Kubrick the misanthrope
Charles Mudede has written a rather misguided piece on Stanley Kubrick, kindly pointing out the fact that Kubrick must have been a misanthrope and hated humans: just look at his films. “No matter how far we go into the future, into space, toward the stars, we will never break with our first and violent world. Even the robots we create, our marvelous machines, are limited (and undone) by our human emotions, pressures, primitive drives. For Kubrick, we have never been modern.” Is that really what 2001 is saying? It seems to me to be misreading the ending, which for me is probably Kubrick at his most optimistic. At the very core of Kubrick’s work is this conflict between men and the machines and systems they create that invariably fail and are flawed. His treatment of technology (in every meaning the word can have) is brilliant and level-headed.
It’s not sufficient or even appropriate to say that Kubrick “hated humans,” because that doesn’t say anything about his work. If you want to talk about how his love of humans seem to be in conflict to what humans themselves do to thwart that — just think of the Ludovico technique in Clockwork Orange, the training and war in Full Metal Jacket, and the whole of 2001. What I see in Kubrick is not misanthropy but a process of dehumanization that humans create and go through. I mean, what else is there?
Mudede curiously ends his text with “We enjoy [his films] because the hate he had for humanity was only matched by the curious love he had for the most expensive and impressive art form in the world: cinema.” How can he have hated humans if his love for cinema is so great? One just has to take a good, unbiased look at his films and see that despite all the great formality, there is a heart there that is not only for art but also for all it encompasses. In sum: Mudede is an idiot.