I've been having a lovely wallow in Brecht over the last few days - I volunteered to lead seminar on him this week, because he's where I come from and very dear to me. I very much like
his point about the unsure intersection between ethics and sympathy, although I don't always live by it - but it gives me language to talk about what happens to me in fandoms like Iron Man or Stargate, where I fundamentally disagree with the characters on ethical grounds but fall in love with them anyway.
(I just realized, this might be why I watched all the "Jack and Daniel fight" episodes of SG1 this week - because those episodes actually get close to articulating some of the Very Deep Issues I have with the entire premise and mission of the SGC. This is also, nb, why I hold so close to earlier characterizations of Daniel and am troubled by latter ones - because for me there's a big difference between a geeky outsider trying to shift the system and a scientist-collaborator who sells knowledge and intellect to a government for the purpose of making war.)
I don't want to NOT fall in love with them, though. My love affairs with characters like Tony Stark are oddly precious to me. They represent some of the best feelings of my life. And, every now and again, some lovely fanworker will make something like Average Avengers Local Chapter 7 of New York City,
and bring love into line with ethics. Brecht knows that to be a passive part of the audience is to open oneself up to being used through one's loves; his solution is to force the audience to participate in the creation of meaning, so that they cannot be victimized, so that they have to be a responsible part of what is made.
I watched Theater of War
last night, a gorgeous documentary - available on Netflx Watch Instant!
- that follows the Tony Kushner/Meryl Streep production of "Mother Courage and Her Children" in 2008. Seeing clips from that production was lovely, but the documentarians also did amazing things with the model book from the original 40s production. The model book gives a series of stills of the production, sometimes only seconds apart; the documentary put them into a semi-animated slideshow, with the text spoken over, so that you got a real sense of ghosts in motion. Streep has a great line at one point - the interviewer asks her what it is to be an actor - she says that she is the voice of people who have died.
The film's worth it if only for the footage of Brecht's testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He treats it like a farce. It's beautiful.