BOOK: Sultan vs Dracula

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance

The following work by non-white (attempted) Muslim writer, artists and poet Razwan Ul-Haq arrived in the post this morning:

Sultan vs Dracula

The book, which is 400+ pages long, can be purchased direct from the author for £7.99 (+ postage and packing) from here. The author also has a blog on Islamic sci-fi.

Here’s an advert for this interesting Islamic Counter-Racist, decolonial and ‘post-Orientalist’ re-imagining of the Dracula story as appears on youTube:

Interested readers are invited to check out the following earlier blog post in connection with the above book:

The Vampire Culture of The Psychopathic Racial Personality

Peace

The (Non-White) Girl With All The Gifts

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

I’m very interested to watch the following film:

tgwatgAccording to the entry for the film on the IMDB , “a scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.” Significantly, that ‘special young girl’ is non-white / black in the film which is based on a book by white male author M.R.Carey. (It will be interesting to determine whether the ‘special young girl’ in the book was also non-white/black.)

SPOILER ALERT: A Wikipedia summary of the book’s plot is available here.

However, at this point, I am interested in interrogating the following promotional image for the film:

GWaTG.jpg

From a Counter-Racist perspective, I am interested in how we visually process the above image. For example,

  • Do we parse it L-to-R, R-to-L or ‘middle out’?
  • Does the white face occlude the non-white / black or do they have ‘visual parity’?
  • Which human figure, if any, is foregrounded relative to the other, and to what extent might the answer to this question dpend on one’s positioning within social structures given that visual perception is influenced by social epistemology? (On the latter point, I refer interested readers to the following study: Brubaker, R., M. Loveman, and P. Stamatov (2004) Ethnicity as Cognition. Theory and Society 33: 31-64 among other works. In addition, see “Is Race Perception Automatic?“)

And then, of course, there is the issue of the asymmetry in blood-marking on the above image to think about.

I would suggest that the casting of a non-white/black female as the ‘special young girl’ is interesting to consider in terms of a possible instance of the “Magical Negro” phenomenon in the sci-fi film genre, viz.

a supporting stock character … who is portrayed as coming to the aid of a film’s white protagonists. Magical Negro characters, who often possess special insight or mystical powers, have long been a tradition in American fiction.

Time and the actual viewing of the film will tell, insha’Allah (God-Willing).

Peace

Westworld = White Supremacy (Racism)

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

ww

I’m currently watching Westworld, described in its Wikipedia entry as

an American science fiction thriller television series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy for HBO,based on the 1973 film of the same name, which was written and directed by American novelist Michael Crichton.

The series takes place in fictional Westworld, a technologically advanced, Western-themed amusement park populated completely by synthetic androids dubbed “Hosts”, who cater to high paying visitors dubbed “Newcomers”, also known as “Guests”, who can do what they wish within the park without fear of retaliation from the Hosts.

According to a THV11 post dated 30 July 2016,

The 10-episode first season … explores artificial consciousness, memory, identity and sin via interactions between lifelike “hosts” and guests acting out fantasy storylines, many of them oriented toward sex and violence.

The drama looks at the increasingly narrow divide between human life and artificial consciousness, which is being developed in the real world, executive producer Lisa Joy said. “It’s questioning: ‘Where does life begin?’ ” she said. “It’s a constant examination of that line. Where does consciousness begin and end?”

A post on Alternet dated June 21 2016 states that,

Adopting a Counter-Racist / decolonial perspective readily allows for ‘de-coded’ consideration of the ‘dark colonial underside’ of this (post-)modern narrative, viz.

  1. Westworld – colonial modernity / the colonial matrix of power / White Supremacy (Racism).
  2. Guests – settlers / colonizers / White Supremacists (Racists).
  3. Hosts – indigenes / colonized / non-white VoRs (Victims of Racism / White Supremacy).
  4. Hosts are synthetic androids – the ontology (being, what-ness) of the colonized is an ‘othering’ construction of, by and for the colonizer.
  5. Guests can act without fear of retaliation from the Hosts within (Westworld) ‘the park’ – White Supremacists (Racists) dominate all non-white people / VoRs under contemporary conditions of global White Supremacy (Racism).
  6. Host consciousness is artificial consciousness – non-white people function according to a (DuBoisian) double consciousness, if not a (Marxian) false consciousness.
  7. Memory, identity and sin – non-white / VoR experience of the violence of White Supremacy (Racism) / colonial modernity is traumatic, possibly engendering complex feelings of guilt in relation to complicity with / non-resistance to WSR, and marked by an ongoing legacy / memory situation in which a subordinate positionality / identity is reproduced.
  8. Hosts are lifelike – insofar as hosts are slaves, their social life is, in fact, best characterised as a condition of social death, i.e. hosts occupy a condition between life and death which means that their mode of living is not a form of life, but rather, lifelike.
  9. Westworld guests act out fantasies driven by sex and violence – Colonial modernity / White Supremacy (Racism) defines a ‘war’ situation driven by the desire to dominate and expressed through the violent creation of a (West)world structured as an exclusionary hierarchy. White Supremacy (Racism) uses sex, the second most powerful (human) driving force in the known universe, to establish, maintain, exapnd and refine its sphere of dominance.
  10. Narrow divide – White Supremacy (Racism) is threatened by (1) the possibility of non-white people ‘passing’ as white people, and (2) the fact that the global ‘colour line’ of colonial modernity / Eurocentrism, as a contingent historical construction, is open to erasure / dismantlement / de-construction / replacement.

The unfolding narrative of what appears to be a ‘computer virus’ / ‘meme’ – “these violent delights have violent ends” – spreading (among Hosts) memories of violence / violation of Hosts by Guests, and the mounting threat this poses to both Guests and the corporate entity behind ‘the park’ (Westworld), speaks to perennial White Supremacist (Racist) concerns about – if not fears of – reprisal expressed so clearly by Lothrop Stoddard in his classic work, The Rising Tides of Color Against White World Supremacy (1920), not to mention Ronald Segal’s more recent The Race War (1967).

It interesting to note that a sequel to the 1973 film, Futureworld (1976) was made in  followed by a short-lived 190s television series entitled Beyond Westworld, both of which revolve around an attempt to stop an evil scientist using robots / androids to take over the world. What might this mean in terms of a Counter-Racist / decolonial analysis? Apart from further exploring the theme of ‘passing’, does it further point to the expansion and refinement of White Supremacy (Racism) – captured in the use of the word ‘Beyond’ in the title – via non-white proxies?

fw

In this connection, interested readers might want to check out the following posts:

Peace

Limitless, Transcendence and LUCY

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

LTL.JPG

A few evenings back, I watched LUCY, the latest cinematic offering from white male French director Luc Besson starring white female [=Racial Suspect] and Ashkenazi ‘liberal’ pro-Zionist, Scarlett Johansson.

Initially, I had decided against writing a blog post about this movie on account of its ridiculous plot, dire acting and rather obvious / overt engagement of White Supremacist (Racist), feminist and post-/trans-humanist themes. My original intention was simply to point interested readers to online critiques of the film such as the following:

(1) Lucy: Why I’m Tired of Seeing White People on the Big Screen

(2) ‘Lucy’ and the Absence of the Black Race in Origin of Humanity Theories

(3) Fuck this movie: “Lucy” (2014)

(4) The Problem With “Lucy” And White Feminism

However, having discussed this film with another non-white person [=VoR / Victim of Racism / White Supremacy] who also watched it, and having thought about the relation of this film to a couple of others – specifically, Limitless (2011) andTranscendence (2014) – I have reconsidered my initial dismissive stance and decided to share a few reflections on this and related movies from a Counter-Racist / critical race theoretical / decolonial perspective.

Firstly, I should like to draw attention to the tag lines in the posters / advertising for the above three films, each of which centers on a white person as protagonist (nothing new there):

Limitless (2011) – “What if a pill could make you rich and powerful?”

Transcendence (2014) – “Yesterday Dr Will Caster was Only Human”

Lucy (2014) – “The Average Person Uses 10% of Their Brain Capacity. Imagine What She Could Do with 100%.”

Regarding Limitless (2011):

‘You’ (white people) are, as a collective / nation / group / family, already “rich and powerful”. However, in a “post-racial” (sic) world in which it is now possible for somenon-white people to become “rich and powerful”, i.e. to “catch up” somewhat (a phenomenon which results in what seminal Counter-Racist thinker Neely Fuller, Jr. refers to as “Racial Showcasing Confusion“), there is a need to consider how to re-establish one’s position as The Race in “the race”, i.e. to ensure that one “stays ahead”. One way to “stay ahead” is through “pill-popping”, i.e. technological-means – in short, the achievement of BLTC (Better Living Through Chemistry).

Regarding Transcendence (2014):

In this same “post-racial” world in which non-white people appear to have becomehuman, the future (of white people as dominant) lies in transcending or “going beyond” humanity, i.e. in becoming trans- / post-human. In order to MAINTAIN the globally operating system of White Supremacy (Racism), it appears to have now become necessary, at least according to the views of some white people, to REFINE ‘whiteness’ / what it means to be white along technological / cybernetic / informational lines. Whereas the issue was once one of differentiating (white) humans from (non-white) non- / sub-humans, in this “(neo-)liberal” and “post-racial” era the issue now concerns differentiating (non-white) humans from (white) trans- / post-humans. I refer to this phenomenon as ‘iterative’ or ‘algorithmic’ racism and hope to write about it in more detail in the near future, insha’Allah / God-Willing. (In this connection, I should like to point interested readers to the following blog post: VIDEO: The Cybernetic Refinement of White Supremacy (Racism).)

Regarding LUCY (2014):

Lucy isn’t merely a white female = Racial Suspect under contemporary conditions of global White Supremacy (Racism); rather, as she undergoes her (white female) transformation in this White Supremacist (Racist) post-/trans-humanist fantasy, she becomes the very embodiment of at least one strand within white feminist discourse, viz. the white female as goddess. As proof of this, consider her response to a question asked of her at the end of her trans- / post-human re-con-figuration, viz. “Where are you?”

“I am everywhere”

In short, like Dr Will Caster, the white male protagonist of Transcendence (2014), Lucy has become omnipresent (and also implicitly omniscient and omnipotent since it’s a “package deal” after all).

What interests me here is re-capitulation in the contemporary “post-racial” era of an idea associated with a key (European) Enlightenment philosopher, viz. René Descartes, viz. the transcendent “God’s Eye view”.

According to Latin American decolonial thinker Santiago Castro-Gomez, Descartes’ philosophy should be understood as based on adoption of a “zero point” position, i.e. a “view from nowhere” in the sense of a perspective (epistemology, way of knowing) that is not tied to a particular body situated at a particular place. This “zero point philosophy” has no body-politics (e.g. ‘race’ or gender) or geo-politics (i.e. location in the “world system”); rather, it is ego-centrically grounded in a way that is abstract, timeless and universal (thereby erasing / masking ego-political concerns informed by body-political and geo-political considerations). This ego is, in fact, a theo (god) since it transcends space (and time) and matter.

All of this leads me to think that it might be worthwhile considering technological shifts occurring in this contemporary “post-racial” era from a Counter-Racist / critical race theoretical / decolonial perspective that simultaneously thinks through the implications of another possible shift that might be taking place, viz. to the “post-secular”.

On this basis, I should like to ask the following:

Are films such as Limitless, Transcendence and LUCY, which are made against the backdrop of an ostensible Trans- / Post-Human “technological shift” [=REFINEMENT] taking place within the globally operating system of Racism (White Supremacy), informing us / them that a “post-secular” theological shift is also taking place; that white Catholic male Pierre Teilhard de Chardin‘s ‘Noosphere‘ is being realised as a “global brain“; that the ‘Alpha’ (beginning) and ‘Omega’ (end) of ‘race’ = Racism (White Supremacy) are converging insofar as this ‘project’ is considered in terms of its theological roots and branches; that the (colonial) ‘matrix’ (of power) is ‘re-booting’ so as to MAINTAIN itself.

Peace

Who get to ‘Pass’ The Exam?

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Exam.jpg

Recently, I watched Exam (2009), a British psychological thriller directed by Stuart Hazeldine.

Here is an extract from the plot summary provided on Wikipedia:

The film is set in present-time United Kingdom in an alternate history. Eight candidates dress for what appears to be an employment assessment exam. They enter a room and sit down at individual desks. Each desk contains a paper with the word “candidate”, followed by a number, from one to eight. The Invigilator, a representative of the company named DATAPREV, explains that the exam takes 80 minutes and consists of one question only, and that there are three rules: do not talk to the Invigilator or the armed guard at the door, do not spoil the paper, and do not leave the room. Not obeying the rules will result in disqualification.

After the clock starts, it turns out that the question papers are blank. One candidate is immediately removed from the room for spoiling her paper by writing on it. The seven remaining candidates realize they can talk to each other and work together. “White”, who is arrogant and rude, suggests nicknames based on physical appearance: Black, White, Brown, Blonde, Brunette, and Dark, refer to their skin and hair colors, and Deaf is for one candidate who does not pay attention to the others. The candidates use the lights, bodily fluids, and fire sprinklers to try to reveal a hidden question on the paper, with no luck. White takes control of the group but really works against them, engineering the disqualifications of Brunette and Deaf. White then taunts the others, saying he knows the question but will not tell them [emphases added].

In what follows, I should like to present a few brief Counter-Racist observations on the film. However, since my reflections contain a number of plot spoilers, I suggest that viewers interested in watching the film, which is available on YouTube here, do sobefore reading further.

1. The Invigilator is a black male who represents the company. He is the public ‘face’ of the organisation / the company; he WORKS FOR the company, he neither OWNS nor CONTROLS it;

2. The first candidate to be removed from the room is a non-white female of Asian / ‘Oriental’ ethnicity;

3. The person who gets to ‘nickname’ = label = classify all remaining candidates (including himself) is a white male. He SELF-classifies as ‘White’, and then proceeds to OTHER-classify a black male as ‘Black’, an Asian male as ‘Brown’, and the three white females as ‘Blonde’, ‘Brunette’ and ‘Dark’. It is interesting to note that skin colours are used to classify the non-white males, whereas hair colours are used to classify the white females. (In this regard, consider the ‘ranking’ of non-white males in relation to white females graphically summarised in the following post: C.W.Mills on Racial (White-Supremacist) Patriarchy);

4. Although the white male who SELF-classifies as ‘White’ OTHER-classifies the other white male in the room as ‘Deaf’ on account of the latter paying no attention to the others, it later transpires that ‘Deaf’ is, in fact, the HEAD of the company / organisation. Does Deaf’s “paying no attention” symbolise an ignoring or disregard of the others vis-a-vis power relations? In this connection, it is interesting to consider the difference between the two white males, ‘White’ and ‘Deaf’, as a difference between crude / unrefined / overt and sophisticated / refined / covert White Supremacist (Racists);

5. The person who ‘passes’ the ‘Exam’ by coming to the realisation that the answer to the question is ‘no’ is the white female classified by ‘White’ as ‘Blonde’. In this connection, consider the end of the Wikipedia plot summary:

Blonde realizes that Question 1 refers to the only question asked of them by the Invigilator: “Any questions?” She answers, “No.” The Invigilator and Deaf enter; the Invigilator reveals Deaf is actually the CEO of the company and inventor of the cure for the virus, which can also heal any wound. The bullet that hit Black contained this cure, and he awakens, healed. With the drug about to be released to the public, the company needed to hire someone who was not only able to make tough choices but who is also compassionate, which Blonde had demonstrated throughout the exam. Blonde passes the exam and accepts her new job.

So here we have the white male,’Deaf’ as HEAD of the company / organisation / business who can “heal any wound” = ‘cure’ any malady = ‘save’ the world, yet another instance of The White Man’s Burden trope. Who is the first recipient of this ‘healing’ / ‘cure’? A black male.

Finally, we have the white female, ‘Blonde’, as that person “able to make tough choices but who is also compassionate”, i.e. the image of a confident, competent “side-kick” to the white male who is in charge. In short, we have the conventional “double act” of two white people = Racist Suspects – Racist Man and Racist Woman – under conditions of global Racism (White Supremacy).

Peace

(Black Man) = Almost Human

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

AH

I’ve just finished watching the first episode of Almost Human, an American science fiction / crime drama series which premiered on Fox yesterday evening. The series is set thirty-five years in the future when humans in the Los Angeles Police Department are paired up with life-like androids. John Kennex (played by Karl Urban), a detective who has a dislike for robot partners, is paired up with an android capable of emotion called Dorian (played by Michael Ealy).

Clearly drawing upon science fiction film precedents such as Bladerunner and I, Robot, what makes Almost Human interesting from a Counter-Racist perspective is that the principal human protagonist, detective John Kennex, is a white human male, while his android = robot partner / side-kick is a non-white “almost human” = sub-human ‘male’. Stated slightly differently, the white male protagonist is a man, while his non-white ‘male’ sidekick is a ‘man’. In addition, it transpires that the white male protagonists former ‘love interest’ / girlfriend is a non-white female who has since left him on account of her being connected with a criminal organisation called The Syndicate. Interestingly, both non-white ‘surround’ characters, ‘male’ and female, are played by relatively light-skinned black actors with European features – blue eyes in the case of the ‘male’ and a very straight nose in the case of the female.

During the episode we learn that the “almost human” android ‘male’ belongs to a line of robots that were taken out of service on account of them being capable of emotion / feelings and some of them turning ‘crazy’. So what do we have here if not the figure of the sub-human / “almost human” non-white / black man who has a tendency to “go crazy”, i.e. turn ‘wild’, ‘uncontrollable’, ‘volatile’ etc. Frantz Fanon would have a field day analyzing this series and I intend to attempt to do the same.

In closing, I should like to point interested readers to the following two reviews of the series available online:

Almost Human and Sleepy Hollow: Two new Fox dramas are silly enough to be serious about race by Willa Paskin

Robo-racism abounds in the new Almost Human trailer

Here is the trailer on YouTube:

Official Trailer | ALMOST HUMAN | FOX BROADCASTING

Peace