The Global Phallus: On the Digital and Allegorical Economy of the Hispanic Subaltern in Hollywood Film

Joseba Gabilondo

On the Periphery of Globalization: The Hispanic Condition In his Border Matters, Jos´ e D. Sald´ ıvar asserts, “US-Mexico border writing entails a new intercultural theory of making sensitive [sic] to both local processes and global forces, such as Euro-imperialism, colonialism, patriarchy, and economic and political hegemonies” (35). If this is so, then Hollywood film is an ideal medium to elaborate an intercultural theory, especially if we accept that Hollywood nowadays is global, and thus not merely North American or national (Neale and Smith). In this article, I propose to consider Hollywood itself as a representational border that must be theorized in a way that encompasses both the USA/Mexican border and the extended USA/Latin American-Spanish border. In order to recycle old names and solve old antagonisms, here the term “Hispanic” will be used, not against that of “Latino,” but as a more general one encompassing the two global borders that define the Latino and Latin-American/Spanish condition. Thus a Hispanic, intercultural border theory would help us understand several interconnected problems such as North American global hegemony, the ensuing Hispanic global subalternity as well as the hibridating border relationship between both cultural areas. By incorporating psychoanalysis to border theory, I will attempt a geopolitical theorization of

Discourse, 23.1, Winter 2001, pp. 4–24. Copyright © 2001 Wayne State University Press, Detroit, Michigan 48201-1309.

Winter 2001


fantasy and desire in global and Hispanic cultures and will question the meaning of a “global Phallus” as pertaining to a putative “global symbolic order.” In other words, I will theorize the laws and representations (Phallus) that regulate the libidinal economy of this so-called global culture as it borders with the Hispanic.1 Hispanic realities sprinkle any contemporary Hollywood film but they do not occupy central subject positions. Selma Hayek, ´ Antonio Banderas, or Jennifer Lopez reappears in films where their Hispanic exotism stands for many forms of otherness. But to this day, they have never starred in a blockbuster film in which a Hispanic character is the central focus of representation Selena or The Mask of Zorro were the closest phenomena. At the same time, the increasing presence of these Hispanic representations in Hollywood also points to the fact that they are historically intrinsic and necessary to Hollywood. Hispanic reality occupies a structurally peripheral, yet necessary, position in contemporary, globalized Hollywood to the point that there would be no Hollywood without it.

Spielberg and the Global Monster According to Times Magazine Spielberg is the “most influential director of the twentieth century” (Pizzello 207). As Stephen Schiff proclaimed in 1994 after the release of Jurassic Park, “Spielberg is the most commercially successful movie director in history, with four of the top ten all-time box-office hits” (171). Here, I will concentrate in his three most influential and popular films to this date: Jaws (1975), ET (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993). With the exception of the Star Wars films and Titanic, the three above films stand as the three highest grossing films of their times; each film broke any previous record in box-office return at the time of their release.2 The protagonists of Spielberg’s three films as well as many other Hollywood blockbusters are large prehistoric animals, predators, and aliens. Thus, even the human, hegemonic NorthAmerican subject position (white, masculine, heterosexual) seems to be peripheral to these representations where monsters become central. Needless to say, Spielberg’s three films follow the almost archetypal narrative of exorcising and liquidating the monster, so that at the end of the films, white, masculine, heterosexual AngloAmerica reemerges as the hegemonic subject of representation. Yet, it is precisely this human periphery organized around Spielberg’s ubiquitous monsters, which helps us understand the repercussions of globalization for the Hispanic/North American border.

the monster’s gaze is internal to the film: it is diegetic. That is. first of all. the scene of Jurassic Park where a T-rex looks inside the S. As a result. in Jurassic Park. the entrepreneurial and visionary man behind the project. The move towards the globalization of the monster also takes place at the level of the monster’s point of view. and ultimately. it also encompasses primary identification. has an agency of its own: it returns the look of the characters. Let us remember that. the monster (dinosaurs) does not hail from USA soil but rather from Central America (amber mines in Costa Rica). envisions a public that will come from all over the world. it is a primary gaze. In the same way. ET also had a home elsewhere as well as some form of family. the gaze no longer is confined to secondary identification. To use Jean Louis Baudry’s terminology. the camera immortalized the image of a naked woman swimming in the dark as shot from underneath the water the point of view of the shark. Jurassic Park already stepped outside the USA national territory and ventured in the new imperialist territory: the post-NAFTA Latin America. In all Spielberg’s films. John Hammond. If Jaws still was a domestic and local problem framed within the old national paradigm of “man against nature” (best epitomized by Melville’s Moby Dick ). However. exert a rather hasty genealogy of the Spilbergian monsters in order to prove that this master trope central to Spielberg’s and Hollywood’s filmmaking experiences a process of globalization that parallels that of USA’s neo-imperialist hegemony. Yet.1 Let me. the camera always allows the spectator to occupy the position of the monster. It no longer is simply the point of view of nature. the extraterrestrial gaze. However. as global spectator. In ET.V.6 Discourse 23.U. both tender and scary. Yet. ET already introduced a new subject that could not be reduced to the North-American national landscape: the extraterrestrial alien. the monster returns the gaze of the spectator and thus interpellates him/her as the viewing subject of a global spectacle. the monster does not only exchange looks with the characters but also with the spectators. In this respect. The “Jurassic gaze” exceeds the diegesis of the film and occupies that of the spectatorial experience. ultimately he mirrored from the trenches of otherness another national home somewhere in outer space. in his later films the monster acquires an autonomous and actantial gaze. However. the new audience of the resulting monstrous spectacle the Jurassic theme park is no longer constructed by the film as North American but rather as global. in which the two children protagonists . ET’s gaze only looks at the child protagonist. as in Jaws. in the case of Jurassic Park. in a look exchange that opens and closes the film. Even in his early Jaws. after the Indiana Jones series (1981–89) reenacted the Victorian tropes of British imperialism via the 30s super-hero narratives of North American national culture.

Schindler’s List (1993). lost money (Dubner 228). in 1991. . the production company. The Color Purple too. Rather. Kate Capshaw [Spielberg’s wife] converted to Judaism before their marriage. Dreamworks. he [Spielberg] says “is the most personal film I’ve ever made. monsters and subject positions. historical. Although Schindler’s List enjoyed unexpected success. Thus. The scenario and gaze articulated by the monsters in Spielberg’s films move from a national horizon to a global landscape while at the same time becoming the enablers of a global representation and subject position. The dinosaurs of Jurassic Park are no longer blind and savage nature that remains indifferent and unaware to human drama. I am referring to films such as The Color Purple (1985). They decided to raise their children as Jews. In the case of Amistad. although nominated for several Oscars. the cultural. And when Spielberg began to see Judaism as more blessing . Although The Color Purple was a film that Spielberg made reluctantly. he admits that the original reason was personal: his maturation as father.Winter 2001 7 are trapped is emblematic: the dinosaur looks directly into the camera from within the frame of the window and thus also stares at the spectator. . considered as a whole these three films remain “minority films” not only in terms of their content but also in their commercial appeal. . let us now consider. It is precisely because the centrality of the monster’s geopolitics and gaze. and Amistad (1997). that any other human subject position is displaced to the periphery. he also has begun to direct another type of films that are diametrically different from “the monster pictures:” films in which ethnic and racial minorities become the central object and subject of filmic representation. received no recognition from either the Academy or the public. including Theo and Mikaela [adopted African-American children]. . and geopolitical reasons that underlie the structural relationship between globalization and periphery. because it was something I was so ashamed of. which in turn helped him to deal with his own ethnicity: Schindler’s List. in the case of Schindler’s List and Amistad.” The “it.” of course. . was being Jewish. It is important to point out that the dinosaurs of the second installment of Jurassic Park (The Lost World ) become more ferocious and savage creatures in possession of a calculating and active subjectivity and gaze. . they become spectatorial subjects that look back at the spectator. On the Ethnicity and Race of Dinosaurs As Spielberg has increasingly globalized his blockbuster films.

whereby Hispanic minorities are clearly and necessarily peripheral in Spielberg’s blockbuster films and yet impossible to represent as such. . (Dubner 230) In the case of Amistad. Spielberg also cites the importance of his adopted children: “Well. this is about you’ ” (Dubner 231).” .1 than curse. . the Hispanic presence is evident. cross the border unlawfully. and at a referential and diegetic level. ‘Look. simply to say to my son. As was the case with his “monster films. As a result he has made films that. the USA. So when I heard the story. after failing as attractions in an ecological theme park in Costa Rica. since the absence of a reference points to a deep ambivalence. Spielberg has dealt only with Jewish and AfricanAmerican stories. So far. which he had been flirting with for nearly a decade. at some point he decided to explore his own personal ethnic and racial history. are brought to the USA. In fact. we were already talking to Theo about slavery and where he came from and who his great-great-grandparents might have been.” Spielberg’s representations of minorities have also undergone a process of globalization. and the final sequence also makes references to Schindler’s visit to Israel.8 Discourse 23. It is not a coincidence that the Spilbergian dinosaurs are born in Latin America and.” the dinosaurs break loose. Similarly. The film also shows a Russian soldier liberating the Jewish workers after the Nazi surrender. I immediately thought that this was something that I would be pretty proud to make. . The early The Color Purple is a national drama. even though it does contain some filmic references to Africa. Although they are originally brought as a “commodity. in a “minority film.”4 In the case of Spielberg’s blockbuster films. and end up terrorizing downtown San Diego significantly. The slaves of Amistad are African and are involved in an international legal and political dispute concerning Spain. theoretically at least.3 Thus while Spielberg became globally successful in making blockbuster films that push any “human” subject position to the periphery. a border city. He has not made a film focusing specifically on some Hispanic reality. I would like to suggest that the Hispanic case is probably the most problematic one. which makes these dinosaurs “illegal immigrants. he was finally ready to make Schindler’s List. and Britain. The more recent Amistad and Schindler’s List are clearly filmed and presented as global films concerning minorities. re-center precisely the subject positions that are displaced by his commercially successful films. the Jews of Schindler’s List are mostly Polish and are caught in the expansionist politics of Nazi Germany over Poland and Czechoslovakia.

Winter 2001 9 Moreover. in Spielberg’s films allow us to see the structural continuity between monsters and minorities. reveals that this referential and peripheral position of the Hispanic condition responds to a deeper and more unconscious dynamic that is not accidental but structural. it is not difficult to establish a connection between Doyle’s work and Daniel Defoe’s foundational Robinson Crusoe (1719). There is no more uncanny experience than contemplating the eye of the T-rex looking through the window of an S. at the . engaged in similar activities pulling people from inside cars. The centralized representation of the Jewish and AfricanAmerican minorities. the reflection of the window also allows the spectator to see the Jewish people looking back at Schindler. This relation is not simply referential. Consequently both Schindler and the Jewish people reflected on the window look simultaneously at the camera and. A similar pivotal moment takes place in Schindler’s List. due to its construction as non-colonial “new world” opposite the construction of North America as colonial “new world. however. At the same time.V. A comparison with Spielberg’s other minority films. Schindler looks out the window towards the crowd of free Jews he is leaving behind. albeit not identical. in which Schindler and his wife drive away dressed as prisoners in order to avoid detection. the slave responsible for the rebellion of the ship Amistad. Doyle’s novel also narrates the adventures of an explorer who finds a Latin American plateau populated by dinosaurs and ape-men. this Latin American referentiality goes to the core of the Anglo-Saxon cultural tradition. pulling nails from inside the slave quarters. Latin America still appears as central to Spielberg’s films only at a referential level. if Jurassic Park is indebted to Michael Chrichton’s 1973 film Westworld. The gaze of the dinosaur and the slave are continuous. is also looking at the camera and thus the spectator. thus. but strictly cinematic. towards the camera in Jurassic Park and then turning our look at the opening sequence of Amistad where the gigantic and almost monstrous eye of Cinqu´ e (Djimon Hounsou). As Joseph McBride states in his Spielberg biography.U. framed the same way. It is the same gaze. the monstrous gaze of the dinosaur and the slave. at that point he looks directly into the camera. in Spielberg’s filmic imagination. There is a sequence towards the end of the film.” However. it is more so to Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel The Lost World (417) a debt that the sequel acknowledges in the title. In that scene. This genealogy points to the fact that Latin America occupies a utopian position as pristine and savage nature in Anglo-Saxon history and culture throughout modernity. blockbusters and peripheral films (and ultimately the position of the Hispanic). In turn.

The Jewish gaze has to become monstrous first: the gaze of the T-rex of Jurassic Park has come full circle. Only insofar as both the Jews and the spectator identify with Schindler’s gaze can the recognition between them take place. the consequences of Jurassic mosquitoes trapped in sap and turned into amber. Spielberg never addresses the main narratives (or metanarratives) and subjects of history: the downfall of dinosaurs. For instance. as Schindler disappears so does the gaze of the Jewish people: in other words. From his chosen peripheries. This cinematic structure also accounts for the main criticism that Schindler’s List received from Jewish critics: Schindler (in its monstrous and abject condition as both Nazi and anti-Nazi). History is reinterpreted so that those marginal events become global and contemporary ones. As Philip Gourevitch from the Jewish newspaper Forward put it “powerful spectacle continues to be more beguiling than human historical authenticity and the power of the Nazis is a bigger draw than the civilisation of the people murdered” (qtd. The only Spanish voices heard at the beginning of the film also melt in an auditive continuum with the dinosaurs’ roaring. At no point can the Jewish people on camera appeal to the spectator directly. a gentile becomes the upholder and facilitator of the Jewish gaze. one can see how the almost caricaturesque portrayal of decadent Spanish imperialism turns the USA authorities of the north into subjects of political emancipation. an ex-Nazi. the extermination of Jews by the Nazis. functions as the favorite landscape from which the global is articulated as a contemporary event. The Spaniards turn the North Americans into . In Spielberg’s films. A historical coordinate must be incorporated to the discussion of the cinematic continuity between monsters and minorities. and in the case of Amistad. Only if Jewish people become Schindler. is the central character of the film (Baxter 392). however.10 Discourse 23. ultimately standing for a new global History based on peripheral micronarratives that are nevertheless palatable for global audiences. At that point this recognition is the effect and result of a monstrous Nazi reality: Schindler himself. and then into a global one. do they subject the spectator to their gaze. both Jurassic and national. However. However.1 spectator. Rather he chooses a more peripheral event: the exceptional case of Schindler. in Baxter 392). In the same way. void of any imperialist involvement. (pre)history. the experience of slavery in the Southern states of the USA. a case of false slavery in the Atlantic protagonized by a decadent empire such as the Spanish. the absence of Costa Rican authorities and subjects in Jurassic Park turns the historical return of dinosaurs into a North American event. rather than the Jews. even history is turned into a peripheral position of narration and meaning.

has declared that globalization. ethnicity. and the fluidity between monstruous and minority representations. Fredric Jameson. Why does Hollywood construct a global spectatorial subjectivity by turning the subaltern (Hispanic) subject into a monster? Why is the Hispanic condition made into a monstrous experience? In short. on the other. why is the Hispanic condition Jurassic?6 Representing The Global In order to respond to the peripheral condition of Hispanic representations. arguably the most lucid theorist of globalization. The triad “white-minority-monster” explains the deepest representational and subjective structure in Spielberg’s films. Both are mobilized in order to resituate and uphold the hegemony of the white. heterosexual. Thus. The continuity between monsters and minorities can certainly be articulated at a psychoanalytical level. Interestingly enough. the hegemonic North-American position completes the equation between monsters and minorities. This position is always represented in Spielberg’s films by a fatherly figure that.Winter 2001 11 subjects of universal political emancipation the North-American slave-holding South disappears as central focus. the historical result of the . monsters and minorities in Spielberg’s films allows me to reinterpret the narrative center of his films: dinosaurs. It is worth asking why the Hispanic condition is so peripheral in Hollywood’s global representations. the latter is constructed as subject of (subjected to) the subaltern condition of the former. experience as central to their spectatorial experience: the other is subaltern and/or postcolonial. and sexuality no matter how peripheral or unconscious these traces are to the main monstrous representation. in its failed centrality. ultimately these blockbuster films are constructing a global and subaltern postcolonial gaze that the spectators. and aliens are not simply monsters. the representational problem we have encountered in Spielberg’s films is also duplicated at a theoretical level where most thinking about globalization also turns any subaltern position into a peripheral one. North-American position. North American and otherwise. My claim about the fluidity between central and peripheral positions. Ultimately. sharks. we must first address the problem of representing globalization altogether. on the one hand. When these monsters return the gaze of the spectator. gender. is nevertheless rescued as hegemonic. They also have a very specific race.

only caricatures of the mode of production itself (most often called late capitalism). minute. Thus this ongoing attempt to represent and think globalization amounts to the positive moment of the same problem. cannot be represented. not only thinking sensu stricto. Both images are. with a fluidity that has no equivalent in those older national allegories of which I have spoken elsewhere” (4–5). whatever else it is. takes place. cannot be detected on the surfaces scanned by satellites. can be allegorically representative of a putative “international proletariat” or “managerial class.1 development of late capitalism in postcolonial and postmodern societies. a very Deleuzian reason. which nevertheless remains almost impossible to render in its entirety and complexity under a positive form. “[O]n the actantial level. Jameson warns against simple answers: . . we might be tempted to think that the social can be mapped that way. This impossibility represents a brake from modernity when industrial capitalism and the European imperialist nation-states found their representational form in the novel. in his The Geopolitical Aesthetics that allegory is the new privileged form in which the contradiction between the inability to represent globalization and the ceaseless attempt to represent it. a host of partial subjects. allegory allows the most random. Elaborating on one of his earlier claims. so complex that it is hard to put it in positive terms. by following across a map insurance red lines and the electrified borders of private police and surveillance forces. . an attempt to think the world system as such” (4). or isolated landscapes to function as a figurative machinery in which questions about the system and its control over the local ceaselessly rise and fall. any partial subject position. Jameson also discusses the issue of the subject and its actantiality in the era of globalization. which became a national allegory of the bourgeois individual and its world. As simple and as clear as Jameson’s claim about the impossibility of representing globalization appears at first sight. (Geopolitical 2) Yet at the same time Jameson adds “all thinking today is also. . I believe that his claim can be extended to any representational form. its negativity captures a very complex problem. and therefore stand as a fundamental representational problem indeed.” As he claims. in an era of urban dissolution and re-ghettoization .12 Discourse 23. Jameson asserts. can often now stand in allegorically . According to Jameson any subject position. . fragmentary and schizoid constellations. is the following: “On the global scale. however. The reason for the reappearance of allegory. a problem of a historically new and original type. whose mechanisms and dynamics are not visible in that sense.

isolated landscapes” and “partial subjects” can allegorically represent globalization as world-system. insinuate. he does not address the nature of irrepresentability itself. Colin MacCabe hints at the problem of Jameson’s thinking when he notes in his introduction to the latter’s The Geopolitical Aesthetic. It seems as if only certain landscapes and subjects can stand in allegorically for globalization and its classes. However. The Hispanic subject functions as “isolated landscape” but not as “partial subject. but rather to his own epistemological and discursive approach to globalization. Jameson begins to sound Lacanian. Jameson’s argument runs parallel to the Lacanian proposition that the symbolic order (in this case globalization and late capitalism) can only be accessed at an imaginary level by the subject. Jameson’s negativity in defining globalization as un-totalizable does not necessarily respond to a historical problem concerning globalization. Jameson proposes that it is precisely the binary logic of the subject and its others that makes globalization untotalizable and thus unthinkable. In his own terminology. then. What Jameson’s requires is an account of the mechanisms which articulate individual fantasy and social organization” (xii). Jameson’s position cannot account for the fact that Spielberg’s dinosaurs are not partial subjects but allegorical referents that do represent globalization as global. our analysis of Spielberg’s films points rather to a different reality. Going back to our discussion. in a transitional situation in which genuinely transnational classes. which is not based on any subaltern position. even if Jameson claims that “random. “[W]hat is novel for a Marxist theory is that what Jameson’s account lacks is a psychology rather than a sociology. have not yet anywhere clearly emerged” (5). from its peripheral partiality. can stand in for globalization. in Spielberg’s case. At this point. but without the benefit of psychoanalysis. The subject’s very same position intensifies the impossibility of accessing and representing the global. and thus ignores the fact that only certain subject positions can allegorize the global. or Zizekian. At the same time. only the white patriarchal figure. In Lacanian terms one could . such as a new international proletariat and a new density of global management. This subject can only allegorically hint. by stating that any partial subject can allegorically represent globalization. Lacanian theory does account for the imaginary position of Spielberg’s monsters in globalization.” Furthermore. or point to totality and globalization. any partial subject can stand in for globalization but cannot represent it in its totality. through identification or desire towards other partial subjects.Winter 2001 13 for trends and forces in the world system.

. through science-fiction monsters (Alien ) and autistic aliens (Elephant Man ). therefore. According to Zizek. However. . monsters stand for the traumatic irruption experienced by the symbolic order in postmodernity. up to the paranoiac vision of social totality itself as the ultimate fascinating Thing. in all its dimensions that range from woman qua the unfathomable element that undermines the rule of the “reality principle” (Blue Velvet ). to explain the way in which dinosaurs establish and regulate the allegorical laws that determine the globalized representations of subjects such as the Hispanic. since incest is the defining and founding limit of society. Zizek claims that the Real brings about the unveiling of the signifier that represents the symbolic order. It is paramount. Lacanian theory cannot account for the position of subaltern subjects (such as the Hispanic) vis-` a-vis a putative global Phallus. this ‘apparition’ of the phallus is universalized ” (128–29). when he refers to the Thing as the intrusion of the Real in the symbolic order. However. Zizek does theorize the meaning of representations of monsters such as Spielberg’s dinosaurs when discussing the way in which Lacanian theory can be applied to the analysis of postmodernism. If the relationship between dinosaurs and globalization is . a vampire-like specter which marks even the most idyllic everyday surface with signs of latent corruption. He dismisses the imaginary nature of monsters such as dinosaurs and defines them as the Real. he can only think of its agency as “incestuous enjoyment of the mother beyond symbolization” and thus beyond culture. Moreover. that is why it is so important to understand the ways in which the representation of dinosaurs captures people’s imagination about globalization while at the same time standing for the gaze and subjectivity of minorities such as the Hispanic. the Phallus: “In postmodernism.14 Discourse 23. Monsters such as dinosaurs are the name or allegorical referent that establishes and regulates the laws of globalization and its representation: dinosaurs are the global Phallus. “that the Thing is not simply a foreign body . Following Freud and Lacan. i. (122) Zizek acknowledges the important function of the Real/The Thing in postmodernity when he affirms. with a foreign body within the social texture. he names these monstruous representations “The Thing” (Das Ding ).1 argue that dinosaurs stand for the name of the global Father. The Thing represents the new irruption of the Real in postmodernism: What characterizes postmodernism is therefore an obsession with Thing.e. as elements that exist outside the symbolic order (of globalization). [it] is what ‘holds together’ the social edifice by means of guaranteeing its fantasmatic consistency” (123).

rather than Jameson’s.Winter 2001 15 not simply symbolic/imaginary but real/symbolic. Benjamin claims that allegory represents the pagan and classical Europe that modernity needs to demonize and repress as monster. In order to expound the relationship between the monstrous representations of globalization and the subaltern positions that remain globally unrepresented. in the realm of thoughts. there is continuity between monsters and minorities and at the same time only monstrous representations are globally recognized as meaningful. Allegories are. then Zizek helps us understand that dinosaurs are the Thing that holds together the representation of globalization and thus the process itself of globalization by which the Phallus turns into global and universal. . Contrary to Zizek’s position. At the same time. periphery. Benjamin concludes that allegory is connected not with new formations such as the global but with decay and ruin. Such representation would be some kind of Borgesian Aleph where all subaltern positions could be contemplated at the same time in one single referent. is present in reality in the form of the ruin. what ruins are in the realm of things” (177–78). in this way they uphold and give meaning to the global symbolic order. Ultimately pagan and classical Europe never disappears. When theorizing Baroque theater and its allegorical structure. it haunts modernity from the fringes of history. If the monster could be represented as the true referent of the global as the referential and mimetic representation of the global the latter would become the representation of all the subaltern positions created by globalization itself. And in this guise history does not assume the form of the process of an eternal life so much as that of irresistible decay. as spectral or monstruous Things. my analysis of the dinosaurs’ gaze sheds light on the fact that the Thing does not stand simply for the Real as some state beyond culture and society the incestuous enjoyment of the mother beyond symbolization. . . Rather the Real stands for the subalternity of subjects such as the Hispanic. In the ruin history has merged into the setting. The Real is not “nature” or “the incestuous mother and her enjoyment” but rather most subject positions that are not symbolized by the global symbolic order. This reasoning explains why. According to Benjamin. into history’s deadly passing: “The allegorical physiognomy of the nature-history . it is necessary to resort to Walter Benjamin’s theorization of allegory. and liminality in order to establish itself as representation. (Baroque) allegory is the technology that allows the modern subject to perceive itself as vanishing and decaying in the objectuality of ruins. . . and are held as such. in Spielberg’s films. In Benjamin’s words “If the church had not been able quite simply .

etc. at its largest size. national (Latin America) and imperialist (Spain). but rather the word which is intended to exorcise a surviving remnant of antique life” (223).16 Discourse 23. Dinosaurs are the perfect allegorical rendition of a “natural” form of globalized late capitalism. ruin. gender. also conveys the message of decay. that the new global hegemony of the USA needs to exorcise as monstruous in order to allegorize itself as global. one can see more clearly why dinosaurs are so adequate for allegorizing globalization and late capitalism: nature. ubiquitous location in the globe. Thus. class. allegorical language would never have come into being. For it is not an epigonal victory monument. crisis. Dinosaurs are the key “natural” allegory to communicate the message that . and disappearance. Positions such as the Hispanic need to be allegorically turned into subaltern in order for the new North-American economic and cultural hegemony to assert itself as global. dramatic and yet unexplained disappearance. At a very referential level and returning to Benjamin. At the same time. Minorities are simply another ruinous way to allegorize and contain subaltern positions that can no longer be exorcised under global allegories such as Jurassic Park. “the surviving remnants of antique life” are precisely postcolonial subaltern subject positions such as the Hispanic. It is precisely because this hegemony depends on the monstruous exorcism of different subaltern positions that global representations are allegorical: the modern symbol could not carry out such task. “minority films” represent the first sign of the ruins of monstrous global allegories while pointing to the fact that other minorities such as the Hispanic remain subaltern. They linger as the mark or remainder of an older reality. status as the largest animals on earth. “supposedly” ideological neutrality vis-` a-vis ethnicity. Although Benjamin does not elaborate on the geopolitical dimensions of the allegorical exorcism of Europe’s limits.7 In the case of globalization. one can retrospectively rewrite this exorcism as also affecting the limits of Western imperialism and its subjects. the ruinous and decaying nature of allegory explains the continuity in Spielberg’s films between monsters and minorities. and sexuality. The Digital and Allegorical Economy of Dinosaurs Several factors make the choice of dinosaurs ideal for an allegorical representation of globalization: pre-historical remoteness.1 to banish the gods from the memory of the faithful.

That transcendence explains why this film has such a strong effect on a global scale. paraphrasing Benjamin. or warp nature. At the same time. only the film itself. does not use morphing or warping technology but simple digital compositing of three-dimensional images. which explains why Jurassic Park. as visual narrative. than robotic technology. digital technology makes dinosaurs look more natural. transcends the decay and ruin of both dinosaurs and late capitalism: the only transcendent global reality is thus the allegory of globalization itself.” The generation of moving three-dimensional images (dinosaurs) that could then be composited in a film was inexistent at the time of the pre-production of Jurassic Park. but rather makes it look “natural. Although the filmic rendition of big animals and monsters is historically old in Hollywood it will suffice to mention King Kong (1933) the introduction of computers makes previous robotics technology obsolete. the real protagonists of the film are the dinosaurs: not only is their natural size awesome. At the end of the film. manages to escape ruin and decay. As a result of this hegemonic effect of global suture a Hollywood film as the only and true global space of representation any other subject becomes relegated to a subaltern position: precisely the subaltern world that the allegory exorcises. What is impressive about Jurassic Park is precisely the way in which digital technology does not alter. globalization is also haunted by ruins and decay (global subaltern subjects) unless.Winter 2001 17 globalization is built on the ruins of past realities: the nation-state and its colonies. It legitimizes itself as a global hegemonic discourse that. Ironically. the allegorical exorcism also works powerfully through the digitalization of dinosaurs. opposite The Terminator 2 or The Nutty Professor. they are exorcised with the right word: the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park. At a cinematic and technological level. At the same time. First and foremost. more realistic. As Spielberg himself confesses: “None of us expected that ILM would make the next quantum leap in computer .” It is the self-erasing of technology that is technologically most impressive in the film. in its allegorical status. digital technology gives the aura of being “natural” to the new renditions: the new digital representations defy the cinematic expectations that the spectators have so far built around robotics technology. but also their technological realism. morph. Jurassic Park is a global allegory of Hollywood’s own globalization. There were not precedents. The importance of the history of film technology and the ensuing cinematic expectations of realism are crucial to the effect of “auratic naturalness. As many commentators have emphasized.

he or she had to see Jurassic Park. which come to view and gain global representational existence at the same time. not only of the dinosaurs. thus. but also the technology that produces them.” As Spielberg himself clarifies: “At the showing. the newness of this technology is so much connected to the history of cinematic technology that. step by step. and we sort of tilted up at the head as it passed by. This effect of the digitazion of the Jurassic allegory must be denounced as hegemonic: the allegorical equation of dinosaurs and digital technology makes . if any spectator wanted to see this awesome display of digital technology.8 At the same time. At the end of the film. when the robotic experts saw the new digital renditions for the first time. Phil [Tippett. the film also exorcises digital technology at a primary level. It was like nothing anyone had seen before” (51). Furthermore. Muren also narrates the reaction this technology had on Spielberg: “But Steven realized that there was something extraordinary going on here and he decided rather unexpectedly to do everything except the live stuff with computer graphics” (Shay and Duncan 52). after being exposed to digital technology.” The dinosaurs run amok in the film and. the novelty of this digital technology was so extreme that it affected even the creators themselves. then one must consider that the exorcism of dinosaurs also responds to an exorcism of digital technology and global subalternity. As Shay and Duncan also explain. Dennis Muren. at the end. Then it just walked toward the camera. Considering that computer technology is mainly responsible for the economic disparity (late capitalism) that ultimately triggers the global migrancy of postcolonial and subaltern subjects from the Third world into the first. they are either exterminated or left behind to die. they themselves used a paleontologic discourse to describe their new position in technology history as “extinct. Thus.1 graphics at least not in time for this picture” (Shay and Duncan 51). However the allegorization of digital technology also serves as “the word that exorcises the subaltern world. There is a second disappearance. Everybody went absolutely crazy. the fact that a global audience wanted to see the film had a secondary effect of globalization in the sense that in order to become a global spectator any viewer had to see the film that the rest of the world was watching. describes his own reaction to the sight of the first T-rex in motion: “The shot started out with the T-rex maybe a hundred feet away. about two-thirds the size of the frame. the viewer. the chief technician in charge of the digital generation of dinosaurs at Lucas’s ILM.18 Discourse 23. specialist in robotics] groaned and pretty much declared himself extinct” (Shay and Duncan 52). is left with a view of the human protagonists escaping from the island in an old technological medium a helicopter.

Unlike AfricanAmerican and Jewish ethnicities. it is not represented as one that can help to contain and exorcise the ruins and decay brought about by global subalternity and thus.S. which explains precisely why it does not work as an allegorical element to re-legitimize North American allegories of globalization. At the level of the cinematic institution. Taking into consideration all the levels at which allegory serves to exorcise subaltern subjects. it ultimately stresses the allegorical capacity of Hollywood to represent itself and contain itself beyond any imperfection or crisis. the allegorical excess permits the film to control representation and assert itself as more than sheer entertainment. The absence of Hispanic allegories in Spielberg’s films is in fact symbolic of a generalized (mis)representation of North America’s history. As a result the subaltern is exorcised because he/she is rendered responsible for the technology that has brought globalization ultimately ludite ideology. It is rather the other way around. In this truly Benjaminean sense. in the continuum of monsters and minorities. The fact that the park eventually runs amok at the end of the story must not be confused with some form of criticism about the entertainment industry or late capitalism tout court. as a continuously edited allegorical narrative. but on a more allegorical level it is also a representation of Hollywood itself. Indeed the schizophrenic fragmentation of the . belonging to either a Latin American or Spanish past. the Hispanic subject position remains unconscious.. While the Hispanic subaltern position appears in global allegories of North America (such as Jurassic Park ). the naivet´ e or insufficiencies of a theme park and thus ultimately Hollywood itself.Winter 2001 19 any subaltern position the subject of technology not a position subjected to technology. This is the ultimate ideological tour de force of this Jurassic allegory. as exceeding. dinosaurs also have a different but complementary allegorical effect. Hollywood becomes the subject of the allegory of globalization: it is able to produce an allegorical and global representation capable of summoning all its subaltern monsters and then exorcising them. Given that the film ends well as filmic narrative. now we can finally return to the specific case of the Hispanic subaltern. the Hispanic ethnicity is still perceived as foreign to the U. From Deleuze’s Anti-Oedipus to Border Theory Foucault said once that the twentieth century would be Deleuzian or it would not. Obviously Jurassic Park is literally about a theme park. The demise of the park portrayed at the end of the film differentiates the allegorical representation from the film itself as allegory.

This cartographic border can not simply be geopolitical. Thus. My analysis. an (Anti-)Oedipus. The Map. Jameson. advocates for cognitive maps that will allow us to chart the globalized world emerging from the development of late capitalism (“Cognitive”). However. globalization and its subject. or a global Phallus. Any map must be conceptualized first and foremost as a border. it must account for the position. Indeed the Hispanic is a new border. between Latino culture and North American white culture. From a Hispanic position one can see the new position that minorities (North American and non-North American) are taking in the repeated allegorical re-legitimation of globalization. In this sense Foucault was right. which does not legitimize globalization while relegating subaltern positions outside the map. rather than a schizophrenic one. I would argue that one cannot create a map. such as the Hispanic. Deleuze and Guattari did not account for the subject positions that an allegorical fragmentation. as THE Phallus/Oedipus/Symbolic only legitimizes the allegorical economy of globalization and its hegemonic subjects.20 Discourse 23. their prognosis of late capitalism was frightfully correct even in the dawn of our new millennium. globalization has turned out to be very much Deleuzian. There is no map with a Symbolic Order. this analysis emphasizes the incorporation . the Anti-Oedipus and the “body without organs” work more as a global allegory of the hegemonic NorthAmerican subject than a criticism of late capitalism. In this sense. brings new political and theoretical tools to rethink cognitive mapping. occupied by any subaltern position vis` -vis globalization as a result of its geopolitical positioning as well a as of its history. or a new global symbolic order. in its allegorical complexity. First and foremost. The Hispanic position points to the fact that each subaltern position is or can be in a different peripheral or bordering relationship with globalization. Any such map would simply re-legitimize. partly unconscious. a global Anti-Oedipus. at stake is the re-positioning of other (past) realities. In this sense. as in any other allegory of globalization.1 subject Deleuze and Guattari had announced in their Anti-Oedipus already has taken center-place in the allegorical representations of Hollywood. from any hegemonic position. in the new realm of global subalternity. Thus any map of globalization cannot be thought out as global. but also between North-American global hegemony and subaltern positions throughout the world. from a Hispanic position. not simply a geopolitical border between Latin America-Spain and the USA. as accounting for every subaltern position. it must also be historical and psychoanalytical. However. Accordingly any new theorization of a global Phallus. articulates. very lucidly.

Winter 2001 21 ´ of a “psychological apparatus” to main border theory (Anzaldua) or theories of hybridization (Garc´ ıa Canclini). Jaws (1975). and for problems of space. Because each subaltern position occupies a different position vis-` a-vis globalization. When I first read the script. Empire of the Sun. only an overlapping of different borders will allow us to ascertain where the allegories of globalization stand. and especially for fathers departed fathers (as in ET. However. the grand-father in Jurassic Park ). Star Wars: Episode I . Home Alone (1990). 2 According to Variety.A New Hope (1977). In this way. fathers who become distant. Return of the Jedi (1983). Notes This article is circumscribed to geopolitical issues. 3 . as of 2000. failed fathers (The Sugarland Express. . Mignolo) that alongside feminism (Haraway) advocates for situated knowledges. . The Sixth Sense (1999). This way of mapping always situates its locus and subject of enunciation and thus joins a postcolonial discourse (Bhabha. the first thirteen all-time domestic grossers. which is implicit throughout the text. The Empire Strikes Back (1980). certain North American minorities are acknowledged as global minorities. Thus. and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ). 1 This pattern extends to his latest film Saving Private Ryan : “That movie was for my dad. whereas others such as the Hispanic are not. it will suffice to say that Spielberg’s next projected film is Memories of a Geisha (Dubner 227–28). Forrest Gump (1994). queer theorist Jos´ e Esteban Muñoz “We desire it. Spielberg’s films stand as an important point of reference in any situated and located mapping and cognitive activity for a Hispanic intercultural theory of the border. The Lion King (1994). only by drawing two different border maps can we begin to account for globalization and its representations in our new millennium. 5 Schiff argues that Spielberg films are “ . This time the “Asian condition” will be subject to a “minority” representation. feminist reading. E. so that the border can also be thought out as producing specific subject positions and effects. Jurassic Park (1993). . Hook. ‘My dad is going to love this movie’ ” (Dubner 231). At this point for example. but we desire it with a difference” (15) take also a specific global and geopolitical location.The Phantom Menace (1999). claims such as those of Latino. full of yearning for home and family.T. Star Wars: Episode IV . 4 In case there is doubt about the “minority logic” of the recent Spielbergean production. Independence Day (1996). cannot be explicitly elaborated here. a queer. are: Titanic (1997).The Extra-Terrestrial (1981). I said.

and fathers who return to save the day (Jaws. La Frontera. it’s $80. whereas with CGI. is approached by Spielberg through the canonical tropes of British imperialism in films such as the Indiana Jones series or The Empire of the Sun. uncomplicated dinosaur. Hook ). even after the cutting. Says Spielberg. . It must be noted that ex-president John Quincy Adams occupies a similar position (failed centrality) in Amistad. Baudry. If you’ve got a dinosaur just walking around. and the “Orient” in general. The Color Purple ). In Spielberg’s movies. or unrecognizable (Close Encounters. ultimately. Works Cited ´ Gloria. Biskind quotes a robotics specialist. digital reproduction might actually be more expensive than robotic technology and thus might secure Hollywood’s monopoly: “once you build a model. . .000. in a first moment. . . it’s $100. (203) However. you can shoot it from as many angles as you with for nor more than the cost of the film. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.000. Jurassic Park. If the dinosaur is splashing in a puddle or kicking up tufts of dirt.” However. Even Schindler’s List can be viewed as a story of patriarchy of Schindler. 8 As Biskind explains the incorporation of digital technology as a way to reproduce images represents.” Rosen 299–318. 1987. and that’s before you generate a single shot. an irresponsible child-man who must become father enough to protect his immense “family” from the enormity that will otherwise destroy it.000 to put anything into a computer. However. 7 Abdul R. he does not elaborate on the origins of allegory. The cost of CGI is going down even when the enormous overhead of a shop like ILM is added in whereas the cost of Winston’s work is going up. JanMohamed.” Rosen 286–298. If there are four dinosaurs in the background of that shot.22 Discourse 23. “It still runs you between $250.1 evil. even a small. traces the deployment of allegory by the colonial discourse in his “The Economy of Manichean Allegory. in order to explain that. following Fanon. costs remain exorbitant and thus they ensure Hollywood’s monopoly on computer-generated films: But the advances in robotics come at a price. Borderlands: The New Mestiza. it’s $150. 6 One could conclude that Asia. fatherhood has a mystical shimmer (186).000 for eight seconds. San Francisco: Anzaldua. a way of cutting production costs. Aunt Lute. Winston. “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus. every new angle is a new shot that could carry a six-digit price tag” (203).000 and $500. Not that CGI is cheap. “The Apparatus: Metapsychological Approaches to the Impression of Reality in the Cinema. Jean Louis.

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