Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Irony of Anti-Capitalist Movies

According to The Wall Street Journal, a movie called “The Liar,” which was directed by a Kim Dong-myung, won the Daemyung Culture Wave Award, which is an accolade that is awarded to independent movies from local directors.

A scene from “The Liar”
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This movie is supposedly about a 20-something-year-old nurse, who squeezes pimples at a beauty clinic for a living (I suppose there is a niche market for everything) who attempts to live a much more glamorous life than she could possibly afford.

(Disclosure: I have not seen the movie, and considering what I read about it, I don't think I shall ever watch this movie.)

According to the same article, during an interview, Kim Dong-myung, the director, purportedly said that she wanted to critique capitalist society, which she called “an environment conducive to reproducing lies.” To nail the point further, she claimed that after she had finished filming the movie, she “caught herself at a clothing store exaggerating her likelihood of purchasing new clothes to a sales clerk,” thus showing that even she is not immune to it.

For a moment, let's forget that Ms. Kim most likely would not be able to make any more movies if she were not able to secure funding, which can only be done when there is an audience that is willing to pay money to watch her movies. You know, consumers who can choose freely how to spend their own money who live in capitalist economies.

Not a good business plan
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Let's also forget the fact that Ms. Kim most likely did not object to her movie being reviewed by, of all the newspapers in the world, The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper that is very much a cheerleader for capitalism! For goodness' sake, the newspaper actually has the words “wall” and “street,” and in that exact order, in its name!

On top of that, let's also ignore the ridiculousness of her claim that capitalist society is an environment conducive to reproducing lies; like as though, somehow, people who live in non-capitalist economies are more honest.

Finally, let us also pretend to ignore that history has shown that the capitalist economic model has ushered in nearly unabated economic progress, a steady increase in the quantity of capital goods available, and a continuous trend toward an improvement in the general standard of living for the masses. Let us also ignore the fact that it is a tragedy worthy of ancient Greek plays that capitalism even needs spokespersons on its behalf despite the fact that its achievements speak for themselves!

Because prosperity and choice are disgusting!
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If we ignore all of those things, we are left with the silly notion that this movie treats pathological lying, a form of mental illness, as a political/economic illness, which is the direct result of us living in a capitalist economy.

And I thought Michael Bay produced mindless movies.


  1. She's gone around the barn to get to the horse. You could argue that any society, regardless of economic system, is going to create envy for the people who live the best. Haven't seen the movie so I'm not sure what kind of references are used to strengthen her argument. Probably none, I'd guess. Oh well, if it's an entertaining movie then her flawed reasons don't really matter since I don't usually look to movies for political inspiration anyway.

  2. Wow, after reading this article, I'm surprised to find out that you 80's dinosaurs still exist. People are still pro-capitalist? what achievements are you talking about? unheralded environmental degradation? The commodification of almost every facet of humanity? The transformation of our food chain from farm to factory? The reduction of human beings to mere consumers. I won't even begin to discuss capitalism in the context of the film, or the ramifications of hyper capitalist and hyper consumer South Korea, because there is too much to discuss there. Of course it's ironic. It isn't as though the film maker has a choice to "opt out". Movie making is her craft, are you saying that she isn't allowed criticize a system that she is forced to be a part of? Do you actually believe Thatcher's TINA thesis? are you that naive?

    1. If you hate capitalism so much feel free to live on a pristine uninhabited island. You can farm the land and know that you have succeeded in opting out of the system.

    2. I see so now you are saying that capitalism is responsible for all human progress, and without it we would all be in ancient times. Also, you seem to be asserting that there is no alternative, which again brings us back to Thatcher. You can't honestly believe that. For the record, I don't hate capitalism, it just doesn't work, and our current world economy proves that completely. But of course, the common conservative response to facts is exactly what you have written: "oh yeah.. well go away"

    3. If it doesn't work, feel free to live on a pristine uninhabited island. Not only can you farm the land and know that you have succeeded in opting out of the system, you would have the opportunity to show the rest of us ignorant capitalists that there is an alternative! Go on. Put your money where your mouth is and show us the way, o, wise one.

    4. Wow, I'll just take that as "I have nothing left to say".

    5. So you aren't going to move to an uninhabited island? Pity.