Andrew Jones on Sat, 19 Apr 2003 13:10:58 +0200 (CEST)

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RE: <nettime> the matrix returns - Re: nettime-l-digest V1 #1134

Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003 07:53:02 -0800
Subject: 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 
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 
his people from slavery "You have been born into bondage," says 
the coming of Christ to save the world; and "Tumbling down the rabbit 
- -- Alice in Wonderland.  Other not so obvious stories can also be 
like Plato's quest for knowledge is actually part of an analysis that 
be read on the matrix website.

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

As smart as The film is, it is not culturally enriching.   It is a 
for the commercialization of important ideas -- ideas like Nietzche's 
on Language being a compromising structure for people not to kill each 
or simply a structure of lies that helps us live in self-deception 
like the wonderful program the machines used to plug-in humans, eh?).  
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 
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 
to work with when critiquing such realm (Warhol knew this very well), 
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

Was I the only person who thought The Matrix was going
to be William Gibson like, and discovered it to be a mostly
boring action film? Hadn't really thought about how the world
of the matrix takes in all these different philosophies, but
is knowing Baudrillard really that much of an achievement
in this day and age? And for that matter sucking the life out
of Baudrillard isn't a bad thing to do, and to some extent
neither is it with Neitzsche. While both thinkers of great
weight, perhaps their reception into popular culture will
help spur some new thoughts.


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