Subtitle Blood Father
(d) An illegitimate child or his or her descendants may inherit real or personal property in the same manner as a legitimate child from the child's mother or her blood kindred. The child may inherit real or personal property from his or her father or from his or her father's blood kindred, provided that at least one (1) of the following conditions is satisfied and an action is commenced or claim asserted against the estate of the father in a court of competent jurisdiction within one hundred eighty (180) days of the death of the father:
subtitle blood father
(5) The mother and putative father attempted to marry each other prior to the birth of the child by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid; or
(e) Property of an illegitimate person passes in accordance with the usual rules of intestate succession to his or her mother and his or her kindred of her blood and to his or her father and his or her kindred of his or her father's blood, provided that paternity has been established in accordance with subsection (d) of this section.
Lydia Carson (Erin Moriarty) is running with gangsters under the control of boyfriend Jonah (Diego Luna). He tries to force her to kill but she ends up shooting him instead. On the run from the gangsters, she seeks help from her estranged ex-con father John Link (Mel Gibson).It's one of those hard crime thrillers where it's important to point the camera at Erin Moriarty's butt. I don't want to hate on people who revel in butt shoots. For me, it moves it away from a good hard neo-noir thriller. There's value to that move but without it, the movie could try for something darker and more brutal. Mel Gibson has it in him to be in a cruel viscous movie and this is set up for that. This is not that. It's a bit of action fun with a sprinkling of grimy dirt and an old hand in the genre. It works as such but it's not much more than that. The father daughter chemistry is fine. Gibson gives as much as he can. It tries to amp up the dialogue. It adds up to a solid B-movie.
Walter Benn Michaels opens his recent book, OurAmerica: Nativism, Modernism, and Pluralism, with an analysisof the incest theme in William Faulkner's The Sound and theFury, cueing the reader right away that the collective"our" of the title is purchased with some heavy irony.Michaels' provocative opening gambit is that the ReverendShegog's Eucharist sermon, in Faulkner's last chapter, can beread as "repeating and interlacing the twinnedfantasies" (OA, 1) of the novel. The first suchfantasy is social and corresponds to the word nativism inMichaels' subtitle: the Compsons, in different ways, wish theycould sustain their family endogamously, that is, withoutreliance on the legal conventions of kinship that must inevitablyintroduce outsiders to the clan. According to Michaels, thestatements "I have committed incest I said" (Faulkner,95) and "because like I say blood is blood and you can't getaround it" (297) are exemplary, indeed are the apotheoses,of nativist logic as manifested by Quentin and Jason,respectively.
The second fantasy, which corresponds to theword modernism in the subtitle and which always occurs in somerelation to the first, is linguistic: it involves the wish that wordscan become things by functioning"onomotopoetically" outside the in some sense arbitrarysystems of syntax and substitution which govern the way meaningis normally engendered. The pertinent textual analogs here areQuentin's qualifying "I said" in "I have committedincest I said" Benjy's habit of substituting wordsabout his sister for his actual, physical sister. Thus can Shegogbe said said to "twin" the fantasies in question when,having interpellating the congregation as "breddren andsistuhn," he insists in his sermon that the word of God becomesChrist's flesh.
For practitioners of what Michaels goes on tocall nativist modernism--a list on which he includes Hemingway,Fitzgerald, Cather, and Langston Hughes, among other lesser known1920's-era Americans--the conventions of normative reproduction,like the conventions governing meaning and reference, areexperienced as impinging upon or posing a threat to nationhood.And it is this latter concept whose complicity with a pervasiverhetoric of familiality, and therefore of pure bloodlines,Michaels wishes to expose. Once family rhetoric"racializes" (13) the American, there ensues a logic wemight be tempted, following Freud, to call totemic; the burden ofMichaels' argument, in other words, is to show that Americancitizens resemble the Compsons insofar as they "believethemselves to be of one blood" (Sir James Frazer, qtd byFreud, 103). In short, much of Michaels' articulation of nativismand modernism assumes a fateful homology between Dalton Amescourtship of Caddy and a more diffuse but more ubiquitous"outsider" presence whose best known examples are JayGatsby and Robert Cohn; the stakes of such a homology areconsiderable, for it teaches us that, beginning around the timeof the Immigration Act of 1924, it became possible for anincreasingly xenophobic nation to conflate immigration andmiscegenation, and therefore eventually to produce discourses ofcultural diversity which remain in thrall to what is irreduciblya "racial," or, worse, a "racist" logic.
Not surprisingly, Michaels' catch-all matrix isconstructed in such a way that a considerable variety ofnarratives from the period in question get to count as nativist.So that, lest we accuse him of placing too much stock in what mayappear "an extreme and perverse example" like theCompsons, he can assure us of the existence of alternative butessentially equivalent social structures: for example, homosexualfamilies, because they do not "breed," and NativeAmerican families, because they die off, both qualify as nativistand mark those texts in which they appear as"patriotic" in the most disturbing of ways. Thenativist-modernist reductio ad absurdum, which is a littledifficult to see at first, is not so much that "we" arebetter off dead than ill-bred, but that the mixing of bloodlinesalready constitutes "our" death. Hence thetragic/elegiac pathos of so much American modernism.
The point for our purposes, I guess, is thatFaulkner and the other representative modernists can be thoughtof as precipitating a kind of revolution in identitarianism withwhose legacy of so-called pluralism, the third of the"bad" -isms in Michaels' little shell game, we stillgrapple today. According to Michaels, Jason's "blood isblood" credo "expresses the priority of identity overany other category of assessment and makes clear the position ofthe family as the bearer of what I will call identitarianclaims" (6). The identitarian claims we make today, most ofwhich swear off racial essentialisms and travel proudly under thebanner of "cultural difference," still unwittingly paydeference to Jason Compson and make us all nativist-modernistidentitarians. The problem with our own contemporarypreoccupations with identity is that, without the blood logic ofracial essentialism, they are "incoherent." Why,Michaels wants to know, should in-group members be allowed to"remember" what putative outsiders can hope only to"study"; and how it is that "learning to sing anddance like blacks counts as stealing black culture" (135)?Against anti-essentialist social constructionist theorists likeMichael Omi and Howard Winant, Michaels argues that "therecan be no anti-essentialist account of race," (134) and thattherefore, unless we are prepared to countenance "our"racism, we should abandon all talk of "cultural"identity and difference.
I have at least hinted that, for Michaels, thenativist modernist need not be conscious of the racial fantasy ofnationhood. Quentin is here again exemplary, proving as he doesthat "you don't have to be attracted to your sister"(6) to want to participate in the nativism whose logicalimperative is incest. Such an assertion strategically allowsMichaels to generalize from thematic examples to pragmaticmatters "outside" the text, while leaving to one sidethe cognitive and rhetorical questions of agency and intentionwhich we can think of as framing a literary speech act.Meanwhile, Ellison remains profoundly interested in thesematters; for him, a novel is a symbolic action which forms"an argument about the nature of reality." The Freudianaxis of conscious and unconscious cognition is, indeed, crucialto the incest theme as troped by Ellison in chapter 2 of thenovel--familiar to many of us, I hope, as the Trueblood episode.To see this, we need only recall how Mr. Norton's failure toremain conscious after being "spoken for" by a blacksharecropper named Jim Trueblood, prevents him from hearing someunquieting about race in America during the "GoldenDay" episode in chapter 3. In short, Ellison teaches thatwhat is needed for full consciousness, or what comes as itsreward, is a decisive degree of control over one's story: theautonomy of telling which will turn out, as well, to be thenarrative payoff of the novel as a whole.
The Trueblood episode that occupies chapter 2of Invisible Man provides us with a convenient confluenceof Ellison's complicated views on agency, narrative, andnativism. At this point in the novel, the nameless narrator (whoI'll call IM) is a model student at a Southern black college, andwhen the college president, longsuffering Dr. Bledsoe, asks himto chauffeur a wealthy Northern white trustee for the afternoonof the annual, commemorative "Founder's Day" (37), itis clear that we are being urged to think of the "foundingfathers" and of "our" constitution. With time onhis hands, Mr. Norton, the trustee, asks IM to show him thecountryside surrounding the campus, at which point the car, as ifof its own accord, "bound[s] over the road" (38) whileIM "half-consciously" (46) follows a whitecenterline we cannot fail to recognize as a scenic correlative ofthe Freudian bar of repression. Of course, Norton isn't"supposed" to be conscious the squalid sharecroppershacks and ox-drawn carts dotting the horizon, and when IM pointsthem out, forgetting for a moment his duty as censor, a suddenchange in the landscape comes fortuitously to the rescue: Nortonclaims he "can't see them for the trees" (41), and thecountry drive is kept, for the moment, in check. But Norton'scompulsion to repeat history proves to be very strong indeed, and"as though compelled by some pressing urgency I could notunderstand" (50), he ends up acquainting himself with ablack sharecropper named Jim Trueblood who has recentlyimpregnated both his wife and daughter. 041b061a72