‘May I Please Enter’ by Alan Resnick review

Alan Resnick, known for his creepy and strange lil’ shorts that he puts out every once in a while, made this Adult Swim “small” known as “May I Please Enter”. And with it being sorta one of the “newer” ones of his, I thought I’d review it, in an opinionated way, talking about what I personally saw in it, so yeah, here we go.

So, Alan Resnick has been making stuff for years and years, whether it be mini series’, shorts, music videos, etc, and the common theme which most people and I could probably notice when watching his stuff, is that he really enjoys making people uncomfortable. Through either building unrealistic, yet surprisingly tangible tension, or through breaking the viewer’s expectations so irrationally, that they might not even know how a scene was supposed to make them feel. It definitely might not be for everyone, but hey, I think it’s pretty good, so yeah, this short “May I Please Enter,” is assuredly no different. 

Once you get to this point in the article you should probably watch it on YouTube if you’re interested (https://youtu.be/TgxSIFcTvLo). It’s about 10 minutes, and at least I think it’s pretty good enough to the point that it’ll be worth watching to avoid what could be considered spoilers. (That and you’ll probably not really understand like 80% of this without watching the short beforehand anyway).

So, it opens up with Alan in some sorta cowboy getup, doing a sort of “reality show” where he tries to enter someone’s home, and that’s supposed to just be the show I guess. By the first minute, he already sets the tone pretty well by contrasting the somewhat “upbeat” opening theme with an eerie aftermath of him looming towards the door of the house he “selected” and being strangely threatening towards the random people who he comes across while they wonder if he should come into their living space.

One thing you’ll notice, is how blunt, awkward, and strangely obvious every line of dialogue happens to be. This, while also adding to the humor of it all, sets the unsettling tone pretty well, as it leaves the viewer to desire some semblance of normalcy in an already uncomfortable situation.

Even self aware stuff, such as the “He reminds me of North American colonialism”, almost parodying the viewer trying to make sense of, and take meaning from, what they are being presented with, really just feeds into how unnatural it all is from the start. 

Alan Resnick honestly builds tension in a pretty impressive way as well. As one YouTube commenter put it, “This is a horror movie without the horror”. There is so much rising discomfort in how the audio cues, visual hints, and even scenes that look as though they contain eerie foreshadowing, all ultimately go nowhere, and just leave the viewer dazed and confused by the end of it all.

Like, the “other people live in this house” thing, just perfectly had the atmosphere of the obvious cadence which tells you “something’s not right”, but it just ends unresolved with Alan wanting to just go and see more of the house.

There’s plenty of scenes like this throughout that also do the “fake foreshadowing” thing, like the whole breathing slipper/weapon scene and whatnot, but I think you get the idea.

Another smaller scene I wanted to point out, was the whole part about those “funny little phrases they bought on the internet” with most notably the one that went: “Imagine being so wealthy that your body stops moving”, which sorta predicted the whole phenomenon of NFT’s that’s going on right now if you think about it. It’s not too important specifically to this review, but I just found that interesting watching it again and wanted to mention it here for whatever reason.

But honestly, no scene in this short really is integral or meaningful to the plot, which at the same time, makes all of it equally important, if that makes sense. I mean, without the atmosphere this is total nonsense, and nothing anybody does really matters, but honestly, that’s kinda what makes it, and things like it so interesting.

I mean, most narratives in general, take place in a comfortable “grounded” reality in how people interact with each other on a day to day basis. Like if you watch a movie where it takes place in a sorta crazy ol’ fantasy world or whatnot, characters will still be made to be like, relatable to the viewer. But this makes it seem almost as though our own world is more unreal than any fantasy situation we could see in a movie or book, as we watch just how honestly strange and unsatisfying everyday interactions, and general human behavior, could be as viewed as, through the perspective of a sorta artificial intelligence based robot, or something like that, looking into the breakdown of human behavior as a whole.

So, that’s how efficiently I feel Alan makes our world seem fictional. Like everything they do in the short, easily could be something people do in their every day lives, but it’s presented in such an unconventional, yet uncomfortably blatant way, that it feels almost like an uncanny reflection of how we as people see ourselves, and how incredibly alien and awkward it all feels when you just ever so slightly offset the typical path of how life plays out as a whole in human society.

So yeah, I personally thought it was amazingly strange, creepy, and awkward throughout all of it. And like all Alan Resnick’s shorts, I could definitely find the humor in the discomfort of it all, so I’m not gonna give it a score or anything, all I’m gonna say is, if you’re into this sorta thing, I hope you enjoyed it, and if not, at least you can see where I’m coming from with this breakdown/review of it.

Has there ever been a communist state?

By: Grace Helmke

The world is seemingly convinced that communism is the devil. It’s branded as “killer of man,” attempting to dissuade any potential from leaning into the fiery grasp of leftism. We have allowed dictatorial characteristics to become the poster child of communism; for that is all people know. Stalin. Lenin. Mao Zedong. Fidel Castro. All dictators. All members of the communist party. And yet, not one was the leader of a communist state. And that is for one reason only: there has never been a true communist state. 

I think it’s important to first discuss what communism really is. It seems that in today’s political climate, the ideology is often misrepresented and defined incorrectly. There are various overlapping political and economic ideologies which can be defined as communism.

However, the basis of a communist system lies in the idea of anti-capitalism. The means of production are collectively owned and operated, instead of privatised.

Under a capitalist system, money begins to accumulate in a small percentage of citizens: the bugeouise. This means that socioeconomic classes within a state would be abolished. The bourgeois would have the same access to resources that a member of the proletariat would. The formerly rich would have to labor, or work, just as the formerly poor did. Everyone contributes to society according to their ability, and receives back based on their need. The theory of communism revolves around the idea of abolishing all that oppresses the proletariat and all that benefits the bourgeoisie.

The USSR is often represented as being far more radically left than they actually were. We often immediately think of communism when we hear the names Vladmir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.

But the reality is that the USSR was a state capitalist society. They imposed a layer of state managers to operate the industry in the name of the people.

Like discussed before, under a true communist state, workers control production. The only time Russia was close to a communist system was right after the Bolshevik Revolution when land was redistributed to the peasants, and the farmers agreed upon how their products would be used. But, of course, the leaders were set on the idea of a state capitalist society which was far closer to a dictatorial socialist state.

Lenin did believe in Marxist theory. Karl Marx claimed that in order for a state to become fully communist, it had to go through various stages. They first would have to be a capitalist society. Capitalism would then fail, and socialism would take reign. Eventually, the communist utopia would be implemented. One could not claim to be a communist state without having been socialist first.

It could also be argued that communism never existed because the abolition of all forms of class was never administered. A social hierarchy within Russia still existed, and many believe that was due to the fact that capitalism still existed though in a different form. Amongst communists, it’s widely believed that racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and much more cannot be combated until capitalism falls. 

China, as it currently exists today, although ruled by the communist party, is not a communist nation. It is most closely related to socialism, but even then it strays from what we in modern day society consider socialism. There still exists a private sector of the Chinese economy which is responsible for a larger portion of the GDP than the state sector. The state enterprises coexist with the private sector of society.

But before modern China was switched over to a mixture of private and state operated institutions, the communist party that ruled the nation was led by Mao Zedong. Upon establishing rule, the communist party wished to first implement a socialist state (like many other nations). Many leaders actually sought to follow the line of the Soviet Union, including placing restrictions upon labor in the same manner that the USSR did. They desired some control over industrial and capital society. Leaders envisioned a mixed economy of privately owned capitalist firms, state-owned capitalist firms, communist collectives, and other diverse types of enterprises. This was called market socialism.

The myth that China was communist under Mao Zedong can be further dispelled when reading an essay called “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship,” in which Mao established socialism as the foundation for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party). Mao stated that their mission was to implement socialism and then, long into the future, establish communism. But he admitted that it would take a significant portion of time to even commit to socialism.

There never existed a time where workers controlled their own production and surplus. They simply redistributed the wealth, and then re-established state-feudalism. This allowed them to implement communes, providing the illusion of collectivisation which gives the illusion of communism. The workers did not control anything regarding labor and surplus. They were obligated to work by commune management appointed by the government. The surplus was also under control over the government.

China was never communist, it only appeared that way due to the fact that many people don’t really understand what it means to be communist. 

Again, in Cuba, under the rule of Fidel Castro, the nation was a socialist republic not a communist state. Castro publicly admitted that communism would not work in Cuban society after an economic crisis emerged.

Cuba today is a socialist country, and does not claim to be communist. This is a common pattern in many countries with a history of communist party rule. It is believed they are communist because that’s what the leaders claim to be. But that does not mean the economic or political system actually mirrors the beliefs of the leaders. What needs to be looked at more closely is the relationship between the working class, their surplus, and their involvement in the operations of production when indicating whether or not a nation is or was communist. 

Our nation has placed an emphasis on hostility towards communists, and leftist in general, due to the false belief that communism is to blame for the totalitarian, oppressive forces of many dictators throughout history. But the truth is that communism has never existed on our planet, and therefore no one can claim that it is a theory bound to fail. There is no evidence to prove this. It’s entirely possible that one day we will be a stateless, moneyless, classless society if the belief in the superiority of capitalism falls. 

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