If You're Writing Primarily About Politics, What You're Not Doing Is Writing Primarily About People

In response to Some Reviewers Turned Off by the Politics of Elysium:

People are complex and surprising.

Politics — to someone who has a firm belief in a certain politics — are simple and obvious.

As a movie moves towards the “simple and obvious” away from the “complex and surprising,” it’s little wonder it becomes less interesting.

Even among liberals — and most critics are Severely liberal, as Mitt Romney might say — there is something akin to The Matrix phenomenon at play. 

Agent Smith said the first Matrix, a Matrix unseen in the film, was a paradise, without strife or pain or ugliness or death.

And the human brain-slaves of the Matrix rejected it — they knew it wasn’t real.  So they added in, well, 200o’s era Los Angeles, and that did the trick.  Now the human brain-slaves believed the illusion.  It had grit. It had trash.  It had discord.

Even a Severely Liberal critic might balk when “The Matrix” a filmmaker presents to him is such a pandering, simplistic conception of the messy thing we call The Real World.  Even a Severely Liberal critic might miss that feel of grit in a movie.  Something that feels like it was conceived by a human being as an entertainment for other human beings, and not by a socialist-minded AI who’s just dying to tell you about this great screenplay idea he has.

 

By the Way:  I just had the odd feeling that I didn’t make up that Matrix thing, that either you or John Haywood did, and now I’m just repeating back to you what you’ve already written.

If so, I’m sorry.  I don’t remember reading it, but now I’m kind of wondering if that tumbled out a bit too easily, as if from memory rather than through creation.

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