July 8th, 2007

Semiformalishmaybe

Another Way of Being Between Circles

According to some interviews with Terry Gilliam, the ending to Time Bandits (in particular, the sudden, random death of Kevin's parents) is part of a motif of self-sufficiency and coming-of-age, tying into a broader theme of loss of faith in/necessity for heroes. One of the things that stuck in my mind from the commentary in Terry Gilliam's Brazil is his dissatisfaction with one of the (many) cuts made for the American version - a scene showing workers taking a moment off to play a game of volleyball - the scene is important because it prevents the state and those under/part of it from being dehumanised - the cut fits into the general idea of reducing the film to a naïve, black-white world. Collapse ) In reality, in most societies both fall short of that on both fronts, the people through ignorance and lack of care in thought, the politicians through corruption and willingness to sacrifice the interests of the people to sufficient extent for their personal interests.

As things are now, I think we must cleanly separate the choices/voices of the people and their interests. The Will of the People should be understood as an ideal joining of these two, but we don't have that right now. To serve the interests of the people, I would hope that people in power would push people away from stupid rhetoric like "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" and agressively adapt society to provide basic food, shelter, healthcare, and quality education before thinking too heavily about "liberty" (which we understand as "autonomy"). Democracy or not and whatever the larger-scale economic system, these things should be understood as the basis of any civilised society, and to make their acquisition onerous/ruinous/impossible for parts of society is something we should not tolerate. The ability to vote on leaders, by comparison, is something we should consider far less important. If a commitment to the welfare of the people on all these issues came to the United States, and the ends were achieved, such a thing would be far more worth celebration than the Fourth of July.

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