Perhaps this is relevant to some of the debates over the use of Eliot on
this list. 


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [lbo-talk] Hurt Locker
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2010 19:08:49 -0600
From: Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: [log in to unmask]

shag carpet bomb wrote:
> [clip]
> just out of curiosity, what would be a radical movie?

I guess I really don't know. Perhaps a movie made _for_ a radical
movement; that is, one responding to the observable needs of a radical
movement. That of course implies that no radical movie can be made under
present conditions. I don't know what use, if any, was made of Modern
Times in the '30s. In the years around 600 b.c.e. in Athens the Iliad
was a radical poem, because the Athenian Democracy was grounded in the
establishment of _geographical_ political units, the _demes_, and  they
cut across family lines. Hence Book 24 of the Iliad was used (and this
may have been why written copies were made) as a way of undercutting
blood ties as the only legitimate poliitcal ties. I doubt that the
author of it had dreamt that it could be used in a Democratic

In the realm of science, at the beginning of the 17th-c, Plato was a
radical text; Galileo wrote a poem, "Against the Aristotelians" or
something like that. In Japan in the 1930s Shelley was regarded as a
conservative influence, Eliot as a radical threat. (Empson reports a
Japanese scholar referring to some scholar as "not sound on Shelley" 
(i.e. potentially radical in politics because he was reported as being
against established literary canons). And some women in England and the
U.S. in the '20s thought of Eliot's poetry as liberating, and in the
context, it was. "Intrinsically" it is pretty damned reactionary  of

I think I'm moving towaerds the position that no text (or movie), in and
of itself, has any politics whatsoever. The politics are decided by its
use, not by the work itself.


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