eduardo on Fri, 18 Apr 2003 08:59:55 +0200 (CEST)

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RE: <nettime> the matrix returns

>-- Original Message --
>Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003 00:18:29 -0400
>From: Francis Hwang <>
>To: nettime <>
>Subject: <nettime> the matrix returns
>Reply-To: Francis Hwang <>
>It would be best not to look deeply under the hood, ideologically
>speaking, and simply enjoy The Matrix films for what they are: Mildly
>entertaining catalogues of CGI innovation. (Or at least that much can be
>said for the first one; we'll see how well the 2nd & 3rd do.)  Certainly,
>if you're teaching an Intro to Philosophy course you'd do well to draw
>Matrix into your class discussion -- above all, keep your students'
>attention -- but does the film truly reward such analysis?

The Matrix is definitely one of the most innovative films to hit the big
screen (how is that for a Hollywood cliché).  In all seriousness, The Matrix
is one of the few films combining several stories and philosophies with
impressive special effects.

Some of the stories that are immediately obvious are Bondage --  Moses freeing
his people from slavery "You have been born into bondage," says Morpheous;
the coming of Christ to save the world; and "Tumbling down the rabbit whole"
-- Alice in Wonderland.  Other not so obvious stories can also be found,
like Plato's quest for knowledge is actually part of an analysis that can
be read on the matrix website.

These stories are also complemented by small hints to poststructural writings.
 Baudrillard's book on simulcra is Neo's favorite place for hiding his 'fixes.'
 And an actual line from Baudrillard is used by Morpheous "Welcome to the
desert of the real." (personally, I think he should've said 'dessert', but
that would have been a Bill And Ted's phrase and too close to home for Mr.

As smart as The film is, it is not culturally enriching.   It is a vehicle
for the commercialization of important ideas -- ideas like Nietzche's philosophy
on Language being a compromising structure for people not to kill each other,
or simply a structure of lies that helps us live in self-deception (sounds
like the wonderful program the machines used to plug-in humans, eh?).  The
biggest problem I have with the film is that its aim is not to promote,
reconsider or reinvest in the very philosophies it supports itself with,
but rather it exhausts these out -- sucking the life out of them to develop
a slick commercial product.  It turns important ideas into fast-food for
mass consumerism.  It is doing what commercialism does best, produce for
the sake of consumption. Although there is plenty of interesting material
to work with when critiquing such realm (Warhol knew this very well), the
Wachowsky brothers preferred to take 'the blue pill.'

People should expect no less from Hollywood -- their aim is to produce 
entertainment, not diversify culture.

Eduardo Navas

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