Friday, 27 February 2015

Leonard Simon Nimoy March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015

A very sad day.

"I'm touched by the idea that when we do things that are useful and helpful - collecting these shards of spirituality - that we may be helping to bring about a healing." — Leonard Nimoy

"I am not Spock." — Leonard Nimoy

"Spock is definitely one of my best friends. When I put on those ears, it's not like just another day. When I become Spock, that day becomes something special." — Leonard Nimoy

"You proceed from a false assumption: I have no ego to bruise." — Leonard Nimoy

"You know, for a long time I have been of the opinion that artists don't necessarily know what they're doing. You don't necessarily know what kind of universal concept you're tapping into." — Leonard Nimoy

 "LLAP" Leonard Nimoy, and also Spock

Sunday, 22 June 2014

THE DARK SIDE: STAR WARS, MYTHOLOGY AND INGRATITUDE


By David Brin, Ph.D.

"But there's probably no better form of government than a good despot."
George Lucas (New York Times interview, March 1999)


Well, I boycotted Episode I: The Phantom Menace -- for an entire week.

Why? What's to boycott? Isn't Star Wars good old fashioned sci-fi? Harmless fun? Some people call it "eye candy" -- a chance to drop back into childhood and punt your adult cares away for two hours, dwelling in a lavish universe where good and evil are vividly drawn, without all the inconvenient counterpoint distinctions that clutter daily life.

Got a problem? Cleave it with a light saber! Wouldn't you love -- just once in your life -- to dive a fast little ship into your worst enemy's stronghold and set off a chain reaction, blowing up the whole megillah from within its rotten core while you streak away to safety at the speed of light? (It's such a nifty notion that it happens in three out of four Star Wars flicks.)

Anyway, I make a good living writing science-fiction novels and movies. So "Star Wars" ought to be a great busman's holiday, right?

One of the problems with so-called light entertainment today is that somehow, amid all the gaudy special effects, people tend to lose track of simple things, like story and meaning. They stop noticing the moral lessons the director is trying to push. Yet these things matter.

By now it's grown clear that George Lucas has an agenda, one that he takes very seriously. After four Star Wars films, alarm bells should have gone off, even among those who don't look for morals in movies. When the chief feature distinguishing "good" from "evil" is how pretty the characters are, it's a clue that maybe the whole saga deserves a second look.

Just what bill of goods are we being sold, between the frames? Elites have an inherent right to arbitrary rule; common citizens needn't be consulted. They may only choose which elite to follow.

"Good" elites should act on their subjective whims, without evidence, argument or accountability.

Any amount of sin can be forgiven if you are important enough.

True leaders are born. It's genetic.

The right to rule is inherited. Justified human emotions can turn a good person evil.

That is just the beginning of a long list of moral lessons relentlessly pushed by Star Wars. Lessons that starkly differentiate this saga from others that seem superficially similar, like Star Trek.

The Apocalyptic Cosmology of Star Wars

One might, or might  not agree with it but it displays an interesting point of view:

John Lyden is Associate Professor Religion at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. He received his B. A. in philosophy from Wesleyan University, his M. A. in theology from Yale Divinity School, and his Ph. D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. His dissertation concerned Karl Barth's theological use of Immanuel Kant's philosophical epistemology. More recently, he has been interested in interreligoius dialogue (especially Jewish-Christian dialogue) and the relationship between religion and popular culture, notable popular film.

Originally published in: The Journal of Religion & Film
April 2000

Abstract

 The paper analyzes the saga of Star Wars as a text that has borrowed extensively from biblical apocalyptic. There is a cosmic battle between the forces of good and evil; a great cataclysm is foretold, but the faithful will survive with the help of God (The Force); a messiah figure (Luke) appears; and a new world order will come about in which justice triumphs and wickedness is punished. This myth is made relevant to modem viewers by being framed as a battle of technology vs. the natural human: the machine Vader vs. the human Anakin, the Death Star vs. the Force, Imperial walkers vs. primitive Ewoks. The films' apparent technophilia is cover for a technophobic message: we must remember our humanity lest we be absorbed or destroyed by our machine creations.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Listen to David Bowie's New CD free & prior to release


In an unprecedented move, Itunes are presently steaming on demand,  Bowie's new, and might I say best in years, album The Next Day prior to its official release. And whats more for free. I wouldn't normally encourage Itunes with free advertising but in this case... To listen log into the Itunes store on whatever device you normally use (or go here if you don't) and it will appear on the homepage. Or alternatively simply click THIS LINK. Hear it 8 days before its official release.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

New Short Film From David Bowie

Well, some might call it a music video but Bowie has been at this for far to long to throw out anything so "crass". And given his latest set of videos seem to be ruthlessly ridiculing the odd rumours about him that have circulated since his "retirement" 10 years ago... The video to the new single "The Stars (are out tonight)" proves no different. While the music shows a more than solid return to form. Musically closer perhaps to Outside then his previously released single which lay closer to the rather maudlin "Hours", the video features British actor Tilda Swinton, directed with Floria Sigismondi's usual flair for "jittery camera work" and cinematography by Jeff Cronenweth (Fight Club, The Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Hitchcock - one of the only good things about Hitchcock its worth noting).

Is it also satirizing the blog Tilda Stardust which attempts to "prove" that bowie and Swinton are one and the same? Perhaps, but given Bowie's strange sense of humor - and that the fact that the blog looks like a number of others that have appeared over that years regarding Bowie whose author seems suspiciously familiar - I would hate to guess. Although interested readers might want to investigate the "Nate Tate Affair"


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Oops! @Twitter And the Silent Years of Slapstick

Well now. Isn't that embarrassing. Sorry, just found out the follow me twitter button was not working. Fixed now though


Review. Django Unchained: Nietzsche's Siegfried Not Wagner's?

4 Out Of 5 Stars

"Who can attain to anything great if he does not feel in himself the force and will to inflict great pain? The ability to suffer is a small matter: in that line, weak women and even slaves often attain masterliness. But not to perish from internal distress and doubt when one inflicts great suffering and hears the cry of it — that is great, that belongs to greatness." Nietzsche: The Gay Science

"Moreover, Africans faced punishments designed not to only correct but also to degrade and humiliate. William Byrd, Virginia planter and a sophisticated colonial gentleman, noted, without embarrassment, in his diary how he forced a slave bed-wetter to drink a “pint of piss”: The Routledge History Of Slavery

It is nearly impossible to discuss Django Unchained without discussing Richard Wagner's Ring cycle of dramas and Siegfried in particular. How could it not be when both Tarantino and Christoph Waltz have discussed the influence of Wagner's work on Tarantino's newest movie - especially so in the German media. Add to this  that Django is searching for his wife Broomhilde (Brunnhilde) and the clear links between certain characters and those found in Wagner's dramas. However, like everything that Tarintino "steals" from, he manipulates them for his own purposes - while often doing little more than nodding at the original. And I don't just mean the written narrative here but all of the narrative structures at a film makers disposable: sound, music, dialogue, mise-en-scene, titles,  costumes, framing,  etc. Indeed, one feels sometimes that perhaps this alteration of the original source allows him to add a further narrative message - even if one needs to be familiar with the source to see how he does this and perhaps what he he might be trying to say. This would be no different in the manner that he adapts Wagner's work then he does that of  the other two main pieces of source material: Sergio Corbucci's original Django and Pietro Francisci's Hercules Unchained. However, I think that Tarantino's distortion of Wagner's Siegfried (Django) is so important in this movie that it needs far more attention than has been provided by those perhaps less familiar with the source. But don't worry, we will keep things simple. Don't I always?