Friday, June 22, 2018

a little critical analysis of the new Brad Bird film is up at Mbird

Criticism as a literary art and discipline is a great deal of fun for me. I write about stuff at this blog, of course, and kicked off this month with a lengthy discussion of Jessica Johnson's book Biblical Porn.

and wrote a little bit about Raymond Knapp's Making Light: Haydn, musical camp, and the long shadow of German idealism

because I'm too much a fan of Haydn to not give the book a shot. 

Some regulars may notice I haven't written any new posts in the long-form analysis of Nikita Koshkin's 24 preludes and fugues for solo guitar in a while.  I really do plan to get back to those posts and do more work on that but there's enough stuff going on in offline life I have to set that aside.  You can probably guess from the first two links I have been doing the kind of reading and writing and listening that isn't guitar focused.

Plus ... regulars have to know at this point that you can't have a new Brad Bird film out there in theaters that goes unwatched, let alone unexamined.  So ...

as these things go there are spoilers-for-the-whole-film and callbacks to the first film like usual.  Given how readily blue-state urban film critics in some circles have tried to read Brad Bird as some Randian objectivist it seemed about time to layout the case for why Bird's humanistic liberalism is as easily observed as any random sidewalk if you're not trying to analyze his movies through the goggles of assuming animated films aimed at children can't deal seriously with the human condition or the nature of technocratic or political concerns. 

Who among those who saw The Incredibles could forget Wallace Shawm's cold-blooded bottom-line insurance management bureaucrat who fires Bob Parr (with cause, for assault!) but who also complains to Bob Parr that his customers have inexplicable knowledge of Insuricare's bureaucracy, able to get coverage and help that the system is designed to keep them from getting.  That's why insurance was such a life-sucking line of work for Mr. Incredible.  He went from saving people's lives to working in a field where the baseline expectation is that he use every pretext possible to deny coverage to people seeking to use their insurance to deal with problems in life. That Bob and Helen Parr are superheroes who do battle with callous authoritarian technocrats isn't just the primary plot line of narrative, it permeates the subplots and even the tossed off comedic interludes ...

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