The Just Protester returns to The Sewers for a 2nd alterview and gives a shout out about the excessive use of the term ‘fake news’, that encourages disinformation more than it criticizes it
Trevor, Hey. Thanks for coming back. We welcome and congratulate you.
Last time you were here it didn’t end well. I hold myself accountable for some of the unpleasant atmosphere which might have led to it. It was very important for us in The Sewers to have you back as soon as possible and make amends.
It’s cool, it’s okay, things like that happen in the heat of an argument. I totally accept your apology.
And I’m sorry I called you a fascist.
It’s alright. I watched Mallrats the other day and I’m well prepared to hear your interpretation of it.
We don’t have to talk about it again.
Oh I’m sure readers of The Sewers are anxious to hear it.
Okay. Fine. I’ll make it short coz I also wanna give a shout out about a new petition we’ve got going on. Ironically, it’s about malls.
Cool. So I’ll make it short. I know mallrats is a teenagers’ movie but my interp of it is just my point of view of watching it. I apply my point of view to every form of culture I consume, and I do it out of awareness of its flaws. So what I read into this movie are two contradicting points of view. The first is that of the movie itself, which views the comers of the mall – workers, shoppers and ‘rats’, as individuals and not just as extras in the capitalist game. The second point of view is that of capitalism, which views the comers of the mall as workers and consumers. Those who don’t fit into neither of these definitions have no place in it. This is for me a metaphor for our lives under capitalism. Those who don’t fit are taken away by the police coz all they do is interrupt.
Now the place where these misfits don’t get arrested, the place where there is no police, which is an antithesis to the mall, is the flea market. The flea market is kinda like a barter, the opposite of the capitalist order.
Is that all you’re gonna say? ‘Right’?
I’d like to comment and say that even the flea market in Mallrats, which seems to be some sort of sanctuary, is also a place of fraud and deception, and actually within it lays the refutation of your interpretation.
Yeah? How come?
Are you sure you wanna hear it?
Fuck, for sure.
But first finish what you have to say.
Come on, say what you have to say.
I’m referring to the scene with the third nipple fortune telling.
Yeah I got it, that’s the part of the fraud you mentioned, the third nipple was fake.
Right. But what else happens in this scene?
Come on don’t quiz me.
Fine, well one of the guys – the one who’s gonna get married – when he listens to the fortune teller saying general, abstract observations, he hears the solution to all his problems, remember?
For sure, yeah, and then it’s funny coz somehow you’re led to believe that maybe she does have some super-natural powers, before you find out the third nipple is fake. But the fact that it’s fake doesn’t really have to mean she didn’t have some super-natural powers –
But nevertheless, it’s a moment when it’s clear to us, as viewers, that the guy just heard what he wanted to hear –
Like most of us always –
Exactly, and that’s basically where your interpretation comes from: seeing what you want see, even though you’re actually being deceived. I mean it’s basically the ultimate consumerist point of view.
I see, totally.
In a way it’s self-deception. Even proclaimed self-deception by your side.
Cool. For sure, I understand your point of view on this.
I have to say that what agitated me last time we talked was that my recollection of this movie is that it was sexist. I use the word sexist reluctantly, It’s not really accurate. What I mean to say is that gender-wise, it’s utterly conservative, even puritan.
That’s why I said it’s a movie about wankers.
I see. I can understand why you see what you see. But I believe that our interps redeem our culture and our history. Like someone once said, can’t remember who, that nowadays we would condemn Shakespeare as an anti-Semite misogynist and wouldn’t wanna hear anything about him. But we can’t do that, coz then we would have to eliminate our entire cultural history. I think that new ways and new, undermining interps of culture products are our only way of redeeming our history. I mean Mallrats ends in a fucking marriage, it’s stupid, of course, I mean fuck, marriage is obviously an oppressive, patriarchic social construct. It’s not a happy ending. But think about it this way: what led to this marriage was a stupid game show in the mall, they needed a crowd and a stupid game show to come to the so-called happy ending of marriage. I think it’s awesome: it’s a total subversive representation of current capitalist conformism – what I refer to in blogs as CCC – the validation of an ignorant crowd leading to ignorant actions. I mean fuck, that’s what got Trump elected.
You’re saying that voting for Trump is as stupid as getting married.
In a way. Totally. Fuck.
For sure. Now you wanna talk about gender relations in pump up the volume?
Hehe for sure! I wanna tell you something that’s happened to me last week.
Please, go ahead.
I wrote about it in my blog and you can just push a link to it if you want, but I’ll tell you in short. I was driving to my parents house on the weekend, I take the same road for like four years now, and it always takes something like 35 mins, but this time it was like almost an hour. There was huge traffic and then I finally understood why: they opened a huge new mall something like 10 mins from my parents house. I mean I knew they were building it but I didn’t know it opened that day. So there was huge traffic and I guess you’d kinda expect it and it wouldn’t even make you think too much –
Your fascination with malls is interesting –
Why? Wait. So check it out, the traffic, once I got it, didn’t make me think too much, but then I started seeing people walking from every direction to the mall, I mean suddenly it hit me that all the people on the street are walking from wherever to the same place, to the mall, and I mean it was like – it was like fucking zombies drawn to their gathering place without really deciding where they’re going, they’re just going, like there’s a mall, and they’re just going. I mean it really fucked me up. It was like biblical.
In what sense do you say they’re going there without really deciding?
You know what I mean, without thinking, just coz they’re conditioned to. Like wow, there’s a new mall, we have to go see it, let’s go and see how they’re gonna make us buy shit in a slightly different surrounding. And believe it or not, I was just listening to Rage Against The Machine’s bullet in your head in my car! It just made too much fucking sense.
Album or live?
Live from 1993, of course! I mean come on!
For sure! It’s a killer song.
It is, and a killer performance as well, but the lyrics, I find them to be simplistic.
Yeah? How come?
I mean talking about people as unaware zombies being deceived by mass media is a bit condescending.
This song is anything but condescending, it’s a wakeup call, it’s RATM’s activism.
Right, but when you talk like this it’s as if you’re saying that people are fed some false ideology and it’s a difficult stance to speak from because it presumes the speaker is above or rather outside ideology –
Totally, totally, yeah I totally get where you’re going with this. I mean your use of the term ‘false ideology’ is in itself false coz of course there’s no such thing. Althusser said it: ideology is not something we choose or that chooses us, it’s in our bloodstream. Even resistance is an ideology. Hegemony contains its resistance by enabling it to exist on its own terms and within its own limits. For sure, yeah. So I totally get what you’re saying about RATM, but I don’t think they ever saw themselves as ‘above ideology’ or beyond it. Bullet in not an accusation, it’s an observation and a shout out.
How would you regard Trump voters from this point of view? Up until quite recently, it was pretty common in blogs such as the ones you write in to refer to them as some ignorant mass. How would you regard them in the light of ideology theories?
Fuck, it’s not easy, for sure. I mean you need to look at their reality on the one hand. It’s a known historical fact that poverty and hopelessness and fear lead to the rise of fascism. It’s happening all over the world by the way. Back then we were all – I mean my blog community – shocked and shattered by the elections. It’s not that we wanted capitalist Hillary, yeah? But it was a shock and I guess it was just too easy to talk about Trump voters as fucking stupid. Luckily we’ve matured since then.
And on the other hand?
On the other hand, we live in an age when information is everywhere. We live in an age when literacy is a given, at least in the US. I don’t think information is a privilege, I think it’s a duty.
We all have or can maintain access to information, and we must inform ourselves of what’s really going on around us. We have the ability to do it and we have a duty to be informed. From this perspective I do criticize Trump voters for unfulfilling their duty and choosing disinformation and lies.
Perhaps there’s too much information available. How can one know which information is real?
Facts are facts, and facts can be checked. I think this fucking excessive use of the term ‘fake news’ is only contributing to this industry of lies and disinformation. It somehow legitimizes it, though it seems to criticize it. Coz now everyone can say ‘fake news’ about anything they don’t wanna hear or know. It’s really just fucking depressing. What the fuck is fake news, huh? There are facts that come from reality and there are lies that come from shit. It’s that simple. Nothing is fake, it’s so fucking stupid. I can’t stand this post modernist shit anymore.
Right. Do you think the ability to criticize and evaluate information is as given as literacy?
No, of course not. It’s not that simple, for sure. I mean we’re brain washed since the day we’re born.
So how do you find your way out?
Fuck, the only right answer, theoretically speaking, is that we don’t. But practically speaking, all I can say is fucking information. I mean I read alt-right new sites as well as socialist and far-left blogs. And then I fact check. That’s the only way out I have so far.
But fact checking has its limit.
Fuck, for sure. The limit of political discourse that’s governed by the institutions of capital and power. This limit can be crossed only by the strive of many people for information and truth. But fuck, we’re too busy talking about fake news so we’re screwed.
This has been much more interesting that talking about 90’s films.
For sure. Is this it?
Yeah, that’s all the time we have.
Cool, okay. Can you push a link to my anti-malls petition in my blog?
Ah, we’ll see, maybe.
Fine, thanks. Cool. Now you’ll thank me and congratulate me.
We thank you and congratulate you. Please come again.
Thanks, for sure.