Alan Moore is the world's most critically acclaimed author of comic books. In this film, we see a portrait of the artist as contemporary shaman, someone with the power to transform consciousness by means of manipulating language, symbols and images.I'd be hard pressed to find a better example of an artist who makes conscious use of myth and magick than Alan Moore. We can see all around us how prescient he's been, and through his work the thoughtful reader can read the myths with which we're continually pummelled by big media, politics and religion.
Narrated by Sean Penn and based on the work of media critic and best- selling author Norman Solomon, who traveled with Penn to Baghdad just before the war to call attention to the dangers of a U.S. invasion, WAR MADE EASY reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose 50 years of government spin and media collusion that has dragged our country into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. With remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, the documentary exposes how presidential administrations of both parties have relied on a combination of deception and media complicity to sell one war after another to the American people.This is one of many examples of how we are manipulated and distracted. I would point to Adam Curtis' brilliant documentary series The Century of the Self for more insight. Now, where it is valuable to shine the light on the unconscious parts of culture and mass consciousness, I would argue that the role of artists and musicians engaged in the purest kind of exploration of art and self is more important. Even more important is how each individual engages with these ideas and most important is that everyone is free in their creativity and shaping of their world, "artist" or not.
Grant Morrison could be one of the most important people you've never heard of, an inventive comic book writer who's practically a god among hardcore fans for spawning titles like Batman RIP, The Invisibles, All Star Superman and The New X-Men.And to round out this trio of illusion, dissolution and creative collusion, we have more comics, more magick and the kind of psychedelia we try to bring to Veil of Thorns in sound and sight.
Now, the first and third examples represent artists tapping into the mythosphere very effectively and eloquently. We've been playing with the elements of myth and narrative over the last twenty years, but perhaps we need to reveal the pattern. It is my tendency to be opaque and cryptic, but the number of people who have come to me to tell me that they saw the threads of the story Veil of Thorns has been telling reveal where some clarity could make our art stronger. Where this thought is taking us will soon be revealed.
Meanwhile I hope you enjoy this movie Saturday break as much as I enjoyed watching these films and giving some of the thoughts that came to me in the process. My apologies to those of you in countries without access to Hulu. I may do this again and use other sources.
P. Emerson Williams