- Audrey Mantey's website
- Barbara Zelter on radio
- Books by Hornborg
- Brian Russell's Blog
- Bring Them Home Now
- Carolyn Baker
- Derrick Jensen's Website
- Jim Craven's blog
- Kim Alphandary
- Michael Hudson's site
- Stan Goff's Blog
- Steve McClure interview
- Watson Institute
- Yolanda Carrington's blog
Apocalypse Now small group - Section 1 - “Volcano”
Part One — Volcano
Showing at the All Saints UMC Ministry Center, 7 PM, Friday, February 27
[All quotes and images are employed under Title 17, “Fair Use” law, and no portion of this study is for profit.]
Notes on Volcano
The idea for viewing Volcano, which is neither the worst nor best of the genre, came about because it placed such emphasis on Los Angeles as its setting. Several years ago, I picked up a copy of Mike Davis’ superlative book Ecology of Fear — Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster. This book comes with a strong endorsement for both content and style. Peculiar at first, the book is a mesmerizing page-turner of revelation about the reality and the myths of the effects of urbanization (an ecology) on culture and personhood.
Reviewer Walter Kern wrote of Davis’ book,
Here is a key point about many extremity stories; they are a public imagination of breaking out of inertia — inertia experienced as a “system of doom.”
Using films, readings, and cultural criticism to study social phenomena is employing them as heuristic “devices.”
Volcano is a Hollywood production. It follows Hollywood formulas. It’s story contains a handful of pretty standard film conventions. It idealizes many aspects of reality, and it reproduces idealized archetypes, characters polished and idealized to give us some recognizable essence as viewers and participants in the film.
Hollywood produces films that are generalized cultural commodities. Cultural because they are expressions of our social life, generalized because they are now almost universally available in American society, and commodities because the primary motive for making them is to accumulate monetary wealth.
The scale of the industry which makes these cultural commodities has made it into an effective transmission belt of social values.
What differentiates the disaster or apocalyptic genre(s) of film from other films is the condition of extremity that is the setting and background.
So in addition to, and often mixed with, the transmission of social values — which may be diverse and situational, there is a circumstance that forces greater moral questions to the forefront of the story, often presented as ethical dilemmas confronting the protagonist(s).