On Rallies Real and Fake
November 4, 2010
I’ve been mulling over both my take and my stake in regards to the Rally to Restore Sanity and the recent and related Tea Party March on Washington, not to mention yesterday’s Republican and Tea Party (voting) rallies that led to their re-taking of the House. In all cases, we witness the same ironic free fall I’ve discussed earlier: perfectly real rallies organized around glaring glorious fakes that may or may not be understood as such. What seem particularly relevant here is that these fakes in the realm of the real have lead to actual change in material circumstances.
So what can I contribute? I’m a film professor after all and have made a career making and theorizing about the role of authenticity, in relation to issues of identity, community and social justice, and within the realm of representation. I don’t study or make real rallies (although I attend them), but rather, think about and try to mobilize how the representation of real things can be consciously linked to what might then happen in the real world. My work and action focuses upon the connections and movements between representation and reality, looking at inter-related strategies like fakery, beliefs (or not) in things like truth, and hopes in processes like action and movement that can change conditions that matter to people.
As the differences between reality and representation, truth and lies, performers and politicians, television shows and people’s movements become less clear and in some cases less relevant, my orientation as a maker and theorist of fakes of the real who is invested in political change in lived reality, leads me to suggest that two things become increasingly critical:
1) MIND THE GAP: people and movements need to think about and make best use of the differences and strengths that both reality and fiction provide; we need to know the difference, valuing and using both modes
2) MOVEMENT MATTERS: so that we can flow gracefully, but also self-consciously, and carefully and purposefully between and among artifice and belief, complacency and change.
While it is fun, pleasurable, funny, and increasingly familiar to be in the place where the difference between fake and real become unknowable, this is not the best place for directed action, community interaction, and intentional change.