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Thread: Disney, The Serpent Swallows its Own Tail?

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    Default Disney, The Serpent Swallows its Own Tail?

    The other day whilst watching the trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 I was struck by the relentless barrage of references and in-jokes, the entire thing seemed to be one continuous sequence of references to other properties owned by Disney and various other companies. Obviously product placement and advertising are nothing new, but this feels new in that those things used to be inserted into and around the story rather being the substance of it, Ready Player One being another example. It's more or less the same thing I was on about in the Philip Roth thread the other week:

    ... it feels as though we're trapped in a feedback loop. I've read that we're now into "post-postmodernism" and "metamodernism", but it all feels like postmodernism to me. I keep picturing it as the effect of pointing two mirrors at each other, that seemingly endless but gradually diminishing reflection.
    A recent piece in the New Yorker covered a similar idea re: Disney's handling of Star Wars - https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cu...-wars-universe

    Because “Star Wars” is so self-consciously mythic, “Solo” is especially vulnerable to the “simulacra of simulacra” problem. The original film was already an inspired remix, and nearly everything in the new movie is an echo of an echo. Donald Glover and Alden Ehrenreich are charismatic actors, but, as Lando and Han, they’re doomed to imitate the performances of Billy Dee Williams and Harrison Ford, who were themselves channelling blaxploitation and “Rebel Without a Cause.” (Emilia Clarke plays an intriguing new character—Han’s ex-girlfriend, a galactic gun moll—but isn’t given enough time to develop her in detail.) The movie’s set pieces—a high-speed train robbery, against-the-clock heist, and asteroid-field spaceship chase—are spectacular, but they’re also deeply familiar, either from the genre films that supply the raw material for “Star Wars” or from “Star Wars” itself. Even the details of the action are predetermined. Because the Millenium Falcon is so wide and flat, one of its coolest moves involves turning ninety degrees to slip through vertical spaces, which then prove too small for its Imperial pursuers. Early in “Solo,” Han attempts this maneuver with a land speeder (in a faux surprise, he fails); later, he does it successfully with the Falcon, while escaping a field of space debris. In “The Force Awakens,” Rey tips the Falcon while zooming through a wrecked Star Destroyer; in “The Empire Strikes Back,” Han does it while navigating a canyon on a giant asteroid. Space flight in “Star Wars” is intrinsically exciting, but repetition is rarely transcendent. Meanwhile, as the film draws to a close, its climactic moment turns out to be a riff on the “Han shot first” controversy—an inside-baseball fan debate about a 1997 revision to the original “Star Wars,” from 1977. The franchise is trapped in a loop of self-love.
    I guess what I'm wondering is where does it lead? Do we just end up referencing ourselves over and over and over or does the process become so dense and layered and diluted that something new has to occur?

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    finnegans wake is already the apotheosis of this in a sense. insanely self-referential but also draws in the world, its languages and myths and historical characters and uses it all in this way.

    good post btw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    finnegans wake is already the apotheosis of this in a sense. insanely self-referential but also draws in the world, its languages and myths and historical characters and uses it all in this way.
    That's a good point, hadn't thought of The Wake. It's hard to make the comparison in some ways though given the cultural reach of a company like Disney in comparison to something like Finnegans Wake. It's one thing to do it in a text that's only really read by scholars and academics, it's quite another to do it with films making billions of dollars that huge numbers of people watch and enjoy.

    FW just sort of exists on its own and people skirt around it, you can't really ignore it or carry on with what you're doing when something as big and as mainstream as Star Wars starts to do the same thing.

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    that trailer is great. i'll go and watch that when it comes out. for the record im all in favour of this and in fact i tend to think of culture as being inherently like this in any case. my favourite blog ( http://groupnameforgrapejuice.blogsp...hild-me-3.html ) is all about this too in way and we were talking about it recently.
    these lights reflect and refract off of one another in amazing patterns and nuances.
    to qute a line he used... across culture as a whole, wittingly and unwittingly, from country to country, across the whole span of time.

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    https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/mega-media...lidate-1666032
    hard to keep track of the corporate cyphers, would be good to see some diagrams or infographics

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    that trailer is great. i'll go and watch that when it comes out. for the record im all in favour of this and in fact i tend to think of culture as being inherently like this in any case. my favourite blog ( http://groupnameforgrapejuice.blogsp...hild-me-3.html ) is all about this too in way and we were talking about it recently.

    to qute a line he used... across culture as a whole, wittingly and unwittingly, from country to country, across the whole span of time.
    I think culture probably is like that in general, yeah, but it's the concentrated version coming through in this Disney stuff that I struggle with. If you're drawing from culture in general it's sprawling and vast enough to work, but if you're continually drawing from the same tiny pool it starts to grate.

    I bookmarked that blog after you posted it in another thread, but still haven't gotten round to it. Looks... difficult.

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    to the contrary, i like it becasue it's not difficult. its extremely lucid. i think he's very good at explaining things. i know him and we share the same beleifs about a lot of things but he is much better at making it approachable. hes an explainer by nature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sufi View Post
    https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/mega-media...lidate-1666032
    hard to keep track of the corporate cyphers, would be good to see some diagrams or infographics

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    “Kekulé dreams the Great Serpent holding its own tail in its mouth, the dreaming Serpent which surrounds the World. But the meanness, the cynicism with which this dream is to be used. The Serpent that announces, "The World is a closed thing, cyclical, resonant, eternally-returning," is to be delivered into a system whose only aim is to violate the Cycle. Taking and not giving back, demanding that "productivity" and "earnings" keep on increasing with time, the System removing from the rest of the World these vast quantities of energy to keep its own tiny desperate fraction showing a profit: and not only most of humanity—most of the World, animal, vegetable, and mineral, is laid waste in the process. The System may or may not understand that it's only buying time. And that time is an artificial resource to begin with, of no value to anyone or anything but the System, which must sooner or later crash to its death, when its addiction to energy has become more than the rest of the World can supply, dragging with it innocent souls all along the chain of life. Living inside the System is like riding across the country in a bus driven by a maniac bent on suicide . . . though he's amiable enough, keeps cracking jokes back through the loudspeaker . . .”

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    Quote Originally Posted by version View Post
    “Kekulé dreams the Great Serpent holding its own tail in its mouth, the dreaming Serpent which surrounds the World. But the meanness, the cynicism with which this dream is to be used. The Serpent that announces, "The World is a closed thing, cyclical, resonant, eternally-returning," is to be delivered into a system whose only aim is to violate the Cycle. Taking and not giving back, demanding that "productivity" and "earnings" keep on increasing with time, the System removing from the rest of the World these vast quantities of energy to keep its own tiny desperate fraction showing a profit: and not only most of humanity—most of the World, animal, vegetable, and mineral, is laid waste in the process. The System may or may not understand that it's only buying time. And that time is an artificial resource to begin with, of no value to anyone or anything but the System, which must sooner or later crash to its death, when its addiction to energy has become more than the rest of the World can supply, dragging with it innocent souls all along the chain of life. Living inside the System is like riding across the country in a bus driven by a maniac bent on suicide . . . though he's amiable enough, keeps cracking jokes back through the loudspeaker . . .”
    surprising how often he wears his heart on his sleeve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    surprising how often he wears his heart on his sleeve.
    Pynchon? He really opened up in Mason & Dixon, I was a bit taken aback he could write something so warm.

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    the passage you quoted seems very uncomplicated, open and earnest. hes stayed true to basic hippy values.
    (i only got about halfway through gravitys rainbow.)

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    Yeah, I think he's always been a hippy at heart, it runs through everything of his I've read. You should try finishing Gravity's Rainbow, it's a bit of a slog in places, but I reckon it's worth it. Mason & Dixon's more fun and focused and probably my favourite of the two, but you can't go wrong with either, imo. GR's death from a distance, M&D's death up close.

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