Saturday, 13 November 2010

HBO, 'True Blood' series 3: "Global warming, perpetual war, toxic waste, child labour, torture, genocide"

Hollywood displays a nugget of political awareness (again).

The American HBO tv network produces some excellent stuff. ‘The Wire’ is the most obvious example – perhaps the best television I have ever seen in my whole life (and I’m not young!).

‘The Wire’ was extremely politically astute.

Hollywood output does sometimes include nuggets of political truth.

‘Avatar’ is an obvious example – it basically allegorises the Iraq invasion: mass-killing of indigenous people by American marines and mercenaries, at the behest of their capitalist masters who wish to gain control of the natural resource (‘unobtainium’ on Pandora = oil in Iraq).

It is interesting, though, that, when in direct competition against each other at the Oscars, ‘The Hurt Locker’, which distorts the truth (‘the Americans in Iraq are heroes’), beat ‘Avatar’, which presents the truth (‘the Americans in Iraq are villains’), to all the awards.

But back to HBO …

I have been watching another series of theirs: ‘True Blood’

In the third season, there is the arch vampire villain, Russell Edgington.

Edgington is, in essence, a fascist, with megalomaniacal dreams of conquering humans and leading the vampire race himself.

He is a renegade from the American Vampire League and his project is to overthrow The Authority (the vampires' ruling council, politburo, or whatever) to achieve the freedom he needs for achieving his aims.

Vampires, apparently, grow stronger with age. Thus, Edgington is very powerful because he is very old, 3000 years.

He has a number of compelling monologues. This is what he says when speaking to another vampire (Eric Northman, much younger, at about 1000 years old, I think):

“We could conquer humans in a matter of days. Throughout history I have aligned myself with, or destroyed, humans in power +hoping+ to make a dent in mankind’s race to oblivion. What other creature actively destroys its own habitat? Do you remember how the air used to smell, how humans used to smell, how they used to taste? Preening little fool that he was, Adolf was right about one thing: there +is+ a master race. It’s just not the human race.”

At the end of another episode, Edgington hijacks a humans' television newscast (by suddenly appearing on set, plunging his hand into the newsreader's back and ripping out part of his spinal column), and demands that the cameras be kept rolling so that he can deliver his speech to humanity:

"The AVL [American Vampire League] wishes to perpetrate the notion that +we+ [vampires] are just like you [humans]; and, I suppose, in a few small ways we are: we’re narcissistic; we care only about getting what we want, no matter what is costs, just like you. Global warming, perpetual war, toxic waste, child labour, torture, genocide – that’s a small price to pay for your SUVs and your flatscreen TVs, your blood diamonds, your designer jeans, your absurd garish McMansions: futile symbols or permanence to quell your quivering spineless souls.

But no, in the end, +we+ +are+ +nothing+ like you; we are …, huh, hah hah, … immortal, because we drink the +true+ blood, blood that is living, organic and human.

... "

Russell Edgington is a psychopath, but he speaks a great deal of truth. Moreover, he illustrates well the adage that it takes a crook/psychopath/madman to recognise one of his kind. And it is well-documented that the forces that overwhelmingly shape our world, e.g. the unaccountable corporations and the political leaders (e.g. Bush, Blair), pursue psychopathic policies.

'True Blood' is indeed a little daring (for Hollywood) in its left-wing political stance. In one of the early scenes in episode 1 of series 1, the character Tara Thornton is seen reading 'The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism' by Naomi Klein.

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