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Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Thursday, April 10, 2008

10,000 BC



A movie about cavemen, wooly mammoths, and saber-tooth tigers?

I'm there!

I saw the movie just yesterday. It was a fun ride.

It was directed by Roland Emmerich (who also directed Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow) from a script he wrote with Harold Kloser.

It featured the heroic development of the orphaned D'Leh (Steven Strait) of the Yagahl people (not really cavemen but a tribe of open-air hunter/gatherers) and his love-story with Evolet (Camilla Belle), a changeling-child of sorts with anomalous blue-eyes (which was a prophesied sign of destiny).

The character development of D'Leh follows the established, mythical pattern of the hero, beginning his life as a tribal outcast but then passing a test (though dubiously, in D'Leh's case) and becoming a tribal leader before setting off on an epic adventure that would prove his legitimacy as chief.

From the beginning he is guided by a mentor, Tic'tic (Cliff Curtis), who is incapacitated midway through the film and eventually dies, signifying that the hero has "outgrown him" and is ready to stand on his own two feet and become a savior figure for humanity at large, all ingredients in the mythical formula of the hero.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell diagrammed the universal hero's journey well in his books on mythology and showed that the pattern persisted from Homer's epics to Lucas's Star Wars (although the ancient mythographers supposedly drew from some common Jungian unconscious while Lucas--and Emmerich/Kloser, presumably-- drew directly from Campbell).

In the first act, while still in the village and D'Leh is struggling with his dubiously-earned leadership, outsiders on horseback ("The Four-Legged Demons") raid the community and carry off some of its members, including Evolet, and D'Leh is challenged to finally live up to the leadership that he himself feels undeserving of by rescuing her and the other captives.

Following the tracks of the kidnappers, D'Leh and his companions travel down through the jungles of Africa and befriend the natives, who also lost members of their own community to the "Four Legged Demons," and the rescue party is enlarged.

Meanwhile, throughout the adventure, as the Yagahl hunt on the plains at the beginning, and the rescue party goes through jungles midway, the viewing audience is treated to encounters with wooly mammoths, saber tooth tigers, and phorusrhacoses (or diatrymas; not quite sure what the giant, carnivorous ostrich-like creatures were), as befitting of the hero's journey into an unknown that is rife with beasts and monsters.

Following a cryptic, astrological sign (another common ingredient of the hero formula), they pass through deserts and finally come upon the city of the kidnappers, which resembles ancient Egypt.

The "Four-Legged Demons," it turns out, are nothing but overseers who go all over the known world raiding villages and kidnapping the people from there for the slave-labor required to build their pyramids.

The wooly mammoths, too, have been enslaved for the construction, their tusks sawn in half.

D'Leh and his party free the slaves, cause the mammoths to stampede (because they know how to make them do so, being hunters of them and all) and the pyramids come crumbling down.

The appearance of the long-nailed and veiled Pharoah--the Overlord of All--appears to have been lifted from the rendering of Xerxes from the movie 300, as is his death: Although the hurled spear of Leonidas from 300 draws blood but only nicks him, D'Leh's hits the mark, and kills him.

Then the veil is slightly lifted to reveal the secret identity beneath...

I expected to see a disfigured, Phantom of the Opera/Darth Vader type of revelation (the "power corrupts" suggestion), but you are only offered a glimpse of the pink skin-- which was jarring enough if only because all of the other characters--coming to think of it-- had dark complexions.

It was a fleeting glimpse that was forgotten quickly enough, however, as the love story of D'Leh and Evolet continued and the people of the world were freed from their bondage and everyone went home to their villages, but in that glimpse the game is given away.

The entertaining and distracting mythical adventure and the special effects caused a 24 hour delay for the meaning of the pink skin and the underlying political message to hit me:

The great civilization that was symbolized by the Overlord's city was ruled by The Man (a.k.a. Whitey), and built on the backs of slaves, who The Man brought to work for him against their will from the four corners of the Earth.

It all fit the leftist worldview:

The indigenous tribes symbolized "The People" of the Third World who were happy, healthy, and reverential of--and at one with--Nature, until everything went awry because of The Man.

Although the Yagahl--who resembled Native Americans with dreadlocks-- hunted mammoths, killing one of them a year was a sacred ritual, and they used every part of the mammoth in gratitude for the mammoth's "sacrifice," a pagan thanksgiving of sorts that preserved its dignity (cf. Native Americans "Thanking" the spirit of the animal before eating it).

That was juxtaposed with the humiliated beasts of burden the Overlord turned them into.

And there were the African tribes who, on parting with their Yagahl friends at the end, gave them seeds to plant and we see the fruits beginning to grow back in the Yagahl village, celebrating a shared, holistic, organic way of life, and living happily ever after in harmony with Nature.

They were Rousseau's Noble Savages.

And Egypt wasn't Egypt. It was run by Whitey, for one, and the pyramids had a tip on top that the ones on the Nile don't...

...but the one on the American dollar bill does (i.e. the Freemason's rendering with the eye).

The anomaly of the blue-eyed but swarthy Evolet at first seemed disruptive of the worldview, since blue eyes invoke Arianism, but what she symbolized was the genetic mixing of the races, which is a solution of that worldview.

Obviously, the characters and events of the movie are entirely wishful, as the social problems of race (caused by Whitey) were not solved 12,000 years ago, but supposedly grew unabated since then.

Indeed, the co-writer Kloser says in the film's production notes: "Roland (Emmerich) and I never intended for '10,000 BC' to be a documentary."

No, it was intended to be an allegory, and the poster says:

"It Takes a Hero To Change The World."

In other words, it's meant to inspire and cheer on Third World radicals (i.e. "The People") to "liberate" the world from the yoke of Imperialist America, today (or at least as long as Bush is president).

42 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

" ... although the ancient mytholographers supposedly drew from some common Jungian unconscious while Lucas--and Emmerich/Kloser, presumably-- drew directly from Campbell). "

When did the shared unconscious die - forcing people to use derivatives?

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you learn about J. Campbell from that old Bill Moyers series on the PBS?

7:46 PM  
Blogger John said...

"When did the shared unconscious die - forcing people to use derivatives?"

That's a good question. I'm not sure that it did (granting that it exists), although it may have been diluted or has even morphed (the mapping of the unconscious in terms of identifying universal, mythic symbols was pioneered by Freud and Structuralists like Levi-Strauss but has since been challenged and undermined by post-Structural deconstructionism, as pioneered by Derrida and embraced by Feminism and its derivatives, although if the former is true, it doesn't matter what anyone says to the contrary).

Anyway, what I meant is that while the ancient mythographers--separated by continents and centuries and unaware of each other's myths-- supposedly drew on the Jungian collective unconscious, perhaps a Bergsonian elan vital, to account for the same patterns, Lucas (and presumably Emmerich/Kloser) drew from a blueprint provided by Campbell that diagrammed the universal patterns used by those ancient mythographers.

That's not to say that Star Wars--or 10,000 BC--are "inauthentic" myths per se, only that, as per this post, the writers of 10,000 BC took the template and plugged in their own race-specific particulars into the universal slots, which makes it artificial.

In true myth, Tyranny=Tyranny.

What they apparently plugged in was: Tyranny=White.

"Did you learn about J. Campbell from that old Bill Moyers series on the PBS?"

That's exactly when I first learned about him, in 1989. I spent the early 90's studying his books.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you feel somewhat conflicted by being mentored by a publicly funded LBJ liberal like Moyers?

Don't you wish you had learned about Campbell from Buckley on Firing Line?

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were the filmmakers white? For years white filmmakers often made the bad guys dark. So maybe you have some black filmmakers just reversing the norm?

Or maybe they were just trying say, "Hey man - we're cool, we 'get it'"

10:57 PM  
Blogger John said...

"Do you feel somewhat conflicted by being mentored by a publicly funded LBJ liberal like Moyers?"

I wasn't being "mentored" by Moyers. I was listening to Campbell.

"Don't you wish you had learned about Campbell from Buckley on Firing Line?"

Yes. They'd make a good team. One's a crypto-Nazi, the other a crypto-fascist.

"Were the filmmakers white?"

I don't know about Kloser, but Emmerich is.

"For years white filmmakers often made the bad guys dark. So maybe you have some black filmmakers just reversing the norm?"

What "years"? I can't think of a single movie that even comes close to doing what *10,000 BC* did, except maybe *The Birth of a Nation* way back in 1915 which glorified the KKK.

"Or maybe they were just trying say, 'Hey man - we're cool, we 'get it.'"

I'm sure Emmerich "gets it." He's a European liberal.

12:46 AM  
Blogger nanc said...

john - i've not even heard of this movie! as i trust your opinion, now i'll never have to see it.

o.t. - when is californistan going to learn?

7:53 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Great analysis, John. First rate.

and to your 'anonymous' questioner who thinks the film makers are saying "Hey cool, we get it," bullsh*t!

The 'hate whitey' crap has been the dominant theme out of New Left since before Herbert Marcuse wrote "Eros and Civilization" in 1955. If ever there was an inauthentic interpretation of the collective unconscious, and vindication of Rousseau's "noble" savages, it was his.

But then mixing Freud and Marx or Marx with 'anyone' is never a 'good' idea.

Voltaire - "One feels like crawling on all fours after reading your work."

Ignoring Thanatos will not make him go away. Neither will his influence and place in the collective subconscious go away by 'wishing' it away. It will always require forceful repression and sublimation towards a 'noble' lie/goal. And there's nothing 'noble' in 'brown savagery for the sake of dominance over 'white' savagery. Else there could never be am Athenian 'feminine' virtue like 'temperance'.

The shared unconscious NEVER died. It was simply 're-discovered' and rationally explained. And that process started long before Plato began to write it down in the fourth century BC... and has never stopped.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

btw - I never saw 1,000,000 Years BC either. But Raquel Welch would look great in a fur miniskirt regardless of the date... ;-)

8:59 AM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

Plato, "Ion"

SOCRATES: I perceive, Ion; and I will proceed to explain to you what I imagine to be the reason of this. The gift which you possess of speaking excellently about Homer is not an art, but, as I was just saying, an inspiration; there is a divinity moving you, like that contained in the stone which Euripides calls a magnet, but which is commonly known as the stone of Heraclea. This stone not only attracts iron rings, but also imparts to them a similar power of attracting other rings; and sometimes you may see a number of pieces of iron and rings suspended from one another so as to form quite a long chain: and all of them derive their power of suspension from the original stone. In like manner the Muse first of all inspires men herself; and from these inspired persons a chain of other persons is suspended, who take the inspiration. For all good poets, epic as well as lyric, compose their beautiful poems not by art, but because they are inspired and possessed. And as the Corybantian revellers when they dance are not in their right mind, so the lyric poets are not in their right mind when they are composing their beautiful strains: but when falling under the power of music and metre they are inspired and possessed; like Bacchic maidens who draw milk and honey from the rivers when they are under the influence of Dionysus but not when they are in their right mind. And the soul of the lyric poet does the same, as they themselves say; for they tell us that they bring songs from honeyed fountains, culling them out of the gardens and dells of the Muses; they, like the bees, winging their way from flower to flower. And this is true. For the poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no invention in him until he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer in him: when he has not attained to this state, he is powerless and is unable to utter his oracles. Many are the noble words in which poets speak concerning the actions of men; but like yourself when speaking about Homer, they do not speak of them by any rules of art: they are simply inspired to utter that to which the Muse impels them, and that only; and when inspired, one of them will make dithyrambs, another hymns of praise, another choral strains, another epic or iambic verses--and he who is good at one is not good at any other kind of verse: for not by art does the poet sing, but by power divine. Had he learned by rules of art, he would have known how to speak not of one theme only, but of all; and therefore God takes away the minds of poets, and uses them as his ministers, as he also uses diviners and holy prophets, in order that we who hear them may know them to be speaking not of themselves who utter these priceless words in a state of unconsciousness, but that God himself is the speaker, and that through them he is conversing with us. And Tynnichus the Chalcidian affords a striking instance of what I am saying: he wrote nothing that any one would care to remember but the famous paean which is in every one's mouth, one of the finest poems ever written, simply an invention of the Muses, as he himself says. For in this way the God would seem to indicate to us and not allow us to doubt that these beautiful poems are not human, or the work of man, but divine and the work of God; and that the poets are only the interpreters of the Gods by whom they are severally possessed. Was not this the lesson which the God intended to teach when by the mouth of the worst of poets he sang the best of songs? Am I not right, Ion?

ION: Yes, indeed, Socrates, I feel that you are; for your words touch my soul, and I am persuaded that good poets by a divine inspiration interpret the things of the Gods to us.

SOCRATES: And you rhapsodists are the interpreters of the poets?

ION: There again you are right.

SOCRATES: Then you are the interpreters of interpreters?

ION: Precisely.

SOCRATES: I wish you would frankly tell me, Ion, what I am going to ask of you: When you produce the greatest effect upon the audience in the recitation of some striking passage, such as the apparition of Odysseus leaping forth on the floor, recognized by the suitors and casting his arrows at his feet, or the description of Achilles rushing at Hector, or the sorrows of Andromache, Hecuba, or Priam, --are you in your right mind? Are you not carried out of yourself, and does not your soul in an ecstasy seem to be among the persons or places of which you are speaking, whether they are in Ithaca or in Troy or whatever may be the scene of the poem?

ION: That proof strikes home to me, Socrates. For I must frankly confess that at the tale of pity my eyes are filled with tears, and when I speak of horrors, my hair stands on end and my heart throbs.

SOCRATES: Well, Ion, and what are we to say of a man who at a sacrifice or festival, when he is dressed in holiday attire, and has golden crowns upon his head, of which nobody has robbed him, appears weeping or panic-stricken in the presence of more than twenty thousand friendly faces, when there is no one despoiling or wronging him;--is he in his right mind or is he not?

ION: No indeed, Socrates, I must say that, strictly speaking, he is not in his right mind.

SOCRATES: And are you aware that you produce similar effects on most of the spectators?

ION: Only too well; for I look down upon them from the stage, and behold the various emotions of pity, wonder, sternness, stamped upon their countenances when I am speaking: and I am obliged to give my very best attention to them; for if I make them cry I myself shall laugh, and if I make them laugh I myself shall cry when the time of payment arrives.


Gee, if only we never understand the source of our inspiration, how authentic we could all be!

...NOT!

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So was Tictic supposed to be a stand for Jer. Wright or John the Baptist?

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why was Campbell a crypto nazi? Is he the same grouping as those guys like Gobineau and Stoddard and M. Grant? Racialist? Buckely did have a whiff of the phalange about him, didn't he? Maybe he supported Franco, Pincochet, and those colonels in Athens. Maybe? But didn't he liberalise in his later years?

What's up with Marcuse? Wasn't he like *the* dude to namecheck with hippie women when you wanted to chill in the 70s?

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of protos and cryptos and heroes - Have you read any of Tom Carlyle on Hero worship?

If not, you can download it from google books. Have you checked out google books? You can dowload or read online just about anybook in English language for free - so long as it it is copywright pre 1923.

Pretty cool, eh?

12:53 PM  
Blogger John said...

"So was Tictic supposed to be a stand for Jer. Wright or John the Baptist?"

Both, if you think D'Leh and Barack Obama are stand ins for Jesus Christ.

"Why was Campbell a crypto nazi?"

Buckley's the crypto-Nazi. Campbell's the crypto-fascist (or so I've heard from post-Structuralists).

"Is he the same grouping as those guys like Gobineau and Stoddard and M. Grant? Racialist? Buckely did have a whiff of the phalange about him, didn't he? Maybe he supported Franco, Pincochet, and those colonels in Athens. Maybe? But didn't he liberalise in his later years?"

What, conservatives are disqualified from promoting the legalization of marijuana, no matter how rationally argued?

Anyway, I think you're confusing Buckley's Libertarianism with liberalism.

"What's up with Marcuse? Wasn't he like *the* dude to namecheck with hippie women when you wanted to chill in the 70s?"

Yup. So was Che Guevera and Chairman Mao.

"Speaking of protos and cryptos and heroes - Have you read any of Tom Carlyle on Hero worship?"

I have not.

"If not, you can download it from google books. Have you checked out google books? You can dowload or read online just about anybook in English language for free - so long as it it is copywright pre 1923.

Pretty cool, eh?"

Absolutely. Thank you for the reference.

Say, anon, your voice rings a bell. Do I know you?

Skeet, is that you, old chum? :)

1:32 PM  
Blogger John said...

Nanc: What's there to learn? $600,000,000 for a palatial "research" center that $109 millionaire Bill "Global Initiative" Clinton and/or Al Gore is probably involved in and will undoubtedly join forces with filmmakers and bombard the culture with "authoritative" Global Warming propaganda for a long time to come.

Sounds to me like they've learned well (i.e. that they can do or say whatever they want and not get held accountable).

FJ: Thank you. Your participation is appreciated and valued (because my brain gets a little bigger after reading your posts and accessing your links).

3:17 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

that coupled with the $1.80 per six pack tax they're going to slap on beer ought to drive the californistinians right over the edge!

as for farmer - the muse must've smacked him again!

4:13 PM  
Blogger John said...

Right. The "sin tax." What's next, condoms? Of course not, don't be ridiculous. Taxing condoms for liberals is like taxing the church.

4:34 PM  
Blogger John said...

May the muse never leave him.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Farmer John said...

I bet Sophia Loren would look great in a fur miniskirt, too... ;-)

5:43 PM  
Blogger John said...

Welch & Loren.

Speaking of Muses...

6:20 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

did i hear my name?

bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahaha!

ciao! *;]

9:14 PM  
Blogger John said...

...and NANC! :)

11:34 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

This is what happens when I go away for a day...

12:16 AM  
Blogger berty said...

It's all just one more for the vine, Mr. Campbell.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Taxing condoms for liberals is like taxing the church."

I may be wrong about this, but aren't churches (and other non-profirs) exempt from tax?

I thought that was why asset-free (liability free) Al Sharpton rents his suits from his church and so cannot repay money he is owned from lawsuits. It's no his money, it's the churches money and its tax free.

Conversely, when churches and other religious groups get in trouble - they try (and fail) to say the individuals are responsible.

Condoms? I think they are subject to sales tax in most states - Maybe I am wrong, but usually food is exempt from sales tax and condoms aren't food. Usually.

But all states are different, so who knows?

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant to say Rev Al ownes money - not is owed. But for all I know, he may have repaid it. It was controversy about him a while ago.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT - but did you happen to read that hilarious profile of Chris Matthews in the NY Times magazine? It's online - I almost felt sorry for him. Chris Matthews has 19 honorary degrees from colleges and universities in our fair land. 19! What a scholar!

10:36 AM  
Blogger John said...

"Our fair land?" That ain't Skeet. Skeet's a Canadian.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skeet? I just read that -I was gonna put down Steve - but I just didn't want to open an account now. Sorry.

Hey - Bill Clinton is on TV now - he is upset at Obama for calling Pennsylvanians bitter. Or so he says.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI:
http://books.google.com/books?id=D9KzGNM9c50C&printsec=frontcover&dq=Carlyle+Heroes+worship

11:01 PM  
Blogger John said...

Hey Steve. Welcome. Or so he says, right. I guess he thinks everyone forgot what he and Hillary were saying about the gun-toting Bible-thumpers of the vast, Right-wing conspiracy when they didn't have to kiss up to them to get elected.

12:45 AM  
Blogger nanc said...

john - psssssssst!

7:45 AM  
Blogger berty said...

Is he? I'm outta here!

6:36 PM  
Blogger John said...

?

2:19 AM  
Blogger berty said...

Sorry. I was talking to nanc.

6:41 AM  
Blogger John said...

Nanc, what happened to your blog?

1:18 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

John, her blog is still there...just can't get to it through the link from her bio. I put a comment on her blog about it.

1:55 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

i'm starting a new blog soon and keep remembering to forget to sign in with my usual sign in.

kell - it's totally "oh boo"!

2:18 PM  
Blogger nanc said...

oh, hey berty-girl!

2:19 PM  
Blogger Alice Gorable said...

:P

5:07 PM  
Blogger John said...

Hi Alice. :)

8:25 PM  
Blogger Alice Gorable said...

Hi John! ;)

7:51 AM  

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