Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reading Rob Pattinson, Baudrillard and Rand Through Nietzsche

Rob's Early Career
Rob Pattinson's deleted lovely face in Vanity Fair has taken on some legs since first I imagined it into existence. IF that scene with his beautiful 17 year old face had remained in that film, turning everyone else in it into oval oblivion, then clearly his film career would have begun in that moment, and he might never have been Cedric or Art or the cutesy in Bad Mother's Handbook. Can't you just see the stream of studley teen movies they would have put him in, and Rob, who inherently likes to please and be loved, probably would have succumbed for awhile as did Brad Pitt. Yeah I think he would have awakened form his Sleeping Beauty role after awhile. But surely no Edward Cullen would have been considered, nor the Scummit machine tolerated.

This is what Baudrillard calls Nietzsche's revenge when the same happens to him. Baudrillard's reading of Nietzsche is "worse", excessive, too much for the examiners.

This is following Nietzsche through Baudrillard. Rob's beauty in Vanity Fair was more beautiful than beautiful; hyper beautiful; obscenely beautiful as all the others in the scene looked dead; hence, implosion. It was "worse" as Nietzsche might have said. Too  much to be there, to exist there. Crash and burn.

Baudrillard takes his examinations and both the oral and the written are on Nietzsche. Since he has immersed himself in Nietzsche in German, this is a big piece of luck for him. His reading is not agreed with by the examiners and they fail him. He calls this Nietzsche's revenge. At that point in time he stops reading Nietzsche, never to go back to him again until the end of his life. Nietzsche goes underground in Baudrillard's mind, heart and psyche, never to leave, always to be a deep part of him. Forever. This, he acknowledges: (Fragments)

Beautiful I think
Genealogy of Morals

Ayn Rand reads Nietzsche  at University when very young in Russia. Nietzsche is not part of the curriculum so she reads him on the sly, following her heart, already aware of Soviet propaganda and surveillance. This early Rand is even then crossing the boundaries of mainstream. At 21 she comes to the US and she is still reading Nietzsche. Nietzsche is the first book she buys in English. As a young woman in Hollywood she is still reading Nietzsche. Seriously.  Rand did everything seriously. And all the way up until the 1940's (She was born in 1905) until  she is finished writing The Fountainhead. Each part was to be headed by a Nietzsche quote. Fountainhead was published in 1943, on wartime paper, even though it was a very long novel. Egad! No Nietzsche no no no must Bobbs-Merrill have said - so no Nietzsche chapter heads. At that point in her journals she disavows Nietzsche as just an early interest - infatuation?  Her journals have been scrubbed and scrubbed again to get Nietzsche outta Dodge. (Goddess of the Marketplace)Some Nietzsche quotes and thoughts about him  had to stay because everyone knew Howard Roark and especially John Galt were Nietzschean Supermen, so the obvious references and interpretations remained. (These are "floating signs" masking the deep references to Nietzsche.)But the deep underground of Rand's mind, heart and soul belonged to Nietzsche. This is what makes her a post modern philosopher who wrote fiction. Just as a Cronenberg makes films.
Rand Early Hollywood

Both Foucault and Rand disavowing Nietzsche following the war.  While Hitler is praising him to the skies as Leni Riefenstahl shoots him, Hitler that is, against the blue sky in her film Triumph of the Will; the Superman, the Overman of Nietzsche. Even the great and powerful Foucault, after the war, did not admit the great influence and debt he owed Nietzsche for his genealogy. Only towards the end of his life did he say that he wished he had acknowledged Nietzsche earlier on. And we all know the neverending hits and slurs that Heidegger took, and still takes, for his early pro Nazi sympathies. Not to mention the loss of his lover Hannah Arendt.

Rand was wise to shut up and Foucault also.

Only now is Nietzsche taking his rightful place in the sun. 

Baudrillard acknowledges Nietzsche's permanent and ongoing influence, but more in the vein of flowing through his blood and guts than in any quotes, said or written. Would it have been any different for Rand who doesn't think in terms of unconscious rivers running deep in her psyche? Denial first, second and third for Rand. But Nietzsche is still there for the discerning reader of Rand, Nietzsche and Baudrillard.

But how to tease it out of Rand. Maybe Nathaniel could tell us. Or myself who, once upon a time, long long ago in a kingdom by the sea, was an Objectivist from 1960-1964. A serious one.


seymourblogger said...

More Nietzsche and Rand contiguity.

Jacob Wyatt said...

This makes complete sense. It had never occured to me that Rand may have abandoned Nietzsche because of the kiss of death. I wonder if she did it because she saw Hitler as being the by-product of Nietzsche, or because she didn't want to be associated with him? Probably a little of both.

But the true credit for National Socialism, of course, goes to Plato and Hegel. And Helena Blavatskaya.

abbeysbooks said...

Certainly being linked to Hitler via Nietzsche was not to the advantage of either Rand or Foucault during World War II or afterwards. She wasn't publishable even when Fountainhead came out. It took a long time of word by mouth advertising for it to become a best seller and a movie in 1949.That's 6 years after publication and the option price was modest. Rand did the screenplay and made many changes to accommodate the censoring of the Hayes office that pulled some teeth out of the novel. But the deep undercurrent of Nietzsche is still there.

It is not Helena Blavatskaya but Blavatsky who started Theosophy. And no she was not for socialism at all. She felt that poverty in people kept them from doing harm to others and themselves. That without money they limited themselves, much as an alcoholic courts poverty to keep them from drinking. She thinks that it is good that certain people with an underdeveloped consciousness remain poor, as then they are controlled. Jim Kuntsler the writer and artist has said something similar. He believes that the loss of aesthetic taste and culture in the US comes from the power of the unions to give a lot of money to relatively uneducated people, who bought the cheap kitsch that was manufactured just for them to buy. This produced a cultural lowering that infected their children.

I feel the same about the gun culture. The fact that a bunch of children are killed in Sandy Hook is far less than children who are abused at home, suffer from malnutrition, poor function in school in acquiring skills educationally, chronic illness and death. But one disaster is a SPECTACLE, a slap in the face of the federal public schools, and the other is a silent, secret killer that you can isolate yourself from, not see it if you are not there suffering from it and its consequences. The same is true of the gun culture which has a dysfunctional family pattern based on intimidation of children, a macho man the boy must assume (he doesn't even need to read to do that) and girls that holler and scream and tell daddy to "fix" insults for them, just generally resulting in people who have little use for reason, manners, accomplishment, education, culture, etc.and a lot of use for insulting, projection, yelling, screaming, and an inability to carry on any kind of meaningful conversation about any topic at all. They are all over the comment boards on the internet.

This is the real disaster of the "gun culture" that we all have to deal with on a daily basis.