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  1. #1
    Mr Ron Price RonPrice's Avatar
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    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: In Context

    Some readers may find, after reading this prose-poem, that they did not get much on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I am writing this to provide me with a general context for this film. Readers may not find that context as obvious.-Ron
    ----------------------------------
    STILL AT THE CENTRE

    In 1962 three westerns were released: (2)David Miller's Lonely Are the Brave, Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Sam Peckinpah's Ride the High Country. That same year my travelling-pioneering life began quite unobtrusively. Looking back, I find it difficult to define the texture of my life and my society as it existed then. How can I describe the interface between my personal life, that historical moment in society and the stage of development of the religion I had come to be associated with, by then, for nearly ten years? The raw material for the western genre came from the 1840s to the 1890s when the USA expanded at a staggering rate. So was this true of the raw material of my religion, and specifically the Revelation of the Bab and Baha'u'llah: 1844-1892.

    The first western was shot, writes Gary Johnson(1), in 1898. The western genre emerged out of the embers of the actual frontier history, a frontier which formally ended in 1893. By 1962, the typical new western Baha'i pioneer lived imaginatively, to some extent anyway, in "Bonanzaland"(3) thanks to the TV western. In the Baha'i Faith this pioneer also lived imaginatively, to an important extent, in a crescent occupying a region from Teheran to Akka and Haifa in Israel. -Ron Price with thanks to (1)Gary Johnson, "The History of the Western," Article on the Internet; (2)Richard Armstrong's Review of John Saunders, The Western Genre: From Lordsburg to Big Whiskey, Wallflower Press, London, 2001; and (3)M. McLuhan in Philip French, Westerns: Aspects of a Movie Genre, Seeker and Warburg, London, 1977.


    As the world was being turned
    into one vast tourist attraction,
    amidst war and horror,
    free-wheeling anarchic community,
    a staggering complexity,
    I started my pioneer journey
    beyond my St. Louis1
    amidst TV horse operas:
    Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Virginian

    Not equipped to handle
    complex socio-political ideas,
    we lived under the illusion
    that what we saw was
    a neutral recording of events,
    not cinematic artificiality,
    for the eye was so much busier
    than the mind, for most of us.

    We mapped out personal life-stories
    over these simple tales and, in the process,
    provided a glue to the social order,
    little did we know, then,
    for cinema did not question,
    was not critical. The social consensus
    had not come apart back then,2
    or so some argued anyway.

    Beside Bonanzaland a new narrative
    was played on the stage, for some.
    It was told across the wide-wide world,
    To the observer of mass-culture
    it looked like other stories were
    winning: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,
    Rosemary's Baby, Amityville Horror,
    The Clockwork Orange, On Golden Pond,
    The Exorcist, Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry---.
    and on and on------went the complex tale------
    as liberalism failed,
    and conservatism triumphed;
    as a strand of the radicalism of the sixties
    slowly became organized
    in a broadbased movement
    that was still at the centre
    of that quiet revolution
    which began in Shiraz.

    (2) M. Ryan and D. Kellner, Camera Politica: The Politics and Ideology of Contemporary Hollywood Film, Indiana UP, Bloomington, 1990, p.3.
    (1) St. Louis Missouri was the beginning point of 'The West' in 1850; my St. Louis was Burlington Ontario Canada in 1962.

    Ron Price
    4 December 2001
    Updated For: sffworld.com
    18/8/07
    Last edited by RonPrice; September 27th, 2012 at 07:07 PM. Reason: to add some words

  2. #2
    ^ Fay-lim. Ok, its Phill. Phellim's Avatar
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    Is this supposed to be posted here, or was it a mistake? Is their a question to answer, or are we supposed to discuss something? I'm confused

  3. #3
    I wanted the Texas Chainsaw Massacre...

  4. #4
    Mr Ron Price RonPrice's Avatar
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    I'm Happy to Clarify

    Belated apologies, Phellim and theDood, for taking more than 5 years to reply. I was writing this piece, as I often do, to provide me with an overall context for this film. Often when one reads poetry or prose-poetry, one wonders what the guy is talking about. I've had this experience for decades. If both of you are still at this site, let me know, and I'm happy to clarify.-Ron

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