our job is to rob that bank."
Out of all the characters featured in Decoder, sexy Christiane F. is easily the most peculiar. What makes Christiane so different from the rest of the characters in the film is that she mostly lives in her own escapist world of the organic - where technology is disdained and frogs are godly. Apparently, the real-life Christiane F. is also an introverted lady who finds happiness and comfort in the company of her loyal pet frogs. Of course, Christiane F. is incapable of manipulating modern reality like her noise-freak boyfriend due to her uncompromising aversion to technology. When bickering with E.M., Christiane quips after mentioning the unoriginality of his noise-terrorist activities, “Even the Gestapo used music to make people shit to death.” On top of being a linguistically eloquent lady, Christiane F. is also the most beautiful person featured in Decoder, despite her ridiculous punk rock wardrobe, cyber-punk hairdo, and atrocious personality. By ignoring technology, Christiane F. has only confirmed the victory of globalist corporations, therefore, she hates technology in vain; whether she acknowledges it or not. Although Christiane's anti-technocratic sentiments are admirable, she offers nothing in the way of practical solutions (aside from effortlessly cock-teasing hit man Jager) for correcting her grievances, but, instead, verbally assaults her boyfriend; a proactive man who selflessly risks his life for the good of his technologically-enslaved nation. Thus, Christiane - an armchair revolutionary of the worst kind, with a unflattering passive slave-morality to boot - is an excellent example as to how one should not react (escapism and mere negative criticism) when battling corporate terror. E.M., on the other hand - has the right idea - as he has made an effort to learn the corporate enemy's subliminal techniques and cryptic-strategies, henceforth somewhat successfully battling corporate muzak with his subversive anti-muzak.
The cut-up novels of William S. Burroughs and the revolutionary anti-technocratic film Decoder were certainly ahead of their respective times, as both ambitious experiments are more relevant today than when they were originally released. It is no mistake that scenes from Fritz Lang’s futuristic dystopian sci-fi film Metropolis (1927) appear in Decoder, as both German films foretold the progressive enslavement and collective homogenization of man via technology and international capitalist monopolies. Man may have created the machine in a feeble attempt to become god, but now the machine controls man and man is left with a godless spiritual void that will most likely never be organically fulfilled. It should be noted that most of the key points predicted by German philosopher Oswald Spengler (whose works were a major influence on William S. Burroughs' worldview) in his work Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of life (1931) – a short, but insightful book that poetically illustrates man’s technological deracination from nature and inevitable dependence on manmade machines – have unfortunately come true. Although Decoder was released over a quarter-century ago during the Orwellian year of 1984, war fought through abstract and subliminal technology has only become even more relevant and inorganically sophisticated - as one can engage in cyber-wars on the internet from the comfort of a personal home computer. Now the layman can cheaply operate his own international digital television channel via YouTube, as well as manage a worldwide digital newspaper via a blog/website (like this one!). For the more criminally-minded, one can attack government computers, steal a person's identity, and illegally appropriate money as an online hacker from any place in the world. If you think William S. Burroughs was merely a degenerate junkie-queer writer, it is about time you open your eyes and unplug your ears, and watch Decoder; a film that clearly demonstrates as to why the Beat writer lived by Hassan I Sabbah’s supposed last words, “Nothing is true – Everything is Permitted.”