I have been reflecting on this piece for a while. I did not want to put finger to keyboard till I had chewed on things a little and I was wondering how I would justify the heavy title I had thought up for it even before I was completely sure of what I would say on the blank piece of screen.
But I guess it’s true what people say about the stuff you really want to say coming out in ways you did not expect it to. Like when you are angry but more eloquent than you have ever been. Or when you are in love, or thinking of love.
The Deleuzian statement about film being the philosophy of the 20th Century is today, as commonplace an assumption as is the McLuhan statement of the medium being the message. And it is also true that philosophy does not mean just a Left-Liberal understanding of the Universe. It is plural. And we should say philosophies. So, the “Philosophies of Film”. And in an attempt to not go the other way and be completely Bourgeois, we should not create grand theories and therefore say “a reflection on the philosophies of Film as a medium”. And now that we are being inclusive, plural and class sensitive and I may go on, I want you to say this word over and over again, till it doesn’t make sense to you. Like the simplest of words, when stared at make no sense at all: ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT. ENTERTAINMENT.
And now that it has stopped making sense. Think of another word. Here it is: PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE.PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE. PASSIVE.
No medium is passive. Not even Television. It never can be passive. Because the word passive is so alien to the human mind. Even if we want it to be with all our concentrated will, it won’t stop thinking. For even a millisecond. Even repeating the word ENTERTAINMENT is a veritable explosion of cognition.
Therefore, we reflect on everything. Our navel, when we will leave office, how good those ankles look next to the glass. On why I secretly like Manet’s paintings. On the shuddering reflective shots of the wronged wife in “Balika Vadhu” or the pretty girl who cannot speak English crying in “Roadies 6”. This is why SMS votes are all the rage. The state of media is that it is active. We create media because we want to communicate. And we want to elicit responses. Remember the AIDA model? So in our reflection, we have come to the first conclusion:
(1) Film is not a passive medium. It is designed to elicit certain responses.
Are these responses desinged to combine as entertainment? The other word we repeated over and over. Slightly harder to answer that one. Aamir Khan seems to think so. So does Quentin Tarantino. So what is entertainment?
en·ter·tain·ment // (ntr-tnmnt)n.1. The act of entertaining.2. The art or field of entertaining.3. Something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show.4. The pleasure afforded by being entertained; amusement: The comedian performed for our entertainment.5. Archaic Maintenance; support.6. Obsolete Employment.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
I could go a little further, ignore most of the circular/archaic definitions and focus on Number Three. So it is something that takes away from reality or amuses. It is not something that makes on think about the heavier stuff of life i.e. if you think amusement is light. I do not think amusement or humour are things to be taken lightly and therefore I do not believe that entertainment can be taken lightly. And it needs to be treated in the right context. Meaning that it must be subject to the same value judgements as other texts. Like other texts which are biographical, reflective, painful, sad or just plain beautiful. As a human text, entertainment needs to be ethical or have a damn good reason why it isn’t. And a circular argument of how it is entertainment and therefore above those value judgements do not apply.
So we have our second conclusion of the day:
(2) Entertainment is a not outside the value judgements we measure other texts by.
Lets move on to more difficult stuff. In a post-modern reflective world, which I love being a part of, there is a recognition that all is not right with the world. But that does not make it any less beautiful. There is a recognition of the fact that sometimes life is better and more importantly, more original, when we re-invent the rules. When we rewrite the value judgements that texts are supposed to apply to. Where the rejection of a full-stop is a rejection of centuries of generations told that reason and order are the bed rocks of our society.
But the difference between us and Anarchists is that we do not use the liberties given us to destroy the society we live in. Because we believe that most things are beautiful. Or can be. And that there is no high-class or low-class. But that does not mean that the Mother is something we mock. Or that sensitivity is something that no longer needs exist, because we can survive on virulent mental orgasms of loud sounds, knives, flames, pain and revenge. Nor do we enjo watching active media manipulated and broadcast to disburse the propoganda of sadism.
Propoganda is a powerful thing. For it uses active media to evoke dictated responses. To make us machines. Zombies. Trained, like the Rome of old, to forget the truth and feast on blood. As the Arts improve, and as craftsmen are born who understand the media of film better and better, who are concious of the texts that have gone before and the ingredients needed to subvert them, there arises a need to understand that famous line:
Mr. Tarantino, I want you to reflect on that pop culture reference you grew up on. And I want you to know you are a Nazi. And more people should understand that. While it must be a terrible high to know that you know the audience’s G spot; and like sex, no-one will die because of your film, you are creating a culture. And a religion. And while we love the music, that is always a dangerous thing.
Brad, I thought you knew better.