Sunday, June 12, 2011

Periodizing the Present: Nostalgia in X-Men: First Class and Super 8

A quick glance at this year’s slew of summer blockbusters suggests a noticeable turn to other historical moments: Captain America, Pirates of the Caribbean, Cowboys and Aliens all suggest that this years escapist entertainment is trying to escape the present. Of course such period escapism is not new, but it is striking against the usual tendency of remakes, which set everything in the eternal present with the most current B-list actors, pop songs, and hairstyles. (As I suggested earlier, the remake is an evasion of history) Within this crop of movies two films stand out in that they are not just set in the past, but set in the film styles and conventions of a bygone era. These films are X-Men: First Class and Super 8

Monday, June 06, 2011

Capital (The Book and the Totality): On Jameson’s Representing Capital


It is impossible not to compare Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One with last year’s The Hegel Variations: in each case it is a rather succinct reflection, a meditation on one book by a central figure for Jameson’s thought. This book too has a pedagogical quality, which is not to say that it is pedantic at all, just that it is easy to imagine the book as stemming from a seminar. Like the previous book it offers reflections on themes central to Jameson’s work, such as dialectic and history, as well as some engagements with the broader intellectual horizon, including some surprising remarks on Heidegger’s critique of technology.