Sunday, February 27, 2005

Cheering for murder.

I watched a movie last night that, for the first time in my life, made me cheer for cinematic mass murder. The move was Dogville by Lars von Trier and goddamn it was weird. It basically consists of watching Nicole Kidman get violated in every possible way by the oddball residents of Dogville and then, in the end, watching her choose to kill them all. What I found weird about the film was the fact that I spent the last 10 minutes before the culminating murder scene hoping that it would occur. Von Trier does a fantastic job of providing the viewer with debased charicatures of human beings. Rather than humans with character flaws, the people of Dogville are character flaws with human form. After two hours of watching these flaws perform, their murder seems like a boon.

So, I was thinking today about the movie. Von Trier used film to convince me that the people of Dogville were evil and worthy of murder. I understand that these characters were fictional, but how hard would it be to do the same thing for real people? By this, I mean, what would it take to convince a normal, basically rational human that a certain group of people are worthy of "culling"? Does it require a couple of effective movies? Does it require the growth of a hateful ideology? Does it require a decade of propaganda and ideology and convincing? I don't know, but after seeing the movie and feeling how I felt, I can't help but worry about the eliminationist rhetoric that's becoming increasingly common (e.g. here, here,here, here, and here)among the radical right. Perhaps the demonization of people is the first step towards complete dehumanization. In any case, my thinking on this is still pretty nebulous, so I'll point you towards a recent series of articles by David Neiwert,The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism. He's done a lot of thinking and research on the subject and provides insight into the growth of right-wing totalitarian tendencies in this country.