Videos: The Adventures of the Master Class Reconsidered

Here we return to the theme of the previous feature on “reality tourism,” and the promotional materials produced by the Razor’s Edge company. With this, we complete our collection of such videos from 1999. The newest addition features an interview/testimonial, with Robert De Niro in the spotlight as he converses with the Executive VP of Razor’s Edge, Emily Woodcock. The video is even introduced by none other than Sir Jeremy Fullerton. De Niro’s work in a Moscow hospital and then a morgue in Siberia is complemented by Sean Penn’s experience in a Mexican chop shop, at roughly the same time. The interview with Penn is listed again here, since it is a slightly revised and updated video that we found. In the De Niro video, some interesting questions are discussed, such as: whether or not Hollywood actors and anthropologists both face similar trust issues in trying to convince public audiences; how can members of the master class best fulfill their desires for both continued mobility, on the one hand, and yet deepen their self-discovery on the other hand; the ways in which privilege can be seen in action: as the obliteration of every dividing line; and, how the active transnationalists “on our side of the gate” also include mercenaries, missionaries, humanitarian aid workers, and even backpackers. But, as you will hear, living the life of “angels in the air” entails cultivating the uttermost detachment at all times, to the extent that one never really knows whether or not to take any of De Niro’s responses at face value. There is more to these testimonials, and it is left to the viewers to unpack them. One day it will be written that Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge was not only one of the great works of the innermost conscience of the elites that guided Western Civilization, but was also the basis for a great business plan that was just waiting to be operationalized.

Interview with Robert De Niro

Interview with Sean Penn

Interview with Kate Winslet