Parasite: A Display of Ineffectual Rage

Brody's read of the passivity of Parasite is right and wrong simultaneously. It certainly is the case that Bong Joon-Ho's intention to reflect on the impossibility of revolution absent a dedicated project from below, and demonstrate that what we are left with is a working class that is infected by the automatic subject of capitalism.

The film ends in moderation not because Bong Joon-Ho wanted it to be that way, but rather because the ideology of neoliberal individualism is so strong that even those who feel the most weight of its boot will beg for the chance to act as their rulers do, with no strategy for attaining that objective position. This is to say that in order to have an alternative ending to Parasite, we'd have to already have had an alternative way of living the world; the movie wouldn't have even be made, I'd bet.

Brody sniffs out that Parasite is ineffectual, or at least describes a tactical adventure of the working class as futile. What he doesn't connect to this fact is the level of detail he ultimately laments as being there for plot point's sake. Instead, we can read Bong Joon-Ho's incredible attention to detail as reflective of our current condition, one of Capitalist Realism (Fisher; lol i still have to realize). A condition wherein we are so sublimated to our contradictory-laden social system that even though it refuses to even pretend to serve our needs anymore, we're still okay with it. And to the extent that we're not okay with it, the only thing we can hope to do is claw our way up through the golden showers and boot kicks of those above.

Rather than being derivative of the director's own egotism, we see the connection of nearly every element of the because that's the way our society is presented to us as reality. The infiltration of propaganda and shamanistic power of the automatic subject of capitalism, manifest as the entrepreneurial spirit and successful affect of the hot rich father of 2, and symbolized by the almost supernatural stone, is so effective that even opposition becomes precorporated by its will. Capital, and the desire to accumulate it, is always so many steps ahead of our collective desire for liberation that we're caught up in its house, left only with the means to move from the basement to beneath the couch. The upwardly mobile friend, presumably moved by the stone's power, influences the teen boy who finds a job as a tutor, who then influences his sister and so on until the whole family takes over. This isn't a cutesy trick to make the journey a family affair (as Brody makes it out to be), but a comment on the way that, in order to survive with rapidly changing dynamics of capitalism, we are coerced to adopt its methods or risk a life condemned to the sewer.

In that way, Brody misses the point, and critiques Bong Joon-Ho for a societal failure to imagine alternative method for organization that would relieve all of us of the contradictions brought on by organizing around capitalism's logics. For a drastically different reason, I lament the ending of this film along with Brody, primarily at the fact that the underclass couldn't figure out that their enemy wasn't each other or even their on-face oppressors. Whereas Brody diagnoses Bong Joon-Ho's direction, I'd take a step back and realize it's not necessarily up to him.

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