoming poor precisely because they lack the power of the truly rich to rule by fiat. Democracy is a byproduct of the middle class desire to defend itself from the predations of the rich and the jealousies of the poor. So sitting around bitching about the materialism that is itself a byproduct of the class insecurity that makes democracy not only possible but necessary basically just makes you sound like a cunt.

Posted by Judah | June 7, 2007 1:35 PM
16

ironical is 100% a word. it's in webster's third new international.

Posted by josh | June 7, 2007 1:36 PM
17

thank you, josh.

Posted by charles mudede | June 7, 2007 1:38 PM
18

i thought for sure the last image was going to be seal & heidi klum.

Posted by maxsolomon | June 7, 2007 1:42 PM
19

middle class charles lecturing people on middle class economists who show the system to work well.

Charles you can imagine a world of economics outside the limits of reality but when that world is confined to reality it falls apart. the parameters of a functional socialist society are far different than the parameters in the united states and to think that "if we had less property ownership" it'd be some kind of utopia is ridiculous. i mean really charles, you're living in a land of unintended consequences of your ideal state.


monique, while true in many ways, the fact is land ownership can't exist in places where there is no enforcement or respect of land ownership. and one can argue that land ownership and prosperity are merely correlated. simple population growth and dwindling land is not sole causation of urbanization. It's not like simply having property rights in africa is going to suddenly solve their issues, nor be a realistic place to start.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 7, 2007 1:44 PM
20

middle class charles lecturing people on middle class economists who show the system to work well.

Charles you can imagine a world of economics outside the limits of reality but when that world is confined to reality it falls apart. the parameters of a functional socialist society are far different than the parameters in the united states and to think that "if we had less property ownership" it'd be some kind of utopia is ridiculous. i mean really charles, you're living in a land of unintended consequences of your ideal state.


monique, while true in many ways, the fact is land ownership can't exist in places where there is no enforcement or respect of land ownership. and one can argue that land ownership and prosperity are merely correlated. simple population growth and dwindling land is not sole causation of urbanization. It's not like simply having property rights in africa is going to suddenly solve their issues, nor be a realistic place to start.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 7, 2007 1:45 PM
21

middle class charles lecturing people on middle class economists who show the system to work well.

Charles you can imagine a world of economics outside the limits of reality but when that world is confined to reality it falls apart. the parameters of a functional socialist society are far different than the parameters in the united states and to think that "if we had less property ownership" it'd be some kind of utopia is ridiculous. i mean really charles, you're living in a land of unintended consequences of your ideal state.


monique, while true in many ways, the fact is land ownership can't exist in places where there is no enforcement or respect of land ownership. and one can argue that land ownership and prosperity are merely correlated. simple population growth and dwindling land is not sole causation of urbanization. It's not like simply having property rights in africa is going to suddenly solve their issues, nor be a realistic place to start.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 7, 2007 1:45 PM
22

in re: getting all commie.
Charles, I could deal with your labeling of yourself without fear, if you had something like scholarship to back it up. Any non middle class economists you'd like to cite? Or is/was this just a "the movie made me think of diamonds -->wedding rings-->middle class-->homeownership" thing that wasn't all that intellectually based? I mean, you did post this in "Arts" and not "Economics" or "Politics" or "Reality," but I assumed you had *something*.

Posted by torrentprime | June 7, 2007 1:52 PM
23

charles is going to rattle off some antiestablishment tripe that doesnt reflect how most people actually live or what they actually care about.

in fact, the reason that people who are economists favor a general capitalist society in favor of alternative forms is because it functions for the most part and delivers on the theory that it's based on. it's also open to analysis and review, unlike a lot of other fringe economy theories that void essential parts of humanity.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 7, 2007 1:59 PM
24

@Bellevue Ave,

I am not saying that land ownership would solve the ills of the third world, what I am saying is that economists (I am not one, but do love to study it) have made this notion. Not necessarily about Africa, but about S. America directly. And the progression of a country to land ownership has direct economic impacts.

Posted by Original Monique | June 7, 2007 2:04 PM
25

I've never seen so much amateur hour undergrad economics in my life, in both the original post and responses.

Posted by Jay | June 7, 2007 2:17 PM
26

the progression of a country to land ownership has economic impacts, surely. it still doesnt resolve the fundamental issue of how you convince enough people to play with the same rules as you, or that your rules are the best ones to play by.

how do you convince a nation of people that land ownership is beneficial to their economic development and lives, when theres a charles running around saying otherwise? how does charles convince a nation of people that lack of land ownership is beneficial to their economic development and lives, when most of the nation's economic scholars are running around saying otherwise?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 7, 2007 2:20 PM
27

jay, it's because this isnt about economics in anything but the abstract. its about feelings on giant systems that have names that reflect the general idea of what they mean.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 7, 2007 2:25 PM
28

A troll who uses big words and hackneyed ideas is still a troll.

This reminds me of Liev Schreiber's character in "The Daytrippers".

"I want to be an aristocrat"

Posted by pffft | June 7, 2007 2:34 PM
29

jay, you obviously have never marked an undegrad paper. i have.

Posted by charles mudede | June 7, 2007 3:35 PM
30

What, Chuck?!? You went to grad school?!? Shocked, SHOCKED, I am to hear this.

I totally agree w/ Judah except where he calls you a c***. Save that kind of language for the dozen Paris Hilton threads floating around here!

Posted by Big Sven | June 7, 2007 3:51 PM
31

What, Chuck?!? You went to grad school?!? Shocked, SHOCKED, I am to hear this.

I totally agree w/ Judah except where he calls you a c***. Save that kind of language for the dozen Paris Hilton threads floating around here!

Posted by Big Sven | June 7, 2007 3:52 PM
32

MSN I NIIPET
MSN

Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 2:14 PM
33

MSN I NIIPET
MSN

Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 2:14 PM
34

MSN I NIIPET
MSN

Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 2:14 PM
35

Bravo Charles.

Posted by Tony | June 14, 2007 1:13 AM

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