04 August 2017

mind the gaps...

I. Preamble -

This isn't a review - rather an overall critical analysis of ueber-narrative.  I've recently been on a mission to watch the Star Wars oeuvre in chronological order (dedicated readers {I presume they will be there in future, as they aren't currently turning out in significant numbers} will note that I'm also currently on the same project in the Star Trek universe).

I know Disney and J.J. Abrams own my viewership soul, but I frakking love filling in the gaps of mythologies.  I am eager to see the story of the new episodes - VII & VIII - but watching Episode III followed by Rogue One and then A New Hope is fascinating and fulfilling.  The fun fairy tale that I knew as a kid (still has whiny little Luke) has become a robust narrative. 

I'm equally (or perhaps more) excited for the start of the new Star Trek: Discovery series starting this fall, which will bridge the end of Enterprise to the days of ST: TOS (by way of the lost ship at the center of the plot of Star Trek Beyond).

Walter Benjamin has a concept called Jetztzeit (now-time), which he also calls messianic-time. The simplist framing of this concept for me is using the latter term, and imagining the potentiality of all times (of each moment) to contain salvation (or revolution, or clarity).  This concept is fundamental in Benjamin's oeuvre, and is related I think to the concept of hyper-modernity (or supermodernity), which is the idea of the whole being explained or understood or accounted for in every part. This is also a common theme for Benjamin, and in many ways his Arcades Project is the prototypical work of supermodernity.

I have my own (as yet unnamed) theory of reality and being and narrative. The line of thinking goes something like this: the act of literary creation is, in fact, an instance of literal creation. By imagining a thing (or perhaps by writing it down or filming it or publishing it,,, I'm not too clear on all of the specifics), that thing is created in reality. It is evoked. The actuality of the thing is explained scientifically (I use this word loosely) by multiple worlds / realities theory - the idea that every choice or possible outcome exists in parallel realities.

II. Messianic Time / Messianic Space -

The Arcades Project is Benjamin's masterwork.  It is a collection of quotes and fragments focused on a series of subjects relating to the Paris Arcades, which Benjamin works through.  Benjamin is sitting in the mid-20th Century looking back at the 19th Century for meaning.  The work is a strong candidate for bibliomancy; a lot of obscure passages that can be interpreted for a lot of situations. 

III. Container Story

We see ourselves as occupying 'the real' world, and the narratives we create are a part of our world.  The Chronicles of Amber has another, different starting place (actually 2, Amber and the Courts of Chaos), but contains the same conclusion, that there is a real space, which begets all else.

The Dark Tower is


IV. Narratives of scale -

Star Trek is the future narrative of a world much like ours.  Star Wars claims to be in the distant past, far away.  In time, both of these narratives might be found to be in the same universe (that's right, I'm loosely proposing that Wesley Crusher is the next last Jedi).

This weekend, The Dark Tower is being released in cinemas across the country - another new chapter in a long-established narrative.  The tag line on early images teasing the new movie was "The Last Time Around...". 

The narrative of the film (mild-spoiler alert warning) is in some ways an odd reformulation of Stephen King's first novel of the series - The Gunslinger -, but it's a bit hard to recognize as such.  In the novel, Jake Chambers is torn from his native New York (although we don't see this at this point in the series) and pulled into Mid-World.

This new iteration of a decades old story feels a bit out of synch when watched on its own.  Stephen King's Dark Tower universe is a narrative that contains all other narratives - all other realities in fact.  As a reader, familiar with the scope and scale of the Dark Tower universes, the new film feels like a sprinting tour of the whole series of novels.  At the same time, it's a reset button in which Jake Chambers saves Roland's quest, which has been lost to the pursuit of revenge.  The movie finds Roland having forgotten the face of his father.



VI. All of us are 'one of the most important figures' in our own universes, our own narratives


Much like Benjamin's "Capitalism as Religion", I intend this entry to be something robust and interesting... but I want to post (it's been a while!), so there may be a while before the overall outline gets filled in.

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