Herbert Marcuse and Seth Rogen

The Interview is often silly. Rarely profound. But given the benefit of the doubt, the film provides an opportunity to consider how one dimensional humanity struggles with itself when the softer side of totalitarian control (consumerism) engages the harder aspect (militarism).

The place of a conspicuous display of wealth by Dave Skylark (James Franco ) and that of Kim Jung Un (Randall Park)

  • By virtue of the way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian. For “totalitarian” is not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but also a non-terroristic economic-technical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests. (Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man, vii)

Any attempt made by Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) to be thoughtful, intelligent, or aspire to something more than the lowest common denominator…

  • The intellectual is called on the carpet… Don’t you conceal something? You talk a language which is suspect. You don’t talk like the rest of us, like the man in the street, but rather like a foreigner who does not belong here. We have to cut you down to size, expose your tricks, purge you. (ix)
  • Ideas, aspirations, and objectives that, by their content, transcend the established universe of discourse and action are either repelled or reduced to terms of this universe. (12)

The power of media as the exchange system of control where the interest of the individual–narcissistic host or megalomaniacal dictator–becomes guidance for all…

  • Our mass media have little difficulty in selling particular interests as those of all sensible men. The political needs of society become individual needs and aspirations, their satisfaction promotes business and the commonweal, and the whole appeals to be the very embodiment of Reason. (x)
  • The world of immediate experience—the world in which we find ourselves living—must be comprehended, transformed, even subverted in order to become that which it really is. (123)

Finally, as an aspect of the sociocultural reception of the film which has placed it at the center a discussion of the first amendment…

  • Functional communication is only the outer layer of the one- dimensional universe in which man is trained to target—to translate the  into the positive so that he can continue to function, reduced but fit and reasonably well. The institutions of free speech and freedom of thought do not hamper the mental coordination with the established reality. What is taking place is a sweeping redefinition of thought itself, of its function and content. The coordination of the individual with his society reaches into those layers of the mind where the very concepts are elaborated which are designed to comprehend the established reality. These concepts are taken from the intellectual tradition and translated into operational terms—a translation which has the effect of reducing the tension between thought and reality by weakening the negative power of thought. (104)

One comment

  1. Reblogged this on Jeremy D. Johnson and commented:
    “The Interview is often silly. Rarely profound. But given the benefit of the doubt, the film provides an opportunity to consider how one dimensional humanity struggles with itself when the softer side of totalitarian control (consumerism) engages the harder aspect (militarism).”

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