Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Politics is Fundamentally About the Manipulation of Emotion: From the Movie 'Cloud Atlas' to the Comic Book Series 'Elephantmen', What Works of Art Are Guaranteed to Reduce You to Tears?
I hope that you have recovered from your Labor Day sloth, indulgence, greed, gluttony and general decadence.
I have a post on ISIS and its terror strategy to share later today/tomorrow. Circumstances have moved me to ask another question.
The good folks who sent me to Chicago Comic Con also provided me the opportunity to buy some graphic novels and comic books that were one on my quite long reading list (I finally picked up Saga, East of West, and Manifest Destiny).
Consequently, I finally started to read the Elephantmen comic book series. This story is set several hundred years from the present in a dystopian corporate controlled future where the animals of Africa have been combined with human DNA to create intelligent, yet primal and instinct driven, killing machines.
Elephantmen is brilliant. I do not give such accolades without much meditation and reflection; Elephantmen is that good.
Moreover, I would rank it with Maus in terms of artistry, pathos, relevant social commentary, and storytelling. Elephantmen has brought me to tears. I say that not for effect: my observation is from the heart and without exaggeration.
Politics, is at its core, about the management and control of resources. In order for elite actors (and others) to work their machinations over the people in a democratic polity, emotion and symbolism must be engaged and manipulated.
Citizens across different arrangements of political society have a remarkably weak grasp on the specifics of public policy. However, they know how they feel about a given set of public policy issues.
As world and American public opinion are being deftly manipulated by ISIS (or others who can use what are ostensibly the deeds being conducted by ISIS and its agents to advance some other party's strategic interests) it is extremely important to remind ourselves of the malleability of emotion and its role in politics.
In all, emotion may be mobilized in one direction; rationality and cold calculus may be pulled in the opposite direction. Which pole and pull shall win? And are they that easily separated?
As I shared some months ago, the movie Cloud Atlas--which was also on TV last evening--moved me to tears. Elephantmen has impacted me in the same way.
Do share, what works of art, literature, fiction, or non-fiction, across mediums and genres, are guaranteed to produce a tear, or alternatively reduce you to a blubbering mess?
The water out of your eyes is the result. Do also share, if you are so generous, why said example(s) makes you feel such a way?