Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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Human Metal

I feel like David Cronenberg's 1996 film Crash is both dated and ahead of its time. I think the dated thing may only come in terms of the controversy it stirred, actually. I saw an episode of Family Guy last night where the baby, Stewie, and Brian the dog come across Stewie's parents naked and high on the couch while Lois, the mother, insinuates the father, Peter, is trying to sodomise her. Imagine something like this on The Simpsons, in the early 90s when there was public controversy just about Bart Simpson's bad attitude.

I watched "Bart Gets Hit by a Car", a season two episode of The Simpsons, and thought again about how The Simpsons' focus on insight into human behaviour is so different from Family Guy's to-day. You have the absurdist stuff, like the phoney Doctor the Phil Hartman lawyer gets who's so over the top phoney, but there's a basic sense of characters trying to process this world in their imperfect ways in the episode, particularly from Marge, Lisa, and Bart. Family Guy has been criticised for taking its characters so far from who they were when they were created, but I actually think this is a result of one of Family Guy's strengths, that it's willing to deviate from a template when something more interesting comes along. Stewie as the evil warlord is less interesting than the more difficult to pigeonhole character he's become, a possibly closeted homosexual whose infant appearance seems to work as a visual metaphor for a sexually confused personality. And Brian, who's gone from the smart ass dog to being something more nuanced, a guy with a bit of an ego, an intellectual who has good perspective about some things, but frequently overestimates himself.

When we consider how tremendously popular Family Guy is, it's interesting to note how the personalities of Brian and Stewie reflect the culture. We've become a much more analytical culture as well as a more sexually open culture, at the same time a much more cynical and jaded culture, due in large part to the internet. Or, more specifically, the saturation of information and porn. Internet forums are often pissing contests between people off-handedly demonstrating knowledge or wit, however puerile, and of course it's hard to go a day without seeing porn whether you want to or not.

So Crash, a movie about people who are so sexually jaded they look to car accidents for stimulation, may have more relevance to-day than it did in the 90s. And yet the characters still feel so fascinatingly cold. Deborah Kara Unger's performance in particular is interesting. When she's having sex with Elias Koteas in a car wash, he looks like he's about to literally devour her, but the look on her face is like she's remote controlling her body from a space station.

She's not intentionally blocking the experience. You sense an intelligence trying to analyse sensation in order to obtain the correct formula for pleasure.

Koteas' character seems to be the fertilising element in the group of lifeless individuals, the one genuinely weird guy among people trying to get in touch with the humanity they've gotten so removed from.

Koteas talks about the gradual fusion of man and machine and how it's leading to a new life form and I think about how much more applicable this is to the integration of the internet into human society.

Twitter Sonnet #359

Skeletal Jolie personifies fear.
Double Roger Thornhills float like petals.
Colin Firth just doesn't want to be here.
The Artist's win's like Aladeen's medals.
Yellow mountains only exit in pairs.
Curly eggs cannot see your new glasses.
Remember umbrellas in black nightmares.
Cherry Hell has surplus backstage passes.
Sensitive light switches watch the restroom.
Dental floss extends across the crack street.
Burning apple sockets portend a doom.
Ancient yoghurt was sometimes topped with peat.
Scorn toast shaped liked Alexander Graham Bell.
Phoney metal retracts in a paint shell.
Tags: crash, culture, david cronenberg, deborah kara unger, family guy, movies, sex, television, the simpsons
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