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Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002

Please post an essay, at a minimum length of 500 words (I WILL be counting), giving a critical and ideological analysis of the film Home Alone, starring Macaulay Culkin (né Matthijs Krul). For example, provide a Freudian reading of the film, or ask whether the film posits the castle doctrine as its example of and for youthful self-actualization and independence, etc. etc.. Specificity is key - be sure you are able to refer to specific scenes from the film in your discussion.

Please ONLY post your responses in this thread - non-responses will receive a probation.

When I feel like it, I'll close the thread and choose a winning essay, the writer of which will be allowed to ban the poster of their choice.


Yogi Beria
Jan 14, 2011

by Fistgrrl

a picture says a thousand words


May 10, 2003

Home Alone: Against Foucault, Against Naïveté

Historically, the process by which the bourgeoisie became in the course of the eighteenth century the politically dominant class was masked by the establishment of an explicit, coded and formally egalitarian juridical framework, made possible by the organization of a parliamentary, representative regime. But the development and generalization of disciplinary mechanisms constituted the other, dark side of these processes. The general juridical form that guaranteed a system of rights that were egalitarian in principle was supported by these tiny, everyday, physical mechanisms, by all those systems of micro-power that are essentially non-egalitarian and asymmetrical that we call the disciplines.

--Michel Foucault, writing in Discipline and Punish (1975)

Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish posits that the transition from feudalism to bourgeois democracy coincides with a transition from torture & punishment as forms of social control to discipline as the primary mode of social control. Rubbish! Utter foolishness! We find in Home Alone a thorough refutation of every argument Foucault forwards. Broad in scope and exhaustive in detail, Home Alone was produced a full fifteen years after Foucault's tract. It was a fitting delay, reminding one perhaps of Home Alone's debutante introduction to the philosophical world's cotillion ball. Here we observe the key argument Director Chris Columbus and Principal Actor Macaulay Culkin (née Matthijs Krul) advance in antagonism to Foucault. If Foucault cannot prove that public torture is useless to bourgeois democracy, Discipline and Punish withers as Mr. Krul's erection in the confines of a women's locker room.

Foucault begins his tract with something of a "meditation" on public torture. According to Foucault, public torture was intended to reflect the violence of the crime onto the convict's body, and to solidify in the public's mind the link between the law of sovereign government and physical violence. However, Foucault observes, this form of torture often had the unintended consequence of garnering sympathy upon the convict, and even of creating conflict between the public and the state upon this point. Therefore, public torture was actually counterproductive to the state's aims, and unworkable in the political framework of a democracy. What's good for the feudal barbarian is no good for the civilized bourgeois! Or so says Foucault! But without this pillar of his argument, the entirety of Foucault's tract falls flat and can be dismissed with no further thought.

Home Alone effortlessly refutes this opening argument, the principal point of Discipline and Punish. Observe:

In this scene, we have Harry and Marv, the two criminals, the trespassers, the violent lunatics, the encroachers, the enemies, and in moral and material fact the convicts in the moral calculus of Home Alone being publicly tortured and humiliated in every way. "But wait!" you say, "this is not the public! This is occurring in the homestead!" To that, we say nay! These tortures are depicted on film, in gory detail, for America! and ALL the world! to see. These are the most public of tortures!

We see a series of violent back-breaking slips; throughout, one of our convicts falls onto broken glass with bare feet, steps on an exposed nail, and shortly afterward a hot iron hurtles onto the villain's face from a great distance; later, both of the condemned men are burnt, shot, and electrocuted. And how have audiences reacted to this series of brutal public tortures? With great aplomb at first, and soon after with raucous cheers and applause! There is no audience in the world who felt sympathy for these moral transgressives. Director Christopher Columbus understands the mentality of the mob in a way that Foucault cannot dream. In fact, public torture does not create conflict between the state and the public, but brings the two parties closer and fosters a sense of delight, justice, and good cheer for all.

Home Alone was a triumph not only for its value as entertainment, but in its contributions to the philosophical world, that is, a wave of the hand in the direction of silly post-structuralist rantings such as Foucault's in Discipline and Punish. In this essay we have only seen Home Alone's brutal and efficient refutation of the very pillar of Foucault's argument; there is more, much more--at points, we observe Director Chris Columbus and Principal Actor Macaulay Culkin (née Matthijs Krul) annihilating Foucault's arguments with a particular brand of cruelty, something approaching relish and glee. It is a sad sight to see. We mourn the legacy of Foucault, may it rest in piece.

Eugene V. Debs
Jan 16, 2011

by Fistgrrl

Home Alone, as it relates to class struggle, and the modern proletarian youth.
by Eugene Victor Debs
Age 8, 4th grade social studies

Home Alone is a profound social allegory for how the class struggle effects the proletarian youth in the west. The character Kevin McCallister (Culkin) symbolizes the modern proletarian child, who feels, to quote freedom fighter Mumia Abu Jamal: "with some justice that they have been betrayed by those who came before them. That they are at best tolerated in schools, feared on the streets, and almost inevitably destined for the hell holes of prison. They grew up hungry, hated and unloved."

The faux-bourgeois sensibilities of his parents are so strong that they forget that they have even left their child, which should be the most precious thing to any parent, as they are too consumed in the false consumer pornography forced upon them by the ruling class. It is not until they are far past the point of no return that they realize what this false and anti social ideal leads to. Kevin at first rejoices in his newfound freedom, flaunting the rules that his mother and father made for him, but then there is trouble, when two robbers approach the door.

Young Kevin is under attack not from the ruling class itself, but rather from two criminals, themselves almost certainly forced into a life of crime by economic warfare carried out by the ruling class. This assault hardens the heart of Kevin, and forces him to lash out and fight back against men who he may well have a great deal in common with. You can see a similar situation on the streets of every major city, where the proletariat wages war with itself over the petty possessions and wealth the bourgeoisie flaunt so brazenly.

Kevin is an intelligent child, clearly, but like so many proletarian youth, he is forced to develop an animalistic, ruthless cunning which will allow him to survive. Although he possesses few actual resources, he manages to defend himself with great aplomb, driving away seasoned criminals using only the most rudimentary means.

But to what end? What has young Kevin learned? What has he gained? His heart must become cold and devoid of compassion to survive the hell that has befallen him. There will always be more people looking to prey upon him, to harm him, to deprive him. He must lower himself to the gutters in order to stand any chance there.

Far too many youth end up like Kevin, their talents and intelligence wasted, they learn nothing, they gain nothing, they see only the bourgeois desires flitting before them as if lit by a strobe light. More cash. More drugs. More cars. More women. At each step dodging the police, dodging other desperate people, and dodging that niggling sense in the back of their head that tells them this is no way to live.

They have no choice, however, for if their guard, their animalistic, cutthroat facade is dropped for even a second, they will die as they lived. Unloved, alone, with nothing gained, bleeding out in some back alley as indifferent people walk by.

We fight class war not for ourselves, but for all the young Kevins.

Miss March
Aug 29, 2007

We've got to keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.

Home Alone, Inheritance, and the "Just World" Fallacy

Home Alone is, naturally enough, a representation of class struggle. It plays straight the unfounded paranoias of the bourgeoisie surrounding the lumpenproletariat and their supposed design against the bourgeois family structure, ultimately defending the capitalist conception of inheritance by positing that technological innovation is a heritable trait along the white, bourgeois, male line. Kevin McCallister, the young heir to a family wealthy enough to travel between continents as a matter of course, is accidentally left alone in his suburban home and finds himself besieged by the so-called “Wet Bandits,” desperate members of the US underclass who have been forced by oppressive circumstances into a life of burglary. Kevin’s goal becomes the defense of private property “rights” against these so-called villains; not his own, since as a child he has none, but those of his parents. This exemplifies a bourgeois legal structure in which children, reduced to serfs under the oppressive hold of the American family unit, are nonetheless expected to defend bourgeois freedoms they themselves are denied. The young man quickly resorts to the oldest weapon of the bourgeois against the proletariat: technological innovation. Ultimately, the loss of jobs caused by technological advances was no doubt responsible for the lumpenproletariat status of Harry and Marv in the first place, but here the bourgeois virtue of “innovation,” as embodied in the idealized form of a precocious blond child, is used to deprive the Wet Bandits of their freedom a second time and literally to incarcerate them.

The concept of inheritance is also central. By defending his parents’ property rights, Kevin “grows up” – making the switch from the communal precepts of early-childhood life to the assumption of his status as heir to the family’s accumulated wealth. By creating a false moment where the bourgeois child “earns” his inheritance by demonstrating that he has already inherited a knack for innovation and the inclination to defend the bourgeois way of life, the movie reinforces nonsensical conceptions of genetic superiority and the pro-capitalist but fallacious “just world” construction. This moment, or rite of passage, occurs when Kevin is victorious in the bourgeois-lumpen class antagonism, and succeeds in not only enacting vigilante-style physical harm on the bandits, but effects their arrest as well, signaling Kevin’s acceptance of his place within the hierarchy of the pre-existing disciplinary state. The contradictions of liberalism are here apparent – no liberal really wants government to disappear entirely, because liberalism disintegrates without a government and police force to protect private property rights. Vigilante justice followed by state-inflicted justice, as depicted in the film, thus creates the illusion of total self-reliance, masking the much more insidious reality that the state’s relation to libertarianism is that of a sine qua non. Kevin, nevertheless, having demonstrated this supposed individualized innovativeness, has demonstrated, in true neo-Calvinist fashion, that his privilege is well-earned by his very nature. The bandits, meanwhile, suffer in jail, an equally well-earned punishment for the demonstrably inferior quality of their characters. This Calvinist conception of a “just world,” similar to the Western perversion of the idea of karma, is little more than the self-rationalization of an oppressive class structure that first forces the proletariat and lumpenproletariat to enter into the perpetual class struggle, then, perversely, disciplines them for their participation.

Sleepy Beef
Oct 2, 2009

by Fistgrrl



the sex ghost
Sep 6, 2009

Bakhtin, Rabelais and McAllister : The Carnivalesque In Home Alone

In Home Alone, we are presented with a far-fetched sequence of events that most children would admit to being enamoured with at some point - how many times as a child did you wish you could do whatever you wanted without fear of repercussions? However, as comical as the events of the movie are, they also present serious questions about the nature of social structures and hierarchies. In this essay I will be quoting exclusively from Bakhtin's Rabelais And His World (1965).

The opening scenes of the movie focus around the McAllisters' preparation for their trip abroad, culminating in a family dinner from which Kevin is expelled. Bakhtin writes, "the official feast asserted all that was stable, unchanging, perennial: the existing hierarchy,". The family hierarchy is enforced by this meal, with the pizzas being distributed according to each family member's importance within the group, with Kevin, the least important member, left with nothing. For breaking the predetermined order of things (asking if anyone had ordered him a plain cheese), he is seen to be spoiling it for the other members of the family and is banished from the feast. Contrast this with later scenes where Kevin indulges in vast displays of gluttony, in keeping with ideas of the carnivalesque (see below).

The carnivalesque, according to Bakhtin, represents a "temporary suspension, both ideal and real, of hierarchical rank". This is certainly in keeping with the events of the movie: for a temporary period, Kevin is the most important member of the family and exhibits a level of superiority over his adult adversaries Harry and Marv. In contrast, Kevin's family are suddenly impotent in the face of adversity, with no way of returning home quickly or contacting Kevin.

A key feature of a carnival atmosphere is what Bakhtin terms 'grotesque realism', a "degradation, that is, the lowering of all that is high[...] to the sphere of earth and body in their indissoluble unity". Harry and Marv are initially (to Kevin at least) a source of significant maliciousness, owing to their status independent of the McAllister family hierarchy and its subsequent inversion. By entering into Kevin's house, and in doing so the carnivalesque environment contained within, they subject themselves to Kevin's various traps. These traps degrade the two crooks, until they exist on a purely biological class independent of social status, at which point Kevin no longer views them as a threat and they are exposed as incompetent fools.

In the atmosphere of the carnival, Bakhtin goes on further to explain, the people almost create a language of their own, "unlike the language of Church, palace, courts and institutions," in order to better express themselves in their new environment. This can be seen in Home Alone in the continued usage of Angels With Filthy Souls to assist Kevin in his time alone in the house. The language is dated, even cliched, but Kevin uses it to great effect, even going so far as to claim the voices as his own in order to better facilitate his survival.

However, as Bakhtin stated previously, the environment of the carnival is only a temporary one, and eventually the social order must revert to its original form. The conclusion of the movie sees the police, the eternal enforcers of order and establishment, arrive and take away Harry and Marv. At the same time, Kevin's family return, placing him once again at the bottom of the hierarchy. The viewer is led to believe that Kevin's family are sorry for oppressing him and that he'll be given more power within the family dynamic. The movie's closing line "Kevin, you little creep! What did you do to my room?!" tell us otherwise. The movie appears to suggest a rather bleak message, then: that while the means exist for social and cultural norms to be subverted, eventually we must return inevitably to the status quo.

Apr 9, 2009

by T. Fine

Home Alone and the Culture of Passivity

In today's political discourse, "non-violence" is considered the ultimate virtue. Media figures heap constant praise upon the likes of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. while calling into question the legitimacy of violent revolutionary struggles in post-colonial nations. John Hughes's populist masterpiece, Home Alone, offers a rebuttal to this status quo apologism with a shocking dive into the psyche of his American audience.

The film begins with Kevin's parents, his personified superego, abandoning him to enjoy the excesses of Paris. This is a direct corollary to actions of imperial powers who left their former colonies behind. Once the oppressive parental figure is gone, thieves quickly attempt to invade and take advantage of Kevin's new found independence, just the same as they did to newly freed third-world nations. It is important to note that the character of the house robbers is the same as his parents in essence; both seeks to impose a morality on Kevin that is in gross contradiction with his id. Like Kevin's parents, the burglars have to forced out so Kevin can create a model society that satisfies his innate humane desires.

But how is Kevin supposed to gain independence from these powerful outside forces? The “mainstream” position claims that a strict adherence to the principles of non-violence will grant Kevin autonomy he so desperately seeks. The actual American public, unbeknownst to itself, takes the opposite position. They will laugh as Kevin slashes the burglars' feet, smashes their skulls with paint cans, and sears their flesh with hot metal. Even the most complacent sectors of American society, who otherwise find cannot tolerate violence on film, enjoy this brutal “slapstick”. This highlights a contradiction within the minds of Americans. On one hand, they are told by their oppressive father figure, the media and educational system, that political violence by those seeking autonomy is amoral, while on the other hand the sight of violence for the same means excites them. Like most such contradictions, the conflict is not realized by the individual's ego, but rather plays out in the unconscious. So while most Americans do not think that they are supportive of such violent measures, it can nonetheless be seen in their erratic behavior. They cling to guns, castle doctrine, and their own interpretations of individuality in place of actually performing the violent quest for independence.

Home Alone not only provides a convincing parallel to the struggle of developing nations, but shows that the American public secretly admires the same violent struggle they denounce. The suppression of societies' collective id by the superego of modern western capitalism causes untold harm to the people of the world. Not only does it protect the status quo by quelling humanity's violent nature, but it produces an extraordinary form of mass psychosis that haunts American society. True freedom for America will come about not through empty rhetoric or non-threatening protest, but through a re-imagining of culture that embraces and encourages humankind's natural propensity for violent struggle against authority. Home Alone is a good first step, unfortunately more is needed. Activists around the world, lift your pens, point your cameras, and pluck your strings; it is the only way to achieve change.

Nov 25, 2010

by Fistgrrl

The Ideological Crucifix

Family programming has been a staple of American television for many decades. Banks make a significant portion of their profit, if not most of their profit, from home loan mortgages. Other corporations also benefit from family television programming by instilling all of the classic bourgeois desires of commodity fetishism, greed and envy, and exclusionary property rights. A particular scene can be decoded in a myriad of ways. The television producer, or in this case, the film director's, job is to create an entire illusionary world in which the family viewer is programmed into the myth of bourgeois Capitalism and state control.

Perhaps the most important scene for this analysis is the final arrest of Harry and Marv, in which the repressive arm of state capital is depicted as just and righteous, as the heroic saviors of our Capitalist, family friendly fantasy land. We are led to believe in the idyllic dream of safe, happy family life under the banner of a just and reasonable legal code.

Are Harry and Marv even believable characters? What did they seek to gain for themselves by robbing a house? They are driven to madness and pointless aggression agaisnt a child instead of simply leaving and deriving a more sensible plan. Any real man, even the most desperate for money or food, would have changed his plan. We are left with caricatures of non-home owning proletariat as desperate, easily enraged, and idiotic.

The fantasy world of Home Alone extends far beyond the McCallister house. Indeed, it is an extension of the fantasy lands of past television and movie scenarios. The ideological crucifix upon which we hang is this very fantasy land. We have become so indoctrinated by television fantasy that we can no longer see clearly the reality of class struggle or of worker exploitation. The images have existed for so long and have set themselves so deeply upon the collective unconscious of our brothers that we can only paw and scratch at the backs of their deluded minds with appeals for pity and basic egalitarianism. We live in a world so completely controlled by monetary policy and Capitalism that it is now impossible to live outside of the bounds of society, which means it is impossible to live without the threat of state violence.

Which is the greater problem in society? Home burglary or the oppressive state? 40% if not more of our tax dollars go to funding a mammoth military-police complex and the United States arrogantly engages in several wars of aggression every year. We hang here, on this ideological crucifix, slowly starving to death without the real sustenance that we need, the truth! These lies and these fantasies are destroying society. Those who benefit, the bankers and the head of corporations, are funding the continuation of these lies. They have so many allies, so many that work to spread delusion to the masses, so many that go about this work as the most serious business, that it seems impossible to overcome its sway. For what media is left in which to spread the truth? Film and television are the most indoctrinating, but even the printed word is left in ruins, and on the internet, we find so many opinions and so much information is available that this is out best method of uncovering truth, but there is no clear way forward, no clear leader, no clear movement towards a new ideological realm or a new enlightened populace.

Sep 30, 2005

yeah it was like, we came in one day and there was a five-seven just chillin on airbus two. we were like, 'the hell?'

Alone With KKKapitalism

Various reactionary logics have a long history of ventriloquism via 'the mouths of babes,' and the expressions of bogus fright and equally bogus ingenuity via the fetching M. Krul in his only Hollywood hit fit tightly into this well-worn, highly lubricated mold.

The disarming frailty of Krul's character in the film as well as the pronounced erotic element in Krul's treatment by the camera are powerful distractants for most viewers; what can be glimpsed behind what is seemingly the simplest and most innocent of all liberal fairy-tales: the triumph of sweet innocent goodness via cleverness over bungling, irrational evil? Nothing can, so long as we implicitly subscribe to the liberal narrative and refuse to conduct truly rigorous analysis.

The central issue is of course Krul's position. He is a child but of a special type. He is habitually picked on (his pizza eaten, for example) and so low in the consideration of no less a figure than his own mother that she only notices his absence halfway through her trip to the family's vacation destination. But his position is still one of immense privilege. Just as the LLCO has helpfully outlined the Trotskyist nonsense of first-world feminists claiming false allegiance with truly oppressed women in the third world, responsible communists must deny that Krul's position here is fundamentally underprivileged or subaltern. Were he in Afghanistan he might enjoy peripheral access to similar opulence as a sex slave but nowhere else in the world save the monstrous nerve-centers of global capitalism would he, as a small child, have access to such riches as he is seen casually enjoying in the film. Everything, from his presumed innocence to his ingenuity is thus called into question by this naked, white, hairless fact.

What ingenuity is this, anyways? Here also Krul's seducing looks and charming naiveté must be roughly yanked back and subjected unwillingly to penetrating analysis. Is Krul whittling Clovis points from flint ripped out of a creek bed or fashioning a functional tractor by reverse-engineering decades-old war debris? Or is he merely serving as the rear end-end of his family's consumption machine, hurling commodities wantonly to their destruction in the most bourgeois fashion imaginable, against the criminalized product of the same neoliberal order which most likely brought his father into such riches to begin with? Could anything be less creative or ingenious, or more predictable, than this course of action?

Keep in mind as well the broader material basis (and the historical irony descending from it) that enables this trap-laying in the first place: not only the presence of basically expendable resources in gross amounts (the earlier scenes in the film, when Krul eats candy and shoots a BB gun, simply foreshadow the hour-long explosive diarrhea which is to follow) but also the battlefield across which those commodities are violently hurled. In a hilarious Fukuyamian perversion of Kutuzov and Zukhov's grand strategy, Krul is able to trade elaborately trapped space for a seemingly interminable length of time, escaping to untrammeled corners of his parents criminally oversized mansion while his enemies nurse their wounds. The brilliant stroke of the vast plains of European Russia being reduced to a few hallways and rooms in a well-appointed suburban home in Chicago is as fitting a capstone to the capitalist historiographical project as can conceivably be imagined. And Krul, child of a capitalist, is very far from a helpless or ignorant 'babe.' He has been contorted by his inescapable material situation into a willing accomplice of and joyful reveler in the brutal violence which late capitalism increasingly inflicts on its real children- the refugee, the drug addict, the migrant worker and of course the increasingly common criminal.

Feb 20, 2002


Stegosaurus posted:

Alone With KKKapitalism

Various reactionary logics have a long history of ventriloquism via 'the mouths of babes,' and the expressions of bogus fright and equally bogus ingenuity via the fetching M. Krul in his only Hollywood hit fit tightly into this well-worn, highly lubricated mold.

The disarming frailty of Krul's character in the film as well as the pronounced erotic element in Krul's treatment by the camera are powerful distractants for most viewers; what can be glimpsed behind what is seemingly the simplest and most innocent of all liberal fairy-tales: the triumph of sweet innocent goodness via cleverness over bungling, irrational evil? Nothing can, so long as we implicitly subscribe to the liberal narrative and refuse to conduct truly rigorous analysis.

The central issue is of course Krul's position. He is a child but of a special type. He is habitually picked on (his pizza eaten, for example) and so low in the consideration of no less a figure than his own mother that she only notices his absence halfway through her trip to the family's vacation destination. But his position is still one of immense privilege. Just as the LLCO has helpfully outlined the Trotskyist nonsense of first-world feminists claiming false allegiance with truly oppressed women in the third world, responsible communists must deny that Krul's position here is fundamentally underprivileged or subaltern. Were he in Afghanistan he might enjoy peripheral access to similar opulence as a sex slave but nowhere else in the world save the monstrous nerve-centers of global capitalism would he, as a small child, have access to such riches as he is seen casually enjoying in the film. Everything, from his presumed innocence to his ingenuity is thus called into question by this naked, white, hairless fact.

What ingenuity is this, anyways? Here also Krul's seducing looks and charming naiveté must be roughly yanked back and subjected unwillingly to penetrating analysis. Is Krul whittling Clovis points from flint ripped out of a creek bed or fashioning a functional tractor by reverse-engineering decades-old war debris? Or is he merely serving as the rear end-end of his family's consumption machine, hurling commodities wantonly to their destruction in the most bourgeois fashion imaginable, against the criminalized product of the same neoliberal order which most likely brought his father into such riches to begin with? Could anything be less creative or ingenious, or more predictable, than this course of action?

Keep in mind as well the broader material basis (and the historical irony descending from it) that enables this trap-laying in the first place: not only the presence of basically expendable resources in gross amounts (the earlier scenes in the film, when Krul eats candy and shoots a BB gun, simply foreshadow the hour-long explosive diarrhea which is to follow) but also the battlefield across which those commodities are violently hurled. In a hilarious Fukuyamian perversion of Kutuzov and Zukhov's grand strategy, Krul is able to trade elaborately trapped space for a seemingly interminable length of time, escaping to untrammeled corners of his parents criminally oversized mansion while his enemies nurse their wounds. The brilliant stroke of the vast plains of European Russia being reduced to a few hallways and rooms in a well-appointed suburban home in Chicago is as fitting a capstone to the capitalist historiographical project as can conceivably be imagined. And Krul, child of a capitalist, is very far from a helpless or ignorant 'babe.' He has been contorted by his inescapable material situation into a willing accomplice of and joyful reveler in the brutal violence which late capitalism increasingly inflicts on its real children- the refugee, the drug addict, the migrant worker and of course the increasingly common criminal.

Apr 9, 2009

by T. Fine

McCaine posted:


Well this was an enjoyable "Who Gets to Ban SITBM" contest anyway

Feb 20, 2002


1294028 posted:

Well this was an enjoyable "Who Gets to Ban SITBM" contest anyway
crumble gets to pick though

Miss March
Aug 29, 2007

We've got to keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.

McCaine posted:

crumble gets to pick though

i feel like people would have put in so much more effort if the prize were bringing back the obamartyrs

Apr 27, 2007

Rockin' it

Aw man and I was going to write one on HA as a metaphor for the awakening of critical consciousness, but if the winner's been decided I don't think I want to put forth the effort

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002

please keep writing b/c it isn't over yet and i haven't picked a winner yet

nobody's brought up the old shoveling man btw...

Sep 30, 2005

yeah it was like, we came in one day and there was a five-seven just chillin on airbus two. we were like, 'the hell?'

what was homework #1, or is this a pigs 1 and 3 scenario

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002

Stegosaurus posted:

what was homework #1, or is this a pigs 1 and 3 scenario


In Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode 102 ("Darmok"), do the Tamarians have a revolutionary understanding of history as described in Benjamin's 'Theses on the Philosophy of History'? Why or why not?

Apr 27, 2007

Rockin' it

A Conscientization of McAllister

Though Home Alone is one of many in writer-director John Hughes’ oeuvre about upper-middle-class angst in today’s uncertain world, a closer study reveals far more. Indeed, Kevin McAllister, the film’s adolescent protagonist, is not only a suburban boy, but the modern-day übermensch whose exploits illuminate the true nature of modern society.

Kevin!, as his family refers to him, as illustrated by the film’s opening scenes, is oppressed by the bourgeois trappings of his suburban Chicago lifestyle—one of the countless numbers of those socially dispossessed masses who have internalized the negative things said about them by the more powerful, viz his family members. His “family members” constantly tell him that he cannot accomplish the tasks to which those in his station in life are assigned: “You're completely helpless. Everyone has to do everything for you”, says one, while another refers to him as a “disease” upon the family. Furthermore, they sow the seeds of distrust in him of his own class, filling his mind with visions of the shoveling old man next door as “South Bend Shovel Slayer”. We too learn in the film’s exposition that Kevin! internalizes many of his fears, represented by the heater in the basement. Yet no on in his bourgeois family comforts him, only offering him cold pizza as a scrap and sending him to his cold room.

Kevin!, of course, protests his harsh treatment as the only one “getting dumped on”, but to no avail. He curses his station, lamenting, “I don't want a new family. I don't want any family. Families suck!” and wishes they would all disappear. A power failure plunges Kevin into a literal world of darkness, and in the morning light he emerges to find that his wish has been fulfilled: his family has indeed vanished. This sets Kevin! on a path of self-discovery and learning that enables him to transcend his status.

As the film progresses, we observe as Kevin! breaks free of those mental shackles which his family has saddled him. His first break comes when he finally confronts his nemesis, the furnace. As he sets out without other interfering in his duties, he realizes that the furnace is not a threat, but provides warmth in the cold world, culminating when he tells the threatening voices in his head to “shut up”. He finds that society is out to stop him from living his life; the best example comes when a police officer, the enforcer of social mores, chases Kevin because he did not pay his share of capital for a necessary article, a tooth brush. We see him as he flees, and as he realizes that forces outside of his immediate family, but which are nevertheless supplied indirectly by them, are out there stymie his journey of self-actualization.

He too gradually learns to trust the old man next door, seeing him not as a monster, but as a compatriot in his struggle. The culminating moment appropriately occurs in a church (which alludes to liberation theology), when he learns that the scary old man next door is not a monster, but, like Kevin! himself, is alone and afraid in this world, alienated from the ones he loves by a cold, uncaring world. In this crucial moment Kevin finally realizes the contradiction between what has been said about himself and those like him.

The essential moment of Kevin!’s transcendence comes with his confrontation of the two thieves. “But wait”, some may say, “those thieves are like Kevin! They too have been relegated to the fringes of society by its bourgeois elements!” That cannot be the case, for while they have indeed been alienated, they differ in that their concern is with the naked aggregation of capital regardless of the effects upon the less fortunate. In the critical climax of the film, we watch as Kevin! stymies the efforts of the two thieves to oppress him through his own efforts, his own labor. Using his understanding of life provided by his newfound independence, he uses the everyday means at his disposal to thwart the pursuit of capital, and with the help of his own class (the old man), he fights back directly against the oppressive elements in his life.

This final confrontation produces a new, fully actualized creature. What was once Kevin! has become the proud and fully-independent Kevin McAllister. As his family returns, we see that this nubile Kevin McAllister ready to confront his familiar oppressors, and we see their shock as he informs them of his newfound independence. One of the final shots shows Kevin McAllister waving to the old man, whose own self-discovery has reunited him with the ones he loves. Bathed in the sunlight of a new dawn, Kevin McAllister is ready to confront the world without fear.

Willie Tomg
Feb 2, 2006

To Forge the Machine: Feeding a Monster in Kevin McCallister

HOME ALONE is Hollywood's most visceral portrayal of the perversion of preadolescent psychosexuality in service to abusive parent figures. It's a blueprint for the effective use of negative reinforcement on someone who is made to love for it.

Kevin's life is made from the outset to be one of fear. Fear of a critical mother, fear of an overbearing father, fear of his tyrannical brother Buzz, fear of a night alone with the incontinent Fuller, fear of Marley (the man who shovels the sidewalks,) fear of the furnace downstairs. Physical and emotional abuse from his family is connotated throughout the entire first act of the film. Marxist analysis of a bourgeoisie child living in fear has been performed already, but in this author's view such a reading covers half of a far more interesting story: Home Alone is not merely a story about a rich child and impoverished adults, but an abused child learning to abuse in turn the easiest possible targets.

After the intial jubilation from the departure of his family, Kevin settles into the prototypical routine of the depressed: watching TV or otherwise seeking amusement all day in an increasingly unkempt house and never leaving the house even to eat, having all his meals delivered to the door and never looking at the driver. That such jubilation gives way to aimless anomie so quickly is played for laughs, but one is reminded of the old saw, "Comedy is tragedy that happens to others." But for petty drama padding out the close of the first act, such as the rush of stealing Buzz's life savings to certain--and horrible!--consequences, Kevin's does little but watch TV. And wait.

Kevin dresses in the clothes of his father and older siblings, reterritorializing his body alternately in the form of his tormentors or archetypes received from the TV which gives him such comfort, and begins to overcome his anxieties when the fundamental antagonists of the film are introduced: The Wet Bandits. As clearly characterized ex-convicts they too assume the guise of their abusers, to wit, the police. This creates a highly important subtextual linkage between Harry, Marv, and Kevin. They've all been hurt by groups of people more powerful and influential than them. Indeed, class arguments and age aside, it's arguable the protagonist and antagonists have more in common with each other than the protagonist and his family.

However, upon learning of the Wet Bandits' plot to rob his house, Kevin undergoes a crisis. While typically the material import of the robbery again highlights class issues, such superficial analysis ignores the far larger violation: The desanctfication of Kevin's site of abuse. The Wet Bandits, abused as they were are characterized as abusers themselves. To blithely enter the house and do what they will with Kevin--the sexual implications of ex-convicts from the American prison system, a lithe young blond boy and their desire to take him away are too blatant to ignore in honest conversation--to so easily assume at a stroke the place of Buzz, Kevin's father, and all his other tormentors would trivialize his pain. This, he cannot abide, and consitutes an assault not just on young McCallister's person, but his reality. As Kevin himself later said in the sequel, "Another Christmas in the trenches."

For the first time Kevin feels the loss of his reliably and securely hurtful family. For the first time Kevin seeks connection.

He meets Marley at church, while praying for his family's early return. They share a brief moment of lonliness and estrangement and rather than seek connection in someone who feels as he does, Kevin instead is inspired to rush back home to defend the location of his childhood trauma.

The TV he so compulsively watches to escape serves as his inspiration. The tools and possessions of the family that has harmed him serve as materials to defend their honored place in Kevin's childhood trauma.

The unleashing of the ad hoc defense system is glorious. Rather than seek commonality in these new figures who understand Kevin's anxieties, Kevin inscribes the pain he feels himself onto Harry and Marv with expert precision gained over his eight years of life and education. Every shred of anger comes out of Kevin in his sadistic devices visiting enough harm onto the Wet Bandits to kill a man a dozen times over. At last, Home Alone reveals itself: A coming of age movie. A small boy temporarily ascending to the position previously occupied only in his nightmares by those who hurt him and finding himself equal to the station.

Eventually in the way common to narrative film the third act crisis has Kevin against a wall while the Wet Bandits leer at him, only to be saved by Marley and his swinging shovel. His work is quick and clean and in stark contrast to the drawn-out sadism of Kevin necessary though it may have been on account of Kevin's small size. The interpersonal gulf between Kevin and Marley is highlighted by this difference in methods, and indeed we never see Marley again for the rest of the series so removed is he from Kevin's experience. Much better to see the Wet Bandits delivered safely into the hands of their abusers--the police and fellow convicts and so its only fitting this closes the penultimate sequence.

Kevin is finally and joyously reunited with the family who hurts him time and again just the way he likes. Not a few seconds after they've returned Buzz is heard upstairs.

"Kevin?! What did you do to my room?"

The eloquent promise of fraternal discipline never sounded so good.

Jan 23, 2008

Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack.

Perverse Resignation in Home Alone

Though seemingly a boisterous series of slapstick pratfalls in a well-worn Hollywood style, in Home Alone we find above all else a clear depiction of the peril that capitalism and its accompanying tendency to fetishism represent to the attainment of individuality in the Kierkegaardian sense. Kevin, a typical but neglected product of a contemporary white middle class American family, when left behind cannot help but have his absolute but perverse commitment to his home revealed to himself in all of its depth. Rather than fleeing this irrational, culturally normative passion, Kevin embraces it, founding his identity on his attachment to his house.

This incipient Abraham is willing, and indeed demonstrates his eagerness at various intervals, to sacrifice the object of his attachment in defense of his burgeoning identity, an identity that is very much dependent on that same object: a homeowner defending his home. Kevin, suffering through the tension imposed by the strain between the temptation of the ethical abandonment of his home (a behavior that has been modeled quite literally for him by his parents) and the irrational, incommunicable urge to defend it (even as he risks destroying it in the process), retains his dedication to his perverse ideal and thus becomes a knight of faith, but a bent knight invested in an ideal inescapably binding him in the thankless prison of American liberalism.

Note that the very words homeowner and home themselves are coded with social meanings that reveal themselves only to those heirs to liberal tradition (we assume a “Western” audience, as is the primary intended audience for the film itself) willing to step outside the confines of a complex of norms and subsequent normative behavior that move the physical, i.e. the house, into the realm of the abstract, the archetypical American “home”. It is this representation, the capitalist fabrication of the house as vessel for a pure expression of classical liberalism, that allows it to become the object of Kevin’s steadfast devotion. Indeed, this reveals what Kierkegaard fails to account for in his analysis of the movement of resignation and the defining relationship that provokes it. The movement that Kevin so clearly takes as a result of his seeming abandonment, his response to an ultimate commitment and the passion at heart of his birth as an individual, is a perversion, a commitment to an abstract ideal as bourgeois as that of the family home, a conception that necessarily encompasses liberal values regarding private property and thus serves to universalize, corrupting the utterly temporal nature of the knight with cultural universals.

Interestingly, Kevin’s position as a knight of faith is confirmed most concretely in his relationship with Marley, the old man next door. Though fear appears to be at play in Kevin’s initial rejection of Marley, a figure defined by his relationship to a shovel and thus representative of a competing means of foundational identity (labor), the fear is not actually that of the unknown. Rather, the fear is that of one who cannot meaningfully describe the content of his experience, lest he appear as insane. As Abraham must consider himself a murderer, so must Kevin at heart consider himself a violator of the sacrosanct property of his parents while simultaneously abandoning himself in his new role as homeowner, master of his rightfully inherited domain. He cannot describe his conflict, and thus must hide himself. When he reconciles himself with Marley, it is only after recognizing a fellow knight, and it is as an equal, property owner to property owner.

Clearly then, Home Alone stands as an important criticism of Kierkegaard. Far from serving as a role model, Kevin should be seen as the perversion that he has become, though by no fault of his own. Attainment of Kierkegaardian individuality, like so much else, is impossible within the confines of the liberal society depicted in Home Alone.

Dec 5, 2009

Racism and Oppression: A Tale of Youth

Home Alone is a harrowing tale of the white Aryan super race over the lesser, dirtier races. (namely the Italian and Polish criminals who have been driven to crime by a class system designed to see them fail in life, told again and again in visual analog to this sociological process)

Regardless of Kevin being abandoned by his parents, he nonetheless considers himself owner and master of his place of residence as is his Aryan princely Right and those who do not deserve this privilege are not only cast out into the cold again and again but tortured for their transgressions against the normal order.

Kevin takes pleasure in the suffering of the lesser races. However his pleasure is derived not from the “criminals’” actual suffering, but the spectacle of their suffering, evidenced by his constant looking into the camera and addressing the audience directly. The film is geared to make one sympathize with the plight of the child and his family regardless of the fact that the poor, filthy criminals are clearly underprivileged.

This may seem to you to be coincidence and you may say “well, the creators of this film were born into bourgeois society themselves, and so they’re only writing what they know.” But this is a clear example of propaganda against the “unclean” races of Europe and their descendants in the United States as will be made clear.

This point could have been made more obvious by casting the invaders as black men, and it was probably suggested that they be, as you can see they still resemble black people in that one has an afro and the other a beanie cap. But like all good propaganda the references are subtle and in line with the status quo: namely multicultural liberalism.

The traps Kevin uses are expressions of his attitudes (and the attitudes that the audience is supposed to have/learn) toward the lesser races:
  • Kevin shoots Harry in the balls and Marv in the skull with Buzz's BB Gun.
This sequence expresses Kevin’s subconscious desire to emasculate and execute the transgressors to the natural order of things. He uses his older brother’s bb gun which shows that he is inheriting the right of violence from an older generation and only the aforementioned liberalism (and the need for a 90min runtime) kept this from being daddy’s pistol.
  • Harry slips on the front steps that have been iced (twice) and Marv slips down the basement steps (like a slide) that have been iced.
Evidence that the stairs to becoming members of a higher class are rigged and that there is no way up for the lesser races.
  • Harry's hand gets burned by the doorknob.
Not only is the door to prosperity closed to Harry, but the doorknob itself is too difficult to handle for the inferior human.
  • Kevin puts Buzz's pet tarantula, Axl on Marv's face making him scream.
This is no different from the Nazis using attack dogs to hunt down jews and the indifference, nay, glee on Kevin’s face as this happens shows the audience what happens to minorities who step out of line.
  • Harry gets hit with a crowbar by Marv, who was trying to kill Buzz's pet tarantula.
Not only are Marv and Harry attacked directly by Kevin, but are confused and attack one another much like racism between Irish immigrants to America and the blacks.

Kevin’s ally in his plight to subdue the unruly and unclean “other” is old man Marley. At first distrustful of the old man, Kevin learns that the old man is not so bad once having a conversation with him in church. This is no accident as Hitler himself, at different times and to varying degrees, utilized Christianity to justify his actions.

Old Man Marley posted:

“This is the place to be if you're feeling bad about yourself.”
“You're always welcome at church.”

These are two seemingly kind statements from Old Man Marley, but again with subtler implications of justification for violence.
  • Harry tried to bite Kevin's fingers, but Marley hits him & Marv with a snow shovel then takes Kevin off the hook of the basement door before taking him home.
Old Man Marley, arriving just in time to save Kevin, basically shows us that through religion and love of the family, (which the old man came to represent) one can overcome the struggles against even the impure and violent Harry and Marv.

Even a young boy, well equipped with superior genetics and material wealth can defeat two members of the lesser races despite their desperation. The moral of the story is that despite Kevin’s family forgetting him at home, the value of their property is worth violently protecting. Property being the main focus of the movie, cleverly disguised underneath a religious family movie about a holiday that is supposed to be a time of giving.

If the message were actually about family and religious piety, then Kevin would have offered to help the poor bandits, fed them and given them money so they would not have to risk life and limb stealing from wealthy and dangerous home owners.

German Joey
Dec 18, 2004

Book Barn Philosophy Discussion: The Hero of a Thousand Manhoods

The most frightening appeal of Good Art is that subtle, subconscious realization that you're really experiencing is a look into the future... that embodied, somehow, within this Piece, is a sort of crystalline seed from which the very pattern of a new sort of every day life will spring. If you could only see it but... concentration... in this case, it becomes an uncomfortable feeling. Maybe its better to let your eyes slip loose and set your peripheral vision to blur... and to let yourself be carried away...

In this particular case, we have in Home Alone is a foreshadowing of the Video Game Reality, a first peek into our now-lived lives as episodic savants and obstinate try-try-agains. And how what an exhausting, painful life it is! A hard life! How repentant we must be, to have only realized what has been lost - and what will be lost again - after the critical momentum (the breaking point) has passed.

If only we'd have known better. I can remember back when that WOPR was finally relieved of its nuclear angst; I can remember thinking that a great pressure had finally been released from me too. And oh, I remember too when the Super Mario Brothers tossed King Koopa's tail - I was there too, tossing n' turning right with 'em. Hah hah, now those were the days! But there was nothing at risk here. These weren't so much video game movies so much as they were movies about video games (and let me stress here, about in the same sense as your mother, as when she really sits around the house) - movies that simply stapled on familiar (and I'll admit, personally beloved) symbols onto the recycled skeletons of Shakespearan Comedies. The experience was farce. Art with no real flesh leaves nothing for the viewer to Feel, only to pretend to feel within his mind's eye.

But Home Alone is different. Home Alone truly becomes the Game by saturating the viewer in the feeling of dread. It sez "So you Used A New Guy. You didn't think it was really so simple as just pressing a button, didja?" And so the symbols at play here, in this movie, are necessarily terrifying: clumsy dicks; chopped dicks; infested and bug-bitten dicks; humiliated and uncomfortable dicks; dicks scorched with fire; dicks crushed up and tossed off a cliff; enslaved dicks branded with hot iron; screaming dicks sucked whirlpool-like into the spiked-teeth trap of a hungry vagina; frost-bitten dicks shattered for science by the steely-eyed officers of Unit 731. With cowardice at not accepting your mistakes as reality comes ever-recurrent castration. If every death is not a really a death, then the price must come death of your dick. It's no wonder I can hear your mama scream! Yeah, this is a man's world, baby! Cry all you want, but in this world you'll have to get right back up and stick your dick in the same blender again until it gets so chock-full of chud that its finally stops. The jam. This is a life is lived for the jam.

And so This, I claim: it wasn't until Home Alone that our brutal reality was finally understood as truth: that Sisyphus's feet do not move, have never moved, buried as they are, deep within the earth; and that when that rock finally comes a'rollin back down the mountain again, all that will be left of his mighty hydraulic is a smashed and bloody stump. But don't you stop rollin', my man! Regenerate and pump yourself up again!

May 22, 2007

by Fistgrrl

free get fiscal


Butt Cord
Jan 28, 2005

The State was not formed in progressive stages; it appears fully armed, a master stroke executed all at once; the primordial Urstaat, the eternal model of everything the State wants to be and desires; the basic formation, on the horizon throughout history.

buzz...your girlfriend....WOOF!


Chris de Sperg
Aug 14, 2009

Home Alone and the Juche Ideal: A Study of a Disguised Enlightenment

Despite the best efforts of Hollywood and the American cultural machine to output idol after idol to American decadence, which not even the best bourgeoisie propagandist could spin as anything more culturally relevant than, say, masturbation. However, occasionally, these dizzied devils will fail to catch a subversion, and the American 'comedy' Home Alone stands as glorious testament that Juche can emerge even from the most toxic cesspool.

Home Alone starts off fairly typically for American media. We see the American family, that most Satanic of groups, revelling in the glory and corruption that capitalism brings. It is, of course, a typical decadence, and a common theme in most American media. Yet, Home Alone has no illusions; even in its opening scenes it rips apart the myth of family, exposing the oppression and inequality that Kevin is faced with under the cover of - and indeed, to maintain the cover of - the unified family, ending with his banishment.

The lie of the family shows itself in its full glory the next day. When it comes down to it, his own 'family' do not even recognise him, and leave for Paris (a typical wasteful bourgeoisie pursuit - let it not be said that Home Alone is ready to pander to liberal-capitalism!) with Kevin left at his house.

It is at this point that the Juche character of Home Alone comes into full view, and Kevin's own journey through the ensuing days in itself reflects this. Initially, Kevin turns his isolation into individualist decadence; of course, that is the way of capitalism, and capitalist propaganda cannot be said to be ineffective in harnessing dissent into its own channels of what it claims to be pleasure. As sad as it is, this is not controversial. Yet, as time goes on, Kevin becomes scared - disillusioned, even - with this. He is presented with two main spectres - Marley and the "Wet Bandits" as they are called.

It almost goes without saying which is which. The Wet Bandits cannot be seen as anything other than allegory for Western capitalism and the United States. Of course, it is a rather heavy-handed metaphor; but, as they say, if the shoe fits. It disguises itself as caring and concerned, and out to protect, but ultimately it is nothing more than vermin, simply seeking to pillage its enemies. This hardly needs explaining, naturally, but it should be remembered.

By contrast, Marley is a guiding figure, a representation of the necessity of Juche. His heart is pure, and his own rebellion against the facade of family (though not against the concept of family; after all, what is Juche but the national family, in its true form, a form that needs no facade?) has left him ostracised, demonised. Of course, is it not the same for Juche? Our entire ideal has been portrayed in no uncertain terms as a devilish, loveless dictatorship by the West; we, too, are called murderers. An important reminder, perhaps, of how viciously capitalism subverts the social.

Meanwhile, Kevin is alone. Only his mother, Kate, pursues him; her own journey is something of a subplot of course, but it does quietly echo the main theme, as she is sustained by others while her own blood idly wait by. Kevin prays for his family back; he observes other families wistfully. Yet, in his heart, what Kevin wishes for is the concept of family. Do we not all? In many ways, it is a problem of capitalist media that our deepest wishes are taken, butchered, and sold back to us. What Kevin wants is true family, but he is lead to believe he seeks capitalist family. Yet, ultimately capitalist family cannot help. Neither can religion.

Thus, the main act. Kevin's house, his fortress, his nation, is invaded, as the bandits attempt to strip it clean. There is no rhetorical defence against such actions. No matter what he could say or do, he would receive no help; his calls to the police go unanswered, although they do finally turn up when the beasts are downed (the United Nations, indeed!) and he is left to fend for himself.

Allow me to restate the three principles of Juche. Chaju, charip, chawi; political independence, economic independence, national defence independence. This is the essence of Kevin's struggle. His war against the oppressor is launched using every spark of imagination, every available resource, every single tactical advantage he has. It is complete devotion to the cause of liberation and independence. Kevin's struggle is the struggle for Juche, and the struggle of Juche.

Of course, the West are no easy enemies, and he looks to be on the point of defeat as the oppressor prepares to subject him to unspeakable cruelty. Yet, he is saved by Marley's intervention. What does this represent? It is that Juche is no mere nationalism. Juche is internationalism; it is the achievement of revolution through the brotherhood of the Juche states, through the international family of national families.

There are fools who speak against Juche, claiming it stands against global revolution and emancipation. What cowardice, what idiocy! Juche is, in fact, the only tool by which global revolution can be achieved; imagine what would have happened if Kevin attempted to seize every house and confront his opponents head-on! Home Alone in many ways can be seen as not only a production of ideology, but of practice too.

The movie ends on something of a high note, with the reunion of Kate and Kevin followed by the family in general. Some may see this as reactionary, or even as a simple glossy Hollywood ending; yet, I believe this is a misinterpretation. Kevin and Kate (and of course Marley), through their experiences, now embody Juche. Even as they reunite, their love for each other is genuine; it is this genuine love, not based on family ties, not based on the capitalist hegemony, that Juche is all about. There has been an awakening in them of that. And they are one step closer to the truth.

Home Alone is an extremely valuable movie. One can only wonder how it slipped through the net; I can only hope for more to come. The Juche revolution may have succeeded in Korea, but there is more to come, and the cultural infiltration of Juche in a manner as sublime as this can only move us forward. Long live the Juche idea!

Jan 4, 2009

comrade commisrawr

I wrote this essay because I want to ban someone on this internet forum

Before we proceed with a specific analysis of Home Alone, we must endeavour to understand a complete genre, that of children’s media. The buying power of children is proxied through their parents. As such, media which appeals to the child but not the parent is unlikely to be viewed at all. With this in mind we can see that the selection and popularity of “children’s” media is unlikely to tell us much about children; An analysis of Home Alone is primarily an analysis of adult motives and unconscious bias. If we accept that children are, to a certain extent, developmentally blank states that only begin to truly recognize a “world” and “others” after a few months, the changing landscape of infant entertainment suddenly becomes an analytical wasteland. Therefore, the generational progression from Sesame Street to The Wiggles to Teletubbies to Boobah to In The Night Garden tells us very little about the anxieties of children, and a great deal about the anxieties of adults.

Home Alowne

So what does Home Alone tell us about adults, then? Well at a very basic level it plays on the fear of a busy extended nuclear family, the fear of leaving a child behind. This film serves up a reassuring storyline, that the child not only survives, but prospers. Is this film just a reassurance for negligent parents, a reminder that children are autonomous units that can live without the control of authority? This film involves the standard three act structure, with an establishment of normality, a disruption of it and then its re-esablishment. The critical element of this structure is not what constitutes normality, or what constitutes a disruption, but what changes in the course of the film. The normality that is initially established is generally flawed. This allows our characters to grow or survive during the course of the movie, in a way they would not have been able to had they passively continued their existence. This change in the characters is the critical element of the movie.

Ostracize the outsiders

The establishment of normality in Home Alone revolves around the bustling McAllister household, and the dysfunction is Kevin’s. “This house is so full of people, it makes me sick! When I grow up and get married, I’m living alone. Did you hear me? I’m living alone! I’m living alone!” When Kevin refers to the people here he is referring to a specific type of person, the person that constitutes society. For Kevin, society is the authority he lives within, the McAllister household. As a child he is subject to the xenophobic disconnection from the shoveller, the accusatory gaze of the authorities, the unforgiving mother. Kevin does not want to be subject to these authoritarian voices. It may be tempting see this as a conflict between capitalism and communism, and it can be satisfyingly read as such, but the reality is that this is a film by a society that sees two different options: Acceptable socialization within capitalism or violent and futile anarchy. With this in mind his ultimate wish becomes more clear in meaning, “I don’t want a new family, I don’t want any family! Families suck!” For Kevin, the family is society and authority and he wishes to see it destroyed in favour of his individual power.

We're totally in France, bros

The culture of France is barely explored in this film. What we do see is the filthy excess of Kevin, happily living off the products of society. Kevin the hypocrite, without an acceptance of capitalist requirements, revels in his free access to ice-cream and pornography. Kevin the fearful, without the authority of science, runs from the seemingly magical basement furnace. Kevin is not subject to Law or to Science, which was his ultimate goal. However, Kevin is not happy. Confronted by the violence of the world in the form of an old gangster movie the first cracks in Kevin’s wish appears. He calls for his mother. Kevin begins to want society to reappear.

Fuuuuuuckkkkkk sure wish i had an explanation for this furnace that didn't involve the spirits of my ancestors

The capitalist view of what an anarchist does NOT allow for now rises to the surface. Harry and Marv have been watching from the start, working their fingers into the society that the McAllister household represents. With authority removed and an anarchy created, these bandits seek to take what Kevin has assumed. Kevin now realises he must stand in as the protector of this abundance, an authority that contradicts his will to anarchy. He tries to emulate his father’s shaving routine. He tries to go shopping but the sight of an estranged father figure, the shoveller, scares him into devolving a little and he runs, reminded of what he was trying to reject.

pee pee doo doo he is a bad economic system

The simulation of society, the appearance of authority, can only hold off the bandits for so long. The fake dinner party is quickly followed by Kevin’s evolution, visiting the store, washing the dishes, doing the laundry without fearful deference to the mystical animism of the basement furnace. Kevin hears the bandits schemeing, and he wishes that society was fully functional once more. This time he is prepared to take on societal responsibility. He deserves the ice-cream now, he is no longer a hypocritical anarchist taking a share of the luxuries of capitalism.

Wet Bandits

Now comes one of the critical sequences of the film, Kevin’s interaction with the shoveller. I feel that the analysis of this sequence is situated on a different level. So far our analysis has very much been of the upper level of the film, the area that was simplistically intended. The shoveller is a manifestation of the deep unconscious, something the film makers would be repulsed by.

Holy Mac and Cheese, Batman

Kevin prays, asking for a blessed purity, a sacred authority to protect him. His society is now interrupted by lawlessness. It is not Marv and Harry that knock on Kevin’s door, it is an earlier version of Kevin, the hypocritical anarchistic version. So begins the ultimate payoff, but not before Kevin pretends to be an adult in order to integrate into society, to gain its protection. This is the reality of modern life, Kevin is destined to pretend to be an adult, despite his childlike urge for anarchy. His imitation could be seen as a boon, but we can easily undermine that reading. In this film, being an adult constitutes unquestioning imitation and acceptance of the generations above.

Suburban Gitmo

Kevin’s society of one fails. Despite his ingenuity, his cowboy individualism, we find that he is reliant on external rule. This is the authority he was praying for as he sat down to dinner. His prayer is answered. The shoveller storms through the door and saves him in his time of need. Lets delay the interpretation of this character just a little longer.

Home Alone AGAIN, but no big deal this time

After the police arrive, Kevin is notably left alone again, without any external protection. He has become an adult unit. The transformation is complete. He has accepted society as a part of his life. When we see his mother arrive home she is amazed by his transformation, but she is worried. It appears Kevin has outgrown the family unit, created his own life, abandoned his parents. This scene is probably the biggest payoff for the adults that watch this film. Kevin begins to smile, and we know that he is glad to be integrated into the parent’s idea of society again. But something has changed in Kevin, this time he is glad for it. His older brother, in the final line of the film, reasserts his authority. This is the ultimate resolution of the film. One variable has changed. Kevin has flipped from anarchist to willing submitter to capitalism. Now he has experienced the “real world” he fully understands its importance. Kevin has been educated, indoctrinated, and he welcomes it, he welcomes natural authority, pervasive society.

Old bearded dude, no idea what this is about fartz

Now, the shoveller. The shoveller is initially a mysterious, almost mythical and very threatening character. However, Kevin eventually learns that he is kind and gentle, although estranged from his son. In the end, the shoveller and his son become reconciled. This character is critical as the protector of Kevin, as the motivator for flight in the store, as the bolsterer of courage in the church. So what could the shoveller possibly represent? He represents one of the most primal Freudian fears. This is the Oedipus complex at its very purest. Even the acknowledgement of the father is repressed. He is so foreign to the male child that he at first seems murderous, a mysterious slayer. He salts the paths, he creates a means for society to function, he lays the critical groundwork, but he projects an almost mythological and untouchable threat. In the store Kevin encounters him, and he feels fear. The father represents a threat to his autonomy, the regulator of his life is ever-present, even when the actual reality of the McAllister patriarch is absent. In the church, under the watchful eye of the sacred, Kevin and the shoveller reconcile. It is the holy mandate to respect parents, to not murder, that prevents the castration. It is this acceptance of paternal authority within society than creates civilization. In the end, at the climax of the movie, it is revealed that the civilized father is not just a threat, he is a protector, a perpetuator of society and those who support it. The reconciliation of the shoveller with his son actually stands in for Kevin’s recognition of the abstract, symbolic paternal authority. The shoveller is not Kevin’s father but he is symbolic representation of the father, much like the phallus is not a penis.

In conclusion adults like this film because it reassures them that their kids will grow up to be good little capitalists, but in the end will still accept parental, and more specifically, paternal authority.

haha we're negligent parents but you're fine anyway phew

ed: spelling and poo poo. dum dum

p.s.: German Joey i love you bro but you gotta play the game. i'm a pua, don't be an afc

German Joey
Dec 18, 2004

hey editing for spelling just isn't fair. its just not fair! my thing has a whole bunch of misplaced words and grammar errors or whatever but you dont see me cheating abd editing my post just b/c im not drunk anymore.

May 10, 2003

i wrote mine which admittedly isnt great in comparison with some of these great entries, but i wrote mine after 8.45 hours of work and i was rushing to get out of there but i just had to write and finish it... so theres lots of screwed up stuff in mine too!

e: i realy enjoyed yours stego saur. its impressive what u wrote considering the circmstance which u wrote it!

Sep 30, 2005

yeah it was like, we came in one day and there was a five-seven just chillin on airbus two. we were like, 'the hell?'

well I wrote mine sick as a dog on one leg after banging the poo poo out of the proctor and while hungover etc

Neo Otacon
May 5, 2007
Can't post for 822 days!

in a world that has alienated a lost lamb so harshly as the mccallisters, one must sometimes think back to the good old days. the mc family is about as libertarian as a duck wallowing in pilfered gold and blood diamonds; image so tarnished as to illustrate a venus de milo cying buckets of tears.

kevin was quite sheltered. his parents were afraid their dirty little secret involving the empowered defrauding of a completely honest state-sponsored adoption subsidy program might slip through their font door, if it weren't patrolled zealously by a homeowners association thirsty for more funding, perpetually adjusted against an index based on real inflation.

kevin was obviously the spawn of backstabbing polygamysts. the whole brady bunch setup suggest supplemental meatman fertility ritual under cover of a black forest ham budget, and a wily gourmand matron whose eyes exceeded her guts. she wore the pantsuit, yet she couldn't hold it up on her own. the sperm donor left her holding the bag, and if it weren't for herr bastard son, she'd be sipping cocktails in waikiki.

her and newguy planned extensively, sparing no details in their melodramatic staged alienation of perhaps the best son sam the meatman ever spurted. she hated kevin because she reminded her of her dad, and her ex financier - a certain principal rooney. kevin was beaten nightly and told that his dad was a check-dodging rapist with bad credit.

kevin, alienated by his family, sought guidance. the only person he could personify with was that drat house with the window eyes. he decided to homestead for mister claus; a pseudonym for the saint who brought christianity to backwoods pagans (i forget, bear with me)

kevin was blessed to meet motherlessmen, but instead of welcoming them as his brothers in the spirit of christmas, he misidentified them as his mother's illigitemizing sperm donors, sentencing him to live out the dream of a san diego gun nut, guarding his homestead from crook, hook, and his own loving shadow. he was drunk on power, but broke as a joke, so he bought alts and sockpuppets by pawning the warranties of various household inanimacies for cred befitting a physical rear end in a top hat. the spirit of christmas brought him unlikely visitors, but kevin's head was stuffed too far up his krinkled kirken asstocking to realize his humble visitors only sought love and warmth. in another life, they fought zombie nobunaga with naginata of friendship, but he was sending his brethren to an early grave, and laughing all the way - that sick freudian illegitimacy.

in the absence of lowtax, the forum has fallen into shambles. in the absence of the good king richard, an archery contest by the corrupt sheriff was staged by newdad, paying his stealthen marksmanic mercs in silver to discredit probably the most just subforum on the isle of fallen pagan earthly shepherds. money is law, and dad only comes by weekly to beat his bastard spawn into gradual submission, so he can claim tax writeoffs on his credibility.

(i am not even proofreading this trainwreck. i sold super nintendo games to a dude on craigslist for the beer inspiring this post)

German Joey
Dec 18, 2004

Stegosaurus posted:

well I wrote mine sick as a dog on one leg after banging the poo poo out of the proctor and while hungover etc

well i think we can all agree that whoever wins, baby booboo is gonna get the ban because hes a big freaking cheater

Willie Tomg
Feb 2, 2006

German Joey posted:

hey editing for spelling just isn't fair. its just not fair! my thing has a whole bunch of misplaced words and grammar errors or whatever but you dont see me cheating abd editing my post just b/c im not drunk anymore.

Nov 26, 2004

The Angel with a Filthy Soul and the Underpinnings of Fascism

In the first scene of Home Alone, the viewer is presented with a society in decay: a house echoes with the chaos of an untamed mob with the only apparent authority figure, a police officer, standing alone unable to exert control or garner attention. The crowd is utterly leaderless, and liberal society has yet to provide a suitable individual capable of directing the mass. It is no mistake that the police officer is later revealed to be an imposter, a common criminal, as the director Chris Columbus is making the heavy handed assertion that the liberal status quo is corrupted to its very core. In fact the truly insidious nature of Columbus' message is revealed, through a careful study of the film's symbolic hero's journey of Matthijs Krul's character within the lens of Theodor Adorno's Freudian interpretation, to be nothing more than sophisticated fascist propaganda.

While the protagonist's fiercely individualistic spirit might seem to imply a purely liberal tendency at first, it only serves as a bridge to radicalize a liberal American audience into sympathizing with a fascist figurehead. Adorno writes that:


"One of the basic devices of personalized fascist propaganda is the concept of the ‘great little man’, a person who suggests both omnipotence and the idea that he is just one of the folks, a plain, red-blooded American, untainted by material or spiritual wealth."
M. Krul represents this idea of a 'great little man' to an almost perfect extent. His individualism and struggle to overcome his 'fear' reveal him to just be "one of the folks", while his ability to outwit and vanquish the two outsider criminals displays his omniscience. Freud quite persuasively makes the case that it is necessary for modern fascist propaganda to least pay lip service to liberalism’s conception of the individual:


“the members of contemporary masses are at least prima facie individuals, the children of a liberal, competitive and individualistic society, and conditioned to maintain themselves as independent, self-sustaining units; they are continuously admonished to be ‘rugged’ and warned against surrender.”
Columbus portrays this quality of the liberal mass through M. Krul’s initial struggle with packing his suitcase. He is continually castigated as being “helpless” or “les incompetents”, the hero is being trained to become independent and thrust into a self-interested society. However, the natural reaction to this liberal mantra - an outburst of narcissism and violence due to a weaker man eating his pizza - results in spilled milk and the liberal crowd shunning him. Columbus is highlighting the inherent contradictions and flaws in the liberal status quo while at the same time setting up the ostracization from this sick society that will transform M. Krul into the perfect fascist leader.

The hero’s reasonable reaction to the crass hypocrisies of the society in which he finds himself suddenly removed from manifests in deeply narcissistic acts. This is fully intentional. In order for the audience to personify M. Krul as their will, they must make a narcissistic idenfitication. Adorno writes that, “In order to allow narcissistic identification, the leader has to appear himself as absolutely narcissistic, and it is from this insight that Freud derives the portrait of the ‘primal father of the horde’ which might as well be Hitler’s.” Like Hitler, the hero of Home Alone is now consumed by thoughts of self. There is no doubt that his incessant conversations with himself serve this purpose. He is newly freed and wild in a state of nature, free from the constraints of liberal society. M. Krul’s libido runs amok in the second act of the film. Freud tells us that:


Even today, the members of a group stand in need of the illusion that they are equally and justly loved by their leader; but the leader himself need love no one else, he may be of a masterly nature, absolutely narcissistic, but self-confident and independent … He need only possess the typical qualities of the individuals concerned in a particularly clearly marked and pure form, and need only give an impression of greater force and of more freedom of libido.
He takes this self-confidence and more freedom of libido in stride – including by going to the grocery store and indulgent self-grooming.

However, Adorno qualifies this statement with the way it is used by fascist propaganda, “Even the fascist leader’s startling symptoms of inferiority, his resemblance to ham actors and asocial psychopaths, is thus anticipated in Freud’s theory.” The “startling symptoms of inferiority” take the clearest manifestation during M. Krul’s bouts of fear. Columbus clearly utilizes the symbol and illusion of the menacing furnace in the basement to represent this flaw. And ‘fear’ is certainly the main theme of flaw that he possesses. But like most fascist propaganda, it is an obstacle he eventually surmounts in order to show his omniscience.

A closer examination on how he overcomes this fear is warranted as it gets at the heart of Columbus’ fascist ideal. The overburdening ‘fear’ that M. Krul experiences is one for the ‘Other’, and it is, as Adorno claims, “the essence of the ‘sheep and goat’ device employed by all fascist demagogues. Since they do not recognize any spiritual criterion in regard to who is chosen and who is rejected, they substitute a pseudo-natural criterion such as the race”. In Home Alone and Columbus’ ideology, the pseudo-natural criterion that separates the sheep from the goats is religion. This delineation is quite ingeniously designated through the use of religious symbols within the movie. The first example of this phenomenon is upon the hero’s viewing of the film “The Angel with a Filthy Soul”. The film-within-the-film portrays the violence inherent in fascist ideology but within religious and useful terms that justify the violence. He uses the ‘angelic’ film to order pizza and to momentarily scare away the two criminals hounding him. The Church also figures prominently in Home Alone as an institution that brings order and structure. When M. Krul decides to hide in the nativity scene to escape the burglars, they refuse to consider to even getting near to the Church. The implication is that they are godless, goats, the “Other”. On the other hand, the first apparent ‘goat’ of the film, Old Man Murphy, is instantly re-accepted into the fascist society the moment M. Krul sees him within the institution of the Church. The Old Man even brandishes a bloodied hand, an apparently meaningless insertion into the film until you consider the character within the confines of a Jesus-like figure presenting a stigmata. Freud quite rightly believes that:


“Therefore, so religion, even if it calls itself the religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it. Fundamentally, indeed, every religion is in this same way a religion of love for all those whom it embraces; while cruelty and intolerance towards those who do not belong to it are natural to every religion.”
The criminals are fair game to be mercilessly persecuted and attacked as they represent an “Other” outside the fascist religion, but the Old Man is instantly transformed into a sheep. Columbus also pervades the picture with the imagery of Angels, such as an stunning scene in which M. Krul prays over macaroni and cheese, while being framed by a pair of Angel candles.

Columbus has created an intensely perverse and ingeniously subtle example of fascist propaganda. It mercilessly attacks the liberal status quo and, quite unsettling, attempts to grab the unconscious mind of its target demographic – children – through the use of fascist symbols and metaphors. But by using the teachings of Freud and Adorno, this sophomoric effort by Columbus to warp the minds of our kids into fascist demagogues can be explained and ultimately defused.

Jan 30, 2007

by garbage day

Late Capitalism and The Family: A Betrayal.

As the movie begins we are treated to the reality of a night at the McAllister’s. The house, while large, is cramped and indeed even suffocating. There is the maddening laughter of adults, grotesque it’s in baritone and sounds of banging pots and pans and the bickering that take place between children. Here of course is the point; we are immediately bombarded with the idea that family life indeed the family itself strips everything within ourselves away. Set against the family that can be no hope of individuality or personal fulfillment.

When capital began its march across the earth it was confronted with the left over results of feudalism. The bond of family, the desire for cooperation within the family unit. As we know capital cannot abide limits and this love of family stood before it with a mocking grin and a challenge. “Try to defeat biology itself, I dare you!”. Capital answered, and by watching movies such as Home Alone we can see just how secure its victory is.

When Kevin McAllister realizes that he has been left as home, he is giddy with delight. Imagine the dwelling all to himself. All to us the viewers as well. We sit with him as he takes revenge on his own lack of privacy by destroying that of his other family members. Personal draws are opened, hiding places looted. For a while it appears that this will be the entire movie. The destruction of cooperation, the destruction of trust. Then we meet the lumpenproles. The rags, their anger at the way they have been forced to live life. As petty criminals. We as the audience are to be disgusted with them. As the movie pans out we are treated to abuse after abuse laid upon the lumpenproles. I must admit that I too was disgusted by them, the rotting teeth, and the lack of hygiene. This goes to show how far the cult of loneliness has spread. Even now I write this in a deserted apartment. Alone and I fear…enjoying it.

Gumby Orgy
Mar 21, 2007

by T. Finn

The Metaphorical Puberty: The Overtures of Self-Love in Home Alone
by Gumby Orgy, a literal child, Mrs. Johnson's 3rd grade class
hours of sleep in the last 48 hours before writing this: not enough
proofreading/thought behind this: very little to none

Home Alone is a metaphor for the Christian belief that masturbation is sinful. The movie starts off innocently enough, with visions of an early incarnation, or a Hollywood glamorization, of a Quiverful family. In an unlikely series of events, the family goes on vacation and leaves Kevin at home. In contemporary Christian teachings, Kevin's family leaving him behind is akin to that of God abandoning Kevin.

One can presume Kevin to be a normal boy with normal thoughts. As the following video will show, males are prone to masturbation:

While alone, Kevin goes through a montage of fun things to do such as eating ice cream, playing with daddy's aftershave, shower, and watching movies. All of these are metaphorical references to the act of pleasuring one's self, or masturbation.

Kevin eventually has to defend his home (a metaphor for his soul) from robbers ("Satan"). Through this trial-by-fire, Kevin is redeemed, much like the oft shat upon character Job from the canonical Bible. Only in this case Kevin was not an innocent bystander.
As seen in this clip, one of the robbers is getting electrocuted. Like much of the movie, the electrocution is analogous to the Christian rite of casting out demons.
Modern Christians believe prayer is active defense against evil. Just like praying sets traps against Satan, Kevin set up traps for the robbers.

Once Kevin successfully battles and defeats the robbers, his family (God) returns to his life and he is happy.

And they all lived happily ever. OR DID THEY.

Welp, that's my post.

May 17, 2007

the Dialectical Imagination of "Home Alone"

Capitalism is a process and totality, albeit a self-alienated one. Constituted by divisions, these divisions abolish themselves by becoming aware of themselves, not in a purely ideal but in a material way. It is fitting that a movie with the wonderfully contradictory title of "Home Alone" - is not a home precisely the site of community? - provides such an excellently dialectical grasp of the developmental history of capitalism, from its birth to destruction.

The most elementary metaphysical mistake one could make would be to identify specific characters with specific classes, and to reify their struggles as the class struggle. The film, however, is too clever for that. Rather, the goings-on in the McAllister house(hold) correspond to the totality of capitalism as such. The roles played by various characters are constantly morphing, just as concepts, nations, and technological processes are constantly changing the roles they play under capitalism, all the way from its inception to glorious overthrow.

Pre-capitalist society is, by contrast, not a totality. This is precisely the set of social relations embodied by the McAllister household prior to their holiday departure. Universal man does not (conceptually) exist; rather, he* exists within a hierarchical (but immanent) community in which politics is prior to economics and in which classes and juridical rights exist in an ill-defined patchwork. The distribution of pizza occurs on an unequal basis, but not the unequal basis of capitalism, universal commodity exchange, but according to political considerations. Man's consciousness is dominated by fetishistic fears (the tarantula, the urban-legendary murderer) cynically foisted by certain social groups upon others. (One might criticize Home Alone for lazily characterizing the priests of yesteryear as jeering Svangalis uninterested in their doctrine except as a means of spooking the impressionable, but this is to make the error of prioritizing the consciousness of intents over the consciousness that constitutes real social relations.) The extended family or clan is the basic mediatory mechanism.

While of course the emergence of capitalism was a long and complex affair - Home Alone appears to take no position on the Dobb-Sweezy debate - at the level of Badiou's Event we can say that the French Revolution swept away all "estates" and political formations of pre-capitalist society, allowing for the existence of atomized Universal Man. Thus the trip to France sweeps away all the McAllisters save for young Kevin. He, like the emerging bourgeois-proletarian relation, is pre-capitalist society's objet petit a, not properly fitting into the patchwork order of feudal, antiquarian, Oriental, &c. society ("We forgot about Kevin!") Simultaneously this reduction of the McAllisters from many to one represents the transition from communitarian to individualist consciousness, the real transition of society from "tapestry" to totality, and transition from a static developmental form (the family, which simply reproduces itself endlessly) to a dynamic one (an individual adolescent, who through increased self-awareness - ultimately a product of his changing material basis - abolishes himself to produce an adult.) However, as we have established, capitalism is a contradictory totality rather than a resolved one; indeed, this is the poorly-concealed secret of its dynamism. Or, in cineastic terms, one simply cannot move the plot forward without conflict! Thus additional characters (previously introduced, but not yet interacting with the totality) are introduced. However, these characters are not "part of the household;" they are non-identical with Kevin in ideology if not fact because capitalist consciousness seeks to disavow everything essential to itself but not prototypical - the state, crime, work, &c. - everything but the abstract individual.

Thus now most primarily representing the bourgeoisie - the class which appears at this point to be the motor of history - Kevin re-enacts the development of human self-imagining under capitalism. In the absence of parental figures (God) he abandons traditional moral restraints to engage in an orgy of consumption. Characteristically, these amazing feats of material enjoyment seem to be "sorcerously summoned" from nowhere, and his only interaction with any workers is with the delivery people - mirroring the inability of liberal ideology to conceptualize production as apart form exchange. He becomes aware that he is growing and developing, and even celebrates this - mischievously lathering his face - only for it to turn to horror; he imagines he is not yet ready, even while understanding it to be inevitable. And he confronts the fetishistic fears which have been carried over from the past. While the bourgeoisie appears to be in the driver's seat, the other classes directly experience this as well, projecting themselves onto the bourgeois subject, just as proletarian audiences are likely to identify with the plucky rich white child Kevin.

It is also characteristic of capitalism that exploitation and conflict over the social product assumes a relatively "open" form, rather than the concealed conflict taking place under feudalism or antiquity. While not neglecting the other aspects of our social system, Home Alone is correct to place this as the central aspect of its developmental dynamic. In its depiction of an increasingly weaponized home, Home Alone is a powerful refutation of revisionist "Marxists" who seek to locate capital-slaying systemic contradictions in circulation rather than the class struggle. This emphasis is materialist, but not in a vulgar sense: Kevin employs the forces of Spectacle and mass media (a fake party, projecting his individualist consumption onto an illusory community of consumption; a gangster film) as weapons in the material struggle, as indeed they are. The tarantula - the old relic which Kevin has superseded - is used to get the bandits to attack each other, just as the ruling classes use religion and race to divide the workers. But the struggle is also materialist in a more direct sense, and increasingly threatens to destroy the house itself, just as nuclear weapons, during the Cold War (then a much more vivid memory), threatened to destroy our planet.

Once again, Kevin does not represent just the capitalists here; his are also the hands that craft the increasingly sophisticated (and destructive) devices, as the working class creates with their own brains and hands all of the above. (As in the movie Independence Day, the two sides in the apparent conflict do not represent two distinct sides in actual reality; rather, the "protagonist" group represents each side in its own self-conception - in that film, the "aliens" representing that imperialists and oppressed nations are primarily seen by each other as foreigners; in Home Alone, that bourgeois and proletariat see each other mainly as thieves.) This is crucial. As voices as diverse as E.P. Thompson and Georg Luckacs ave emphasized that class consciousness is the product of class struggle and the constitution of the working class as an agent - i.e., its necessary historical role - thus does "universal man" become aware of his role as a worker. The separation of Kevin from Old Man Marley represents the ideological form of the alienation of labor - that is to say, man's alienation from his nature as producer - and in realizing what they have in common, Kevin represents man's adoption of class consciousness. Specifically, what they have in common is a desire for reunion with their families - that is, the political demand for a collectivist polity. It is with its characteristically subtle sense of humor that, having represented religion as a repugnant spider, Home Alone drapes the realization of militant class consciousness in maudlin religiosity. A double inversion is achieved by the choice of holiday - as on Christmas ideal reality (the Word) became immanent in material reality (Christ), in knowing himself man translates material reality (his nature as producer) into ideal reality (class consciousness.) Thus the class conflict comes to its climax when Marley's incorporation becomes total, and he uses his shovel at the doorstep to the McAllister house.

With these contradictions resolved, man can enter into communism. The McAllisters return - atomized man becomes again a community - but Kevin is truly cherished for who his is, rather than merely forgotten as the youngest child - this is a community which has abandoned the hierarchical assumptions of pre-capitalism. Rather than a set of politically constituted "estates," the multiplicity at the house now represents universal man in community with himself - free to herd cattle in the morning and criticize in the evening, as it were. The distributivist pizza economy and consumerist ice cream economy are superseded by the ethic of "to each..." embodied by gift-giving. The movie's closing line ends with a humorous celebration of the profound changes man and his environment will have to undergo under communism: "Kevin, what did you do to my room?!?"

*I hope my peers will excuse the deplorable sexism here, used throughout; I employ the male pronoun only to reproduce the symbolic order of the film itself. It is a shame, if an entirely predictable one, that when seeking a symbolic representation of Universal Humanity in development that Hollywood selects the pale, male, "pedophile cute" Krul, but this only reproduces the self-conception of universal humanity under capitalism, which takes up the majority of the film.

Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002


Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002

Closed for judging.........


Mrs. Badcrumble
Sep 21, 2002

god a lot of these are really good