‘Apocalypse Now Redux’ (2001): An Ecofemme Posthuman Resistance to Biopolitical Horror

Jaime Dunkle

English MA Candidate, Tulane University



This work-in-progress confronts the phenomenon of biopolitical dehumanization during wartime via the analysis of Apocalypse Now Redux (2001). From this confrontation emerges an Ecofemme Posthuman Resistance to biopolitical power and control over humanity, which is hinted at in the film’s subtext. To invoke this resistance, the Vietnamese perspective of the war that is missing from the film is brought into view through commentary from the book The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen. Additionally, the official and voluntary testimonies of American soldiers who committed war crimes during the Vietnam War, as shown in the documentary film Winter Soldier (1972), corroborate the biopolitical horror that is an inevitable symptom of imperialist war and facilitates a posthuman retaliation against capitalist anti-humanism

Keywords: biopolitics, postcolonialism, ecofeminism, ecofemme, posthuman, imperialist war

Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) is a filmic emblem of post-colonial violence. This specific cut of the movie contains a subtext that connects biopolitics to ecofeminism and offers an Ecofemme Posthuman resistance to biopolitical horror. Through the analysis of Apocalypse Now Redux (2001), the documentary Winter Soldier (1972)and the book The Sympathizer, this essay dissects the juxtaposition of biopolitics as the manipulation, exploitation, and destruction of human bodies alongside ecofeminism as resistance to the manipulation, exploitation, and destruction of the earth and its natural resources. This biopolitics-ecofeminism paradigm lives in, and is caused by, the pervasive setting of imperialist war, global capitalism, and the horror of the white supremacist patriarchal collective unconscious. Notably, imperialism historically equates women with nature, and ecofeminism nonviolently fights against pervading systems of Power and Control over the earth and its inhabitants. Therefore, this close reading of Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) presents the binary opposition of biopolitics and ecofeminism as a call to confront the destructive and oppressive systems of The Establishment that are manifest as the white gaze (literary whiteness) and the patriarchal gaze in literature and film. This confrontation stems for the fact that ecofeminism calls for an “oppositional politics that is not only global but planetary and which requires a recognition of the interrelationship between feminism, social justice, ecology, democracy, and peace” (King 21). Ecofeminism as this type of political resistance will be referred to as Ecofemme in this essay. 

At the heart of Ecofemme Posthuman[1] resistance is the cultivation of the nonhuman in global society, which will flagstone humanity’s escape from incessant biopolitical control. Nonhuman in this context is the white supremacist patriarchal establishment of power and control’s projection of nonhuman bodies not their own: all forms of other, even the literally not human. With active cultivation, the nonhuman becomes Posthuman. This requires the insight of ecofeminism, which is innately resistant to The Establishment, and is the elevation of the nonhuman. The Ecofemme Posthuman proposes that the way out of The Establishment’s orchestrated anti-human dystopian nightmare, and toward a resistant Posthuman utopian daydream, is to center the Ecofemme Posthuman perspective that is interdependent, multi-gender, and in conscious defiance of racism, anti-humanism, class divide, and all binary grid[2] systems that perpetuate oppression. 

To demonstrate the principles of Ecofemme Posthuman resistance, this essay unravels the characterization of Colonel Kurtz, two river scenes from the original film cut, as well as the playmate sequence and the plantation sequence added to the redux version. This critical analysis will show: A nod from director Francis Ford Coppola to Chinua Achebe’s post-colonial critique of Joseph Conrad and his problematic novella that promulgates racist anti-humanism[3], thereby challenging dominant culture norms concerning the nonhuman and anti-humanism in relation to capitalist gain and imperialist war, with the Vietnam War positioned as a flashpoint in this biopolitical Ecofemme Posthuman discourse; and the unconscious patriarchal motivations of soldiers/men causing the maltreatment of backgrounded[4]nonhuman/women in the film that reflect the backgrounded elements of nature and the hierarchy of otherness, thus opening the door to the Posthuman and Ecofemme.

Posthuman Ecofemme discourse herein starts with the exposure of the nonhuman through the analysis of literary whiteness via embodied post-colonial violence in the Apocalypse Now Redux (2001). Biopolitics in the film are manifest as the manipulation and mutilation of actual bodies, whether it be Captain Benjamin L. Willard, the U.S. soldiers, Vietnamese and Cambodian civilians and soldiers, subordinates of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, his victims, or, most importantly, Colonel Kurtz himself who embodies whiteness and post-colonial dominion. This emphasis on the body in turn signifies the concept of biopower[5]. Colonel Kurtz pointedly reiterates this Foucauldian truth, vis-à-vis the disciplinary technology of the industrial military complex, upon meeting Captain Willard for the first time when he says: “You’re an errand boy sent by a grocery clerk to collect a bill.” Meaning, all bodies signify the capitalist bottom line of bodies equal production, consumption, and profit. Regardless of the seemingly righteous act of taking out Colonel Kurtz, Captain Willard is a pawn for the U.S. Army fighting a war in foreign and recently de-colonized land rich with natural resources and the threat of communism. This means imminent doom for white supremacy and capitalism because without hoarding natural resources, and without terminating threats of toppling geo-political capitalist agendas, dominant systems will lose global power and control and whiteness will lose its dominion over the world. This is exactly the agenda in which the Ecofemme confronts for the sake of a Posthuman utopia.

Coppola’s Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) was influenced by Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness. Colonel Kurtz’s contradictory characterization in the film is one way that Coppola differs from Conrad in depicting the colonel. Additionally, unlike Conrad, Coppola tries for an objective, historically plausible view of a foreign world, even if he does so through the societal imprint of literary whiteness[6] (Toni Morrison) and orientalism[7] (Said). The problematic nonhuman representation of Vietnamese and Cambodian people in Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) as being backgrounded, silenced, and brutalized exemplifies the type of racism typical of orientalism and literary whiteness. However, by doing so, the film exposes the grim realities of imperialist war resulting in anti-humanism and the patriarchy’s notion of nonhuman. Notably, anti-humanism often deals with the misrepresentation and demonization of bodies that signify cultures of otherness (Achebe). Subliminal messages of violence against nonwhite culture does not equate to art, as Achebe points out; and I’ll add: it is, in fact, propaganda. Therefore, anti-humanism in literature equals biopower terrorism, which can be disarmed with intentional Ecofemme Posthuman resistance.  

“What have we done to the earth? What have we done to our fair sister? Ravaged & plundered & ripped her and bit her. Stuck her w/ knives in the side of the dawn, tied her with fences & dragged her down. I hear a very gentle sound…”

What if Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) not only had added scenes to further the critique on biopolitical anti-humanism stemming from imperialist war and postcolonial dominion, but also opened with “When the Music’s Over” by The Doors —instead of “The End”— to reveal a clearer ecofeminist discourse within the film? 

Queue the opening montage of Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)Instead of playing the beginning of The Doors song “The End,” imagine the quick instrumental part of “When the Music’s Over” at about the 7:42 timestamp plays, then the lyrics kick in: “With your ear down to the ground / We want the world, and we want it … now. Now?” As the napalm blows up the jungle, Jim Morrison screams the third: “Now!” If this were the opening montage to the redux version of the film, the “we” in Morrison’s lyrics combined with the Vietnam jungle explosion would be the Patriarchy, wanting the world to be free of communism. And that “we” would also likely desire to hoard more natural resources to extend geopolitical capitalist gain. Notably, Vietnam is rich in oil, coal, natural gas, and rubber—not to mention its forests before they were destroyed and then over-harvested with the advent of post-war technologies. Some critics have said that although the threat of a communist takeover in Vietnam, coinciding with the Cold War, was the main motivator for the U.S. fighting in the Vietnam War, there was an interest in usurping natural resources in the then not-yet-developing country no longer colonized by the French or occupied by the Japanese. Regardless, Vietnam’s ecosystems were never the same after the Vietnam War. Environmental historian David Biggs studied landscapes in Vietnam after the war and found that American soldiers were dumping chemicals into landfills, and the toxic waste leftover in bombsites inevitably poured into the waterways, entering the local food and water supply (Eyrich). Therefore, the “world,” in this proposed audio-visual tension is Vietnam signifying nature, her resources, and her bystanders: everything and everyone sentient yet not human-male but instead considered nonhuman, transformed for the worse due to fatal patriarchal violence. Along with adding the plantation and playmate sequences, director Coppola could have also replaced “The End” with “When the Music’s Over” to emphasize the role of dominating patriarchal control and subjugation of women > nature > non-Western > nonhuman

Even sans the song swap, the film signifies a time capsule of social progress—a hallmark of the Ecofemme—not only in contrast to Heart of Darkness, but in comparison to itself because the original version didn’t have enough imperialist context referencing the inhumanity of post-colonial violence that is apparent in the French rubber plantation sequence,[8] and it didn’t have the subtext that hints at an ecofeminist discourse as a solution to imperialist anti-humanism shown in the playmates sequence.

Anti-humanism is fully realized in the god complex of Colonel Kurtz, who acts as a metaphor for interpellated institutional whiteness. The mad colonel illustrates the concept of “individual as always-already a subject, even before he is born (Althusser)” because of his white identity in context of war time. Colonel Kurtz was recruited to become an agent of Power and Control, but almost any infamous white guy would do. Depending on the era, he could’ve been Aleister Crowley or Jordan Peterson. Either way, the interpellation of whiteness would be evident in whatever body is cast for the role. Colonel Kurtz’s predestined delusion also acts as a byproduct of the disciplinary technology (Foucault) of the military, which ironically wants to end him for going too far, and hires Captain Willard to kill him. The unseen quest for Colonel Kurtz’s identity implies his search for private property, a search inspired by the alienation brought on from the traumatic experiences of his career in special forces and the military in general. He is alienated in the Marxist sense (Marx 719) because he is owned by the U.S. Army and federal government. He becomes a self-realized biopower war machine. Consequently, Colonel Kurtz finds the last frontier of personal pleasure by embodying biopower as life-taker (i.e., destroyer), which is stripped from him when he is assassinated by Captain Willard in the redux version. This cut of the film ends with the murder, and not the jungle on fire like the original cut, illustrating an intentional blow to The Establishment. A symbol of nature, the river, was the pathway for this dual assassination.  

Rivers open the narrative to dehumanization and the nonhuman in both the novella and the film, but from different positions of the white gaze: Conrad’s novella positions the gaze outward as prejudice in accordance with dominant norms; and Coppola’s film positions the gaze inward in critique of internalizing dominant norms, pointing the camera at the tendencies of those operating within the dominant power structure, interestingly regardless of their race, as being the ones who lose their humanity. According to Achebe, Conrad’s novella takes place on the Thames River, then the River Congo, comparing them in a way that shows the River Congo, and the African culture it winds through, as “the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization. (Achebe 1138)” Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) is mostly set traversing the fictional Nung River. As the boat crew—Chief Phillips, Tyrone “Clean” Miller, Lance B. Johnson, and Jay “Chef” Hicks—accompanies Captain Willard up the river on his classified mission to assassinate Colonel Kurtz, there are several river scenes that depict the U.S. soldiers as uncivilized, but this passage will only gloss over the puppy scene and the toy arrow scene.[9] During the puppy scene, presumably Vietnamese people on a boat are transporting crops and goods, likely for local trade. When a woman on the boat runs, the U.S. soldiers assume she is hiding a grenade. In a fit of war-induced psychosis, the captain’s crew senselessly annihilates everyone on the boat, only to discover the woman was protecting a puppy. This is one of the most brutal displays of dehumanization to the nonhuman in the film. In the toy arrow scene, locals attack the boat crew with toy arrows. Even though Lance knows the arrows are harmless, and snaps one with laughter, he proceeds to maniacally shoot into the forest. Chef does, too. The captain screams over the gunfire to Chef and Lance to stop firing because the arrows are toys only meant to scare the people in the forest. Even the Chief loses control and shoots at what he calls the “savages” using only toy weapons, until a spear pierces his heart. The locals only brandish lethal defenses after a barrage of gunfire from the boat. The only one on the boat not giving into anti-humanism is the captain, until fatally wounded Chief tries to strangle him, which the captain responds to by suffocating him. In the end, the entire crew is guilty of absurd violence and the destruction of bodies, due to their own embodiment of post-colonial dominion. In the documentary film, Winter Soldier, American veterans of the Vietnam War said they were subjected to abuse and brainwashed during their military training—e.g., lick-shining the boots of their superiors and being instructed to hate all Vietnamese people they encountered because they are not human: they were called animals. The soldiers in both films represent dominant culture norms internalized. These norms drive the white supremacist patriarchy’s collective unconscious flowing upriver in Apocalypse Now Redux (2001). 

The river also signifies sacrifice: many lose their lives on, and along, its waters. When they don’t lose their lives, they lose their minds: like when Captain Willard relates to what he learns about Colonel Kurtz, or when the soldiers with him on the boat wittingly slaughter civilians, or like the megalomania and psychosis of Colonel Kurtz himself. Thus, the river surges its passengers toward the desire of death. At the same time, the river is symbolic of motherly embryonic fluids nurturing Captain Willard in his rebirth: awakened to his role of assassin in the interwoven and mind-boggling contradictions within patriarchy. Ultimately, the river symbolizes the collective male unconscious in juxtaposition with the nonhuman.

While the river also represents the nurturing aspect of femininity and the destructive albeit transformative powers of nature, women only have power when they capitalize on their sexuality in the film, like the playmates. Women’s worth are their bodies and sexuality, which has dehumanized them to currency that men seek to possess (Rubin). Could it be that the purpose of this scene, whereby the soldiers haphazardly court the bunnies,[10] is to show the unconscious need for men, subdued by the patriarchal gaze-daze, to manipulate, control, and possess women? Sociopolitical programming that propagates the “beliefs that legitimate the oppression of women also legitimate environmental degradation” (Kerridge 544). Humankind’s domination of nature frames one thread of the sociopolitical and philosophical movement of ecofeminism (Kerridge). Furthermore, there is an ecofeminist ideology that argues culture inherently devalues women to their expected socially conditioned roles: universally subordinate to men and excluded from power (Ortner). One lens under scrutiny in Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) is that of the patriarchal gaze, which abides by the flawed diminution that equates women solely with nature instead of allowing for their multifaceted dynamism in expression and behavior.

The bunnies symbolize the Ecofemme as fatales luring the soldiers into the danger of psychological vulnerability and the confrontation of patriarchy-nature. Playmate of the Year[11], a woman who was not given a proper character name, talks about loneliness and matters of the heart while Lance removes her blouse. This scene is intercut with a similar scene of Chef with Playmate Miss May[12], who was also not given an actual name, and he insists she is Miss December. These women are nameless, and even mis-named, because they are objects of desire > natural resources > nonhuman. This is even more evident in the rest of the scene. Chef is completely fixated on Miss May’s hair not being black like the photos he remembers or her performance earlier in the film, while she handles a tropical bird and says that she was the “bird girl at Busch Gardens.” This mise en scene evokes the Ecofemme. While Lance undresses Playmate of the Year, Chef redresses Playmate Miss May. Both women are un-dressable and re-dressable because the soldiers perceive them as host-husks of their desire. Initially, the bunnies don’t reciprocate the soldier’s awkward groping advances and continue verbalizing their life story. They speak unheard, and their inaction goes unnoticed. This type of male domination is synonymous with Jim Morrison’s knives stuck in the side of the dawn and Coppola’s napalm burning the forest all throughout the film. However, although ignored and not understood when they tell their personal stories to the soldiers, these women engage in consensual physical affection with the soldiers; they do not need to be saved as some critics proclaim[13]. Meanwhile, Clean barges in on Lance and the Playmate of the Year as she’s confiding about being forced to act in ways against her will for Playboy. As she jumps up from Clean’s intrusion, a trunk topples over and spills out a corpse. She and Lance end up making out anyway. This whole scene fixates on sex superimposed over death. Then, Clean pops back in and tells Playmate of the Year that he’s next. Interestingly, the eldest and highest ranked of the crew—Chief and Captain Willard—stay behind on the boat, deciding not to participate in rape culture but also not stopping it, while the young soldiers shamelessly pounce the reluctant playmates. Perhaps the reticence of the elder soldiers shows how living outside the patriarchal gaze, and outside of rape culture, is a possible choice, although convoluted and complicit, and that there is a way to resist reducing women to nonhuman shelter and objects of desire, to untie the fences that drag her down. Regardless, these nameless, un/dressed women were still forced into the background of these scenes, just as the jungle is the backdrop of the film, and just as the Vietnamese and Cambodian people are reduced to dehumanized fixtures of the river and forest, not only in Apocalypse Now and its many emanations, but also in Winter Soldier, and The Sympathizer.

The nonhuman as non-Western people, women, and nature are consistently backgrounded in the film and present counterpoints that disturb the white and patriarchal gazes. During the dinner party scene, Chef, a saucier from New Orleans, asks the French family who prepared the food, and he’s appalled and uses racial slurs when he learns the person is Vietnamese and not French, as if it were a personal affront. Then there is a segment whereby the repelled attacks by the plantation family are read aloud as a death toll, and when Captain Willard reads six Americans on the list, he sulks at the horror. Roxanne Sarrault is the only woman in the entire film depicted with substance, albeit it during a brief encounter. Roxanne descends the stairs partway through the dinner party scene. At first, Roxanne is invited to join the conversation between Captain Willard and Hubert de Marais, whereas the two other women say next to nothing, and one spoon feeds the eldest patriarch at the table, Gaston de Marais, who critiques America’s role in the war. Roxanne seems to be free and equal to her French male counterparts, drinking and smoking a cigar, until she challenges something Hubert says. Then she keeps silent while all the men take turns lamenting and arguing about France’s defeat in the Indochina War. One lamentation that Hubert delivers politicizes French women as agents of communism; he references the Union of French Women defusing grenades and leaving messages that said: “We are for the Viets,” tricking and thus killing French soldiers fighting in the battle of Dien Bien Phu. He vehemently refers to the women as “traitors back home.” These nonhumantraitors back home weaponized their backgrounding by setting fatal traps that went undetected because they were underestimated. Just as nature is often underestimated until a disaster strikes. This violent response to violence is an unfortunate consequence from not intentionally cultivating the nonhuman. After everyone else leaves the dinner, Roxanne asks Captain Willard if he knows “why you can never step into the same river twice,” and he says, “yeah, because it’s always moving” (Coppola). The river not only symbolizes the dichotomy of the collective patriarchal unconscious versus the nonhuman, but it is also a central setting in the film that carries the state of perpetual becoming for the captain, the colonel, and the way dominant culture depicts the nonhuman. Roxanne becomes the embodiment of solace, beauty, and rest that nurtures the weary captain with her conversation, nudity, and opium. Roxanne is another hint at a Posthuman Ecofemme resistance, even if not fully actualized. Despite her poetic, cognac-drinking and cigar-smoking persona, Roxanne is a natural resource that serves the ego of Captain Willard on his hero’s journey up the river, through the collective patriarchal unconscious to kill its most obscene personification: Colonel Kurtz. 

Madame in The Sympathizer shares nurturing qualities reminiscent of Roxanne in Apocalypse Now Redux (2001). She too is from prestige, and she too is in exile in a country other than her homeland—the difference being: Roxanne comes from imperialist France to live in Vietnam and Madame comes from communist Vietnam to reside in the U.S. Although from a “rarefied class,” Madame cooks for the anonymous narrator and Vietnamese spy in the novel, literally providing him not only nourishment in the form of sustenance, but nourishment in the form of embodying Vietnam life and culture: “She had been cooking and the house smelled of sentiment, a rich aroma of beef broth and star anise I can only describe as the bouquet of love and tenderness, all the more striking because Madame had never cooked before coming to this country” (Nguyen 16). In both the novel and the film, these women are backgrounded with the duty of providing a service linked to nature (food, opium) and indulging in the senses for the male protagonists and embodying something other than themselves, i.e., both women, despite their status, are natural resources > nonhuman.  

Much like the anti-humanism Colonel Kurtz embodies in the film, Vietnam War veterans who confessed the war crimes they committed described their inhumane brutality toward Vietnamese people during the war, stating they were told by their own captains that “the people over there just aren’t people.” In the beginning of the documentary, one vet is asked about throwing prisoners out of helicopters, and he responds with a smile and relays that he was instructed to never count the “bodies” boarding the helicopter, only the ones leaving, to avoid being questioned about, and held accountable for, the missing people who were killed. But the nonhuman as viewed by the American military included more than prisoners. Another vet said he shot down entire villages, and a photo appears on screen of one in particular along a river, and the vet claimed to have killed 291 villagers there, and he points out that women and children were included in the casualties. Just as women and children are backgrounded, brutalized, murdered, and brainwashed in Apocalypse Now Redux (2001) and all cuts of the film.

In the film, as the boat crew pulls up to the village where Colonel Kurtz hides, the prevalence of literary whiteness shows up quite literally as the Cambodian natives in the river, passively protecting the land, are painted all white from head to toe. This stark symbolism conjures the realization that there are not any Vietnamese or Cambodian characters with significant speaking parts in the movie, or any speaking parts in the film. Much like how the unnamed narrator in The Sympathizer says that the Vietnamese people on the movie set he is consulting have no speaking parts: they only have screams. “[B]asically all the places in the script where one of my people has a speaking part, he or she screams. No words, just screams (Nguyen 155).” And in a macabre humorous way, the protagonist shares how the screams had to hit the mark. He then advises how different Vietnamese people should scream based on their body types and the situation at hand. He also mentions an interesting posthuman insight: that pain is private and how it is vocalized or shared depends on the makeup of the person feeling it, that inquiry and open dialogue should occur about individual pain so we can come to know the cultural and personal factors that influence pain and its expression. Due to this passage in the novel and other references, Apocalypse Now is at least one film that Nguyen critiques. Again, there are no speaking roles for the Vietnamese and Cambodian people in Coppola’s film and its numerous versions. Imagine how different Coppola’s movie would be if there was more cultural representation, and not mere screams, thus cultivation of the nonhuman > posthuman. Imagine if Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk known for peacefully protesting the Vietnam War and being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967 by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Hanh), was a character in the film. It would decry the Vietnam War even more, and with some cultural agency. By doing so, perhaps the movie would no longer be double-voicing Coppola’s own autobiographical reflections, a type of self-aware and self-undoing cultivation of the Patriarchy needed for the Ecofemme Posthuman resistance to be effective, especially apparent in the tension between Captain Willard and Colonel Kurtz.

By going inward, Colonel Kurtz internalizes The Establishment he is trying to escape. Colonel Kurtz’s identity is in a constant state of becoming, but as an inversion of Stuart Hall’s identity-as-process because the process of realization backfires on Colonel Kurtz, and he becomes just as vile and destructive as The Establishment he revokes. As Colonel Kurtz’s identity thickens off screen, viewers eventually meet him when he thinks he’s living outside of The Establishment of Control, but really, he is a microcosmic flesh mirror of Control. Unlike Conrad and Colonel Kurtz, Coppola did not make the same mistake, even with the inescapable dominant patriarchal and white gazes. 

Ultimately, Colonel Kurtz sacrifices his body to Captain Willard because he knows he’s gone too far with his contribution to the biopolitical horror he denounces at the end of the film. This is done in conjunction with the water buffalo sacrifice scene, a tradition in Cambodia and other parts of Asia. Interestingly, the water buffalo sacrifice caused bad press for the movie’s director (Mandell). Is the criticism Coppola received a result of how Americans are programmed to view traditions from the East? He states he didn’t direct the scene and that it was completely organic (Mandell). Was Coppola’s intention not only artistic but a way to be unlike Conrad by showing a genuine tradition that symbolizes interdependence in a community that relies on its traditions for sustenance and survival especially while war-torn and massacred by actual monsters like Colonel Kurtz and the traumatized and prejudiced soldiers on the boat with Captain Willard? Or is Coppola doing what Hall mentions: constructing (and in this context: assuming) cultural identity through narrative and myth (Hall 1194)? Why was this bloody tradition the only authentic representation of the local people incorporated in the film? Is this scene a failed attempt at cultivating the nonhuman?

In a Ecofemme Posthuman world, after the death of the proverbial Colonel Kurtz, there needs to be a way to resist, and permanently resolve, biopolitical horror. Humanity needs to deprogram the dominant culture narrative from the collective mind and move beyond crashing binary grids that enable the prevalence of binary oppositions that in turn dehumanizes other, the nonhuman. Global society needs to transform beyond diminishing women to nameless ghosts of projected desire, exclusively designed for a male mate to play with. Beyond exploiting nature and her gifts of bounty. Beyond capitalizing on and destroying non-Western cultures and identities. If global society and the world government would move toward an assemblage (Puar) of valued interconnectedness, instead of a severely undervalued calculated disconnectedness, there would be no need for constant power imbalances. Adopting a cooperative Ecofemme Posthuman resistance is a way to unify, or interconnect, the intersecting oppositions of man/woman-nonhuman, dominant-culture/subjugated-nature in a way that disarms the patriarchal and white gazes completely. Until then, humanity needs to continue examining what it has done to the earth, to the nonhuman, because when the music’s over— and when humanity and nature are ultimately devalued, deprived, and destroyed—under the clutches of dominant culture, it’ll truly be apocalypse now. Therefore, it is in the best interest of humanity to cultivate the nonhuman. Doing so will decentralize Power and Control. A proactive transformation from dystopic anti-humanism to a utopic cultivation of the nonhumanrequires a mindfully inter-related planetary society driven with steadfast Posthuman Ecofemme resistance.

[1] Although Donna Haraway does not explicitly refer to the Posthuman in her essay, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs,” it is implied, especially when she states that “the cyborg is a kind of disassembled and reassembled, post-modern collective and personal self. This is the self feminists must code.” The recoding and deprogramming of the self and environment are analogous with the process of becoming Posthuman in the Ecofemme sense.

[2] Binary grids, as in Jasbir Puar’s commentary on the limitations of academic intersectionality discourse.

[3] As Achebe’s critique states, Conrad’s novella especially instigates antihumanism toward African people and culture, and more subtly any person who is not white.

[4] This term comes from Val Plumwood’s book, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature. She asserts that when women are equated with nature, they are “defined as passive, as non-agent and non-subject, as the ‘environment’ or invisible background conditions against which ‘foreground’ achievements of reason or culture (provided typically by the white, western, male expert or entrepreneur) take place” (Plumwood 4). Additionally, women and the environment are treated “as providing background to a dominant, foreground sphere of recognized achievement or causation” (Plumwood 21). Women and nature are both consistently backgrounded in Apocalypse Now Redux (2001)which mirrors the Vietnam War era and its patriarchal gaze.

[5] Michele Foucault’s biopower, as in the study and conditioning of the body aimed at making long-lasting, procreating, and efficient workers out of everyone in society (Foucault) who exists outside of The Establishment, which is now colloquially referred to as The 1% ever since the Occupy movement in 2011.

[6] Without directly defining literary whiteness, Toni Morrison asks the question: “How is ‘literary whiteness’ and ‘literary blackness’ made, and what is the consequence of that construction?’” In context of this paper, literary whiteness is a result of implicit bias, and sometimes an overt bias, and shows what happens in literature without examining “the impact of racial hierarchy, racial exclusion, and racial vulnerability and availability on nonblacks who held, resisted, explored or altered those notions. (Toni Morrison)”

[7] In this context, orientalism is meant as what Edward Said describes as, “a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient” (Said 1109). However, Said’s discourse on orientalism has been critiqued for remaining inside the box of dominant culture ideology instead of breaking its boundaries (Kleinen). 

[8] France colonized Vietnam from 1858 to 1954 and rubber was the motivator for colonization, according to the National WWII Museum (Robert Citino). This at least partially explains why the screenwriters of Apocalypse Now Redux (2001), John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola, decided to add a French-owned rubber plantation to the storyline.

[9] The fact my initial thought was to name these scenes after objects and not after the people murdered says a lot about my own white gaze. I left that diction here for heady and meta effect in showing more evidence of literary whiteness.

[10] Playboy models are colloquially called bunnies, and the word “bunnies” implies women signified as animal, nature, and therefore nonhuman. Also, this scene is labeled as “The Crew Spends Time with the Bunnies” on Amazon Prime Video, but I went down the rabbit hole (pun intended) and Business Insider explains a Playmate is a centerfold model and a bunny is a cocktail server or hostess (Warren). This distinction wasn’t clear in the scene name on Amazon because, with a patriarchal gaze, all women signify the animal and nonhuman

[11]  As stated on Internet Movie Database.

[12] As stated on Internet Movie Database.

[13] Kleinen’s article on Vietnam War movies implies the victimization of the bunnies. However, even if inevitably exploited, some women choose sex work because they experience liberation from the average worker’s alienation because they are not funding the state with taxes, and they have more control over spare time/private property. This spare time can be spent deprogramming dominant culture imprints and re-coding the self as Posthuman Ecofemme. 

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’.” Literary Theory: An Anthology. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2017. 1137-1146.

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