Comic artist Frank Miller’s recent tirade against the Occupy movement gives us a glimpse into the mind of a man made important by an entertainment culture that pushes death, selfishness, uncritical obedience to authority and simplistic notions of good and evil. Guardian columnist Rick Moody has a word for such fare: cryptofascist.
While reading Moody’s insightful analysis of the social and political tones typical of Miller’s work and the Hollywood action scene in general, we might ask ourselves whether or not we prefer to live in a society where barbaric legacies handed down from ancient times are still deemed essential for our survival. —ARK
Rick Moody at The Guardian:
Miller’s hard-right, pro-military point of view is not only accounted for in his own work, but in the larger project of mainstream Hollywood cinema. American movies, in the main, often agree with Frank Miller, that endless war against a ruthless enemy is good, and military service is good, that killing makes you a man, that capitalism must prevail, that if you would just get a job (preferably a corporate job, for all honest work is corporate) you would quit complaining. American movies say these things, but they are more polite about it, lest they should offend. The kind of comic-book-oriented cinema that has afflicted Hollywood for 10 years now, since Spider-Man, has degraded the cinematic art, and has varnished over what was once a humanist form, so Hollywood can do little but repeat the platitudes of the 1%. And yet Hollywood tries still not to offend.
Does that make American cinema cryptofascist? Is “cryptofascist” a word that you can use in an essay like this? I keep trying to find a space somewhere between “propagandistic” and “cryptofascist” to describe my feelings about Miller’s screed. But perhaps it’s more accurate to say the following: whatever mainstream Hollywood cinema is now, Frank Miller is part of it. And Frank Miller has done Occupy Wall Street a service by reminding us that our allegedly democratic political system, which increases inequality and decreases class mobility, which is mostly interested in keeping the disenfranchised where they are, requires a mindless, propagandistic (or “cryptofascist”) storytelling medium to distract its citizenry. We should be grateful for the reminder. And we might repay the favor by avoiding purchase of tickets to Miller’s films.
Frank Miller at Comic-Con in 2008.