09 February 2011

The death of individuality

By happily accepting a description of themselves as "THE HIVE" (or "hivemind"), the massed ranks of Anonymous show that capitalist normality's privileging of individuality as the highest good is a trap. Remember all those TV shows and stories in which the hero realises that being part of some movement that might change the world - or some old-fashioned "community" - is impinging on his precious individuality, and therefore he gives up and retires to private life, and that's a good thing? Remember how Billy Elliot's dreams of being a dancer (and thus getting all the privileges of the middle classes) lead to his father scabbing on a strike and wrecking the whole way of life of his community, and that's a good thing?

All this of course goes back to 1950's anti-communist sci-fi terror of the evil assimilating aliens who threaten the boundaries of our precious individuality, most recently reinvented as the Borg on Star Trek? Before Seven of Nine was "reverse-assimilated" back into being a (white middle class American) human individual, she yelled at Janeway "WE DO NOT WANT TO BE LIKE YOU". I agreed. I always wondered why my sympathies were always with the bad guys in those cartoons. They hate us because we don't need to be individuals.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. I always use the G.I. Joe movie (the animated one from the 80's, not that new abomination) as one of the defining moments when I realized WHY I like the bad guys.

    You've got Cobra-La, this almost commune of "people." They live in symbiosis with nature and use non-violent weapons. Sure they are attempting to force the world to be just like them but their intentions are not terrible (people's motivations are usually not as shallow as cartoon villains).

    I know my mind fills in some gaps as I've re-watched it several times in my adult life and know they are not shown in a positive light. I can't help but sympathize though.