A Clockwork Orange / The Parallax View

Medium Dick

Mark LeClair

Our aim is a triple play of Science, Philosophy, and Dick-work, and we shall see that these Three techniques are evolved into One principle.

Socrates, throwing back
the original “Mickey Finn”

For our kind, “Dick-work” is the finest term of choice, because it unites the elements of Socratic Inquiry with both a) the existential school, particularly that of Sartre and Camus and b) the uniquely American style of detective fiction found in the work of Hammett, Chandler, Ross MacDonald, and a boatload of pretty decent imitators. The emergence of the French existentialist is simultaneous with that of the early American “hard-boiled” Private-Eye, so this natural connection is easy enough to see, and easier still in the light of an exhaustive comparison. More elusive is the connection to the ancient practices of the mythical Socrates. Thing is, Socrates—like the Dick and the Existentialist—is agnostic to the point of nihilism. He “does not know” and burns with an unholy desire. His process does not bear upon the betterment of reality at the hands of any truth—however profound—and is therefore without the slightest whiff of ideology. It is in the selfsame light that Dick-work can be properly understood. For the Dick, there is no solution, no hope, no dream of justice or progress or the even the promised peace of death. Only the eternal and masochistic yearning to know. To know and walk alone the dark, dank avenues of Mystery Babylon.

* * *

Before we shuffle into the details of this particular investigation, it is necessary to define two terms as precisely as possible. They are . . .

1) Communism

2) Propaganda

Let’s start with propaganda. What is meant here is any communication found to carry the agenda of an individual or group interest. This “propaganda,” in theory, is the polar opposite of the plain “exchange of information,” but identifying the difference is tricky—maybe impossible.

To define “communism” we must first isolate that it is one of a pair of phenomena—the other being “fascism”—that together represent the principle called “collectivism,” which is a two-dollar word for “we’re all in it together.” Fascism is an overt oligarchy in which the social body serves a corporate mechanism, whether they like it or not. Communism is the promise of individual social value within what is in fact an equally fascist but cryptic corporate collectivist clockwork. It is this subtle difference that gives communism a decided edge, as it implies for the so-called “person” the opportunity for a mystical purpose and satisfying social union.

In the course of this report we imply that the Communist agenda achieved a complete and lasting dominion over World Socio-Economy by the end of WWII—and will prove that the US Constitution, the lone hold out for the proverbial Rights of Man, would be altogether integrated into the Crypto-Communist machine by the end of the 1970s. This final success can be attributed to a sophisticated propaganda which insinuates a sentimentalized “self-image” and denatured “happiness” as an acceptable replacement for a legitimate and red-blooded animal ego.

We’re not here to grouse about it either, but prove it as a cold, unyielding fact of modern life. It’s down to brass tacks these days and there are only two kinds of stiff still moving: mindless corporate zombies in total self denial, and the dwindling few of us with a little lead in our pistols—the Dicks, who want their truth straight from the killing floor.

For this type of inquiry, popular documents are the rara avis, because they are difficult to alter after publication, and therefore report a reliable set of data, even when they are encoded. For the Dick, what remains are the inevitable philosophic and logical conclusions earned from a punk and tough minded study.

* * *

Abbreviation Key

A Clockwork Orange (1971)—ACO

The Parallax View (1974)—TPV

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)—2001:ASO

The documents of our current fixation are, for the most part, the propaganda films called A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick, and The Parallax View, which was commissioned by Warren Beatty and directed by Alan J. Pakula. We also hone in on the wider ouvre of Kubrick, and a handful of other notable programmers will be mentioned for good measure.

First, let’s define the meaning of a “parallax.” Parallax is the difference found in the separate perspectives of a single event. A normal experience of parallax is seen in the shifting angles created by covering first one eye, uncovering it, and then covering the other eye, while looking at a single point on the horizon. More complex examples indicate a multiplicity of perspective. There is also a metaphorical value to parallax, with its shining standard the Japanese novel and subsequent film called “Rashomon.” In “Rashomon,” we are instructed that different accounts of a real-time event are fraught with troubling disparity, even when it may be assumed that all witnesses report the unvarnished truth.

But most potent is the use of parallax as a tool of propaganda. The system is deceptively simple. Present a single and pervasive theme from as many a personalized viewpoint as credulity allows. Subjects will choose to identify with the characterization that represents their heroic self-image, and will likewise reject the antithesis of this image. What follows is the inevitable fracture of the ego. The subject is subconsciously aware of the parallax, namely, that he or she is represented equally by both hero and villain of propaganda, but can not allow the conscious acknowledgment of this fact, and surely can not allow this hidden truth to be opened to public scrutiny.

At this time, it is our assessment that the twin pillars of A Clockwork Orange and The Parallax View are the maximum example of the persuasive propaganda of parallax, and that the release of The Parallax View marks the beginning of a final five-year push to “communize” both the U.S. Constitution and the very principle of individuality.

In ACO the hero calls himself Alexander de Large, which is a play upon “Alexander the Great.” The key to our mystery is found in the fable of “Alexander Cutting the Gordian Knot,” which symbolizes the splitting of the human brain into the parallax hemispheres of Logic and Emotion. This is hinted in ACO when, after his great fall, Alex relates the memory that his brain has been tampered with.

So we can infer that by “cutting the knot,” Alex and his predecessor of infamy succeed in severing the integrated self into a duality of mechanistic self-denial. This point may seem obscure, but consider an alternative to the common meaning of “the knot,” conveyed not as the tangle of a single strand of rope, but a harmony of unique strands in which all of the “loose ends” are concealed within the knot. This is the authentic “knot,” a complex of autonomous values, that Alexander claims to divide, and in doing so forges a mystic vessel of lies—the severed mind—that negates the possibility for the emergence of any more than One Individuated Being or One Unified Reality. Namely, the person and kingdom of Alexander the Great himself.

To gloss over the obvious, this “technology of influence” is most certainly cosmological in its scope, and divulges the strong likelihood that the human being is in fact a genetic hybrid of some ancient and eldritch design. Such matters are worthwhile, sure, but for the Dick, it is the social, the political, and the blatantly environmental—the substance of our sweaty, bloody, stinking selves—that throbs with the truth we are after.

* * *

Let’s take another look at our two poster images.

At top, we see a silhouette of Joe Frady, protagonist of The Parallax View, falling from a great height, as if breaking downward through the top of a stylized and inverted capital “A.” Beneath, we see ACO’s Alex as he rises, breaking up through a now upright capital “A.” This plausibly random pairing is the pure nature of parallax propaganda, and is not in the least bit random or mystically synchronous.

What is interesting here is that it is Alex who takes a literal great fall, tumbling out of a high window to his near-death and triumphant resurrection, while Joe Frady makes no such literal tumble, yet his fate appears inescapable and grim.

In ACO the hero—Alex—is an egoistic even psychopathic young genius on the hunt for a little of the old ultra-violence. As the centerpiece of his narrative, he endures a session of cruel “social-reprogramming” that for him and the movie’s audience is a first-person cinematic and musical cut-up. The reprogramming includes a barrage of violent imagery from both mock “stock film” and real stock images, notably those of Nazi propaganda and atrocities.

In TPV the hero—Joe Frady—is an arrogant and narcissistic young journalist searching for the story that will propel him into fame and make the world a better place in the process. As the centerpiece of his thrilling quest for justice, he submits to a sinister “psych-evaluation” that for both him and the movie’s audience is a first person cinematic and musical cut-up. The psych-test includes a barrage of . . . mock and stock . . . something violence something . . . Nazi imagery . . . well, you get the picture.

Moreover, both of these “heroes,” in their stories at large, show a striking disregard for women, an old writer, and a troubled political figure. For Frady, it is the safety of these individuals that is dismissed in the pursuit of his glory. For Alex, these same types are the pawns of his desiring—playthings of his manifest greatness. In both films, characters from these isolated categories are brought to the brink of ruin and often death.

The parallax technique is now laid almost bare. Looking at ACO, the subject openly despises Alex’s self-satisfaction and deceit, but privately delights in his ultimate victory against adversity. On the other hand, under the deft genius of TPV, the subject will surely admire Frady’s good intentions, but secretly want him to fail exactly because his success would at once necessitate the complete collapse of the safe, comforting, and stable system of social slavery and psychic subjugation. A system that positively relies on the widespread acceptance of an apparent paradox—that we are at once solely responsible for our own reality and yet utterly powerless to affect any change in that reality.

* * *

To examine this point with some muscle, we consider the work of more than a few exceptional Dicks, who find a corollary between the eyes-peeled programming sessions of Alex’s torment, and the eye-popping stargate journey of David Bowman in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Further comparisons can also be found in Danny Torrance’s hallway rides toward the Twins and then Rm 237. in The Shining; Major Kong’s bronco apocalypse from Dr. Strangelove; and Dr. Bill’s steadi-cam first-person stroll through the nightmarish delights of Somerton in Eyes Wide Shut. Nevertheless, it is the comparison of the cinematic programming and psych-test from ACO and TPV, and their similarity to 2001:ASO that is the most salient to our last detail.

In the late ’60s and well into the ’70s the Panavision Propaganda, whenever possible, was projected onto massive, slightly concave screens. Such was the case with many screenings of both 2001:ASO and TPV. This is important when we consider images from each film that are a startling proof of Parallax Propaganda, which can not be concealed because it is a working part of the technology itself.

It is now pretty much accepted among the better Dicks that Kubrick used his vexing “black monolith” as a symbol for the blank canvas of the movie screen. In the long musical overture to 2001:ASO, the screen, according to Kubrick’s specifications, is rendered black by the use of in situ theater lighting. The monolith is seen in just this aspect, turned the long way, in the shape of the complete screen image, at the beginning of the stargate sequence. Best perceived at full projection or big-screen digital, it takes three images to find Kubrick’s hidden “Screen Monolith.” In the first panel, note the density and number of stars found in the middle of the image, where the monolith later appears. Next is the same alignment, but the slate black monolith obscures the center field stars, in the aspect of wide screen letterbox, for just a split second. Last, as the monolith rotates on its horizontal axis, we can see it catch the reflected light of the planetoids above it.

The sub-textual inference of this symbol is to weld together the experience of “seeing the movie” with that of “being in the movie” and finally “projecting the movie.” This last and deepest trick, that the viewer is projecting the film his or her self, is revealed in the crux of the opening sequence from 2001:ASO, seen below. As we proceed, keep in mind the plain fact that this image “sets up” the movie to come.

Taking for granted that the horizontal monolith that opens the stargate sequence is a semaphore of the movie screen itself, we might also deduce that this opening image is not that of the alignment of planetary and solar bodies. Instead, the image encodes a statement on the film’s audience in three steps.

First, beginning in the background of the image, we see the light from a movie projection room. This bright light is preceded by the mid-most body, which is the head of the subject, lighted from behind by the ambient glare of the projector. The subject of the image is that of Kubrick's Starchild, looking at the home-movie of his birth as it begins. And front most we see the darkened upper curvature of a 70mm Panavision screen.

The complete image is seen as if from “on high,” looking into the theater at its lone occupant from just above and behind the screen. The intended effect is that the subject is looking into a mirror, and not at all enjoying the nefarious and seductive perspective of an expert programmer and propagandist. Thus the image both reinforces and shatters the ego of the subject in a single stroke of exacting wickedness and rebuffs any real understanding of the work by encouraging fatuous and misguided interpretation.

* * *

Next, we consider the shimmering montage that serves as the psych-test for applicants to the Parallax Corporation, which is the heart of this standout piece of hermetic propaganda called TPV. We highly recommend that this entire sequence is a veritable treasure trove of clues that flat-foots everywhere would sell their soul to solve, but it is just the very beginning of Frady’s test that gives our head the kick it needs for a real 100 proof proof.

As the sequence begins, the subject sees a dark room, with a single chair in a spotlight. Frady walks in and is instructed to sit down in the chair by an off-stage voice with overtones of HAL9000, Kubrick’s killer computer from 2001:ASO. In the moment before the test begins, the room is inexplicably filled with light just as a large, futuristic projector is lowered directly over Frady’s head. The only possible reason for this ubiquitous lighting of the previously darkened room is to show to the subject the great projector from on high as it descends into a perfect vertical parallax with Joe Frady’s line of sight.

We also see, directly behind the chair, a horizontal “black monolith.” A moment later, just as the test montage begins, we see the vertical monolith, towering in front of Frady and ascending outside the limit of the image. And for icing on the cake, take a look at Alex, hand raised in triumph, next to the glorious Orange closer to the Parallax Test. The crown of Liberty is a xerox flash of Alex’s false eye-lash. Blink and you miss it.

* * *

Finally, to reinforce that this is in fact a “Communist” propaganda, one need only connect the following two dots.

1) That soon after The Parallax View, leading man and producer, Warren Beatty began his labor of love and acknowledged masterwork as writer, director, producer, and romantic star. The film is called Reds (1981) and it is the chronicle of the noble struggle to bring Communism to the USA.

2) The image, from 2010: The Year We Make Contact, which shows a cartoon commie Kubrick giving the old “evil-eye” to presumed good-guy American, Arthur C. Clarke. The portrayal of Clarke as a kindly American president is a ruse. Sleight of hand. Clarke is in fact to represent the Nazi ideal, so earnestly despised by the Soviet regime. Remember that Clarke chose his home in the hotbed of the racial Aryan, and that he was handshake buddies with the muckies at NASA and JPL, both of which are liberally spiced with Nazi advisers streching back to “Operation Paperclip.”

* * *

Well, we’ve pretty much made our case, but what if anything does it mean?

Well, some Dicks think it is all about ART. That it is all some sort of highfalutin comment on the emergence of a Gnostic or Metamorphic Consciousness in all of us, and how that process has both a positive and negative dignity, like a yin and yang sort of thing. Now, we don’t mind that kind of thinking, we all decide for ourselves. But my kind of Dick must face at least the possibility that it is not ART—not at all—but a cold-blooded communist propaganda, designed with a vice-like architecture to imprison the human being in an eternal labor-farm, in perdition, not only without consent, but with such craft that most will thank the Master for the security of their bondage.

This assertion begs the question: what Master? We propose that the answer is written All Over the walls of this tinhorn town, Mystery Babylon, like a signature. It can be found in the single image of a leering cartoon demon in the test montage from TPV, and on a water-tower in Full Metal Jacket that reads, in Vietnamese, “To continuously serve your master, Satan.” It is discovered encrypted in the paintings of William Blake, Da Vinci, and Dali, and in the poesy of Yeats, Jimmy Page, and Shakespeare. It rears its head quite clearly in the rock and roll classic “Sympathy for the Devil.” The same monotone motif rings out like a division bell in world-media throughout the streets and steeples of our times. It is practically redundant these days to even bother to prove this abundant and disturbing truth, yet few connect it to the reality in which they reside from day to day. And it doesn’t matter one whit whether or not this saturnine tormentor called “Satan” is an actual intelligence, or merely a plutocratic programming tool.

He keeps on ticking. Ticking like a charm.

And one more question must also be surrendered: why? Why should it be so that we are all of us the permanent denizens of an Iron Clad prison of such draconian severity? How could we inspire this awful, awesome, and agonizing fate? Well, take a look around, friend, at the real estate of our “enlightened” civilization. We are a right bunch of bastards it would seem. Men, women, and children all. Sure, we don’t know how we turned up in this murderous farce, and maybe it isn’t our own doing, but we sure as hell aren’t very nice to one other, and there is no reason to believe we’d be any nicer anywhere else. Prison seems the appropriate establishment for our dwelling, and the delusion and hard labor that comes with it need serve only to keep us too weak to muster-up an escape.

Now, it could be that YOU think you’re an alright Joe—that you don’t belong in such a conundrum. Sure, YOU see the brutality, the greed and suffering, and sometimes even sense the hidden hand of an evasive, heartless, and calculating Inquisitor. YOU hate it enough—sure you do—but you’re a good person, right? Who loves kids and dogs and moms and all things sacred? YOU aren’t here to judge or be judged. Maybe you got here by misadventure. No fault of your own. Maybe it is all a terrible mistake.

But let me ask you, friend, one Dick to another, here, under the flickering light of an old street lamp, under a night oozing with creosote and menace—let me ask you: when you see it all as it really is, without the blinders of social sentiment or trumped-up virtual ethics or some misty-eyed spiritual ideal—tell me, when you see it for yourself, the never-ending daisy chain of violence, lust, hatred, greed, confusion, melancholy, misery, madness, and downright stupidity—when you see it right before your eyes, and how beautiful it is and how intoxicating, how it glistens with electric fire and how unfathomable and impossible it is and must remain, tell me, from one Dick to another . . .

. . . don’t you feel right at home? :::

Mark LeClair blogs as the Wrong Way Wizard and Artislav Mel.
posted by editor ::: April 29, 2012 ::: pheatures ::: (1) Comments