Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Haruki Murakami's "A Folklore for My Generation: A Pre-history of Late-stage Capitalism"

One way into Murakami's short story "A Folklore for My Generation: A Pre-history of Late-stage Capitalism," in Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, is to consider it in conjunction with Giles Deleuze's notion of the time-image (in addition to Ernest Mandel's three stages of capitalism: stage 1: market capitalism; stage 2: monopoly capitalism; stage 3: late capitalism/globalization).

To do so, one might watch (the entire documentary, but at the least...) the first ten minutes of Monterrey Pop (Pennebaker, 1968) when reflecting on the idealism and enthusiasm associated with the late 1960s in Murakami's short story, and then watch the Radiohead documentary Meeting People is Easy (Gee, 1998) when considering Murakami's articulation of postmodernity.

Deleuze's notions of time provides a helpful vantage point for the text, for the movement-image (briefly summarized: in which time is measurement) can to an extent be applied to Monterrey Pop, in which the historical moment is documented/measured narratological-ly, chronologically, and linearly; in contrast, Meeting People is Easy arguably depicts time itself, the time-image, as the subject of the camera/ object of inquiry. Meeting People is Easy, like Murakami's depiction of the present in "Folklore...," places past, present, and future in a strange co-existence in which a new form of (cinematographic) reality is realized.   

Murakami has stated that "experience itself is meaning" and, perhaps, just as we learn little about (the "point" of) Radiohead in their documentary, but might understand the experience of that stage in the band's existence; similarly, we might learn little about what postmodernity means/is within Murakami's folklore, but we experience it for the duration of his important short story.

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