Monday, July 20, 2015

because it just wouldn't be the internet without Marxist readings of the Pixar catalog. :) A link to a piece at The Awl.

http://www.theawl.com/2015/07/the-pixar-theory-of-labor
...
It’s possible that Pixar’s obsessiveness about work and employment has somehow been effaced in the public eye by the imaginative diversity of their films’ settings: ant colonies, space, the ocean, a bizarre alternate-world inhabited by sentient vehicles, and so on. But in Inside Out, for the first time, the ground beneath Pixar’s ideological feet comes into view, and it’s the Bay Area, California.

...

In WALL-E, the close of the second acts finds the film’s robotic protagonist tossed down into a garbage disposal vault in the bowels of the spaceship Axiom, where larger-model robots collect the waste to be released into space. Toy Story 3 reaches an emotional peak at a suburban landfill, where Woody, Buzz and their fellows toys face down a violent death by incinerator. In Inside Out, right on cue at the close of act two, Joy is temporarily stuck in a Memory Dump—a pit of discarded memories, jettisoned as Riley grew up. Pixar conceptualizes death not as the end of existence per se, but as the state of becoming waste. Waste does not work. Waste does not have a function. Waste is obsolete. Waste is undifferentiated. For Pixar, the model individual represents usefulness in their own unique way. A virtuous accountant can’t just be like all the other accountants—they have to be their own special kind, they have to be the lead in their own story.

At its bottom, this is the logic of pure capitalism. In an economy structured around limitless growth, dynamism must become the natural state of things. Idle capital is unproductive capital and an unproductive worker is a waste of resources. The virtuous citizen cannot only consume but must produce, an imperative that finds its current (and particularly American) incarnation in the entrepreneur, the boot-strapper, the rags-to-riches hero, who is too busy pulling themselves up by their laces to notice that there’s no top to reach. The natural and profitable ideological by-product of this fixation is an abhorrence of collectivism—and therefore organized labor. To be collective, to be one among many, is to no longer be a special individual producer, which is its own kind of death. This is why Toy Story 2 abhors the idea of Woody becoming part of a box set.


Okay, maybe not explicitly Marxist ...

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