Monday, October 11, 2010

Zizek on Crossdressing to the Sound of Music

We were asked to write about the small article by Ben Atlas and the video clip taken of Slavoj's commentary on role-reversals in The Sound of Music. While Atlas seems to be making sense of the clip, he explains that it is easy to extract a mirror image of the Jews in the Nazis, because Nazis believed that Jews were the dominate majority and they had control of all European culture and politics. So as a result, because they wanted all that, they decided to go ahead and shoot for that.

If you can believe it, I wasn't totally buying this. Anyhow...

In the clip, Zizek explains that in The Sound of Music, the Austrians that are resisting the Nazi occupation are depicted as anti-intellectual fascists while the Nazis are not only soldiers, but managers and high-society sorts that reflect more cosmopolitan values. So the movie instead becomes about the fascist Austrians vs. the sound society of Nazis. Apparently this appeals to our inner fascists or something and that's why it became so popular.

Okay. So I've never seen The Sound of Music. I've heard of it, but until I read this article I had no idea what it was about {I always assumed it was a good musical or something}. So I'm not sure what to say in defense of the movie, but I do know what to say about the mirror-imagining topic in regards to the Nazis. From the standpoint of everyone else aside from the Nazis, everyone in Germany was suffering before World War II. Even the 'cosmopolitan, dominating' Jews. So there was no actual role reversal that happened here. But if you think about it from a Nazi's point of view, the Jews were the cause of all strife, so they controlled it, and they themselves became the cause of strife. In that case, you've got yourself a role reversal. So yeah, from a certain slant of light, the group that wore the pants changed places.

What I'm really wondering though, is what does this article/clip have to do with us as artists? Is it supposed to let us know that there are people who will analyze your work that hard? That they'll draw just about any conclusion? And are we really secret fascists? {<-- More of a rhetorical question; I laughed aloud when he claimed we all are.} It just seemed like Zizek might have been looking a little too hard into the movie, but like I said, I've never seen it so I don't know. Maybe the roles were meant to be interpreted as reversed.

In my current body of work, the roles of disasters are many. I already know this as a fact. Disasters don't just destroy; they pave the way for something new, or they change your life for better or worse. There's no heart behind it and it just happens, but what we make of it depends on what we're willing to make of it. Other than that, I have no idea how this all applies to me.

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