Monday, November 21, 2016

Chuck Klosterman Reimagines The Matrix



Another layer peels away...
“So think how this might alter the memory of The Matrix: In some protracted reality, film historians will reinvestigate an extremely commercial action movie made by people who (unbeknownst to the audience) would eventually transition from male to female. Suddenly, the symbolic meaning of a universe with two worlds – one false and constructed, the other genuine and hidden – takes on an entirely new meaning. The idea of a character choosing between swallowing a blue pill that allows him to remain a false placeholder and a red pill that forces him to confront who he truly is becomes a much different metaphor.”
And, suddenly, the whole (gross, weird, pathetic) “red pill” concept gets hit from another angle.

That quote came out of Chuck Klosterman’s interesting But What If We’re Wrong, a work on nonfiction that digs into the idea that just about everything humanity believes today will look just as stupid as, say (my go-to example), phrenology in 100 years’ time.

And, for those who don’t know, yes, the Larry Wachowski became Lana Wachowski (better name; good on ya, girl!) and, later, Andy Wachowski became Lilly Wachowski (eh, neutral on the name, but I got yer back either way), and, yes, that really does slip a couple pieces of subtext into The Matrix, at a minimum…even as I’m not sure what those larger details mean for smaller details like the slow-mo-dodging-bullets ballet for which the movie is famous.

At any rate, I’m only part way through But What If We’re Wrong, about mid-way through a chapter that poses the question of which of today’s writers will be tomorrow’s Franz Kafka – a point that’s interesting because not even Kafka thought he’d be Kafka. In fact, he semi-strenuously tried to avoid being Kafka by way of fire. Maybe. By which I mean he might have known exactly what Max Brod would ultimately do with this work.

The essence of Klosterman’s book, though, interrogates the idea that we can’t know the present until it’s been judged/weighed on the scales of the future. He starts that argument with the critical reception/subsequent early anonymity of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. So, yeah, call Klosterman’s book a good read for a certain kind of person…

…and, here, I’m starting my personal bid to elevate Billy Budd over Moby Dick. The former feels like it would package better for Hollywood, if nothing else (or at least we’ve got one failure to go by). 

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