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February 27, 2012 | by  | in Arts | [ssba]

Arts: A Manifesto

“Something weird is going on in Hollywood. Did you see the film of Dan Brown’s novel, Angels and Demons? There is sex in the book. They erased it from the movie! What is going on? It used to be the other way around. Hollywood inserted the sex.” Slavoj Zizek in an interview with Helen Brown, The Guardian. 

I’m not going to lie to you. I’m no expert philosopher. I have one Philosophy class– Philosophy of Media and the Arts–under my belt. I am barely familiar with the works of influential thinkers like Walter Benjamin, Jacques Lacan, Theodor Adorno and, yes, Slavoj Zizek. I once rented a copy of Children of Men that had a documentary about the philosophy of the film with Zizek in it; I got bored before it even got to him. But this quote, an innocuous observation on the increasing conservatism of mainstream Hollywood, intrigued me when I ran across it looking for inspiration, and so I’m using it.

I’m Adam Goodall, Salient’s Arts Editor this year. Welcome to the Arts Section. We have reviews of theatre, film, music, books and visual arts. We have interviews with local (and, hopefully, international) bands, artists, writers and filmmakers; people who are breaking fences and digging tunnels in pursuit of greatness (or a good time, because we’re all for that too). Both in this magazine and on our website, we provide cultural nourishment in a halfway- to-barren landscape of brick, concrete, and (if you’re at Pipitea) wood. If you’ve come to Vic expecting the cultural scene here, and throughout the city, to be cut from the same cloth as the horrid maroon architecture of Kelburn campus, you might want to stay tuned.

When it comes to what we publish, we’re not here to affirm half the country’s viewpoint that Six60 is a great Kiwi roots band (they aren’t and there’s no such thing as a great Kiwi roots band), that Inception is the best film ever (it isn’t), and that To Kill a Mockingbird is the only book you’ll ever need to read (it isn’t). But, despite my interjections, we’re not here to tell you you’re wrong if these are actually the opinions you hold. Think of us less as that hipster that hectors you outside Slow Boat asking you why the fuck you just bought Bangarang when there are perfectly good Flying Lotus records to be had, and more along the lines of the cool tutor who plays some sweet Mountain Goats tracks before a tutorial and makes you interested (these tutors don’t exist, by the way, but I’m too far along with this to back out now). In a cultural landscape where the ‘mainstream’ is defined by an aversion to risk–where the Grammys reward the Foo Fighters and Chris Brown for doing exactly what they’ve always done, where only one of the ten highest- grossing films of 2011 was not a sequel (and that was The Smurfs), where fanfic Find-Replacer Cassandra Clare is a New York Times bestseller—we’re here to help you find the cool shit that you may have missed in the sensory overload.

As Zizek says, the mainstream is erasing the sex. Well, to hell with that. The sex is cool. We’re here to bring it back.

Metaphorically speaking.


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