I can hypnotize a man without his knowledge or consent into committing treason against the United States.- Dr. Estabrooks - Chairman of the Department of Psychology at Colgate University,
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has helped clear rubble and plant flowers as she visited two housing schemes near Cape Town, South Africa.
They cleared rubble from the site and planted flowers and a tree.
"This is what I really believe in," she was quoted as saying during the tour. "I mean, I have travelled literally all over the world and when people organise themselves and are given the tools and the training to really empower themselves and their future and build houses and communities, that's what's lasting."
When one woman asked if Mrs Clinton wanted to make a contribution she explained she had no money on her, and turned to Africa envoy Johnnie Carson, who drew a $50 note from his wallet. "These are good businesswomen," Mrs Clinton said.
From the point of view of most Hollywood filmmaking, these utopian strategies are used to mirror the hegemonic structures found in society. Instead of imagining an alternate space as a resistance to dominant society, these films place USA as the utopian space. Such an argument follows what Jean Baudrillard provocatively argues in his book America: the US is utopia achieved and because of this, there are no poor people in USA. ”The have-nots will be condemned to oblivion, to abandonment, to disappearance pure and simple. […] And rightly so, since they show such bad taste as to deviate from general consensus.” (Baudrillard 111). Baudrillard’s argument must of course be understood as ironic, and as pointing to the ideological erasure of the poor, rather than a serious argument of no poverty in America.
Consider Gattaca (Andrew Niccol 1997) which portrays the struggle of Vincent who tries to become an astronaut despite being considered an in-valid, due to his faulty genes. Diagnosed with a life expectancy of no more than 30 years, Vincent goes on to prove the system wrong by living longer and becoming an astronaut in spite of the immediate rejection. However, this does not result in the film portraying the system as problematic, but simply presenting Vincent as a heroic figure. Society is not challenged, as Vincent is praised. Here, the film rejects sympathizing with the in-valids and by extension those that the in-valid symbolically represent: poor people and people of color. The film’s conclusion is the individual’s victory over the system, not the collapse or change of society. The individual succeeds in spite of the society, but this also indicates that anyone may succeed, despite the conditions they are born. Matters of race and class – folded into the image of the in-valids – are rejected as arguments for one’s situation. The geneticism Vincent faces can still be conquered, if you work hard enough: no social divide is so large that it cannot be overcome. While this may seem as a positive thing, it is also reactionary view which denies the need for change, since “the talented will overcome”.
New Mappings (Denmark)
Do you really want to spend the rest of your life on this planet being a "photo-journalist" at Auschwitz?