due for a Criterion Collection release sometime later this year…
What’s interesting about Eraserhead is how inherently and distinctively Lynchian it feels without the signature traits of David Lynch that people associate with him nowadays. Those who have a Netflix account and have watched various episodes of Twin Peaks will claim their love for David Lynch with proclamations about doughnuts and coffee and cherry pie, oh my, can you smell those douglas firs?! And yes, his fascination with food—especially of the saccharine variety—has a lot to do with his ideas about indulgence and sex and are central to his work, but Eraserhead is void of all that. It’s the bare-bones Lynchian aesthetic that established him as one of the most revolutionary independent filmmakers of all time. It has been almost seven years since his last film, Inland Empire (which got back to that very stripped, essential cinematic quality that was deeply imbedded in the frightening corners of the mind), and his interests appear to lie elsewhere these days. Who knows if he’ll ever make another film. But if he doesn’t, it’s at least safe to say that you could watch his films your entire life and still become excited and have questions, always stumbling through the woods into a red room of the mind.
(Reposted to be rebloggable!)
Any time Tolkien has south/eastern people as antagonists, it’s because they’ve been coerced by guys like Sauron (nor are non-white people the only cultures to be coerced). The association of Eastern/Southern people with Dark Lords is largely an unhappy circumstance of geography rather than some failing of character. Sam has a nice monologue in the Two Towers about how crappy it would be to live in those areas, since that’s where Sauron ran around uncontested for millennia and got to threaten them into fighting.
Regarding “half-trolls,” I don’t know the quote, but nobody in Tolkien’s work describes southern or eastern people as “half-trolls.” There are half-trolls in RoTK, but they’re not referring to people. Sauron’s fighting force is very diverse in that army, including humans, orcs, trolls and others. Apparently Tolkien’s “half-trolls” were inspired by a mythological offspring of a human woman and an incubus. It’s also probably worth pointing out that when Tolkien uses the term “black skin” he only (and frequently) uses it to describe monsters like orcs, never human beings, as he literally means burnt black. He always describes what we would call “black people” as dark brown-skinned.
Personally, I don’t think Tolkien’s work is racist, but the perspective of the narrative is mostly Eurocentric/Ethnocentric because those are the characters who “wrote” it. What I mean is that the stories are meant to be narrated by in-universe characters from a very narrow cultural perspective (usually Hobbits). There is never any objective narration in any of Tolkien’s work; there is always a biased narrator of events. You might call some of the perspectives racist, but I think it’s more accurate to think of them as medieval people trying to make sense of exotic cultures from Africa and Asia (the dark, mysterious orient in their eyes). This is also why Tolkien’s work doesn’t have much in the way of describing villains like Sauron; they’re the enemies, so the narrators don’t see or understand them!
It’s also important to keep in mind that none of the races in Middle-Earth are meant to literally correspond with those in the modern world. Hobbits are inspired by the rural English, but modern English people aren’t descended from Hobbits, nor are brown-skinned people from Harad actually ancestors of modern people from North Africa. Tolkien hated allegory, and it would be poor critical analysis to draw too many real-world comparisons.
It is a complicated topic though, and much of it’s open to interpretation. For a more detailed analysis of racism in Tolkien’s work, I suggest reading this: http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Racism_in_Tolkien’s_Works
This is always one of my favorite debates, because Tolkien’s works are built on acceptance and racial interactions and have done a great deal to help public perceptions of race through the generations, but either by misunderstanding of narrative perspective, it seems many times that Tolkien does paint entire races as ‘evil’ or ‘black skinned’. Perhaps that is a failure of the author, though, in not making that more clear, but that implies lazy writing, which is one thing I absolutely cannot claim of him.
"I know everyone’s talking about the 50th anniversary of Beatles on Ed Sullivan, but this is also the 50th anniversary of John Waters' first film in 1964, 'Hag in a Black Leather Jacket', about a gay teenager in suburban Baltimore. The film is about an interracial wedding, shot from the roof of…
At least for a while. Everyone’s probably noticed a gradual decrease in my number of posts lately and it’s been fairly intentional. I just… Don’t enjoy the internet all too much anymore. Tumblr has been— along with maybe three or four other sites— where I spend the majority of my time, and I mean whole days. I don’t get anything out of it though. All I see is repetition, and it’s mostly shallow or meaningless to me to begin with. I have little interest in television or fandoms or photography or even more generic fashion blogs. Outside of web comics I can hardly think of any internet I even like. The things that aren’t meaningless are generally alerting me to more knowledge of just how brutal and cruel humans are, and I just can’t stand a constant stream of reinforcement that we’re awful.
I don’t know why I spend my time doing it, and what’s more concerning to me personally is that I’m realizing I’m not actually doing anything here, or online at all. I don’t contribute to the communities and I don’t create here, I just recycle like everyone else until the day is over and I rise and repeat. I want to create, though, and I don’t have any excuse not to. I have the outlines of four comic books I’m writing, a job that gives me infinite free time, and no school (with ever diminishing prospects that I’ll ever be able to receive an education.) The only thing that is actually stopping me is my belief I’m gaining knowledge online and spending all my time on it, so I’m just going to remove my presence from it for a while in hopes I reduce my intake. I’ll still be around for social reasons, along with actual information retrieval and research, but it will be minimal. It is a strange thing being of a generation over-saturated with information.
Eventually I do want to actually start another blog or two, entirely with original content, namely a film review blog focused mostly on notable cinema and art films. It’s inexcusable I didn’t start that years ago based solely on the sheer number of films I watch, and most need to be exposed to larger audiences. Additionally, if I start to feel more comfortable in my writing or publishing, I may start a blog with some of my work alongside some of my inspirations with analyses on them and why they are inspirational to me. Formulating reasons why I enjoy things and why they are important and physically writing them out is a massive writing tool for myself. Seeing how it all coalesces would probably be a great help as well, and hopefully would inspire others.
The internet is beautiful and sublime and deep, but I am not using it to those ends; hopefully I will bring myself to its annals someday as well.