Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hollywood always loves The State

I just caught last year’s Death Race on DVD. It’s a grimmer, less satiric remake of Roger Corman’s Death Race 2000 from the 1970s, but that doesn’t mean it’s less fun. I’m a fan of Jason Statham, who stars in the film, and I’m also a big fan of cars tricked out with enormous weaponry. So this new Death Race is a keeper.

One annoying bit, though. The opening crawl sets the stage, explaining that in the near-future, “private corporations now run the correctional facilities — for profit.” And, of course, they make that profit by sacrificing criminals in automotive death races.

God forbid that anyone could imagine that The State — the most blood-drenched, inhumane institution in mankind’s history — would ever run such horrific prisons (which it already does) or host such death races. No way. It’s gotta be private business, Hollywood’s traditional boogeyman.

C’mon, guys…wake up!

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At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they act that way ouf of self-preservation instinct, just like radio and TV (as described by Rothbard in FANL). There may not be a Federal Film Commission, but there is a CaFC and countless other state FC's (from a Google search). Plus they need the state to "defend" their copyrights.

At 1:25 PM, Blogger rmangum said...

Actually, this is more or less what's happening now. The corporate-run, for profit prison has been a growth-industry for years now, one more horrific side-effect of the drug war. Of course, what is ignored is that the State is 100% to blame. Blackwater is not a product of the free-market. This is privateering, not privatizing. It's corporatism, not capitalism. But it's a nuance that we can't expect Hollywood to understand.

"Death Race" is part of a very interesting genre of dystopian sci-fi/action films from the 70's and 80's about the rise of a brutal underclass-exploiting corporate statism (misidentified as free-market capitalism, of course, but nevermind that)which includes "Rollerball" and "The Running Man" (whose political content is, unsurprisingly, more explicit in the original Stephen King novel than in the Schwarzenegger flick).


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