Friday, February 22, 2008

'80s Apocalypse Culture

Read the previous entry on Turkey invading Iraq. It's more important than this. But after you've read that, come back here.

I recently saw the tape "Amok Assault Video", a compilation of clips created by Amok Distribution intended not just to disturb but also to act as commentary on the culture of the time, which was the late '80s. "Apocalypse Culture" is, of course, also the name of a book of strange and disturbing essays put out by Feral House. Some of the people who are/were behind Amok are also founders of Feral House, so there you go.

The apocalyptic stuff starts with the realization, or remembrance, of just how fucked up the '80s really were. I was pretty young, but being raised on talk shows and day time T.V. many of the topics covered were familiar to me. The idea communicated by the video, as well as I guess the book "Apocalypse culture", is that things are completely, totally, depressingly, fucked up, with the mainstream culture gone crazy through irrational, insane, conservatism, and strange fucked up New Age culture that takes up a lot of the rest of the room allotted in the subcultural bandwidth. The end is near, everything is fucked. Let's welcome in the end of the world.

"Assault Video" features, on top of violence, as much or even more clips from New Age television prophets, fundamentalists commenting on the conspiracy of witchcraft contained in the cartoon "She-Ra", Manson followers, clips from classic movies that studios today probably wished they never made, and politically incorrect Disney clips. Clips from anthropology documentaries of the National Geographic kind are also there, but the ones they use are more graphic than the norm, focusing on people in strange parts of the world mutilating themselves. All this alternates with hardcore porn clips and even a long preview from an early '70s sexploitation film called "The smut peddler". Other highlights: an English language interview with Yukio Mishima followed by a video of a politician giving a press conference about his recent conviction for corruption that ends with him unexpectedly pulling out a gun and blowing his brains out. Mishima, famous famous Japanese writer, committed ritual suicide.

The thing is that if you're just looking for the strange or extreme, the montages of violence in "Assault Video" , although very good, aren't' the most extreme out there . I can't remember the title, but there is a similar documentary of real violence cut in a like manne that was so graphic that after watching it you felt like you were going to hell. The book"Apocalypse Culture", as well, isn't the farthest thing that's out there, although for gathering a good selection in one place it's beyond belief.

Good stuff.

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