Reactionary Film Study: American Beauty

Mediocrity as Spirituality.

“Life is a well of delight, but where the rabble also drink, there all fountains are poisoned.” — Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Western civilization is ten or so generations of rabble defiling the works of their betters in the name of “progress.” Nowhere is this cultural degradation more profoundly experienced and tastelessly displayed than the film industry.

The clip above comes from the 1999 movie “American Beauty,” in my opinion one of the more repulsive and poisoned works of our Present Age.

The “bag scene” above is considered the movie’s most evocative, memorable moment. It so ridiculous it must be repeated: a plastic bag floating in the breeze was the defining scene of the film, the work’s allegorical hammer. “My heart is just going to cave in.”

Yes, it is quite silly in retrospect, Seth MacFarlane had a skit about it. That’s not good enough for me. I’m sorry, but it’s time for Bulbasaur to hand you the mirror.

First off, do you notice the music sounds familiar? Doesn’t the music for this scene remind you of another movie? Another moment? Another emotion?

With the exception of the Fried Green Tomatoes theme towards the middle of the third link, every single piece could adequately, seamlessly substitute to provide emotional context for the bag scene. Did you even notice the “scene changes” within these fan-made Thomas Newman “concertos?”

Your (the rabble’s) aesthetics are expected to be uniform, replaceable, mass-produced. Not very imaginative or challenging, easily consumed.

Your soul is a Big Mac®.
Perhaps I’m being a bit unfair; this movie was about more than a stupid plastic bag. What else did this movie have? In it, we were shown the existential crises of Middle ‘Murca: there was a middle-aged man wanting to fuck a teenager, an unfaithful wife, a sulky daughter, a vapid “artist,” and an unbalanced gay marine with a gun.

American Beauty was certainly tragic, but not in the manner it intended. This movie succeeded in giving its pre-tech bust audience a deep, long, introductory glance into the Postmodern abyss we inhabit today. Yes, the tragedies we experience via hyper-surreal media news were foretold in this film. You say “school shootings?” I say “plastic bag scene.”

(Oh, is that wound too fresh, you mad? Fuck you, can you actually tell me the name of one Sandy Hook victim? How old was he/she? Do you know anything about the family they left behind? I know, I know, your heart is just going to cave in. Turn the Thomas Newman up and kiss my ass.)

“Without a Geist, there is no Zeit.” Our present age is one of mechanical reason and of consumed material (replaceable, meaningless objects). The dialectics of Idealism have been cunningly replaced by the dialectics of Materialism; this is why “Zeitgeist” is now Jacque Fresco and not Georg Hegel. This is also why the closest you come to a connection with the spiritual is a piano playing for a fucking plastic bag.

Peter Pan

As a society we adults desire to crawl back into the womb. You were happier when you were allowed to believe in something more than the mundane, the material, the dollar menu. You grew up without a Father, without Faith, and when reality presented you with a world of dialectics, all you could do was ape absurdity in hopes someone would unfuck your idiocy.

Your rational world is a circlejerk.

Author image
Bulbasaur is a blue collar worker and part-time polemicist from the Southern U.S.