Saturday, January 5, 2013

More Thoughts on the Political Thriller

As I write this, I've just finished editing Spanner Chapter 14, and the final two installments are ready and scheduled to post. 14.5 is still the "heavy metal gang war" episode, and 14.6 is still something of a breather episode. But looking back, I marvel at how much I've changed them to fit the final continuity. They're much more a part of the greater political thriller plot than their second-draft versions.

I've found myself seriously annoyed by the great mass of thrillers these days. Most psychological thrillers strongly imply that only the police can save the day. Most political thrillers these days, unlike their 1970s counterparts, are right-wing plots that state straight out that only government superagents can save the day, and they're usually FBI, CIA, or Navy SEALs. I've criticized the left-wing political thrillers in an earlier post for exalting a hero, usually either a guerrilla or an investigative journalist, at the expense of mass action; in Spanner, I'm striving to correct this by making it clear that against the American Empire, Echelon-NORAD, and every giant corporation in the world including the Chinese government a.k.a. Chinese Communist Party (Holdings) Ltd., the mere heroes of Team Bremelo or even Team Spanner don't stand a chance unless they can somehow wake up the masses; it all comes down to "the sanction of the victim". The current flood of right-wing political thrillers takes this to its logical conclusion: assuming the absolute passivity of the masses, heroes cannot succeed without the government, and therefore the government and its all-powerful neoconservative establishment are not only the true heroes but the only possible heroes. Going one step further, you have the Evangelical Christian thrillers written by the likes of Frank Peretti, in which the heroes are helpless against absolute evil until Jesus and his angels take over their fight. Paradigmatic of this rightward shift is the quick and easy conversion of a left-wing thriller into a right-wing one by the ghostwriter of Glenn Beck's The Overton Window. If Beck ended up (co-)writing one of the worst thrillers ever, something like Zero Dark Thirty is exactly what he was aiming to create.

So the usual assumption is that either the masses are passive, as in most political thrillers on the left as well as the right, or downright evil, as Spanner's Conservative Revolutionaries blatantly state following the example of Ayn Rand. Thing is, the thriller-writing establishment is as conservative as Glenn Beck, which is why he fit right in so easily despite his (and his ghostwriters') lack of writing skills. Hollywood is just as conservative: considering my low opinion of Hollywood awards, I'm willing to bet money that Zero Dark Thirty will sweep the Oscars in particular, as a love letter to the lords of Military-Industrial Complex by their fellow Corporates in the Intellectual Property monopoly cartel. This is exactly what I call #msmfail.

And so I'm writing my own political thriller my way. Naturally, it's starting as a blog novel, and its next incarnation will be as an ebook. The Corporate "lamestream" won't touch it with a ten-foot pole because of its political incorrectness. No doubt the Corporates are criticizing me in Stalinist terms of "false consciousness" since thinking for oneself is and has always been by definition a crime against the divine right of Authority. To which I reply as always: À bas les néoconos! Right-wing Stalinism of the ultra-rich is the only possible form of government today? I'll continue to think otherwise. Call me utopian, but I still think the old order is doomed. The only question is whether humanity wants to survive long enough to create a new democratic order. Me, I'll just keep writing.

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