Velvet Goldmine

August 21, 2013

What is decadence? We can loosely grasp at a sense of indulgence, a sense of embellishment of pleasure. In decadence, it is as if the fantasies of sensual desires become overly fulfilled, to the point of no return. As in, there reaches a dizzying point where the orientation between the world and the individual is lost. All he knows is what he wants. And he gets it.


Such is the characterization of the “glam rock” era mythologized in Velvet Goldmine. Sexuality is an extremely core theme to the film, and this is reasonable considering it is an expose of the aversion of the Last Man from meaning toward excessiveness as fulfillment. Sexuality becomes openly flaunted as something valuable to indulge in, versus pursuing it within the context of a spiritual aim.


Brian Slade, the epicenter of the Glam Rock movement the film focuses on, fornicates with everything in sight. This is supposedly an act of defiance and rebellion. While the rebellion is directed at repressive social mores, e.g. religion, its self-absorption and unconscious nihilism is a rebellion against the Idealism of man, which has historically moved him to make great wonders and achieve permanence. Instead, the baby is thrown out with the bath water. Doing what one pleases becomes doing the will of God.


Concurrent with the prevalence of Glam Rock is Brian Slade’s love affair with a self-destructive American by the name of Kurt Wild. He’s an individual who mirrors Jim Morrison in the fact that his kinetic energy cannot be utilized for anything productive, and instead celebrates stripping one’s clothes on stage as something meaningful. Rebellion to standards is exalted, as its aim is its end.


True, contextually, this all signifies the death of Christianity. Christian Bale plays a reporter who grew up adoring such Christian murder because, as emphasized, he felt an outlet for his homosexuality. Yet this is the central problem with the libertine culture of homosexuality: it leads to the AIDS epidemic of the 80’s. It is in other words another attribute of nihilism, oscillating like a pendulum into self-idolatry that is erected by the fulfillment of the material senses.


Were there not such homosexual men throughout the course of history? Did they not feel such repression and anxiety? Yet did they not fulfill a duty to society, to humanity at large, by providing for the world? This is not to say being openly gay is mutually exclusive with being progenitor of culture. It is to say, though, that the indulgence in pleasure is predictably at its highest with sexuality, and therefore lends itself toward those members of society which have the most frequent access to it: male homosexuals. Thus the Last Man’s embryo is a warm incubator for homosexual reaction, taken to its colorful fashion with the sodomizing of rock and roll.


Grade: B



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