This essay is a response to “Disney, Salò and Pasolini’s Inconsumable Art,” an article written by Owen Schalk in the socialist magazine Monthly Review in 2021. In contesting Schalk’s argument, the essay identifies the limits of the complaints about the way Netflix operates as the dominant digital streaming platform, using algorithms to determine what films are brought to users’ attention, based on pre-existing customer selections. Writing against the argument that commercial imperatives built into algorithms overdetermine what users see, the response identifies the way consumer choice serves as an ideology that, in a dialectical sense opens up contradictory readings of the many avenues available for filmic consumption within contemporary ideation. Pasolini’s film Salò is used by Schalk to inform Pasolini’s theory of inconsumable and indigestible art, an orientation that generates an acknowledgment of capitalism within the general scheme of fascism. The theory still applies to inform cinema watchers of capitalism in the current cultural conjuncture. The case is made that rather than being suppressed by algorithms that predetermine what films can be watched on Netflix, the diversity of many sources of knowledge in the digital environment heightens ideological positions to enliven political struggles, manifesting as dialectical contradictions within a historical materialist approach. Postmodernism is presented as a framework that enhances digital fracturing of cultures generating richer contradictions.
"Response to Owen Schalk’s “Disney, Salò and Pasolini’s Inconsumable Art”: Dialectical streaming in a digitally platformed world.,"
Democratic Communiqué: Vol. 31:
2, Article 1.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/democratic-communique/vol31/iss2/1