By Patrick McGee (auth.)
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Additional info for Bad History and the Logics of Blockbuster Cinema: Titanic, Gangs of New York, Australia, Inglourious Basterds
Ian Malcolm, a chaos theoretician played by Jeff Goldblum, points out to Hammond that if the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down at Disneyland, the pirates don’t eat the tourists, but the dinosaurs of capital do eat the people by creating and naturalizing an inequitable and unjust distribution of wealth. The immense pleasure people take from witnessing the horrors of Jurassic Park may derive from the perverse hope the horror articulates. Karl Marx was right (though the average person wouldn’t put it this way): capitalism 28 Bad History and the Logics of Blockbuster Cinema will destroy itself.
As a result, “the lifework [or, in this case, the genre] is preserved in this work and at the same time canceled” (Illuminations 263). The term translated by “canceled” here is the Hegelian aufheben. In other words, if the movie Titanic has this effect, it raises up or virtually transforms the historical meaning of the works I have referred to or analyzed in the first section of this essay—to the extent of virtually cancelling or negating their conventional meanings as commodities or pure entertainments— and makes possible the interpretations given earlier.
Ironically, this could be the world of American television sitcoms. To such optimism, he opposes the “communist answer” of surrealism: “And that means pessimism all along the line . . Mistrust in the fate of literature, mistrust in the fate of freedom, mistrust in the fate of European humanity, but three times mistrust in all reconciliation: between classes, between nations, between individuals” (Reflections 190–91). Cameron’s Titanic is a surrealist work of art to this extent: it gives us an image of the real as impossible.
Bad History and the Logics of Blockbuster Cinema: Titanic, Gangs of New York, Australia, Inglourious Basterds by Patrick McGee (auth.)