May 22, 2003
Are the Matrix directing Wachowski brothers the biggest subversives in America? Well, if they are getting any sort of percent on the box office receipts then they certainly are the richest subversives not named Soros or (for the brief moment) Buffet.
Forget the action and the sci-fi minutia and ignore all the player haters while your at it, the untold story about the Matrix franchise is that its the biggest piece of leftist agitprop to hit the western mediasphere in years. And so far only Salon seems to be getting it. And they only touch on the beginning it (not to mention their bizarre enjoyment of the worst sex scene to grace an A list movie in years). In a time when Bush and Co are trying their best to make American's believe in a one dimensional world of us vs evil, the Matrix is an elaborately crafted vehicle for undermining the conservative message. And countless Americans are eating it up. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw the effects come the 2004 elections.
Hollywood is a left wing paradise with a big problem. Most of the major movie players lean heavily to the political left, but their bread and butter comes from pumping out Good vs Evil themed flicks that play directly into the Lakoffian moral politics of the right wing. Regardless of the explicit messages in a film, the very structure of a Hollywood Blockbuster leads to a reinforcement of a conservative world view.
The first Matrix had a pretty explicit leftist agenda: rise up and revolt against a rigid power structure, question reality, the wool is getting pulled over your eyes by those in control of the system. But that message was undercut by the reliance on the standard Good/Evil binary. For every person driven to question the hidden network of powers driving our world, there is someone who sees another example of the good guys beating the bad guys.
The Matrix Reloaded is out to shatter that trope and its far more effective at calling attention to the structures of power. Remember those hippie "Question Reality" bumper stickers? Well the Matrix is getting people to question reality on a scale that Timothy Leary couldn't even dream of when high off his premium LSD + bullshit blend. The left has been content to release memes into their own marginal subcultures for far to long. The Matrix unleashes memes into the heart of pop culture. "Choice is an illusion created by those with power to control those without", says the Merovingian and the Architect adds in: "nearly 99.9% of all test subjects accepted the program, as long as they were given a choice, even if they were only aware of the choice at a near unconscious level."
The way the Matrix Reloaded points out the multiple layers of control built into society is perhaps the most potent of the messages it carries. Its one thing to make people aware of the first layer of control. Its far more powerful to make them aware of the way that a built in "resistance" can be used to solidify the power structure.
These are powerful seeds for any campaign to make the American public aware of the way the Bush administration is using the rhetoric and the media to sell a system of control. The left has been pushing these ideas for decades now, and general public couldn't give a fuck. Thanks to the Wachowski the ideas are now seething through the subconscious of the suburbs. And its far to soon to guess at what the ramifications are.
Six months from now, when the Matrix Revolutions hits theaters, we'll have a much better sense of it all. Most exciting to me are the indications that the Wachowski's are ready toss the Good/Evil binary out the window in a big way. Neo is the hero of the series so far, but everything else is way less clear. (*Spoiler Alert*) Who are the bad guys though. The Agents are now apparently on their own, at least those without earpieces. Morpheus is now a deluded fool of a leader. And where the Oracle, Merovingian, Persephone, Locke and the Architect fit into it all is up in a cloud of mystery. Perhaps it all collapses back into a nice binary, ala classic Hollywood. But I have a feeling we are in for something more complex. Perhaps a Princess Mononoke style peace making is in the offering.
Regardless of the binary, the leftist agenda is pretty advanced already. The Berkeley wet dream make up of the Zion Council, the Baudrillard references, the Cornell West guest appearance, the unverified anti-Bush jab, the corporate blandness of the Agents, the pro revolution plot-lines, etc, etc. Six more months and we'll find out exactly how extensive the agitprop goes.Posted by Abe at May 22, 2003 06:38 PM