Growing up sometimes getting stone-glued to black and white Malay movies, I can still remember how thrilled I was watching the scene below. The sultan got what he deserved; he was assassinated while being "carried on a mobile throne" (di julang) by his servants. The rebel had a cause, unlike James Dean. I think this scene is symbolic and iconoclastic.
The scene (from P. Ramlee's Pendekar Bujang Lapok) of mass revolt against the capitalist class (sampan owning Malay)is interesting as data for a psychological study of power and ideology vis-a-viz historical-materialism:
Years later, while teaching American and World History and Foundations of Western Civilization, I became more and more fascinated with the idea of revolutions and the overthrow of those who ruled by "taxation without representation". I discovered that hegemony is also key to social control and through technologies of controlling consciousness the political-economic elite can gain control over the masses. I explored this idea at length in a dissertation.
But all these revolutions must have a fertile ground -- with the notion of ideas moving or removing nations. I think the key to a healthy and rejuvenating society is to teach about the history ideas through reading of the great books. But if society is stoned-glued to 100 TV channels and fragmented by media technologies produced to weaken the mind and funnel more and more excitable junk, when can the masses focus on engineering social transformations? Tabliod literacy rules. Sound-bite speech acts dominate public discourse. Talking heads walk around like zombies in a utopia run on cybernetics. TV is a great mass babysitter and will create a generation with four eyes and no mouth.
On a larger magnitude Europe saw a major transformation of ideology -- the passing of feudalism and the birth of a new consciousness, sparked by the French Revolution inspired by the writings of the Enlightenment thinkers such as Rousseau, Locke, and Voltaire. In this society, the salon becomes a breeding ground for social transformations and the reconstruction of the ideals of the Renaissance.
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And much earlier than the French Revolution, in Italy there was the famous revolt of the slaves led by Spartacus:
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