resist hanounization and praudization

After the hijab, the burkini or the running hijab, proscriptive fantasies targeting the bodies of Muslim women have once again ignited public debates in this month of back to school. Against the Manichaeism specific to Islamophobic evidence, which is repeated over and over again rather than argued (ah, the uninformed certainties of Eric Naulleau or Michel Onfray in the conservative “new left”), some recent films invite us to to stop for a moment and take the time to think… A gesture of resistance which is hardly in phase with the double “hanounization” and “praudization” of public spaces, between confusionism for one and extreme rightism for the other.

Rodriguez outwits Attal, Macron, Le Pen and… Mélenchon

Ben Affleck is the hero of “Hypnotic”, the latest film by American Robert Rodriguez (released in French cinemas on August 23), talented director of “El Mariachi” (1992), “A Night in Hell” (on a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, 1996) or “Sin City” (with Frank Miller, 2005).

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In this science fiction thriller, Rodriguez explores manipulation through hypnosis. Please note: this is not yet another blockbuster where a conspiracy plot unfolds, because twists and turns, manipulative and manipulated, interchange, with a good dose of randomness. In Rodriguez’s world, hypnotics are particularly powerful hypnotists who make us mistake illusions for reality. A bit like the semi-clone of Emmanuel Macron who became Minister of National Education and Youth: Gabriel Attal.

Although a number of specialists in Islam and Islamism, such as the political scientist Haoues Seniguer on the website of the daily newspaper “La Croix”, have shown that this traditional costume had no religious significance and was not promoted by Islamo-conservatives, the minister continues to make us live in a parallel world, like Rodriguez, in order to justify the ban on the abaya at school. The beautiful spirit of secularism, as infused by Aristide Briand and Jean Jaurès into the 1905 law on the separation of Churches and State, is distorted. And to support his minister, Macron even went further into hypnotism on the YouTube channel HugoDécrypte, on September 4, by invoking the vile assassination of Samuel Paty!

Putting a hundred bullets back into the machine to stigmatize Muslims is a politician’s trick that has become commonplace today to stir up media hype. Nose in the handlebars of the small tactics of the moment, we hardly worry about their beneficial consequences in the medium term for the National Rally. Moreover, Marine Le Pen, while approving the measure, simply dreamed aloud in Hénin-Beaumont on September 10 of “less timid leaders” in this matter… For the character played by Ben Affleck in “Hypnotic”, it is important to “stay the course of (s)his moral compass”. We are far from it in the political class, on the right, in the macronie and in the self-proclaimed “republican” left!

“The ban on the abaya reveals a considerable strategic weakness”

To escape from illusionism and open our eyes, the Enlightenment of the 18the century have left us the reasoned exercise of critical thinking. However, we must, in this first quarter of XXIe century, beware of recent disruptions in criticism, which can generate their own illusions. This is particularly the case of the vogue on the internet and on social networks for conspiratorial hypercriticism. This has already confused the “rebellious” critique. Thus Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the leaders of LFI denounced a conspiracy fomented by the Elysée during the searches around Mélenchon on October 16, 2018. More delusional, Mélenchon gave a global extension to the alleged conspiracy against him with the international appeal entitled “The time for political trials must end”, published on September 8, 2019. In short, Samuel Paty for Macron and the abaya, a global conspiracy for Mélenchon and his legal hassles: the bigger the better… the better it goes . We send symbolic atomic bombs to deal with micro-events!

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“Barbie”: escape from illusionism through imagination

Much more interesting than the melenchonades, the film version of “Barbie”, directed by Greta Gerwig (released in France on July 19 and still on our screens), opens a less Manichean and more emancipatory path.

At the start of the film, there is the dichotomy between “Barbieland” and “the real world”. But the back and forth between the two will introduce critical distance: vis-à-vis the existing patriarchal society and its sexist violence, but also vis-à-vis the matriarchal universe of Barbies, à la both in the stereotypes it maintains among women and in the secondary existence to which it relegates men, in an inversion of phallocentrism. Critical thinking goes so far as to question the conservative function of Barbie dolls in “the real world”. The fact that the multinational Mattel, whose board of directors is ridiculed in the film, is a co-producer underlines the ingenuity of cinematographic creation in displacing economic constraints. Of course, some “clever” minds will see this as a conspiracy by Mattel, Hollywood and capitalism… without realizing that their “intelligent” criticism actually degrades the criticism.

“Barbie”, feminist film or marketing stunt? Sociologists, historians or activists respond

“Barbie” does not itself fall prey to conspiratorial hypercriticism. First of all, because it leaves room for the vagaries of action and encounters. But also, and above all, because his critique of illusionism leads to a social critique open to the emancipatory potentialities of the imagination: the imagination of a world which would be rid of patriarchy without inventing a matriarchy, where feminine singularities and masculine, and those who do not recognize themselves in this binary, could be deployed in equality within a non-capitalist framework. More desirable than the Le Pen/Macron/Mélenchon trio, right?

Victor Erice: ” Close eyes “ to better reopen them

The emancipatory capacities of the imagination, and in particular of the cinematographic imagination, we discover, even more intense, in the form of a melancholic humanism permeating the sublime film by the Basque-Spaniard Victor Erice (83 years old!): “ Close your eyes” (released August 16 in France).

Can love and cinema help us regain lost memory and sensitivity? By closing our eyes, the course of our lives can be disrupted… and upset us as spectators.

Find the column « Reopening political imaginations » every month.

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