“Virulence, nonconformism, plain rebelliousness, and discontent are just so many more products on the capitalist market; they are consumer goods.” (Toward a Third Cinema, ch4)

I see so much contradiction in spaces that are perceived and self-proclaimed to be liberal. It seems that in these spaces there are political ideologies that have been deemed correct, ideas and opinions that everyone accepts as liberal/progressive – and they seem to accept this liberalness or progressiveness as an identity because it is the dominant one, not because they agree or know why they agree. There is also a certain social capital that having the correct opinions/alignments awards. This sort of attitude of moral superiority in certain sectors of activist communities creates a divide between those ‘in the know’ and those who want to know. Education about these causes then falls through the cracks at the expense of ego.

While a student here, I’ve noticed an intellectual elitism and general lack of openness on these 5C campuses. However, there are many people within these liberal spaces who do actually engage in dialogue, who do consciously work toward revolution and equality, and who are making change. And I must say this for those reading this who will jump to take me the wrong way, for whom unfounded debate is fun. These are the stragglers who blend in easily, who get up in arms about issues they don’t care about or understand for the sake of being right. Can ‘dialogue’ be affective when politics is seen as dichotomous? How are these liberal spaces intellectually ‘safe’ if the interlocutors will not budge in their views and take to personal attacks when they are confronted with positions they do not agree with? How will community be created if people think they already know all they need to know?

This rant came up for me in reading these lines from Toward a Third Cinema. Now, after having written it all I can’t quite explain the connection. Perhaps it was the idea of buying into revolution in ineffective ways, or thinking one is working toward enlightenment when really just perpetuating what divides us.


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