I am sure some of you know this already and that most of you will tell me not to be surprised at the outcome of this, but I’ll do this anyway: let’s take a look at Brangelina’s politics. Brad has just reaped lots of politically correct shoulder-patting for Babel, which tried to represent a globalized planet’s cultural/communicative problems and succeeded in doing so in a manner almost as intelligent as Crash’s “useful” insights into the problem of US racism (i.e. a ridiculous liberal cop-out). He has also been following Angelina around and joined her in her attempt to use her cultural capital to make the world a better place, draw attention to humanitarian projects (e.g. Angelina’s function as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, working primarily in Africa and South-East Asia). They are both trying to show the world how politically active they are and I do, in fact, generally respect them for the humanitarian work they are doing. Maybe, however, I should not have assumed that it is in fact ideologically motivated (that it actually has a foundation that arises out of a desire for actual social critique), since the latest film project of the couple contradicts pretty much all of their supposed humanitarian ideology and reveals it all as nothing more than a series of PR stunts without any substantial underlying conviction.
Brangelina is currently filming an adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, which will be released in 2008 (production photo above). ATLAS SHRUGGED! Are you kidding me? How is it possible to act as though you in fact care about the humanitarian plight in Africa, South East Asia, pretend to be interested in resolving it by acting as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, and then take a role in the adaptation of anything by Ayn Rand? Just this morning I listened to the Thom Hartman program on Air American Radio who talked to a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (aynrand.org). This good man presented a typically Ayn Rand-ian, objectivist, individualist, i.e. radical egotistical, free-market argument about the dangers of governmental regulations on pharmacetutical patents sold on a free-market to African and South-East Asian countries. According to him, we are making a good product and we should be able to sell it as expensively as we see fit and if some countries cannot afford it, well…bad luck for them. “You just cannot punish us and our ingenuity,” so his argument, “just because some countries are not economically competitive.” In other words, our individual economic rewards for our great work trump their basic humnitarian needs–it is unreasonable to expect us to make less profit to help people and it sure as hell is not our duty to do so.
How can you star in a movie about a novel that logically contradicts everything you say you stand for? How can you further promote a book written by a “philosopher” who has become the favorite writer of egotistical and radical individualist US capitalism, as well as the model for contemporary anti-humanitarian, anti-social (justice) “theory” that allows for the absorption of free-market ideology into the social fabric, creating a vision of a society free from any of the values that traditionally used to define the very concept of a society. Well, in a way it makes sense for Brangelina: if you support Rand’s idea that government protection (or you may call it “regulation”…oooh–evil word!) is a bad thing (see Reagan and the X Files crap on the idea that a government is a bad thing), there is more room to solve problems privately. And this is exactly where Brangelina can step in! Hey, Brangelina, can you also help me privatize my health care and social security system?? Aaaah, the freedom of being a special, unique snowflake. If the effects of Ayn Rand’s philosophy need to be visually represented at all, I have to say that we already have that film. It is called American Psycho. Even better than that, read Ellis’ novel, which precisely illustrates the social results of objectivism.
I will have to stop here, as my notebook might get damaged by me taking out my anger on its keyboard. I just cannot believe that a) people LOVE Ayn Rand to the extent that we actually witness in the US at this point and b) that I can still be negatively surprised by the political and social hypocrisy of our Hollywood elite, which takes so much pride in selling itself as liberal and progressive. Well, liberal they are. Neoliberal, in fact. What kind of a world do we live in where one cannot even trust Brangelina any more? Makes me sick. Guess I should do my liberal Hollywood thing now, go to Starbucks now and calm down over my triple-shot-soy-hazel-flavor-twice-steamed-latte-macchiato and learn more about the state of the world and how we can all do our part to make it better by reading the insight number 132 printed on the side of the cup.
for this visit: http://www.starbucks.com/retail/thewayiseeit_default.asp