[Marxism] Elephant

Tony Lawless lifesunquietdream at msn.com
Tue Oct 18 17:17:32 MDT 2005

I think the correct reference for "elephant" is the expression "rogue 
elephant", when the animal goes wild for unknown reasons.

But your reaction, Lou, to the movie's lack of explanation seems to indicate 
a desire that everything artistic must have an explanation.

And you therefore duly provide one at the end:

"Actually, the massacre was easily understood as an extreme reaction to 
bullying that was facilitated by easy access to automatic weapons. Back in 
June of 1998, Stephen Jay Gould spoke on "Science and Human Destructiveness" 
at the Brecht Forum in New York City. I reported:

Gould said that the problem we face today is that science has produced 
potentially death-producing technologies which are far more 'productive' 
than those of the past. When mankind only had spears and bows and arrows at 
its disposal, genocide was less feasible. Today, nuclear weapons make it 
highly feasible."

On a much smaller scale, that seems to be what went on at Columbine High 

Elsewhere, however, you also ask: "Is Van Sant, who is gay himself, trying 
to explain the shootings as a reaction to homophobia? Or does he view the 
two killers as latter-day versions of Leopold and Loeb, the two gay youths 
who kidnapped and murdered Bobby Franks just out of a Nietzschean ambition 
to transcend good and evil?"

Which, if true, would contradict the confident assertion of the single 
interpretation stated above,  leading me to believe that the movie's blank 
presentation of extreme violence leaves you profoundly puzzled.

Some quotes from Oscar Wilde serve to elucidate:

The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but 
the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No 
artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved.

Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, 
complex, and vital.

When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.

It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.

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