" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

February 16, 2017


I wrote a post about Ali last year (and I've just modified it with the "Blackstar" screenshots), but I hadn't ever watched the 
Michael Mann movie Ali, starring Will Smith before yesterday, when I hired it out on DVD (the original version that is).
2016: The Death of the Pop Cultural Supermen?
Michael Mann On Muhammad Ali, Will Smith & His New Cut Of ‘Ali’
Will Smith playing Ali in Michael Mann's movie of the same name
"(Super?-)MANN: The kind of cultural imperialism imposed by white America on black America, to be in that world and then imagine what he wants to make himself into. 
It was such a radical movement. 
It takes me back to this thing that Malcolm X said and Ali would say it. 
We’d all been brainwashed. 
We see white with blonde hair, blue eyes. 
We look at all the angels, they’re all white. 
Angel food cake is good, and white. 
Devil’s food cake is black. 
White Rain shampoo. 
Everything positive is white. 
He was talking about a certain kind of value system, in 1964, when he is going to make himself as a heavyweight champion of the world. 
He’s going to become a motivational personification of something totally different, a black man in his own culture with his own pride. 
That is why people identify with and worship Ali, because he represented the enormous possibility the poetics of actual self-determination. 
He does it. 
We can do it. 
That’s what he stood for. 
To do that, he had to defy not just the establishment and not just white America and not just people who were feared militancy but also the NAACP, Joe Louis, you name it. 
Everybody who was centrist and had an interest in maintaining the status quo. 
We are still talking identity politics in 2017; try understanding that perspective in 1963-64."

"MANN: There was no precedent. 
Then there was Malcolm X. 
Ali is a hero, somebody who committed to something outside the interests of the self-interested circumscribed “I.” 
He did it at great cost to himself. 
The cost was the best years of every heavyweight were the ones where he was suspended and could never fight, and everything he went through including the possibility of going to prison and cross the board condemnation. 
We may be heading into another repressive regime. 
And where is the Muhammad Ali now?"
Seeing that black star imagery in the 2001 Michael Mann movie Ali made me think just how "coincidental" that David Bowie would pass away in the same year as Muhammad Ali and release his Blackstar album.
On some level, everything does seem to be connected in mysterious ways.
"DEADLINE: In a year that saw so many iconic personalities pass away, did you go to Ali’s funeral? What was it like?"
"MANN: Man, last year was unbelievable. 
There were so many people who were too young to go. 
Howard Bingham, a very close friend of mine, died in London. 
Ali with Parkinson’s, OK, he was in decline. 
But his funeral was amazing because he designed it himself.

DEADLINE: What do you mean?

MANN: He stipulated who he wanted up on that stage. 
He had his Imam, and two rabbis, two evangelical ministers, two rabbis. 
He had Oren Lyons who I used as a technical advisor on The Last Of The Mohicans, who’s Mohawk. 
He had two Buddhists. 
He was celebrating variety. 
I don’t want to say diversity because that sounds like an obligation. 
It’s just the wonderful variety that’s there in life with humor and a kind of charismatic aggression. I feel like I don’t know how to put it. 
Will was a pallbearer."

UPDATE: February 26th, 2017
How ironic, 10 days after writing this post I see an article at the website of 'The Star' that tells me Muhammad Ali's son was detained at a Florida airport.
Mann's hit TV series 'Miami Vice' was based in the state of Florida and Mann was the director of the movie 'Ali', as you would know if you read the above post right through.

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