Well-engineered, formidable, yet also lumbering constructions are directed into battle against horrific monsters, with the fate of the world at stake. Guillermo del Toro’s movie Pacific Rim is one of these entities, and the ethno-political review by ‘white advocacy’ writer Gregory Hood is another.
Within this cascade of monstrous signs, a convulsive re-ordering of the world from out of the Pacific is a constant reference. With the shocking scale of a tsunami, and the insidiousness of an obscure intelligence, it inundates the Old Order, starting from the ocean’s coastal ramparts. “When alien life entered the earth it was from deep within the Pacific Ocean. … the Breach.” City after city falls prey to the Kaiju. “This was not going to stop.”
The response is formulaic, and statically defensive. Perhaps some kind of massive sea-wall will work? Hood is at his best in laying out the weary Cathedralist pieties of the Hollywood plot line:
If poets are the unacknowledged legislators of mankind, filmmakers are the educators, grooming the mass public to accept certain ideas in preparation for them to be implemented as policy. The acceptance of global security forces instead of national armies, the worship of blacks as natural leaders, and the promotion of an international political creed of egalitarianism, secular humanism, and intrusive (but benevolent) government …
Yet the plot-line of his review is no less predictable than that of the movie, appealing to a irrecoverable (and already mythical) confidence in a white lineage of ethno-nationalist self-government, functionally-adequate native traditions, and tested bonds of kin, as if all of these things remained untried resources to fall back upon, rather than efficient historical antecedents to the developments now being deplored. It was under the conditions of white global dominion that socialism was entrenched, and evangelical moral universalism elevated to its climactic pitch of ethno-masochistic implosion. Defenselessness before the Kaiju was not something the Kaiju brought about.
The most telling blindness of Hood’s review lies close to its heart, in the denunciation of multiculturalism. Rather than striking at Del Toro’s movie at its point of maximum Cathedralist vulneraility — which is to say, in its entirely generic, universalist presentation of the multicultural ideal — Hood repeats this same indiscriminate category without significant modification, seeking only to criticize what Del Toro promotes. This would be seriously unserious anywhere. On the Pacific Rim, it is a truly disastrous disqualification of perception.
The only reality-sensitive response to the problem of multiculturalism is to ask: Which cultures? Neither Del Toro (the Cathedral), nor Hood (ethno-traditionalism), seem to have the slightest interest in this question. Indiscriminate demographic entropy is either to be promoted, or lamented, but in both cases accepted as the only relevant alternative to a fantastically-imagined, dying world of distinct peoples. If the paint is let out of the tubes, it has to be stirred together with maximum conceptual rapidity into homogeneous brown.
Discussing the film’s central micro-alliance, between its occidental hero and oriental heroine, Hood writes:
None of this makes any sense of course. The “drift compatible” connection seems to require a kind of deep bond that almost always requires family ties. However, in this film, the conflict is driven by the struggle of the rebellious hero and the non-white female to prove that two people who have no shared history or kinship can work together, and in fact be better than everyone else. Where traditional national and family bonds have failed us, multiculturalism will save the day.
As an ethno-racial descriptor, ‘non-white’ is simply sad. It isn’t even trying. Concretely, in this case, it ensures that the true nonsense of the movie eludes attention, which is the displacement of real Pacific Rim ethno-synthesis by a merely cosmetic substitute.
As Hood emphatically notes, the relationship between (white American) Raleigh and (Japanese) Mako is not explicitly romantic, but it occupies the formula-position of a film romance, even when — admirably — it restricts itself to an intense practical partnership. I just love Japanese-American ethno-synthesis to bits, but it has almost no relevance to the real cultural process on the Pacific Rim, which is overwhelmingly dominated by Anglo-Chinese hybridism.
Japan is one of the world’s few modern ethno-nationalist states, with a strongly-preserved native culture, tightly-restricted immigration and citizenship criteria, and low English-language competence. In other words, it makes a far more tempting target for ‘multiculturalist’ (or demographic entropy) criticism than America does. But it’s ‘non-white’ so Hood doesn’t notice.
Even more peculiarly — and despite its Hong Kong setting — Pacific Rim represents China’s contribution to the multicultural alliance through three weirdo brothers who get rubbed out at the first plausible opportunity. Without wanting to be unnecessarily crude, I have to repeat — Hong fricking Kong. This is the post-1949 capital of the Singlosphere, and therefore the natural location for a centrally accentuated US-Japanese working relationship? If this isn’t quite “who cares? They’re all wogs anyway” it’s something remarkably close.
The Pacific Rim, insofar as it matters, is the a Singlosphere cultural catastrophe, a distinctively non-generic ethno-synthesis that has created the most advanced and competitive societies on the planet — Hong Kong, Singapore, and Old Shanghai among them. Del Toro and Hood conspire to efface this fact, even as both, indirectly, address it.
Insofar as we are told anything, it is that in our most desperate moments, we have to jettison Tradition. Instead, we must rely on feelings, on multicultural partnership, on wishes and fantasies and hopes about what the world might be, rather than what it is.
–– that’s Hood, not remotely understanding what he’s saying.