Modern Transience in ‘The Morning Schedule’

In Susumu Hani’s 1972 film, The Morning Schedule, a pair of friends ponder over the 8mm films created by their friend, Kusako, who recently committed suicide, as well as those they made themselves. While there is an overarching narrative to the film — focused on a man who Kusako had a brief relationship with — the center of the film is the 8mm films themselves. You see, rather than shoot them himself, Hani had the non-professional actors serve as the ones behind the camera. In effect, the characters and actors are merged by this, as their behavior in the amateur film is, while perhaps inflected by knowledge that it’ll be part of a full film, ultimately just an expression of their actual character as people. The result is a film that can’t be said to have just one director or cinematographer, but four or five, and one that takes up a documentary quality despite its fictional nature.

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Why Rehabilitate Kautsky?

Caught in the foggy terrain of a newly resurgent left, regaining prominence on the national stage after decades of repression and strategic failure, the socialists of our age are confused and lost. All those who are worth listening to recognize the importance of the past and the necessity of studying our forebears in earlier communist and liberatory movements, but what this means in the concrete situation varies. Some stick to aging tendencies reflecting the political priorities of a totally different geopolitical situation, acting as if Marxism-Leninism, Trotskyism, or Bordigist Left Communism are coherent politics after the disappearance of the USSR. Others, however, recognize the need to develop new tendencies for the current cycle of struggle, and some of this group turn to past thinkers whose ideas have faded into the abyss of time. Luxemburgists, Bukharinists, all of these make use of departed comrades to justify a new expression of the communist movement. While there’s some amount of disingenuity to all of these new ‘tendencies’ — divorced from current practice as they are, they can’t really be called such a thing — none are worse than Kautskyism, which has seen a revival over the last few years in the wake of DSA’s rapid growth and the Bernie Sanders campaign.

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Can Books Topple Class Society?: Measuring Capital’s Role in Ascendance of a Bookworm

Ascendance of a Bookworm’s Myne really, really doesn’t like living in a ‘class society’, and this is something which, to put it lightly, has caught on with a significant number of leftist and left-leaning anime fans. In the show, after all, the hardships imposed on the lower classes by feudal society are constantly critiqued, and it’s difficult not to compare them to the forms that class oppression takes in our capitalist society. Yet, this is where the primary contradiction of the show emerges: when it compares its world to ours using Myne’s nature as an isekai protagonist, it almost exclusively notes the ways in which feudal society is dominated by class, implicitly claiming that our society isn’t. In one sense, then, Bookworm is a defense of capitalism, a trend which is quite common in isekai. At the same time, however, Bookworm isn’t made for a feudal audience but a capitalist one, and thus any critique of class society will necessarily serve as a critique of class under capitalism as well. Neither an analysis which views it as strictly anti-capitalist nor one which sees it as deeply pro-capitalism will provide an adequate picture of the series.

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Nat Turner and John Brown’s Role in my Conversion

It’s funny: in almost all of my time as a communist, two of my greatest idols have been Nat Turner and John Brown. It’s not strange for communists to look up to these two great men, of course, but they usually wouldn’t be the first picks. Of course, some of that is simply because both these men were fighting to free my ancestors, and white leftists don’t have that immediate personal connection to the cause of abolition. However, having now become a Christian, I’d like to think I was drawn to the spirituality of their cause as well. At least, I can say with confidence that Christianity would have nothing to offer me if they, alongside so many others, hadn’t risen up with God’s inspiration behind them.

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“Only a Teenager Could Like This!” – An Observation on Boogiepop Phantom, Gunslinger Girl, and Adolescent Dreariness

There’s a certain type of anime — and it’s not just anime, but that’s the easiest example for me to draw upon — that I feel like I love if only I had seen it as a teenager. Most recently, this came up with Boogiepop Phantom, which has fantastic directorial flair but little of value to say beyond “man, aren’t teenagers disaffected?” What I’m talking about here isn’t a guilty pleasure, not really. Guilty pleasures are trashy, but these works are anything but. While I’m hesitant to use the word, the specific phrase I’d use for these would be either ‘pretentious’ or ‘relatively vapid’. These sort of works appeal to a very particular feeling of adolescence, where you’re alienated from those around you and have only finally reached the level of maturity necessary to realize that the beautiful world you thought existed as a child was actually tainted to its core.

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