The Baader Meinhof Complex
Went to see "The Baader Meinhof Complex" at the pictures the other night. (What did you think I'd go see, "Four Christmases"?) Without a doubt, one of the best movies, out of the admittedly very few I've seen during a very busy year.
What I liked was it never wagged the "you are a terrorist and therefore bad" finger at anyone. It was well researched, well considered and extremely entertaining.
Not that the Baader-Meinhof gang were a lovely bunch of folks. But with recent times, the question of why terrorism? rises again and again.
The movie makes it very simple and gives the obvious answer-if you don't give people a voice, then you give them cause to shoot you. When leaving the cinema with a now-very-distressed friend following the movie, I tried to think why governments can't really understand this. Nor why they seem to think that relentless bombing will make it go away. Nor why terrorists think relentless bombing will make imperialism go away.
This book has a lot to answer for-in a good way and a bad way. Fanon's thinking is interesting because it's one the only political texts I can think of that seems to unite extremists from either side of the political spectrum or from outside it. I believe the French government is still convinced this book is the reason they don't own Algeria today. Jean Paul Sartre's incredibly misleading intro seems to suggest it's a mandate for violence in the name of freedom; it's not, but everyone since has read it that way.
So that led me to the thinking of today. The radical 60s and the resigned to failure 70s had endless amounts of important texts that inspired political, social and economic debate. Women's rights, political rights, anti-racism, anti-colonialism and on and on are all due in part to the reading of important books during this time. Now? Is Katie Price's autobiography going to kick off a storm of feminism? Will Kate Mosse's Labyrinth cause the downfall of religion? Can Richard and Judy's book club throw off the shackles of repression and violence in Haiti? No, would be the answer to all of them.
Thankfully, the Internet is stirring subculture. It's providing open forums and freedom for dissenting opinions. It's why net neutrality and privacy issues will be the radical focus for many years to come.
So that's what this meandering post was about-books are important, so is the Internet, the Baader Meinhof Complex movie is good-go see it, be radical, be smart and buy stuff from Fat Buddha. That last subliminal one should work.