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Reluctant hero

August 6, 2012

The reluctant hero participates in the spectacle involuntarily, gets caught up in the event incidentally, and propels it unwillingly. S/he does not believe in the system, does not submit to it, assumes a position outside of it, beyond it. This is where the lens appropriates all human gestures, through the formation of a consciousness that acknowledges its presence while disregarding it. This represents the ultimate shift in foundational Aristotelian laws of tragedy (the formation of the character through the progression of the plot), which until the introduction of the camera still held up. As such, gestures are predetermined, premeditated. The hero is aware of the plot, of the system that s/he is retaining, but yet does not submit to it, and thus at the same time is completely recuperated by it.

A recent example of such position is the box office blockbuster Hunger Games, where its reluctant hero, who gets caught in the event just to replace her sister, ultimately wins over all the other competitors and watches all of them perish while she survives. She not only disregards the game itself, but also appropriates romance reluctantly, simply to triumph, while initially she entered the game to lose. Here all true human emotions, from the desire to live, to love are all wholesaled to the spectacle, while the spectacle performs exteriority. This hero while retains the façade of the classic hero, has with it nothing in common. This is the American Apparel model who seems to be caught up not-posingly-posing, conscious of her lens unconscious performative. Or the “amateur” porn actors who perform caught-having-sex. This is the internalized alienation that devises an emotional distance that allows one to participate uncaringly just to be pleasantly surprised. The complete recuperation of the critical distance into a core ingredient of the spectacle.

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