Discussion:
Questions: Full Metal Jacket's final coda
(too old to reply)
MP
2008-04-22 16:04:23 UTC
Permalink
"Full Metal Jacket" ends with Joker's narration superimposed over the
Marine group's Mickey Mouse Chant.

Joker's narration:

"We have NAILED our names in the pages of history, enough for today.
We HUMP down to the perfume river to set in for the night. My thoughts
drift back to ERECT NIPPLE WET DREAMS about Mary Jane ROTTENCROTCH and
the great homecoming FUCK FANTASY. I am so happy that I am alive and
in one piece. In short, I am in a world of shit, yes. But I am alive.
And I am not afraid."


Marine group (chorus omitted):

"We play fair and we work hard and we're in harmony."
"Forever let us hold our banner high"
"boys and girls from far and near you're welcome as can be"
"Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?"
"Who is marching coast to coast and far across the sea?"
"Come along and sing our song and join our family."
"Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?"

The interesting thing about Joker's narration is the emphasis on sex
and shit. Full Metal Jacket has repeated sex and shit motiffs, and
here in the coda, Kubrick brings these cycles to a nice close.

Joker, an intelligent and cynical young man, has sacrificed his
identity and individuality. Having killed his Shadow, the last
remnants of his infantile and femine self, he's transformed from a
reporter to a "cold hard grunt". He's shifted from an outside
observer, to an internal member of the hive mind. He is a member of
the Micky Mouse Club. A slave to ideology. A mere pawn on a chessboard
run by unseen masters.

But then why is he "happy to be alive?" and why is he "not afraid?"
How brainwashed is Joker? Is he aware that he has metaphorically
commited suicide, or is his comment ironic? Is he still joking? Is he
in fact dead and painfully afraid?

Also, what do his "fuck fantasies" mean? There's obviously an
evolution taking place. Joker has evolved from Child to Adolescent to
Impotent (gun jamming) Adult. Has he now reached Maturity? Is his
"fucking" symbollic of his transformation into rapist and
conquistador?

The "Micky Mouse" song has been mocked by many critics of the film.
They read it superficially, saying that "war makes boys out of men" or
that the soldiers are like "infants playing with guns".

I've always thought the chant was far more powerful. It's dark,
mysterious and devilishly ironic, with it's "micky mouse" metaphors
clearly alluding to "The Shining's" notion of conquest and bloody
history. Micky mouse is also a pretty recognisable symbol of
Americana.

So to me, the song is about American Imperialism rolling across the
world. These men hold their banner up high, urging everyone to join
their family as they bring "peace" and "freedom" to all. They pretend
to play fair and live in harmony, marching from coast to coast, all
the while blissfully unaware of who exactly runs their club and why
exactly they're fighting. Like Dr Bill in Eyes Wide Shut, they're
deluded.

With it's urban warfare and lack of jungles, the film seems far more
modern than any other Vietnam film. It alludes to Afghanistan and both
gulf wars, it's urban streets and rubble strewn landscape making war
seem more like a capitalist game (Joker: "it's just business") than a
natural fight for survival.

One more question. Animal mother's line, "you think we fight for
freedom? If I'm going to get my balls blown off for a word, my word is
poontang", do you think it's symbollic? That this psycho marine fights
not for ideology but for pussy. That he's been conditioned to think of
war and sex as one. To rape is to own? Has his gun displaced his
penis? If so, is this what military indoctrination is trying to
achieve with these young men?
Kelpzoidzl
2008-04-22 18:44:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by MP
"Full Metal Jacket" ends with Joker's narration superimposed over the
Marine group's Mickey Mouse Chant.
"We have NAILED our names in the pages of history, enough for today.
We HUMP down to the perfume river to set in for the night. My thoughts
drift back to ERECT NIPPLE WET DREAMS about Mary Jane ROTTENCROTCH and
the great homecoming FUCK FANTASY. I am so happy that I am alive and
in one piece. In short, I am in a world of shit, yes. But I am alive.
And I am not afraid."
"We play fair and we work hard and we're in harmony."
"Forever let us hold our banner high"
"boys and girls from far and near you're welcome as can be"
"Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?"
"Who is marching coast to coast and far across the sea?"
"Come along and sing our song and join our family."
"Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?"
The interesting thing about Joker's narration is the emphasis on sex
and shit. Full Metal Jacket has repeated sex and shit motiffs, and
here in the coda, Kubrick brings these cycles to a nice close.
Very generally speaking, young men of the kind, that would be grunts, in
Vietnam, tended to already have the sex and shit motif as a major player in
their testosterone, jocular banter, vocabulary. It's part of a all-male
group speech. Its a common perversion of speech, for the competititve macho
men to spew out sex and shit jokes, espeically in a all male environment.
The caricatures seen in Full Metal Jacket are really not that much
different, emphasized or enhanced, from real life. I think Sk was just
condensing it a bit, but it's not that unusual or differnt from the banter
one would hear in the the verbal assualts from real life wartime sargeants.

Historically, Sex and Shit jokes, "talking dirty," are included in the
speech and ideation of young men in many cultures going way back, even at
times when the repression of it, is heavier then at other times.

It's a state of animality, funneled into male, communal, words, that has
the inherent wiring, that equates animal functions of all kinds, into an
attitude, that for whatever reason one might theorize, reinforces brute,
dirty, manly toughness.

Sk is really just depicting it as it was/is in a very basic way. I see it
as a depiction of bumbling idiots, being sent to war by other, more powerful
bumbling idiots and the slang use of the phrase "Mickey Mouse," meaning,
"small-time, amateurish or trivial," (wikipedia), was already common by the
1960's.

So is Sk really trying to be deep here, when he is just showing it as it
really is? Lame, Mickey Mouse, Jocular?

I think the real implication here is that SK (as Joker) is saying that that
kind of dirty jocularity, seen in a army of mostly immature and uneducated,
young men, being sent to war by a bumbling war machine that has no idea what
they are doing, is all dumb and "Mickey Mouse." War is idiotic lacking
reason and dominated by animality. Joker sees it, but still find himself in
those circumstances, because he knows he is Mickey Mouse also. Joker is
able to see himself a bit, while most of the others are too dumb to do so
and have drank the koolaid in copious quantities.

It is just the same bumbling morons in the WarRoom in Dr. Strangelove,
sending these, ignorant troops into war. It's the Sargeant's job to rile up
their animality, like a cheerleader, whose job is to get them to sublimate
all that sexual tension into mindless, oneness

While Private Pyle could not handle the dehumanization and was unable to
compete with his macho brethran, Joker, was able to parody the whole thing,
as he went, where his animality, is capable of some reasoning, but he
sublimates his own animality into more self-aware kind of sarcasm, from what
we hear from Animal Mother. The far more crass, Animal Mother is a true
hero, whereas Joker is not heroic, killing the female sniper, yet Joker's
higher intelligence, is able to better Animal Mother in competitive banter,
but that kind of victory is entirely Mickey Mouse. Couple that victory with
his heroic killing of the sniper-girl at point blank range, and he is
defiantly eating peanuts out of shit---quite a feat of superior intellect.

dc
Harry Bailey
2008-04-23 00:18:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by MP
"Full Metal Jacket" ends with Joker's narration superimposed over the
Marine group's Mickey Mouse Chant.
"We have NAILED our names in the pages of history, enough for today.
We HUMP down to the perfume river to set in for the night. My thoughts
drift back to ERECT NIPPLE WET DREAMS about Mary Jane ROTTENCROTCH and
the great homecoming FUCK FANTASY. I am so happy that I am alive and
in one piece. In short, I am in a world of shit, yes. But I am alive.
And I am not afraid."
"We play fair and we work hard and we're in harmony."
"Forever let us hold our banner high"
"boys and girls from far and near you're welcome as can be"
"Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?"
"Who is marching coast to coast and far across the sea?"
"Come along and sing our song and join our family."
"Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?"
The interesting thing about Joker's narration is the emphasis on sex
and shit. Full Metal Jacket has repeated sex and shit motiffs, and
here in the coda, Kubrick brings these cycles to a nice close.
Joker, an intelligent and cynical young man, has sacrificed his
identity and individuality. Having killed his Shadow, the last
remnants of his infantile and femine self, he's transformed from a
reporter to a "cold hard grunt". He's shifted from an outside
observer, to an internal member of the hive mind. He is a member of
the Micky Mouse Club. A slave to ideology. A mere pawn on a chessboard
run by unseen masters.
But then why is he "happy to be alive?" and why is he "not afraid?"
How brainwashed is Joker? Is he aware that he has metaphorically
commited suicide, or is his comment ironic? Is he still joking? Is he
in fact dead and painfully afraid?
Also, what do his "fuck fantasies" mean? There's obviously an
evolution taking place. Joker has evolved from Child to Adolescent to
Impotent (gun jamming) Adult. Has he now reached Maturity? Is his
"fucking" symbollic of his transformation into rapist and
conquistador?
The "Micky Mouse" song has been mocked by many critics of the film.
They read it superficially, saying that "war makes boys out of men" or
that the soldiers are like "infants playing with guns".
I've always thought the chant was far more powerful. It's dark,
mysterious and devilishly ironic, with it's "micky mouse" metaphors
clearly alluding to "The Shining's" notion of conquest and bloody
history. Micky mouse is also a pretty recognisable symbol of
Americana.
So to me, the song is about American Imperialism rolling across the
world. These men hold their banner up high, urging everyone to join
their family as they bring "peace" and "freedom" to all. They pretend
to play fair and live in harmony, marching from coast to coast, all
the while blissfully unaware of who exactly runs their club and why
exactly they're fighting. Like Dr Bill in Eyes Wide Shut, they're
deluded.
With it's urban warfare and lack of jungles, the film seems far more
modern than any other Vietnam film. It alludes to Afghanistan and both
gulf wars, it's urban streets and rubble strewn landscape making war
seem more like a capitalist game (Joker: "it's just business") than a
natural fight for survival.
One more question. Animal mother's line, "you think we fight for
freedom? If I'm going to get my balls blown off for a word, my word is
poontang", do you think it's symbollic? That this psycho marine fights
not for ideology but for pussy. That he's been conditioned to think of
war and sex as one. To rape is to own? Has his gun displaced his
penis? If so, is this what military indoctrination is trying to
achieve with these young men?
Good points, MP.

Some responses from the AMK past:

Far from Joker seeing through the Mickey Mouse shit, he
finally suicidally embraces it. To rationalise Joker's execution of
the sniper - the standard ideological reading - as "compassionate",
one would have to argue accordingly
regarding Pyle's execution of Hartman. One has only to first appeal
to
the responses of Joker's now-fellow-Marine-Corps unified grunts to
realise that something profoundly different is happening: "Joker! We
better put you up for the Congressional Medal of Ugly!, barks a now
hysterical, fresh-kill-ecstatic Rafterman. And another:" hard core,
man. Hard core." Clearly, Joker has shot the sniper at point blank
range in the face, suicidally internalising the very world-of-shit
that Pyle blew away. Very compassionate indeed.

As was foreshadowed in bootcamp's final Head scene, the shit is all
in
the head: the military patriarchy has yet again successfully
colonised
another Mother Green Killing Machine recruit, only for Kubrick to
immediately call all of this process into question in the next, final
scene, where the hardened grunts regress into Mickey Mouse
infantilism. [This was all foreshadowed during the Head scene between
Pyle and Hartman in boot-camp when Hartman exclaims, "What is all this
Mickey Mouse shit!?"]

As Zizek argues: "The second, main part of the film ends with a scene
in which a soldier (Matthew Modine) who, throughout the film, has
displayed a kind of ironic 'human distance' towards the military
machine (on his helmet, the inscription 'Born to kill' is accompanied
by the peace sign, etc. - in short, it looks as if he has stepped
right out of MASH!), shoots a wounded Vietcong sniper girl. He is the
one in whom the interpellation by the military big Other has fully
succeeded; he is the fully constituted military subject.

The lesson is therefore clear: an ideological identification exerts a
true hold on us precisely when we maintain an awareness that we are
not fully identical to it, that there is a rich human person beneath
it: 'not all is ideology, beneath the ideological mask, I am also a
human person' is the very form of ideology, of its 'practical
efficiency'."

Even the wording of the Mickey Mouse Club anthem ("Boys
and girls from far and near you`re as welcome as can be ... We play
fair and we work hard and we`re in harmony ... Who is marching coast
to coast and far across the sea ... Come along and sing this song and
join our family") draws our attention once more to a diverse but
ultimately interconnected range of structural and social processes
with
which the film has been concerned.

The "Club" is not just the Marine Corp: Getting with "the programme"
requires the participation of all members of society, both male and
female. The club has a very specific ideology to perpetuate in which
all of America is obliged to actively participate.


Colonisation, of which war and corporate multinational capitalism are
just two expressions, involves two stages:


Training (Boot Camp in FMJ): The colonisation of the mind/psyche. War
is seen to be the "logical" conclusion of an elaborate patriarchal
process that starts with the Mickey Mouse Club, the boy scouts, the
high school football team - and Boot Camp, namely, the construction
of
masculinity. The playing of this anthem at the end of Kubrick`s film
draws our attention to the marine`s infantilism, a desire on their
part to return to childhood in spite of the process of
masculinisation
we witness throughout the film which has attempted to suppress all
such regressive urges, as manifested by the Marines`
self-brutalisation of all "feminine" values. Kubrick, as ever,
resists
a cheap polemical denouement, suggesting that in spite of the hardcore
FMJ
conditioning of the Marines, in spite of Joker`s final
self-destructive capitulation by shooting the female grunt sniper, a
certain irrepressible pseudo-humanity still lingers, and it is this
which underpins ideology: "The lesson is therefore clear: an
ideological identification exerts a true hold on us precisely when we
maintain an awareness that we are not fully identical to it, that
there is a rich human person beneath it: 'not all is ideology, beneath
the ideological mask, I am also a human person' is the very form of
ideology, of its 'practical efficiency'. Close analysis of even the
most 'totalitarian' ideological edifice inevitably reveals that, not
everything in it is 'ideology' (in the popular sense of the
'politically instrumentalized legitimization of power relations'): in
every ideological edifice, there is a kind of 'trans-ideological'
kernel, since, if an ideology is to become operative and effectively
'seize' individuals, it has to batten on and manipulate some kind of
'trans-ideological' vision which cannot be reduced to a simple
instrument of legitimizing pretensions to power (notions and
sentiments of solidarity, justice, belonging to a community, etc.). Is
not a kind of 'authentic' vision discernible even in Nazism (the
notion of the deep solidarity which keeps the 'community of people'
together), not to mention Stalinism? The point is thus not that there
is no ideology without a trans-ideological 'authentic' kernel but
rather, that it is only the reference to such a trans-ideological
kernel which makes an ideology 'workable'. "


Combat: Colonisation of territory/geography/other cultures. War (and
Boot Camp) are intrinsically bound up with the rest of American
culture. The preservation of the "frontier myth" (hence all of the
John Wayne references in the film), the need for America to >always<
require a frontier, from the Wild West to Nicaragua, Cuba and Chile,
from Korea and Angola to Cambodia and Viet Nam, from Israel to Kuwait
and Iraq, is intrinsic to the preservation of a recognisably national
identity and the perpetuation of American patriarchy, as without an
ever-present frontier the entire apparatus of both the
military-industrial complex and the imperatives of corporate
capitalism are called into question.


In short, training and combat, the securing of the "minds" and the
"hearts" of the marines,
------------------------
Pyle is to Joker in the literal "world of shit" Head what Joker is to
the sniper in the
figurative "world of shit" Hue. And the soundtrack reinforces this -
aurally, literally. Of course, we now need to address what kind of
"self" remains within Joker (ditto for snake-bitten Hesitation-Bill
in EWS)..

As for rampant dualisms in the literal "world of shit" of the Head:
Pyle shoots the hard-heart Hartman in his soft-heart in the Head, and
Pyle then, following his hesitation with Joker, sits down on his
pile
and shoots himself in the head in the Head. Winning/taking of hearts
(emotions) and heads (minds).


The "shit" is all in the head.


==========================

While Kubrick does indeed liken the institutions of the military to a
maniacal parent, in fact, a
patriarchal mother ("mother green", "beloved corps"), I would
question
whether any actual unhealthy gratification derived from handling
filth
is the result. The world-of-shit language is one part of a
rhetorical
system of indoctrination used by FMJ's military machine, and
ironically deconstructed by Kubrick, for purposes of masculine
"purification"; Kubrick also demonstrates how the military
appropriate
whatever else is necessary from the wider culture in order (so
linking
the military to all of society's institutions) to achieve this
purpose, including religion: virgin mary, Chaplin Charlie, prayers to
rifles, group chants, sacrificial rituals, Pyle being "reborn"
masculine on Christmas Day so "you can give your heart to Jesus but
your ass belongs to the Corps", etc; and sexuality: the most
significant sub-theme, from the sexual fetishisation of the marines'
rifles - Pyle's Charlene, the feminine of Charlie - to the marines'
"clarified rejection" of all feminine cultural constructs in order to
become more "masculine", which becomes Joker's suicidal undoing when
he shoots the female masculinised sniper; and the media: cinematic
and
TV representations of war and the idealised western masculine hero.
------------------
The Mickey Mouse culture cannot exist without the darker processes of
the brutalisation
of the feminine, that once your mind has been colonised with a
one-dimensional identity which denies and repudiates ambiguities it
is
easy to pulverise the X-rated culture while embracing the G-rated
one.
The former strengthens the latter: "Masculinity must be won and
preserved, for it can be lost".
--------------
FMJ's Hartman ideally wants recruits who, like Joker, will
ultimately maintain the necessary distance [between fantasy and
rationality, between total identification and definitive, or
non-ironic, dismissal]. Hartman's irony here foreshadows Joker's in
Hue City ("I wanted to be the first kid on the block to get a
confirmed kill" etc). Joker, unlike Pyle, successfully keeps his
distance ("Does this mean that Ann Margaret's _not_ coming?"). He -
mistakenly - does not view himself as a part of the system which is
actually systematically molding him and gradually drawing him further
in. And it is precisely this detachment which allows him to be an
efficiently functioning, unknowing slave to ideology, but without
fatally destroying or ostensibly compromising himself at the same
time. In FMJ, Hartman is intentionally exploiting a fundamental
_lack_, a
vulnerability in adolescent males, scatologically 'substituting' the
institutional Mother Green for its supposedly biological, localised
maternal
precedent.

All for the (always impossible) promise of deliverance/unity through
some 'poontang'! [Oedipus 'actualised'].
-------------------------
Harry Bailey
2008-04-23 02:45:35 UTC
Permalink
BTW, I've read your excellent analysis at The Kubrick Corner
(Understanding FMJ: http://kubrickfilms.tripod.com/id6.html) and the
other articles.

[Just to add that it is precisely the 'Jungian thing' [even parodied
by Kubrick in the film by having the confused and posturing Joker take
'refuge' in its imaginary essentialisms, but of course to no avail]
that needs to be critiqued further. There are no 'archetypes' of the
unconscious (such 'symbols' being entirely imaginary), there is no
inner 'precious' self, dual or unified, to appeal to or to 'find', as
the Subject is constitutively split, is a Void, a 'barred subject',
is, indeed, defined by the very tension of that shattered 'self', and
which is why appeals to some 'psychologising interior' in Kubrick's
films is always redundant.]

But here's some more analysis of the sniper scenes:

Kubrick has always struck me as quite eccentric in big budget
filmmaking. The exploration of personal human psychology never
appeared a Kubrick priority to me, nor do I see him striving for
verisimilitude in that regard. When I saw FMJ, it never occured to me
to conclude that Kubrick is soliciting the audience in the ordinary
Hollywood way to take 'Joker' - a picaro of FMJ, and the picaro of the
film within the film - as a realist concoction and attribute to him
the invisible psychological interior which would permit the viewer to
conclude that Joker shoots the little girl out of 'compassion.' The
illusion of such a depth beneath the visible, audible Joker is not
something Kubrick has taken pains to create or sustain. Kubrick seems
to me to be forever flirting with allegory and fable, in the spirit of
Brecht (if far more pessimistic), forever encouraging the audience to
resist that trained impulse to endow fictional characters with a
fascimile of human psychology. The astronauts in 2001 and HAL, for
example, function more or less equivalently as textual elements
conveying ideological content.

In FMJ, I rather think Kubrick is up to something far more
disquieting; he dares the audience to put that comforting, self-
justifying construction - "Joker" is an individual who commits a war
crime out of 'compassion' - on the stalking and murder of a rather
magically, fabulously appearing little girl they witness - a sequence
of narrative wholly implausible were the diegetic plane of the film
adhering to Hollywood's standard realist mechanisms, whether of the
timbre which rules MASH or that more rigid structure governing Officer
and a Gentleman. Kubrick continually thwarts efforts to accept his
narrative as bourgeois drama, and I feel he rather dares the audience
to desire the war crime and to react with relief (now they too, are
safe from the vengeance of the mighty little girls of Vietnam), in
order to expose and poison that pervasive ideological position to
which American audiences are so inured as to be oblivious. Killing
Vietnam to save it, to put it out of its misery, was, he dares the
audience to try to soothe itself, after all the only decent thing to
do with it.

This section of the film is romance. A pack of grown men are observed
lost in the traditional wood/desert, witnessed in peril and fear,
beset by an invisible, lethal monster which permeates their
environment - the landscape itself is killing them. Their fate is the
concern of the camera. The invisible monster who threatens these
armed, grown men with destruction becomes visible in the form of one
lost little girl.

(There are two allusions at work: to the little girl witnessed earlier
in the film surrounded by this gang still in 'the city,' sarcastically
begging to be raped/invaded as this one will dream-fantastically beg
to be killed; and to Kim Phuc, the little girl in the famous photo,
who came to represent Vietnam, running naked toward the camera covered
in Napalm.)

This has no mimetic justification - there were no 9 year old girl
snipers who massacred American GIs in Vietnam. She is a metaphor for
Vietnam. For the life of Vietnam - she is like a litte fée. The
invaders stand around her after they wound her, though she is
completely helpless, and are still frightened and vengeful; this
pretty young dying girl who had attempted to defend herself is
surrounded by these grown men incapable of recognizing even then, when
the monstrous threatening force's true numbers, size and strength are
revealed to them, the asymetry of the conflict and their own
culpability. Joker kills her because there is no easier way to
complete the sequence now that they have disabled her - they don't
want to help her, they are not disposed to repent and repair - and he
manages to experience this choice as 'compassionate,' just as the
official US ideology considered withdrawal compassionate and governed
its forgiveness of Vietnamese wickedness and cruelty to its GIs as
generous and merciful. "Joker" the executioner who doesn't bother with
gratuitous torture, who knows when enough is enough, who may even be
more frightened of the wounded child's capacity to hurt him if he
turns his back on her still alive - the characters in this film are
not quite the sort endowed with faux-personal 'motivations' and we are
allowed a range of interpretations none mutually exclusive - is the
official US ideology at its most self-congradulatory and beneficent.
This tortured, weak little girl is both menace and protectorate of the
compassionate Pentagon, the Vietnam who has to be murdered to be saved
(from herself).
-------

Joker's 'motivation' is neither important nor strongly implied at all.
I think the film discourages the attribution of one. The narrative is
opaque in that way - no apology, no analysis, no explanation, no
holding the audience hand and having a therapy session, no looking for
the moral of the story nor a lesson, no catharsis, no redemption, no
revelation. Just telling an appalling narrative which in some way
captures and manages to represent an appalling history and nauseates
and horrifies you. Without being sort of methodical/forensic, it was
completely destitute of the romanticism which is such a central part
of the genre into which it overtly fits. Very eccentric.
-------
The thing I appreciate most in Kubrick is his ability to confront
randomness and meaninglessness (or highly complex overdetermination,
which amounts to the same thing). Without a willingness to take that
in - and this is very unAmerican, as perhaps the most important pillar
of US regime apology is the idea that everything is secretly for the
best, that everything happens for a reason, that every cloud has a
silver lining and every horror is a 'learning experience' - I'm not
sure his films can be fully understood. His brand of radical anti-
spirituality is a pretty harsh experience, and the majority of his
consumers I think just read it away, just impose what they prefer.
Spielberg astonishingly claimed to see his films (when giving the
Oscar obit tribute) 'the triumph of the human spirit.' And shockingly,
this was greeted with solemn approval.
-----------
And the 'reason 'Joker murders the girl is also simply because that is
the truth of what happened: the US destroyed Vietnam and withdrew.
That's the historical content of the actions portrayed. If there is
'psychological' content vis a vis the 'characters,' its ambiguous and
marginal in significance at best.
---------
Don Stockbauer
2008-04-23 04:48:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Harry Bailey
BTW, I've read your excellent analysis at The Kubrick Corner
(Understanding FMJ:http://kubrickfilms.tripod.com/id6.html) and the
other articles.
[Just to add that it is precisely the 'Jungian thing' [even parodied
by Kubrick in the film by having the confused and posturing Joker take
'refuge' in its imaginary essentialisms, but of course to no avail]
that needs to be critiqued further. There are no 'archetypes' of the
unconscious (such 'symbols' being entirely imaginary), there is no
inner 'precious' self, dual or unified, to appeal to or to 'find', as
the Subject is constitutively split, is a Void, a 'barred subject',
is, indeed, defined by the very tension of that shattered 'self', and
which is why appeals to some 'psychologising interior' in Kubrick's
films is always redundant.]
Kubrick has always struck me as quite eccentric in big budget
filmmaking. The exploration of personal human psychology never
appeared a Kubrick priority to me, nor do I see him striving for
verisimilitude in that regard. When I saw FMJ, it never occured to me
to conclude that Kubrick is soliciting the audience in the ordinary
Hollywood way to take 'Joker' - a picaro of FMJ, and the picaro of the
film within the film - as a realist concoction and attribute to him
the invisible psychological interior which would permit the viewer to
conclude that Joker shoots the little girl out of 'compassion.' The
illusion of such a depth beneath the visible, audible Joker is not
something Kubrick has taken pains to create or sustain. Kubrick seems
to me to be forever flirting with allegory and fable, in the spirit of
Brecht (if far more pessimistic), forever encouraging the audience to
resist that trained impulse to endow fictional characters with a
fascimile of human psychology. The astronauts in 2001 and HAL, for
example, function more or less equivalently as textual elements
conveying ideological content.
In FMJ, I rather think Kubrick is up to something far more
disquieting; he dares the audience to put that comforting, self-
justifying construction - "Joker" is an individual who commits a war
crime out of 'compassion' - on the stalking and murder of a rather
magically, fabulously appearing little girl they witness - a sequence
of narrative wholly implausible were the diegetic plane of the film
adhering to Hollywood's standard realist mechanisms, whether of the
timbre which rules MASH or that more rigid structure governing Officer
and a Gentleman. Kubrick continually thwarts efforts to accept his
narrative as bourgeois drama, and I feel he rather dares the audience
to desire the war crime and to react with relief (now they too, are
safe from the vengeance of the mighty little girls of Vietnam), in
order to expose and poison that pervasive ideological position to
which American audiences are so inured as to be oblivious. Killing
Vietnam to save it, to put it out of its misery, was, he dares the
audience to try to soothe itself, after all the only decent thing to
do with it.
This section of the film is romance. A pack of grown men are observed
lost in the traditional wood/desert, witnessed in peril and fear,
beset by an invisible, lethal monster which permeates their
environment - the landscape itself is killing them. Their fate is the
concern of the camera. The invisible monster who threatens these
armed, grown men with destruction becomes visible in the form of one
lost little girl.
(There are two allusions at work: to the little girl witnessed earlier
in the film surrounded by this gang still in 'the city,' sarcastically
begging to be raped/invaded as this one will dream-fantastically beg
to be killed; and to Kim Phuc, the little girl in the famous photo,
who came to represent Vietnam, running naked toward the camera covered
in Napalm.)
This has no mimetic justification - there were no 9 year old girl
snipers who massacred American GIs in Vietnam. She is a metaphor for
Vietnam. For the life of Vietnam - she is like a litte fée. The
invaders stand around her after they wound her, though she is
completely helpless, and are still frightened and vengeful; this
pretty young dying girl who had attempted to defend herself is
surrounded by these grown men incapable of recognizing even then, when
the monstrous threatening force's true numbers, size and strength are
revealed to them, the asymetry of the conflict and their own
culpability. Joker kills her because there is no easier way to
complete the sequence now that they have disabled her - they don't
want to help her, they are not disposed to repent and repair - and he
manages to experience this choice as 'compassionate,' just as the
official US ideology considered withdrawal compassionate and governed
its forgiveness of Vietnamese wickedness and cruelty to its GIs as
generous and merciful. "Joker" the executioner who doesn't bother with
gratuitous torture, who knows when enough is enough, who may even be
more frightened of the wounded child's capacity to hurt him if he
turns his back on her still alive - the characters in this film are
not quite the sort endowed with faux-personal 'motivations' and we are
allowed a range of interpretations none mutually exclusive - is the
official US ideology at its most self-congradulatory and beneficent.
This tortured, weak little girl is both menace and protectorate of the
compassionate Pentagon, the Vietnam who has to be murdered to be saved
(from herself).
-------
Joker's 'motivation' is neither important nor strongly implied at all.
I think the film discourages the attribution of one. The narrative is
opaque in that way - no apology, no analysis, no explanation, no
holding the audience hand and having a therapy session, no looking for
the moral of the story nor a lesson, no catharsis, no redemption, no
revelation. Just telling an appalling narrative which in some way
captures and manages to represent an appalling history and nauseates
and horrifies you. Without being sort of methodical/forensic, it was
completely destitute of the romanticism which is such a central part
of the genre into which it overtly fits. Very eccentric.
-------
The thing I appreciate most in Kubrick is his ability to confront
randomness and meaninglessness (or highly complex overdetermination,
which amounts to the same thing). Without a willingness to take that
in - and this is very unAmerican, as perhaps the most important pillar
of US regime apology is the idea that everything is secretly for the
best, that everything happens for a reason, that every cloud has a
silver lining and every horror is a 'learning experience' - I'm not
sure his films can be fully understood. His brand of radical anti-
spirituality is a pretty harsh experience, and the majority of his
consumers I think just read it away, just impose what they prefer.
Spielberg astonishingly claimed to see his films (when giving the
Oscar obit tribute) 'the triumph of the human spirit.' And shockingly,
this was greeted with solemn approval.
-----------
And the 'reason 'Joker murders the girl is also simply because that is
the truth of what happened: the US destroyed Vietnam and withdrew.
That's the historical content of the actions portrayed. If there is
'psychological' content vis a vis the 'characters,' its ambiguous and
marginal in significance at best.
---------
MRYB.
MP
2008-04-23 12:29:46 UTC
Permalink
"While Kubrick does indeed liken the institutions of the military to a maniacal parent, in fact, a patriarchal mother..."
And then there's the "leave her to the Mother loving rats" line which
further links the VC sniper to the a symbollic Mother.
"The lesson is therefore clear: an ideological identification exerts a true hold on us precisely when we maintain an >awareness that we are not fully identical to it, that there is a rich human person beneath it: 'not all is ideology, beneath
the ideological mask, I am also a human person' is the very form of ideology, of its 'practical efficiency'. Close analysis of >even the most 'totalitarian' ideological edifice inevitably reveals that, not everything in it is 'ideology' (in the popular sense >of the 'politically instrumentalized legitimization of power relations'): in every ideological edifice, there is a kind of 'trans->ideological' kernel, since, if an ideology is to become operative and effectively 'seize' individuals, it has to batten on and >manipulate some kind of 'trans-ideological' vision which cannot be reduced to a simple instrument of legitimizing >pretensions to power (notions and sentiments of solidarity, justice, belonging to a community, etc.). Is not a kind >of 'authentic' vision discernible even in Nazism (the notion of the deep solidarity which keeps the 'community of people' >together), not to mention Stalinism? The point is thus not that there is no ideology without a trans-ideological 'authentic' >kernel but rather, that it is only the reference to such a trans-ideological kernel which makes an ideology 'workable'. "
So what you're basically saying is that the Marine Core does not want
robots. They DO NOT want drones who blindly, mechanically, follow
orders and obey commands. They want an individual. They want a
personality who nevertheless gives himself to the group.

Or perhaps they simply want to convert all reporters (Cowboy/Joker).
Reporters are symbollic of those outside, looking and peering inwards.
With them internalised, the group is now complete.
"Clearly, Joker has shot the sniper at point blank range in the face, suicidally internalising the very world-of-shit that Pyle >blew away..."
I've always felt that scene was lacking precisely because Kubrick
refused to show where the Sniper was shot. We know he filmed a
sequence in which the marines cut the sniper's head off, but none of
that stuff made the final cut. Kubrick seemed to dislike gore, even
trimming the death scenes in The Shining because he felt they were too
graphic.

Pyle's death resonates because it is very graphic. In contrast the
Sniper's death is given less weight.

BUT we can still sense the "hearts and minds" motiff continuing here.
Cowboy shoots the VC in the heart, Joker shoots her in the mind. While
Pyle died in a literal world of shit (toilet), Joker is aware that he
is in a world of shit but is thankful that he is alive. But his life
is now empty, because like Pyle's suicide, he's symbollically dead.
He's given himself over to the group.


[Just to add that it is precisely the 'Jungian thing' [even parodied
by Kubrick in the film by having the confused and posturing Joker take
'refuge' in its imaginary essentialisms, but of course to no avail]
that needs to be critiqued further. There are no 'archetypes' of the
unconscious (such 'symbols' being entirely imaginary), there is no
inner 'precious' self, dual or unified, to appeal to or to 'find', as
the Subject is constitutively split, is a Void, a 'barred subject',
is, indeed, defined by the very tension of that shattered 'self', and
which is why appeals to some 'psychologising interior' in Kubrick's
films is always redundant.]

How is the "Jungian thing" parodied and debunked ?

The Shadow is "unconscious and repressed weakness" right? And
weakness, in the eyes of the Marines, is "infantile" (finger sucking
Pyle) and "feminine" (VC sniper). You're saying that these childish
and feminine qualities (compassion, nurturing, play, innocense) are
not weaknesses, but in fact strengths?

I agree with that, but that's not exposing the "Jungian thing" as a
myth. It's simply exposing the Marine Core as liers who've perverted
the meaning of "feminine" and "infantile". They've painted these
qualties as "bad" simply because they stand in the way of creating a
cold hard killer.

How is the "duality of man" debunked by Kubrick? You said in one post
that the sniper is as much a killer as she is a woman. She's dual in
nature. A "cold hard grunt" and a "mother figure". Just like Joker's
dual nature (peace/war). Saying that the Marines wants to create one
dimensional "killers" doesn't parody Jung, it seems to me to affirm
that some sort of balance is needed to create a rounded, healthy human
being.
MRYB.
What's MRYB mean?
Joker's 'motivation' is neither important nor strongly implied at all.
But he seems to me to be motivated out of compassion. He doesn't have
the balls to shoot her in the back, but he has the heart to ease her
pain. I've always viewed it symbollically. He kills her out of
"peace", but then realises that he has inadvertently become a 1
dimensional entity. Mother, Heart, Mind, Femine and Child have all
been symbollically destroyed, leaving nothing but a "cold hard
masculinized killer" behind.

What are you saying? That the way he shot her (horrificly in the face-
which we dont see) belies some kind of sick sadistic streak inside of
Joker.?
ichorwhip
2008-04-24 00:27:07 UTC
Permalink
On Apr 23, 7:29 am, MP <***@hotmail.com> wrote:

<snips>
So what you're basically saying is that the Marine Corp does not want
robots. They DO NOT want drones who blindly, mechanically, follow
orders and obey commands. They want an individual. They want a
personality who nevertheless gives himself to the group.
I think it was true when Joker said the Corp wanted "killers"
etcetera.
Or perhaps they simply want to convert all reporters (Cowboy/Joker).
I think you meant Rafterman instead of Cowboy, here and further down.
Reporters are symbollic of those outside, looking and peering inwards.
With them internalised, the group is now complete.
"Clearly, Joker has shot the sniper at point blank range in the face, suicidally internalising the very world-of-shit that Pyle >blew away..."
I've always felt that scene was lacking precisely because Kubrick
refused to show where the Sniper was shot.
I think it's a filmic given that he shot her in the face based on the
other grunts comments after he does it.
We know he filmed a
sequence in which the marines cut the sniper's head off, but none of
that stuff made the final cut. Kubrick seemed to dislike gore, even
trimming the death scenes in The Shining because he felt they were too
graphic.
Too graphic or too gratuitous? Kubrick definitely had the belly for
gore as Pyle's blood and brains splattered noisily on the wall of the
head attests. I think Kubrick's discretion had to do with whether or
not gore was germaine to whatever scene he was trying to depict. If
it seemed excessive, it didn't get in, or wasn't conceived of and
filmed that way to begin with. Look at the sequence of Eightball and
Doc-Jay being cut to pieces by the sniper a la Peckinpah for
instance. Does it seem like too much? It's certainly horrific and
gory and the slo-mo gives you plenty of time to absorb the horror in
graphic detail, but it serves its purpose I think without just being
too much, which would cheapen it into a mere shock.
MRYB.
What's MRYB mean?
It means tha Don Stockbauer is somebody to ignore because he never has
anything worthwhile to say. At least he doesn't go on forever saying
nothing. That's a plus, less to ignore.
Joker's 'motivation' is neither important nor strongly implied at all.
But he seems to me to be motivated out of compassion. He doesn't have
the balls to shoot her in the back,
Eh? His gun jammed, damned M16's.... He takes cover and unholsters
and cocks his .45 when the startled sniper turns around and starts
spraying at him. Her focusing on Joker ducked behind the wall allowed
Rafterman to get the bead on her. Whether Joker would have gone ahead
and shot her in the back had his rifle not jammed, or leapt out and
shot her with his sidearm when she ran out of ammo are questions for
speculation only of course.
but he has the heart to ease her
pain. I've always viewed it symbollically. He kills her out of
"peace", but then realises that he has inadvertently become a 1
dimensional entity. Mother, Heart, Mind, Femine and Child have all
been symbollically destroyed, leaving nothing but a "cold hard
masculinized killer" behind.
What are you saying? That the way he shot her (horrificly in the face-
which we dont see) belies some kind of sick sadistic streak inside of
Joker.?
I say yes and no... The Congressional Medal of Ugly is not given out
to mercy killers, but consider the alternative, left to die in agony
all alone save the "mother loving rats."

"Shoot me! Shoot me!"
i
"piop"
Harry Bailey
2008-04-24 00:57:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by MP
"While Kubrick does indeed liken the institutions of the military to a maniacal parent, in fact, a patriarchal mother..."
And then there's the "leave her to the Mother loving rats" line which
further links the VC sniper to the a symbollic Mother.
And the 'Mother loving rats' can also refer to the Marines themselves,
now fully inscribed in Mother Green and Her Killing Machine.
Post by MP
"The lesson is therefore clear: an ideological identification exerts a true hold on us precisely when we maintain an >awareness that we are not fully identical to it, that there is a rich human person beneath it: 'not all is ideology, beneath
the ideological mask, I am also a human person' is the very form of ideology, of its 'practical efficiency'. Close analysis of >even the most 'totalitarian' ideological edifice inevitably reveals that, not everything in it is 'ideology' (in the popular sense >of the 'politically instrumentalized legitimization of power relations'): in every ideological edifice, there is a kind of 'trans->ideological' kernel, since, if an ideology is to become operative and effectively 'seize' individuals, it has to batten on and >manipulate some kind of 'trans-ideological' vision which cannot be reduced to a simple instrument of legitimizing >pretensions to power (notions and sentiments of solidarity, justice, belonging to a community, etc.). Is not a kind >of 'authentic' vision discernible even in Nazism (the notion of the deep solidarity which keeps the 'community of people' >together), not to mention Stalinism? The point is thus not that there is no ideology without a trans-ideological 'authentic' >kernel but rather, that it is only the reference to such a trans-ideological kernel which makes an ideology 'workable'. "
So what you're basically saying is that the Marine Core does not want
robots. They DO NOT want drones who blindly, mechanically, follow
orders and obey commands. They want an individual. They want a
personality who nevertheless gives himself to the group.
What you state here raises an inordinate number of questions: who is
'they'? What do we mean by robots versus individuals, as if the two
were mutually exclusive? Why should commitment to a 'group' undermine
'personality'? Why would anyone claiming or demanding to be
'individual' want to join a rigidly socialised institution? Are not
humans (for the most part) blindly at the mercy of impersonal
structural forces?

The 'Marine Core' is an institutional structure and so is incapable of
'wanting' anything; rather, marines occupy a (social-symbolic)
Position in that structure which dictates their 'identities',
justifying it, disavowing it, by appeals to their 'humanism'.
Post by MP
Or perhaps they simply want to convert all reporters (Cowboy/Joker).
Cowboy and Joker are already marines, already 'converted'. But 'they'
sure go out of their way to 'embed' civilian reporters :-), who, as
we've repeatedly seen vis-a-vis Iraq and Afghanistan, are only too
falling-over-themselves eager to oblidge.
Post by MP
Reporters are symbollic of those outside, looking and peering inwards.
Why 'symbolic' of those outside, as opposed to those feared because
they are actually 'outside'?
Post by MP
With them internalised, the group is now complete.
Complete in what way? That only the Big Other (or military
institution) exists?
Post by MP
"Clearly, Joker has shot the sniper at point blank range in the face, suicidally internalising the very world-of-shit that Pyle >blew away..."
I've always felt that scene was lacking precisely because Kubrick
refused to show where the Sniper was shot.
Yes, but the subsequent remarks on Joker's deed inform us pretty
clearly eg "Joker! We'll have to put you up for the Congressional
Medal of Ugly!" and "Hard core, man. Hard Core!". Ironically, and
tragically, it is Joker's very resistance to wanting to become 'hard
core', to becoming fully integrated with the ideology of militarism,
and his inability ultimately to maintain such resistance (we see this
throughout Boot Camp, eg Joker beating up Pyle more fiercely than the
other recruits, or relishing his Hartman-assigned role as Pyle's
mentor, etc), his Guilt consequent on this failing (his avoidance/
shutting down of his true Desire), that makes his violence all that
more ferocious, horrifying, and tragic.
Post by MP
We know he filmed a
sequence in which the marines cut the sniper's head off, but none of
that stuff made the final cut. Kubrick seemed to dislike gore, even
trimming the death scenes in The Shining because he felt they were too
graphic.
I completely agree.
Post by MP
Pyle's death resonates because it is very graphic. In contrast the
Sniper's death is given less weight.
BUT we can still sense the "hearts and minds" motiff continuing here.
Cowboy shoots the VC in the heart, Joker shoots her in the mind. While
Pyle died in a literal world of shit (toilet), Joker is aware that he
is in a world of shit but is thankful that he is alive. But his life
is now empty, because like Pyle's suicide, he's symbollically dead.
He's given himself over to the group.
But does that 'giving over' to the Big Other of the military, of the
Platoon, far from rendering him symbolically dead, render him the
Symbolic as such, a full Agent of militarism, a fully-inscribed
position in that (imagined) social-symbolic structure? A New fixed
'identity', as opposed to his previous one?
Post by MP
[Just to add that it is precisely the 'Jungian thing' [even parodied
by Kubrick in the film by having the confused and posturing Joker take
'refuge' in its imaginary essentialisms, but of course to no avail]
that needs to be critiqued further. There are no 'archetypes' of the
unconscious (such 'symbols' being entirely imaginary), there is no
inner 'precious' self, dual or unified, to appeal to or to 'find', as
the Subject is constitutively split, is a Void, a 'barred subject',
is, indeed, defined by the very tension of that shattered 'self', and
which is why appeals to some 'psychologising interior' in Kubrick's
films is always redundant.]
How is the "Jungian thing" parodied and debunked ?
The Shadow is "unconscious and repressed weakness" right?
Is it? The difficulty I have with the Jungian imaginary is that it
serves to reterritorialize the unconscious on culturally invariant
archetypes, a retreat into fixed, essentialist, 'organicist'
stereotypes, reducing all characters to stock types. Secondly, the
unconscious (that unknown known, that knowledge that does not know
itself, Desire) is neither personal nor collective, but impersonal and
radically Other. It is the secret, the reality of what we are.
Post by MP
And
weakness, in the eyes of the Marines, is "infantile" (finger sucking
Pyle) and "feminine" (VC sniper). You're saying that these childish
and feminine qualities (compassion, nurturing, play, innocense) are
not weaknesses, but in fact strengths?
I'm saying that both masculinity and femininity are purely cultural
constructs, not inate 'qualities', but rather floating signifiers,
though a reactionary patriarchy has other ideas.
Post by MP
I agree with that, but that's not exposing the "Jungian thing" as a
myth.
What is it then?
Post by MP
It's simply exposing the Marine Core as liers who've perverted
the meaning of "feminine" and "infantile". They've painted these
qualties as "bad" simply because they stand in the way of creating a
cold hard killer.
How is the "duality of man" debunked by Kubrick? You said in one post
that the sniper is as much a killer as she is a woman. She's dual in
nature.
But the whole point is that she has no such 'nature'. Besides, she's a
multiplicity.
Post by MP
A "cold hard grunt" and a "mother figure". Just like Joker's
dual nature (peace/war). Saying that the Marines wants to create one
dimensional "killers" doesn't parody Jung, it seems to me to affirm
that some sort of balance is needed to create a rounded, healthy human
being.
A 'balance' between what? And what exactly is a 'rounded, healthy
human being.?" Why isn't Joker one? And who says that to be properly
'human' is to be rounded and healthy? Surely the opposite has always
been equally the case?
Post by MP
MRYB.
What's MRYB mean?
Joker's 'motivation' is neither important nor strongly implied at all.
But he seems to me to be motivated out of compassion. He doesn't have
the balls to shoot her in the back, but he has the heart to ease her
pain. I've always viewed it symbollically. He kills her out of
"peace", but then realises that he has inadvertently become a 1
dimensional entity. Mother, Heart, Mind, Femine and Child have all
been symbollically destroyed, leaving nothing but a "cold hard
masculinized killer" behind.
What are you saying? That the way he shot her (horrificly in the face-
which we dont see) belies some kind of sick sadistic streak inside of
Joker.?
Throughout the film we are repeatedly exposed to scenes involving the
exhilaration, the pleasure, that is immanent to violence, to
shooting ... recall Crazy Earl shooting at some VC in the distance: at
first his gun is out of bullets, so he reloads, and waits - them some
more VC run by and this time he successfully shoots them (his
exhilaration further explosively reinforced by Kubrick by the
subsequent helicopter-lift-off scene/bird-is-a-word soundtrack). Or
Animal Mother racing forward, guns blazing, shooting everywhere, at
everything, in a state of delirial hedonistic bliss.

This is the problem - just because something is violent, destructive,
suicidal, or ultimately produces chronic unhappiness, doesn't mean
that it isn't 'pleasurable' (also the dilemma of all drug addicts,
and, of course, the ideology of consumerism generally). Worse, in
Joker's case, not only is it pleasurable, but it's rationalised as his
'duty' (duty both to 'enjoy' killing and to enjoy one's 'duty'). It's
the 'obscene underside' of military institution, which is for the
marines the Big Other (the social-symbolic structure, the Father
figure) to which Joker now completely subscribes (with even Mary Jane
RottenCrotch now acknowledged as just a 'fuck fantasy' :-)).
Kelpzoidzl
2008-04-24 01:23:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by MP
"While Kubrick does indeed liken the institutions of the military to a
maniacal parent, in fact, a patriarchal mother..."
And then there's the "leave her to the Mother loving rats" line which
further links the VC sniper to the a symbollic Mother.
And the 'Mother loving rats' can also refer to the Marines themselves,
now fully inscribed in Mother Green and Her Killing Machine.
Post by MP
"The lesson is therefore clear: an ideological identification exerts a
true hold on us precisely when we maintain an >awareness that we are not
fully identical to it, that there is a rich human person beneath it: 'not
all is ideology, beneath
the ideological mask, I am also a human person' is the very form of
ideology, of its 'practical efficiency'. Close analysis of >even the most
'totalitarian' ideological edifice inevitably reveals that, not
everything in it is 'ideology' (in the popular sense >of the 'politically
instrumentalized legitimization of power relations'): in every
ideological edifice, there is a kind of 'trans->ideological' kernel,
since, if an ideology is to become operative and effectively 'seize'
individuals, it has to batten on and >manipulate some kind of
'trans-ideological' vision which cannot be reduced to a simple instrument
of legitimizing >pretensions to power (notions and sentiments of
solidarity, justice, belonging to a community, etc.). Is not a kind >of
'authentic' vision discernible even in Nazism (the notion of the deep
solidarity which keeps the 'community of people' >together), not to
mention Stalinism? The point is thus not that there is no ideology
without a trans-ideological 'authentic' >kernel but rather, that it is
only the reference to such a trans-ideological kernel which makes an
ideology 'workable'. "
So what you're basically saying is that the Marine Core does not want
robots. They DO NOT want drones who blindly, mechanically, follow
orders and obey commands. They want an individual. They want a
personality who nevertheless gives himself to the group.
What you state here raises an inordinate number of questions: who is
'they'? What do we mean by robots versus individuals, as if the two
were mutually exclusive? Why should commitment to a 'group' undermine
'personality'? Why would anyone claiming or demanding to be
'individual' want to join a rigidly socialised institution? Are not
humans (for the most part) blindly at the mercy of impersonal
structural forces?

The 'Marine Core' is an institutional structure and so is incapable of
'wanting' anything; rather, marines occupy a (social-symbolic)
Position in that structure which dictates their 'identities',
justifying it, disavowing it, by appeals to their 'humanism'.
Post by MP
Or perhaps they simply want to convert all reporters (Cowboy/Joker).
Cowboy and Joker are already marines, already 'converted'. But 'they'
sure go out of their way to 'embed' civilian reporters :-), who, as
we've repeatedly seen vis-a-vis Iraq and Afghanistan, are only too
falling-over-themselves eager to oblidge.
Post by MP
Reporters are symbollic of those outside, looking and peering inwards.
Why 'symbolic' of those outside, as opposed to those feared because
they are actually 'outside'?
Post by MP
With them internalised, the group is now complete.
Complete in what way? That only the Big Other (or military
institution) exists?
Post by MP
"Clearly, Joker has shot the sniper at point blank range in the face,
suicidally internalising the very world-of-shit that Pyle >blew away..."
I've always felt that scene was lacking precisely because Kubrick
refused to show where the Sniper was shot.
Yes, but the subsequent remarks on Joker's deed inform us pretty
clearly eg "Joker! We'll have to put you up for the Congressional
Medal of Ugly!" and "Hard core, man. Hard Core!". Ironically, and
tragically, it is Joker's very resistance to wanting to become 'hard
core', to becoming fully integrated with the ideology of militarism,
and his inability ultimately to maintain such resistance (we see this
throughout Boot Camp, eg Joker beating up Pyle more fiercely than the
other recruits, or relishing his Hartman-assigned role as Pyle's
mentor, etc), his Guilt consequent on this failing (his avoidance/
shutting down of his true Desire), that makes his violence all that
more ferocious, horrifying, and tragic.
Post by MP
We know he filmed a
sequence in which the marines cut the sniper's head off, but none of
that stuff made the final cut. Kubrick seemed to dislike gore, even
trimming the death scenes in The Shining because he felt they were too
graphic.
I completely agree.
Post by MP
Pyle's death resonates because it is very graphic. In contrast the
Sniper's death is given less weight.
BUT we can still sense the "hearts and minds" motiff continuing here.
Cowboy shoots the VC in the heart, Joker shoots her in the mind. While
Pyle died in a literal world of shit (toilet), Joker is aware that he
is in a world of shit but is thankful that he is alive. But his life
is now empty, because like Pyle's suicide, he's symbollically dead.
He's given himself over to the group.
But does that 'giving over' to the Big Other of the military, of the
Platoon, far from rendering him symbolically dead, render him the
Symbolic as such, a full Agent of militarism, a fully-inscribed
position in that (imagined) social-symbolic structure? A New fixed
'identity', as opposed to his previous one?
Post by MP
[Just to add that it is precisely the 'Jungian thing' [even parodied
by Kubrick in the film by having the confused and posturing Joker take
'refuge' in its imaginary essentialisms, but of course to no avail]
that needs to be critiqued further. There are no 'archetypes' of the
unconscious (such 'symbols' being entirely imaginary), there is no
inner 'precious' self, dual or unified, to appeal to or to 'find', as
the Subject is constitutively split, is a Void, a 'barred subject',
is, indeed, defined by the very tension of that shattered 'self', and
which is why appeals to some 'psychologising interior' in Kubrick's
films is always redundant.]
How is the "Jungian thing" parodied and debunked ?
The Shadow is "unconscious and repressed weakness" right?
Is it? The difficulty I have with the Jungian imaginary is that it
serves to reterritorialize the unconscious on culturally invariant
archetypes, a retreat into fixed, essentialist, 'organicist'
stereotypes, reducing all characters to stock types. Secondly, the
unconscious (that unknown known, that knowledge that does not know
itself, Desire) is neither personal nor collective, but impersonal and
radically Other. It is the secret, the reality of what we are.
Post by MP
And
weakness, in the eyes of the Marines, is "infantile" (finger sucking
Pyle) and "feminine" (VC sniper). You're saying that these childish
and feminine qualities (compassion, nurturing, play, innocense) are
not weaknesses, but in fact strengths?
I'm saying that both masculinity and femininity are purely cultural
constructs, not inate 'qualities', but rather floating signifiers,
though a reactionary patriarchy has other ideas.<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


The male-female differences are not just cultural constructs, except in the
most mundane aspects.
Post by MP
I agree with that, but that's not exposing the "Jungian thing" as a
myth.
What is it then?
Post by MP
It's simply exposing the Marine Core as liers who've perverted
the meaning of "feminine" and "infantile". They've painted these
qualties as "bad" simply because they stand in the way of creating a
cold hard killer.
How is the "duality of man" debunked by Kubrick? You said in one post
that the sniper is as much a killer as she is a woman. She's dual in
nature.
But the whole point is that she has no such 'nature'. Besides, she's a
multiplicity.
Post by MP
A "cold hard grunt" and a "mother figure". Just like Joker's
dual nature (peace/war). Saying that the Marines wants to create one
dimensional "killers" doesn't parody Jung, it seems to me to affirm
that some sort of balance is needed to create a rounded, healthy human
being.
A 'balance' between what? And what exactly is a 'rounded, healthy
human being.?" Why isn't Joker one? And who says that to be properly
'human' is to be rounded and healthy? Surely the opposite has always
been equally the case?
Post by MP
MRYB.
What's MRYB mean?
Joker's 'motivation' is neither important nor strongly implied at all.
But he seems to me to be motivated out of compassion. He doesn't have
the balls to shoot her in the back, but he has the heart to ease her
pain. I've always viewed it symbollically. He kills her out of
"peace", but then realises that he has inadvertently become a 1
dimensional entity. Mother, Heart, Mind, Femine and Child have all
been symbollically destroyed, leaving nothing but a "cold hard
masculinized killer" behind.
What are you saying? That the way he shot her (horrificly in the face-
which we dont see) belies some kind of sick sadistic streak inside of
Joker.?
Throughout the film we are repeatedly exposed to scenes involving the
exhilaration, the pleasure, that is immanent to violence, to
shooting ... recall Crazy Earl shooting at some VC in the distance: at
first his gun is out of bullets, so he reloads, and waits - them some
more VC run by and this time he successfully shoots them (his
exhilaration further explosively reinforced by Kubrick by the
subsequent helicopter-lift-off scene/bird-is-a-word soundtrack). Or
Animal Mother racing forward, guns blazing, shooting everywhere, at
everything, in a state of delirial hedonistic bliss.

This is the problem - just because something is violent, destructive,
suicidal, or ultimately produces chronic unhappiness, doesn't mean
that it isn't 'pleasurable' (also the dilemma of all drug addicts,
and, of course, the ideology of consumerism generally). Worse, in
Joker's case, not only is it pleasurable, but it's rationalised as his
'duty' (duty both to 'enjoy' killing and to enjoy one's 'duty'). It's
the 'obscene underside' of military institution, which is for the
marines the Big Other (the social-symbolic structure, the Father
figure) to which Joker now completely subscribes (with even Mary Jane
RottenCrotch now acknowledged as just a 'fuck fantasy'
:-)).<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<



I have never felt that Joker was converted or even resigned to this, I
think he was just coping and while doing so was wallowing in the degradation
that world of shit had to offer. I have never felt that Joker planned a
military career. I think he was hoping he'd survive and get the hell out of
there asap, now that he had realized how he had fallen into this mess and
how stupid it was.

dc
MP
2008-04-24 14:31:00 UTC
Permalink
"Eh? His gun jammed, damned M16's.... He takes cover and unholsters
and cocks his .45 when the startled sniper turns
around and starts spraying at him."

Yeah, but this could be taken as a sign of his impotency. He's not a
killer yet. He doesn't have the thousand yard stare. That's how I've
always viewed it. When the time comes, Joker's goes limp.

"What you state here raises an inordinate number of questions: who is
'they'? What do we mean by robots versus individuals, as if the two
were mutually exclusive?"

By "they" I mean the Marine Core and I guess the government which they
serve. A Marine needs to act and do as told. He needs to buy the
propoganda. He needs to have his head and his ass wired together. He
needs to believe he is the "best". He needs to believe that he is a
"chosen one" fighting for "good" and "righteousness". You can't have
someone questioning, criticising and joking. That is subversive and
detrimental to the group.

That's what the Core hopes to build, but this rigidity breaks down
once you leave the rigid training camp environment.

"Why should commitment to a 'group' undermine 'personality'? Why would
anyone claiming or demanding to be 'individual' want to join a rigidly
socialised institution? Are not humans (for the most part) blindly at
the mercy of impersonal structural forces?"

Commitment to a group doesnt undermine personality, rather a certain
personality is more likely to join a group and willingly let himself
be used. He adopts a personality firstly because that is how they want
him to be, and secondly because that is how he thinks he should be.
The group personality is simply the most efficient, steamlined
personality for the group to survive.

"The 'Marine Core' is an institutional structure and so is incapable
of 'wanting' anything; rather, marines occupy a (social-symbolic)
Position in that structure which dictates their 'identities',
justifying it, disavowing it, by appeals to their 'humanism'."

But you yourself say that the Marine Core "wants" something. They
don't want Pyles. They don't want section 8s. They don't want
"feminine" or "infantile" qualities. They want cold hard killers,
which they breed by appealing to patriotism, perverted notions of
masculinity, weakness and religion. There's nothing bad about being a
warrior. A warrior can be a honorable and noble thing. But this
system, because it's so bent on speed and efficiency, is taking short
cuts to create their killers.


"Why 'symbolic' of those outside, as opposed to those feared because
they are actually 'outside'?"

What I mean is that, even after all his training, Joker chooses to
become a reporter. He doesn't want to be a killer (YOU THINK YOU'RE
MICKEY SPILANE? NO! YOU'RE A KILLER!!") He rejects their mould and
does what he wants. He is outside the military system, commenting on
it through observation and reporting. As such, he symbollically trades
his gun for his camera. His camera is his surrogate gun. He rather
shoot photos then shoot women and children.

Maybe the fact that his camera is stollen shows that he is now seeking
and searching for a replacement. The two whore scenes seen to link the
notion of pictures. The first features the loss of a camera, the
second features the marines entering a cinema for sex.

Joker takes pictures with his camera, loses it, and then enters the
big picture, where his weapon of choice is now the gun. He's finally
in the shit, and his camera won't help him.

"Complete in what way? That only the Big Other (or military
institution) exists?"

When Joker and Rafterman kill the sniper, they're internalised. They
become part of the marine group. They're killers. They're no longer
"fresh out of friends". The marine group is now a single unit, without
dissent, and now only the Enemy exists.

"Yes, but the subsequent remarks on Joker's deed inform us pretty
clearly eg "Joker! We'll have to put you up for the Congressional
Medal of Ugly!" and "Hard core, man. Hard Core!". Ironically, and
tragically, it is Joker's very resistance to wanting to become 'hard
core', to becoming fully integrated with the ideology of militarism,
and his inability ultimately to maintain such resistance (we see this
throughout Boot Camp, eg Joker beating up Pyle more fiercely than the
other recruits, or relishing his Hartman-assigned role as Pyle's
mentor, etc), his Guilt consequent on this failing (his avoidance/
shutting down of his true Desire), that makes his violence all that
more ferocious, horrifying, and tragic."

Yeah, Joker resists wanting to become "hardcore". He remains limp when
he confronts Pyle in the Head and remains impotent when he faces the
sniper in her lair. He chooses not to act like a killer. And yet,
Joker beats Pyle fiercely and horrificly blows the VC's brains out. So
despite his pretense, he definitely has some kind of dual nature. He's
not really different from these Marines, he's just pretends to be
aloof.

And what drives Joker to hunt the sniper in the first place?
Vengeance. Ugly, angry vengeance. That look on his face when he utters
"Lets get some payback" reappears just after he shoots the sniper.


"But does that 'giving over' to the Big Other of the military, of the
Platoon, far from rendering him symbolically dead, render him the
Symbolic as such, a full Agent of militarism, a fully-inscribed
position in that (imagined) social-symbolic structure? A New fixed
'identity', as opposed to his previous one?"

Yes, his old identity is dead, he's now a "full agent of militarism",
thinking of nothing but homecoming fucks and carving his name in the
pages of history. The marine knows only one thing, it is better to be
alive. Joker is alive, and he's in a world of shit.


"Is it?" ( is the Shadow symbollic of unconscious and repressed
weakness)

Take a look at this page:
http://psikoloji.fisek.com.tr/jung/shadow.htm

To me, Jung's quotes scream Full Metal Jacket.

"The difficulty I have with the Jungian imaginary is that it serves to
reterritorialize the unconscious on culturally invariant
archetypes, a retreat into fixed, essentialist, 'organicist'
stereotypes, reducing all characters to stock types."

Basically you're saying Jung reduces everything into stereotypical
cartoons. But doesn't Kubrick also do that? Reducing ideas and people
to caricatures?

"Secondly, the unconscious (that unknown known, that knowledge that
does not know itself, Desire) is neither personal nor collective, but
impersonal and radically Other. It is the secret, the reality of what
we are."

Wow thats heavy. How can the unconscious mind not belong to either the
individual or the group?


"But the whole point is that she has no such 'nature'. Besides, she's
a multiplicity."

So rather than being some Jungian symbol, you're saying that the
sniper is simply a woman, who's been MADE into a symbol by the
military/patriarchal society in order to further their own needs and
maintain some sort of order? I've read all your old essays and posts
and this is the one part that always baffles me.

The way I see it, is simply that the VC is a Jungian archetype. She's
a representation of a part of Joker's unconscious. The part which the
Marine Corps are trying to remove. They've removed the infantile Pyle
(in the first act) and now they're trying to flush the feminine out of
his head. They want compassion to be ugly. They want to harden their
killers.


"A 'balance' between what? And what exactly is a 'rounded, healthy
human being.?" Why isn't Joker one? And who says that to be properly
'human' is to be rounded and healthy? Surely the opposite has always
been equally the case?"

I don't know. Maybe a balance between recognising yourself and
recognising others. Joker treated the world with skepticism and
aloofness, without realising the base ugliness within him. He mocked
the killers, without recognising the killer within him.

"I have never felt that Joker was converted or even resigned to this,
I think he was just coping and while doing so was wallowing in the
degradation that world of shit had to offer. I have never felt that
Joker planned a military career. I think he was hoping he'd survive
and get the hell out of there asap, now that he had realized how he
had fallen into this mess and
how stupid it was."

Yeah I agree with you. I wonder if he was drafted? But by the end of
the film he refers to himself as "We" and throughout the film he
narrates as a soulless, monotone robot. It seems, to me, to suggest
that he is now "part of the group" and not the same wisecracking cynic
he used to be.

Anyway, good night all. It's getting late over here.
Harry Bailey
2008-04-24 22:59:11 UTC
Permalink
"Eh?  His gun jammed, damned M16's....  He takes cover and unholsters
and cocks his .45 when the startled sniper turns
around and starts spraying at him."
Yeah, but this could be taken as a sign of his impotency. He's not a
killer yet. He doesn't have the thousand yard stare. That's how I've
always viewed it. When the time comes, Joker's goes limp.
Is that you, Sgt Hartman? Is this me!?
"What you state here raises an inordinate number of questions: who is
'they'? What do we mean by robots versus individuals, as if the two
were mutually exclusive?"
By "they" I mean the Marine Core and I guess the government which they
serve.
But what is this 'marine corp' and estimated 'government' to which
they castrate themselves?
A Marine needs to act and do as told
As 'told' by whom, exactly? Like a little child? Desperate for a
Father figure to 'save' him from his lack?
He needs to buy the
propoganda. He needs to have his head and his ass wired together.
Abject submission to the psychotic ravings of an Agent of the Big
Other is having one's 'head and ass wired together'?
He
needs to believe he is the "best". He needs to believe that he is a
"chosen one" fighting for "good" and "righteousness". You can't have
someone questioning, criticising and joking.
"Is that YOU, Sgt ..." etc.
That is subversive and
detrimental to the group.
Beneficial to the 'group'.
That's what the Core hopes to build, but this rigidity breaks down
once you leave the rigid training camp environment.
So much for the core's 'hopes'!
"Why should commitment to a 'group' undermine 'personality'? Why would
anyone claiming or demanding to be 'individual' want to join a rigidly
socialised institution? Are not humans (for the most part) blindly at
the mercy of impersonal structural forces?"
Commitment to a group doesnt undermine personality, rather a certain
personality is more likely to join a group and willingly let himself
be used.
Huh? So, uh, we 'choose' to be born into a particular family, choose
to go to particular schools, particular jobs, particular social
networks, etc., and all on account of 'personality' and a delirious
need to be masochistic?
He adopts a personality firstly because that is how they want
him to be, and secondly because that is how he thinks he should be.
So now it's not that his (pre-existing) personality is a prerequisite
to 'joining', but that he suddenly adopts an entirely new one to fit
the new social regime!!!? All cuz that's what the military Big Other
demands of him?
The group personality is simply the most efficient, steamlined
personality for the group to survive.
This is what we call circular reasoning.
"The 'Marine Core' is an institutional structure and so is incapable
of 'wanting' anything; rather, marines occupy a (social-symbolic)
Position in that structure which dictates their 'identities',
justifying it, disavowing it, by appeals to their 'humanism'."
But you yourself say that the Marine Core "wants" something. They
don't want Pyles. They don't want section 8s. They don't want
"feminine" or "infantile" qualities. They want cold hard killers,
which  they breed by appealing to patriotism, perverted notions of
masculinity, weakness and religion.
Again, is this Hartman speaking?
There's nothing bad about being a
warrior. A warrior can be a honorable and noble thing.
Extremely vague and specious. What is 'honorable and noble' about
actively colluding in mass slaughter, whether in Vietnam or Iraq? Cuz
it makes you feel 'whole' and 'fulfilled'? Is that why over a quarter
of a million nam vets are currently homeless, or why a similar number
of current Iraq vets are desperately seeking PTSD counselling?
Becoming a (Oedipal-seeking) psychotic in the cause of the (non-
existent, imaginary) Big military Other is very 'honorable and noble',
for Brutus is An Honourable Man!!!
But this
system, because it's so bent on speed and efficiency, is taking short
cuts to create their killers.
"More tax-payers money for military training, cuz are boys need more
instruction to properly motivate their 'killer instinct'!"
"Why 'symbolic' of those outside, as opposed to those feared because
they are actually 'outside'?"
What I mean is that, even after all his training, Joker chooses to
become a reporter.
Firstly, he doesn't choose; the reporting role is assigned to him by
Hartman's superiors in the military hierarchy, and secondly, as
Kubrick illustrates throughout the film, reporting/combat is
effortlessly interchangeable, as we clearly witness with Rafterman
("When the shit hits the fan I'll go for my rifle"): cameras for guns
(though the prostitutes remain prostitutes: first prostitute scene
they lose a camera, in the second some guns [ARVN rifles]).
He doesn't want to be a killer (YOU THINK YOU'RE
MICKEY SPILANE? NO! YOU'RE A KILLER!!") He rejects their mould and
does what he wants. He is outside the military system, commenting on
it through observation and reporting.
Not at all: he's already fully a part of the killing machine, and, as
demonstrated during the biginning of the Tet Offensive, the attack on
his camp ('Chaple of Love'), he does not hesitate to shoot at the
advancing enemy - and enjoy it. And Joker never does what he 'wants'
in the film: he is always ultimately - and willingly - subservient to
some (military) Father figure - Hartman, Lockhart, Touchdown, Cowboy,
Animal Mother, despite his fantasmatic disavowels.
As such, he symbollically trades
his gun for his camera. His camera is his surrogate gun. He rather
shoot photos then shoot women and children.
You mean Rafterman, the photographer. Joker 'trades' his pen for his
gun. But there is nothing 'symbolic' about it: it is LITERAL. And at
the end, he's 'rather' shoot a 'child-woman' (than simply 'report' on
it).
"Complete in what way? That only the Big Other (or military
institution) exists?"
When Joker and Rafterman kill the sniper, they're internalised. They
become part of the marine group. They're killers. They're no longer
"fresh out of friends". The marine group is now a single unit, without
dissent, and now only the Enemy exists.
ONLY the military Big Other now exists for them; mere human beings are
irrelevant, expendable.

This is ideology at it's purest.

[Just to be clearer about the notion of ideology: we can compare
ideology to an experience of something that is absolutely vast and
forceful beyond all perception and objective intelligibility. Like the
Kantian sublime, ideology allows its adherents to behave as though
some power exists that overcomes all dissonance. Ideology, then,
functions in a way that is homologous to a Kantian transcendental
condition of the possibility of experience: it is that which allows
any subject to behave as though he belongs to a harmonious, unified
community that transcends particular differences and social discord.
It is not mere deception: rather, it serves as a fantasy construction
that unifies (and hence makes possible) our “reality”. The irreducible
element of fantasy in ideology teaches us how to desire in fact, it
constitutes our desire—by providing its co-ordinates. For the marines,
this ideology is manifested in the (military) Big Other as Master
Signifier].
"Yes, but the subsequent remarks on Joker's deed inform us pretty
clearly eg "Joker! We'll have to put you up for the Congressional
Medal of Ugly!" and "Hard core, man. Hard Core!". Ironically, and
tragically, it is Joker's very resistance to wanting to become 'hard
core', to becoming fully integrated with the ideology of militarism,
and his inability ultimately to maintain such resistance (we see this
throughout Boot Camp, eg Joker beating up Pyle more fiercely than the
other recruits, or relishing his Hartman-assigned role as Pyle's
mentor, etc), his Guilt consequent on this failing (his avoidance/
shutting down of his true Desire), that makes his violence all that
more ferocious, horrifying, and tragic."
Yeah, Joker resists wanting to become "hardcore". He remains limp when
he confronts Pyle in the Head and remains impotent when he faces the
sniper in her lair. He chooses not to act like a killer. And yet,
Joker beats Pyle fiercely and horrificly blows the VC's brains out. So
despite his pretense, he definitely has some kind of dual nature. He's
not really different from these Marines, he's just pretends to be
aloof.
And what drives Joker to hunt the sniper in the first place?
Vengeance. Ugly, angry vengeance. That look on his face when he utters
"Lets get some payback" reappears just after he shoots the sniper.
"But does that 'giving over' to the Big Other of the military, of the
Platoon, far from rendering him symbolically dead, render him the
Symbolic as such, a full Agent of militarism, a fully-inscribed
position in that (imagined) social-symbolic structure? A New fixed
'identity', as opposed to his previous one?"
Yes, his old identity is dead, he's now a "full agent of militarism",
thinking of nothing but homecoming fucks and carving his name in the
pages of history. The marine knows only one thing, it is better to be
alive. Joker is alive, and he's in a world of shit.
"Is it?" ( is the Shadow symbollic of unconscious and repressed
weakness)
Take a look at this page:http://psikoloji.fisek.com.tr/jung/shadow.htm
Horrendous, sheer mystical obscurantism, all in the service of
subordinating the unconscious to the ego (the seat of consciousness),
to hubristic narcissism, in the name of being 'deep' - a reactionary
retreat into symbolic determinism. Very quaint in these post-
structural and post --post-structural times.
To me, Jung's quotes scream Full Metal Jacket.
"The difficulty I have with the Jungian imaginary is that it serves to
reterritorialize the unconscious on culturally invariant
archetypes, a retreat into fixed, essentialist, 'organicist'
stereotypes, reducing all characters to stock types."
Basically you're saying Jung reduces everything into stereotypical
cartoons. But doesn't Kubrick also do that? Reducing ideas and people
to caricatures?
No, Kubrick doesn't; on the contrary. Hollywood specialises in that
endeavour.
"Secondly, the unconscious (that unknown known, that knowledge that
does not know itself, Desire) is neither personal nor collective, but
impersonal and radically Other. It is the secret, the reality of what
we are."
Wow thats heavy. How can the unconscious mind not belong to either the
individual or the group?
Because it's the other way around: our being/becoming is fundamentally
determined by our unconscious desires (from id to superego), the
reality of what we are. The unconscious is not simply something to be
'conquered' as yet another piece of (interior) territory in the
service of the territorialising Ego. Our ego tries hopelessly to shut
it down, deny it, with disasterous consequences (go ask Jack Torrance
or Pyle etc).
ichorwhip
2008-04-25 01:49:18 UTC
Permalink
"Eh?  His gun jammed, damned M16's....  He takes cover and unholsters
and cocks his .45 when the startled sniper turns
around and starts spraying at him."
Yeah, but this could be taken as a sign of his impotency. He's not a
killer yet. He doesn't have the thousand yard stare. That's how I've
always viewed it. When the time comes, Joker's goes limp.
That's certainly a symbolic way of taking it, but sometimes "a cigar
is just a cigar" as well. Kubrick was definitely of the "you decide"
school of film interpretation so there's no help from him, and that's
a good thing imo. So sticking to the sequence of events, we know that
Joker certainly is in the mood for some "rather extreme nastiness"
having just lost his "favorite turd" Cowboy to the very sniper he
seeks. I take your point at least in that Joker has had to develop
into a hardcore killer over time. His "war face" isn't convincing to
begin with, and he has to "work on it!" throughout bootcamp. Even
beyond bootcamp he looks ridiculous and awkward mocking the "little
sucker" who grabs Rafterman's camera, hardly a frightening display...
He may drawl that a "day without blood is like a day without sunshine"
during the Tet Offensive scenes, but Payback seems to know better.
Ultimately Joker says as the enemy begins their attack , "Hey, I hope
they're just fucking with us. I ain't ready for this shit." So as the
"fuck and shit" motif continues Joker shows that maybe he wouldn't ask
for a second helping of a "dead man's boogers" afterall. It's only
later that a distinct change is visible in Joker after the death of
Cowboy. Having a guy who you ate, slept, worked and shit with, for
those long weeks in bootcamp, just breathe his last agonized breath in
your face can have that effect on a person. When Animal says "let's
go get some payback." Joker says "okay" with an anger that seems
genuine.

"She's praying."
i
"piop"
Kelpzoidzl
2008-04-25 17:01:59 UTC
Permalink
"Eh? His gun jammed, damned M16's.... He takes cover and unholsters
and cocks his .45 when the startled sniper turns
around and starts spraying at him."
Yeah, but this could be taken as a sign of his impotency. He's not a
killer yet. He doesn't have the thousand yard stare. That's how I've
always viewed it. When the time comes, Joker's goes limp.
That's certainly a symbolic way of taking it, but sometimes "a cigar
is just a cigar" as well. >>>>>>>>>>>>>



What do you think we should do?
What do I think we should do?
Look, Mommy!
What do I think?
I don't know.
I mean, maybe....
Maybe I think...
...we should be grateful.
Grateful...
...that we've managed to
survive through all of our...
...adventures...
...whether they were real...
...or only a dream.
Are you sure of that?
Am I sure?
Only as sure as I am...
...that the reality of one night...
...let alone that of a whole lifetime...
...can ever be the whole truth.
And no dream is ever...
...just a dream.
The important thing is...
...we're awake now...
...and hopefully...
...for a long time to come.
Forever.
Forever?
Forever.
Let's not use that word. You know?
It frightens me.
But I do love you...
...and you know...
...there is something very important...
...that we need
to do as soon as possible.
What's that?
Fuck.

(And Shit periodically?)
Post by ichorwhip
Post by ichorwhip
Kubrick was definitely of the "you decide"
school of film interpretation so there's no help from him, and that's
a good thing imo. <<<<<


SK himself, is not pretending any definitive answers, but is consistently
asking and answering questions, whittling it down to the basics. In this
way he is reductionistic, seeking reality as it is and reducing the quantity
of words needed to explain it, searching for a way to say something, that
isn't internally contradictory and limiting, such as can be found in canned
dream interpretations of Freud, or canned and endless, interpretations of
archetypes ala Jung. IMO he is looking for the middle way, because he knows
that the associations of associations of associations...............ad
infinitum.....leads nowhere but into an endless, maze and can be delusional.

His scripts as filmed, can subtly change at the last minute and even take on
an opposite meaning from what was originally on the page.

In EWS He refuses to settle on what "forever" means, especially as a final
explanation. Locking onto a claustrophobic "forever," is "frightening," and
limiting, especially since the answer isn't really firm. Locking onto a
final interpretation of any kind, especially in words, can easily miss the
mark.
Post by ichorwhip
Post by ichorwhip
Post by ichorwhip
So sticking to the sequence of events, we know that
Joker certainly is in the mood for some "rather extreme nastiness"
having just lost his "favorite turd" Cowboy to the very sniper he
seeks. I take your point at least in that Joker has had to develop
into a hardcore killer over time. His "war face" isn't convincing to
begin with, and he has to "work on it!" throughout bootcamp. Even
beyond bootcamp he looks ridiculous and awkward mocking the "little
sucker" who grabs Rafterman's camera, hardly a frightening display...
He may drawl that a "day without blood is like a day without sunshine"
during the Tet Offensive scenes, but Payback seems to know better.
Ultimately Joker says as the enemy begins their attack , "Hey, I hope
they're just fucking with us. I ain't ready for this shit." So as the
"fuck and shit" motif continues <<<<<<<<<<<<<

Definatley a reality that "we" fuck and shit. Even Freud and Jung would
find aggreement together on that, were they able to stop with their
polarizing, canned interpretation.
Post by ichorwhip
Joker shows that maybe he wouldn't ask
for a second helping of a "dead man's boogers" afterall. It's only
later that a distinct change is visible in Joker after the death of
Cowboy. Having a guy who you ate, slept, worked and shit with, for
those long weeks in bootcamp, just breathe his last agonized breath in
your face can have that effect on a person. When Animal says "let's
go get some payback." Joker says "okay" with an anger that seems
genuine.

"She's praying."
i
"piop"<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


When in Rome do as the Romans do.......for whatever "Mickey Mouse" reason he
has ended up on a battlefield in a world of Shit, where people start Wars,
because they don't have a clue what to really do with their life. Being
unable to solve the great mystery as to why it happens like this is "Micky
Mouse," but in the meantime, the fucking and shitting continues.

dc
blue
2008-04-23 23:56:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by MP
"Full Metal Jacket" ends with Joker's narration superimposed over the
Marine group's Mickey Mouse Chant.
"We have NAILED our names in the pages of history, enough for today.
We HUMP down to the perfume river to set in for the night. My thoughts
drift back to ERECT NIPPLE WET DREAMS about Mary Jane ROTTENCROTCH and
the great homecoming FUCK FANTASY. I am so happy that I am alive and
in one piece. In short, I am in a world of shit, yes. But I am alive.
And I am not afraid."
"We play fair and we work hard and we're in harmony."
"Forever let us hold our banner high"
"boys and girls from far and near you're welcome as can be"
"Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?"
"Who is marching coast to coast and far across the sea?"
"Come along and sing our song and join our family."
"Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?"
The interesting thing about Joker's narration is the emphasis on sex
and shit. Full Metal Jacket has repeated sex and shit motiffs, and
here in the coda, Kubrick brings these cycles to a nice close.
Joker, an intelligent and cynical young man, has sacrificed his
identity and individuality. Having killed his Shadow, the last
remnants of his infantile and femine self, he's transformed from a
reporter to a "cold hard grunt". He's shifted from an outside
observer, to an internal member of the hive mind. He is a member of
the Micky Mouse Club. A slave to ideology. A mere pawn on a chessboard
run by unseen masters.
But then why is he "happy to be alive?" and why is he "not afraid?"
How brainwashed is Joker? Is he aware that he has metaphorically
commited suicide, or is his comment ironic? Is he still joking? Is he
in fact dead and painfully afraid?
Also, what do his "fuck fantasies" mean? There's obviously an
evolution taking place. Joker has evolved from Child to Adolescent to
Impotent (gun jamming) Adult. Has he now reached Maturity? Is his
"fucking" symbollic of his transformation into rapist and
conquistador?
The "Micky Mouse" song has been mocked by many critics of the film.
They read it superficially, saying that "war makes boys out of men" or
that the soldiers are like "infants playing with guns".
I've always thought the chant was far more powerful. It's dark,
mysterious and devilishly ironic, with it's "micky mouse" metaphors
clearly alluding to "The Shining's" notion of conquest and bloody
history. Micky mouse is also a pretty recognisable symbol of
Americana.
So to me, the song is about American Imperialism rolling across the
world. These men hold their banner up high, urging everyone to join
their family as they bring "peace" and "freedom" to all. They pretend
to play fair and live in harmony, marching from coast to coast, all
the while blissfully unaware of who exactly runs their club and why
exactly they're fighting. Like Dr Bill in Eyes Wide Shut, they're
deluded.
With it's urban warfare and lack of jungles, the film seems far more
modern than any other Vietnam film. It alludes to Afghanistan and both
gulf wars, it's urban streets and rubble strewn landscape making war
seem more like a capitalist game (Joker: "it's just business") than a
natural fight for survival.
One more question. Animal mother's line, "you think we fight for
freedom? If I'm going to get my balls blown off for a word, my word is
poontang", do you think it's symbollic? That this psycho marine fights
not for ideology but for pussy. That he's been conditioned to think of
war and sex as one. To rape is to own? Has his gun displaced his
penis? If so, is this what military indoctrination is trying to
achieve with these young men?
I think Kubrick is showing how Joker has regressed into an animal, led
in a pack by a great Mouse. His thoughts are about basic animal drives.
Although lyrical this is what he cares about now: Winning, fucking and
shitting.
ichorwhip
2008-04-24 00:52:00 UTC
Permalink
On Apr 22, 11:04 am, MP <***@hotmail.com> wrote:

<snips>
Post by MP
The "Micky Mouse" song has been mocked by many critics of the film.
They read it superficially, saying that "war makes boys out of men" or
that the soldiers are like "infants playing with guns".
I've always thought the chant was far more powerful. It's dark,
mysterious and devilishly ironic, with it's "micky mouse" metaphors
clearly alluding to "The Shining's" notion of conquest and bloody
history. Micky mouse is also a pretty recognisable symbol of
Americana.
That's right, and of course Danny dons a Mickey Mouse tee to underline
that connection.
Post by MP
One more question. Animal mother's line, "you think we fight for
freedom? If I'm going to get my balls blown off for a word, my word is
poontang", do you think it's symbollic?
Neah, but it could be taken that way. I think that's just the
sardonic way that Animal Mother talks. It's somewhat interesting that
the Animal Mother we get in FMJ is not quite the same as the one in
"The Short TImers" and the "The Phantom Blooper." BTW, taking into
account "The Phantom Blooper", which Kubrick may have read in
manuscript along with Herr as certain incidental things in FMJ were
apparently lifted right from it or these were Hasford's contributions
aside, can give you a missing perspective and perhaps the "missing
half" of Joker's conflicted personality as it comes across in FMJ.
Hasford actually had Joker switching sides and fighting right along
with the VC after he is captured. More research seems warranted along
these lines in any event. Not that it matters much in how Kubrick
finalized "Joker" for his film, but he was Hasford's character first.
Post by MP
That this psycho marine fights
not for ideology but for pussy. That he's been conditioned to think of
war and sex as one. To rape is to own? Has his gun displaced his
penis? If so, is this what military indoctrination is trying to
achieve with these young men?
"This is my rifle, this is my gun!"
i
"piop"
JW Moore
2008-04-25 04:55:44 UTC
Permalink
On Apr 23, 8:52 pm, ichorwhip <***@gmail.com> wrote:
<snip>
... "The Phantom Blooper", which Kubrick may have read in
manuscript along with Herr as certain incidental things in FMJ were
apparently lifted right from it or these were Hasford's contributions
aside, can give you a missing perspective and perhaps the "missing
half" of Joker's conflicted personality as it comes across in FMJ.
Hasford actually had Joker switching sides and fighting right along
with the VC after he is captured. More research seems warranted along
these lines in any event. Not that it matters much in how Kubrick
finalized "Joker" for his film, but he was Hasford's character first.
An excellent point, Ich, one that merits its own thread-a-thon.
Kubrick often gets credit (or blame) here for elements or ideas in his
films that originated with literary works. "Lolita," for all its
notorious redactions, retains much of Nabokov's narrative voice and
dialogue; the tragicomic penultimate scene is practically cut-and-
pasted from the novel. Much the same can be said of "ACO." And by Bog,
one of these days I might even read "Barry Lyndon"!

~~Jack
Harry Bailey
2008-05-06 20:10:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by MP
"Full Metal Jacket" ends with Joker's narration superimposed over the
Marine group's Mickey Mouse Chant.
"We have NAILED our names in the pages of history, enough for today.
We HUMP down to the perfume river to set in for the night. My thoughts
drift back to ERECT NIPPLE WET DREAMS about Mary Jane ROTTENCROTCH and
the great homecoming FUCK FANTASY. I am so happy that I am alive and
in one piece. In short, I am in a world of shit, yes. But I am alive.
And I am not afraid."
"We play fair and we work hard and we're in harmony."
"Forever let us hold our banner high"
"boys and girls from far and near you're welcome as can be"
"Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?"
"Who is marching coast to coast and far across the sea?"
"Come along and sing our song and join our family."
"Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?"
[Note: Once again, Google Groups 'refused' to post this message, so
I've used a newsreader]

Further on the mickey-mouse metaphor, it seems that the origin of the
now oft-invoked description of the bulk of the Guantanamo
inmates/pows/kidnappees/uncharged 'combatants' etc, as 'Mickey Mouse
prisoners" was back in 2002 (ie before the torture escalated out of
control, there and elsewhere), when "Maj. Gen. Michael E. Dunlavey,
the operational commander at Guantanamo Bay until October [2002],
traveled to Afghanistan in the spring to complain that too many
"Mickey Mouse" detainees were being sent to the already crowded
facility, sources said."
From http://www.latimes.com/la-na-gitmo22dec22,0,2294365.story

Moreover, one of the world's best-known graffiti artists and all-round
general art prankster, Banksy, took the metaphor a stage further in
2006 with a visit to Mickeymouseland: "This time the target was
Disneyland as he somehow placed a life sized replica of a Guantanamo
Bay detainee inside the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride."


See report and photos here:
http://www.merryswankster.com/archives/2006/09/the_detention_o.html

[Equally hilarious on that webpage are photos of Banksy in some of the
world's leading art galleries secretly hanging some of his own
paintings inconspicuously among the classics, each painting a surreal
anachronistic parody of the genre in question (eg. a Napoleonic figure
- holding a spray-can, or a Portrait of a Lady - with Gas Mask), in
order to gauge how long it would take for anyone if at all to actually
notice the scam].

Meanwhile, as the war crimes continue, you can get your Guantanamo Bay
mickey-mouse kitsch here (not forgetting to buy the child's T-shirt
proclaiming the camp a tourist spot! Perhaps they also sell 'adult
only' glossy postcards of Abu Ghraib too!):

Greetings from Guantanamo Bay ... and the sickest souvenir shop in the
world

By ANGELA LEVIN -
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=563791&in_page_id=1811

The sands are white, the sea laps gently and crowds of bronzed
Americans laze in the Caribbean sunshine.

They have a cinema, a golf course and, naturally, a gift shop stocked
with mugs, jaunty T-shirts and racks of postcards showing perfect
sunsets and bright green iguanas.

Only the barbed wire decoration, a recurring motif, hints at anything
wrong.

Welcome to "Taliban Towers" at Guantanamo Bay, the most ghoulishly
distasteful tourist destination on the planet.


As these astonishing mementoes show, the US authorities are promoting
the world's most notorious prison camp as a cheap hideaway for
American sunseekers – a revelation that has drawn international anger
and condemnation.


Just yards from the shelves of specially branded mugs and cuddly toys,
nearly 300 "enemy combatants" lie sweltering in a waking nightmare.


It is six years since foreign prisoners, many captured in Afghanistan,
were first taken to this US-occupied corner of Cuba. Yet even now, no
charges have been brought against them.


While the detainees lie incarcerated, visitors can windsurf, take boat
trips and go fishing for grouper, tuna, red snapper and swordfish.


The United States' 1.5million service personnel and Guantanamo's 3,000
construction workers are eligible to visit the "resort", which boasts
a McDonald's, KFC and a bowling alley.


They even have a Wal-Mart supermarket.


The vacation comes at a knock-down price: just $42 (£20) per night for
a suite of air-conditioned rooms, including a kitchen, bathroom,
living room and bedrooms.


But it is the souvenirs that have led to the greatest criticism. One
T-shirt from the gift shop is decorated with a guard tower and barbed
wire. It reads: "The Taliban Towers at Guantanamo Bay, the Caribbean's
Newest 5-star Resort."

Another praises "the proud protectors of freedom". A third displays a
garish picture of an iguana and states: "Greetings from paradise GTMO
resort and spa fun in the Cuban sun."


A child-sized shirt says: "Someone who loves me got me this T-shirt in
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

Exposed: An array of the ghoulish gifts on sale at the Guantanamo Bay
'resort' catering for American sunseekers



There are mugs inscribed with "kisses from Guantanamo" and "Honor
Bound To Defend Freedom".


The Guantanamo holiday trade was exposed by Zachary Katznelson, a
British-based human rights lawyer and spokesman for Reprieve, the
group leading the international campaign against the camp.


"When I see the conditions the prisoners have to cope with and then
think of the T-shirt slogans, I am appalled," he said. "To say I am
repulsed is an understatement. Unbelievable as it may seem, the US
authorities are proud of the 'souvenirs' and what they are doing."


Mr Katznelson represents 28 of the detainees and makes regular visits
to the prison.


"The military keeps a tight hold on everything that is available in
Guantanamo Bay and someone senior has given their approval for this
disgusting nonsense," he said.

Sick: Souvenirs include mugs inscribed with 'Kisses from Guantanamo
Bay'



"Pretending that Guantanamo Bay is essentially a resort in the
Caribbean is grossly offensive and the idea of relaxing in the sun
while close by many individuals are robbed of their rights, tortured
and abused is both repugnant and ridiculous."


His anger is shared by other human rights campaigners. Shami
Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said Guantanamo represents a
shameful chapter in American history.


Amnesty International said: "These supposedly 'fun' souvenirs are in
grotesquely bad taste and the fact that they are on sale at the camp
quite frankly beggars belief."


There are currently 280 prisoners sweltering in cages in temperatures
of up to 100F (38C). The camp, where 7,000 soldiers are stationed, was
established in 2002 following the invasion of Afghanistan.



Guantanamo bay: The U.S. was accused of deliberately pushing detainees
to the edge

In 2004, photographs of cowed Guantanamo prisoners in orange jump
suits shocked the world.


"The majority are kept in isolation in cells that are no bigger than a
toilet," said Katznelson. "There is no sea view. Instead, if they have
a window, it looks out on to a bleak corridor. The cells are lined
with steel from floor to ceiling, including the toilet, sink and bed
base.


"There is a popular misconception that these men have had trials and
been found guilty. Nothing is further from the truth. Not one of them
has.


"The tortures that the Americans use are wide-ranging and inhuman. One
is to blast the cell with freezing cold air. Another is to pretend to
take the prisoners to a country like Egypt where prisoners are
tortured, even to the extent of taking them on a mock flight, so they
can be treated in a barbaric fashion."


Katznelson continued: "Inmates are offered three meals a day, but
there are eight prisoners who have been on hunger strike for over a
year asking either for a trial or to be set free.


"These men are force-fed twice a day. First they are strapped down
with 16 different restrictions, including one that jerks their head
back. Then a tube is fed through their nose and down into their
stomach.


"The guards don't always use lubrication and regularly use the same
tube for several different prisoners without bothering to clean it."

Guantanamo Bay has been rented as a military base from Cuba since 1903
for an unchanged $4,499 a year.

"As it is outside American territory the US Constitution doesn't
apply," said Katznelson.

This may soon change as the US Supreme Court is about to reach a
verdict on whether the Guantanamo Bay area is de facto American soil.

If so, the US Constitution does apply and the men will have the right
to a fair and speedy trial.

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