Marmaduke offensively explained

By me, that is.

In February I linked to a R-rated claim about Marmaduke (but I didn't agree with that opinion).

It turns out there is a blog dedicated to the comic strip, with a different perspective. I have only read about 6 of its entries but it seems clueless to me, as well.

[also see related post about a different dog]

As quaint as it is, the big comic dog has a specific unconscious purpose. This emotional function is indirectly political.

ImageChef.com - Create custom images

To start with, the comic strip concerns the upper-middle-class. Even the juvenile blog implies this, by calling the woman 'Owner-Lady'. The Owner-Man's slippers are another clue.

Do these people want to learn from their pet, or even play with it? ..No, they do not. Why not? Maybe they are just too busy, or maybe they are otherwise fulfilled.

But I do not think so. I think that in the backs of their minds they must somehow grasp a deep truth in the silent animal and want to avoid it, avoid being changed by an interaction. Luckily for them, Marmaduke is to blame for the relationship failure:
See how Marmaduke almost drools in the soup! See how he wrecks Christmas fantasies! See how he won't fetch the stick until he wants to!

I think the strip's fans share the attitudes of the dog's owners. They too want to not become wiser, and Marmaduke's daily mini-degradations are a kind of propaganda to this effect. For fans, the strip is a (fun) defensive fortification along the long line in their war against their own enlightenment.

In one of the cartoons Marmaduke brings a stick to participate in the Christmas tree decoration

About this, Joe M. writes
“Marmaduke is trying to decorate his owner-family's Christmas tree with a bunch of his dog bullshit. Owner-Lady declines his "help" with as much diplomacy as she can muster.”

As ridiculous as it might seem, I believe a metaphor is embedded in the cartoon:
The Christmas tree AS civilization
the ornaments AS contributions to civilization

I believe the cartoonist unconsciously meant it is best if only the upper-middle-class contribute to civilization (maybe even that the lesser beings they own should not).

From his hostility it is clear Joe does not agree (or perhaps his anger is because he unconsciously does agree!). Certainly Joe just wants to feel good. Nothing wrong with that.

Perhaps this is too strong. My point is, the 'tree' needs more 'ornaments' - our society needs more contributions from more people.
In other words, Peace and Love. Am I allowed to post thought around Christmastime?

I find fictional dogs often are substitutes for Buddha and I know enlightenment is not class-war. I mean, imagine if the caption had been 'OK, Marmaduke, well hang your stick and then you and I can watch some TV together'. Wouldn't that have been better?

updated 2007-01-01, then again on 2007-01-04


Gromit is the Buddha

Here is a old-world Buddhist account, with two proper names replaced with the letters X and Y:
"X tested Y to the maximum, but the master was patient, forgiving, humorous and full of love. He never asked X to abandon reason, and he faced all of X's arguments and examinations with infinite patience. In time, X accepted Y, and while he accepted, his acceptance was whole-hearted. While Y predominantly taught duality and Bhakti to his other disciples, he taught X ... the philosophy of non-dualism."
Since Y is described as 'the master' you may have to read it again to see that if moved to a modern world context, Y could be a dog.

My point is, I am pretty sure this is the unintentional, underlying plot for the Wallace & Gromit series!

These entertaining and soothing claymation movies (usually shorts) are often described as 'whimsical'.

I will only mention the 1st one. In it, the regular man (Wallace) announces he is short on cheese and thus will go to the moon to get more. His friend Buddha Gromit is non-plussed. The dog helps him build the spaceship and they successfully go for a lunar cheese picnic.
It it wise to be whimsical?

Even if this is totally wrong, dogs clearly have some special meaning for other people, sometimes involving reincarnation. For instance, see TR's 2005 post and update.

more nonsense
  • Gromit was originally to be a speaking part, but it became clear the clay dog's expressions alone would be sufficent. His meanings are literally wordless, like the Buddha's

  • In the semi-crazy indirectEffect interpretation of the Modern World, cats and dogs have special importance. Cats are prana, while dogs are Buddha

  • The closing credits for at least one of the W&Gs involve rising and falling bunnies. What are bunnies? ..they are rabbits fictionalized and unconsciously infused both with the Buddha and with prana.
    Yes, Easter is about reincarnation (don't get me started).

  • At the very beginning Gromit was to be a cat. This means that Nick Park's self-healing with clay --his creating a dog-that-once-was-a-cat-- follows the natural yoga arc of stumbling upon wisdom when out looking for prana. Sort of.

A lot more could be said, but I will save some for another post.


HDR photo technique compared to poetry

HDR is an emerging technique where multiple photos taken a different f-stops are merged by a computer, resulting in a greater range of visible detail.
[scroll down for examples]

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was a US poet.

What do they have to do with each other? Well...not much. They are in separate media. But to me the way each represents depth matches.

Here is a WCW poem with its lines pushed together:

"The little sparrows hop ingenuously about the pavement quarreling with sharp voices over those things that interest them. But we who are wiser shut ourselves in on either hand and no one knows whether we think good or evil.

Meanwhile, the old man who goes about gathering dog-lime walks in the gutter without looking up and his tread is more majestic than that of the Episcopal minister approaching the pulpit of a Sunday.

These things astonish me beyond words."

'Pastoral'  [~1915]

Maybe it's a stretch but I see Williams' style in these photos:

'Mt. Fuji
from Hayama'

'Working way
too hard'
these are linked to large photos on Flickr

A couple more from the set '??? (Mt. Fuji)' and one with a nicely realized depth-of-field.

edited 11/28/2006


a 2005 movie that had the guts to behead its chicken

Last November I wrote about the shared themes in the top ten US box office. Among the themes I saw embedded was chicken with its head cut off.

One month earlier the French movie Caché had premiered in the USA at a film festival. But I had not even heard of it.

Today, I finally saw Caché. It has a scene where a chicken gets its head cut off and then it flaps headless around a farmyard. This event is central to the story.

I have not seen Chicken Little, Jarhead, The Legend of Zorro or Saw II, but I say confidently that Caché gets to the metaphorical jugular better than they do.

It is personally satisfying to spot an underlying theme in a brief bit of cultural history, and then later to have that confirmed when it turns out there was another similarly-preoccupied movie.

Especially when that movie resonates.

tacked on
  • If you have enjoyed high-brow movies in the past you might really like Caché. That is, unless you rationalize a lot (if you tell yourself 'white lies' on a daily basis that would make you the movie's target)

  • At the beginning the movie seems to be about how terror unites a family. This is highly misleading. It is really about how adult personality forms.
    [in an interview on the DVD the writer/director, Michael Haneke, chuckles about how much fun he had misleading the viewer]

  • The SF Chronicle referred to the chicken head-chopping scene as 'cruelty to an animal'. Strangely, the paper didn't say if they took ads from restaurants that serve chicken. .. In the same vein, the reviewer is somehow blind to the movie's considerable virtues.

changed on 11/28/2006


3 OK comics deconstruction oldies

  • the suggestion that
    'if you remove all the text of Garfield's speech, or thoughts, or whatever that is, that it become an oddly surrealist comic'.
    Absolutely. But this may be true of many narratives where the protagonist's POV is somehow erased.

  • the original comic source images for Roy Lichtenstein paintings.
    Dull and with no commentary, but there's a conclusion available.

  • New Yorker 'caption contest' mocked.
    Fairly or not, you decide.

another comedian put in his place

This post is words about words about words about jokes. If you would rather skip to the real deal - at the end of his post Perrin has the great Dalai Lama golfing clip from Caddyshack.


Wednesday I commented on a narcissistic profile in New York magazine. The subject it was putting in his place was Stephen Colbert.

It turns out the New York Times has some of the same issues. These show up in their review of a new book about Doug Kenney, called 'A Futile and Stupid Gesture'.

Kenney is not a famous name but he was an important influence in much of US comedy in the last quarter century, including Colbert.

  • Dennis Perrin points out errors in matters of fact in the NYTimes review and sees emotional problems. He says the review is 'so unbelievably bad that it's almost beautiful'

  • Mike Gerber sees 'bizarre and strangely angry conclusions' in the review
I should point out that both Gerber are Perrin are friends with the author, and would be likely to defend him passionately. Nevetheless I know they are right about Kenney.

to sum up
That's two cases in a week where elitists -when forced to write and think about comedy- start making stuff up, at the very least.

  • I read envy in the parallel, hidden putdowns. magazine person: 'It's been a very good year for Stephen Colbert'; NYTimes person: '[Kenney's] definitely had one blowout decade'
    Also both pull out of their ass the factoid that most comedians don't analyze their trade.

  • strangely -or perhaps not- Garry Trudeau's 1981 critique of (Kenney-influenced) SNL humor [quoted here] was that it was too elitist and smug

  • Why do they act this way when asked to analyze the importance of comedians? - possibly related is the Eric Idle quote about 'groups who claim immunity from laughter'

  • In a weak earlier post about a famous rock song I made the claim that comedy is one the three main forces effectively holding back totalitarianism in the USA

edited 11/28/2006


the BlackAdder Shakespeare sketch

The series of 1980s British Blackadder sitcoms have many fans. If you are one, you might not have seen some of their extra performances.

For instance YouTube has their 'Shakespeare Sketch'*, from 9/18/89

I wanted to post one video that wouldn't be interfering with sales of anything. It fits with this website, even though it's more 'post-modern' than new age.

*but as an Oxfordian I cannot wholly endorse it!


link to elitist profile of Colbert

A culture-watching magazine this week has a profile of Stephen Colbert.
-the word 'truthiness' was coined just hours before the taping of the first show
-He’s a big Lord of the Rings fan
-He studied philosophy in college
-one of his inspirations was Don Novello (better known as the SNL character 'father Guido Sarducci')

Btw, my link is not an endorsement. The author of the profile has deep-seated elitism issues. His attitudes are dropped here and there in the text as if they were pearls. Looked at seperately they're not so bad, but over the course of the article they're like a very slow spiritual poisoning. Four examples:

  • the author implies Colbert is less important than the great New York magazine
    “This has been a very good year for Stephen Colbert”

  • He writes
    “Colbert in person is one of those rare comedians who like to dissect comedy”
    I am pretty sure this is just false, that most comedians do like to 'dissect comedy' (even though few would use that baleful verb). But by writing this he gets to subtly flatter himself (since the article is itself an analysis of comedy the implications are that he is himself rare, and that he understands the topic better than most comedians).

  • At one point the author pretends to himself he has a cool comparison to Ann Coulter that Colbert didn't even think of
    “When I mention the comparison to Colbert, though, he seems surprised, even unnerved”
    Dude, maybe he wasn't 'unnerved', maybe he was realizing what a total dip you are.
    [notably this is the only direct account of the interview itself]

  • In the final paragraphs -discussing the 'mob'- there is this:
    “[Colbert]'s become something very close to what he’s parodying, a kind of Bill O’Reilly for the angry left”
    The angry left? Dude, did your paranoia spells mean you had to skip Emotions 101? (to explain: when people are laughing it's not the same as when they are angry.)


3 big photos featuring sky, and their effect

They are all newly on Flickr.

'flying over
the rainbow'

'Strawbales Under
a Stormy Sky'

'Train at
Egbert Crossing'

Since each photo includes sky, each has at least an implied horizon.
In the first photo the horizon is below the image.
In the third photo, note the train's DRL is almost exactly at the camera lens' subjective horizon.1

Which brings me to the energetic, usually-friendly photo technique called OOB ( meaning 'out of bounds'). Of the whole OOB gallery, the best one happens to feature two good-looking women:

Notice how this image has two implied horizons:
  1. in the virtual space the 3D embedded photo is floating in

  2. in the embedded photo, which alludes to its own horizon just beyond the edge of the water.

It's soothing, right? And not just the women?

In my opinion2 horizons help human beings emotionally, and since this image has two, it is extra-soothing.

1 -- about the train photo, I checked and Ohio has no special rule mandating headlights on trains in the daytime (Cf).

2-- I have given my opinion of DRLs already. I used a lot of words and didn't get to my good points until halfway through. It's a horizon-related issue, I claim, a collective paranoia.

modified 2006-12-07, then 2007-01-01 a bit more


new and old Garry Trudeau quotes

These days I only regularly look at Trudeau's Sunday's strip.

Did you know that the Sunday online version of Doonesbury has eight panels but many newspapers only carry the last six?
The first two panels are never essential for that reason.

This is why I look at it online. But this morning's is not on the Slate page (at this moment anyway).

This is how I happened to notice that a SoCal independent paper has just printed a rare interview with Trudeau. It looks to have been done by email.

Below are the parts that I found interesting:

comics he likes:
“The big three for me in recent years were Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, and Dilbert. I’m down to Dilbert. On the editorial side, I love Tom Toles.”
about the medium:
“I don’t know anyone who is younger than 30 and reads my strip in a newspaper.”
about his lack of sources:
“My “research” is generally whatever I can pull off Google that will lend verisimilitude to whatever it is I’m writing about. Hope this doesn’t disillusion, but there’s a lot of hack in me.”
A quote from Trudeau's commencement address to the Colby College class of '81 gives a glimpse of what his opinions on comedy in general were then:
"('Saturday Night's) 'screw-you' (humor) .. adroitly mocks society's victims ... For all its innovations this kind of satire tells society's nebbishes that they are right about themselves, that they are nobodies, that to be so un-hip as to be disadvantaged, to be ignorant, to be physically infirm, or black, or even female is to invite contempt ... What worries me about Slash and Burn humor, and the larger society which has spawned it, is that it reflects a sort of callousness so prevalent in the survivalist ethic. If this is to become a society intolerant of failure and uncompassionate in the face of suffering, then we are lost."

[source: Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live]

I am not sure I agree with this.


as great a player as he is, he should change careers

T.O has great potential as a human being. He has almost never used his somewhat-rare courage, and overall vision.

Owens himself has glimpsed that football wastes some his talents -- in my opinion this is what was happening in Owens' confrontations with Andy Reid.

Many people in the world -of course - are never exposed to the ideas that will allow to see the way forward that is best for them. Authoritarianism can contribute to these minor tragedies. Even though participation in football helps more people than it limits, like others before him Owens has lost something by spending his life with this sub-culture that over-emphasizes obedience and loyalty.

I guess making it worse for Owens has been playing under the warped Bill Parcells, who is a kind of genius-promoter of a stunting philosophy.

T.O. should change professions, at least for a while. He could begin anew in talk radio. And even though I love Texas ... not in that state. Within a few years Owens could even go back to sports as a commentater. If he could manage to be exposed to nurturant values & ideas for a few years, Owens could end up far more interesting (and good for the sport) than the douchebags and the imagination-free fascists that make up so much of network football coverage.


I have a similar opinion of Randy Moss, btw. Both Moss and Owens could have been great men. But the West crushes kids with libertarian-anarchist instincts, especially black kids. Some end up playing football, and many fans decide these players' troubles with authority are flaws. But this is only half the story.

A limited analogy: just as Jimi Hendrix did not belong in the military, Owens does not belong in football.


culture-watching brag

I did it again!

On this blog 3 weeks ago I used a Stephen Colbert 'on notice' generator to put up a few of my peeves. Among other abuses, I put the 'misuse of irony' on notice.

Then yesterday Stephen Colbert himself put irony on notice!!
He didn't pull out the board but he said it.

Is that like proof that I am way cool, or what?

Just call me the 'joke prefigurer' (a very catchy phrase if I don't say so myself).

my earlier bit of premonition

Maybe last year sometime I happened to notice that Tom Cruise's dice had lost another spot, that the movie actor had under gone a 'change'. I was not a Cruise-basher btw. Nor did I follow his story much. But I noticed this before it was news (I won't say how).

I even said it. In another context I predicted that a blowup was coming from Cruise. And just weeks after that he stood on Oprah's stage couch and jumped and yelled. An event which led a gazillion others to notice what I already had.

Did I get credit? No. Not one person said .. that man, he knowz culture. Not one person. they all think they are SO smart. but who spotted what first? ... Sigh.

yes, I know

Clearly, I use too much time looking at popular culture.


the symbolism in V for Vendetta

When I first saw the title, "V for Vendetta" I lamely joked "V for Vagina", knowing full-well it was a political, subversive movie 1. Now that I have seen it (and read a few reviews) I think it's worth returning to this.

If you want to read about the politics, go here instead.

The character 'V' is a asexual masked enabler, allowing the dramatic arc of the secretary played by Natalie Portman. An ordinary, practical young woman is made into a political warrior.

In the original version of the story the female lead was different. David Edelstein writes:
"Evey might seem less of a goody two-shoes if she’d begun—as in the graphic novel—by turning tricks for money; and her relationship with another TV host, a melancholy teddy bear (Stephen Fry), is yawningly platonic. After Evey’s head is shaved and she endures a marathon torture session, we expect great things. It’s a lapse in the screenwriting that her new fearlessness is barely tested; she’s a Joan of Arc who never fights. But Portman’s watchfulness and unaffected beauty keep you entranced—and the movie from drifting into camp. Whatever else it is, V for Vendetta is not frivolous. The Wachowskis—one of whom is reportedly in the midst of a sex change—introduce a lesbian martyr to make a plaintive case for the right to be what one is."
The Wachowskis seem to have shifted the core symbolic struggle in the powerful material from
working-class prostitute holding off Thatcherism

virginal woman who sympathizes w lesbians holding off self-absorbed rapists

In every scene with V and multiple men V pulls 'his' knives out of their scabbards. They are shiny and sharp, and they cut the bad men. None will never have sex life again.
V as Edwards Scissorhands luckier older brother?


V for Vendetta is very good movie. I doubt it could have been made any better. Despite the surface material it is not pretentious - it's makers worked with the anti-authoritarian pulp roots like gardeners transplanting a precious young tree.

Good for them!

The movie may not have the most enlightened deep meanings possible, but sexual subtext in political movies truly can matter.

I do not have the writing skills to explain how these kinds of messages can stick over time. But they do.

For instance, this happened with 2 influential, quality movies about WWII. In both Open City (1945) and the Longest Day (1962) the authoritarians were depicted as gayer than they actually were, while simultaneously the freedom-fighters were made straighter.2 No doubt this was done with the best intentions - but a generation later the stereotype of the mincing Nazi is entrenched, and millions of homophobic authoritarians today are unable to use the past as a mirror.

To directly compare the symbolisms, the gayness in the intervening 50 years has shifted from the authoritarian sadist not to the victim but to the enabler of the victim's righteousness.


  1. More things could be said. #1 on the list, possibly, is that the some of today's Guy Fawkeses are likely heterosexual men who had been sexually molested as boys. But that as a subtext could not explain the doppelganger wannabe relationship between the authoritarian and the terrorist (that they are each other)

  2. The layering of "the Longest Day" Nazi train sequence and the emphasis on the heterosexuality of the French Underground is profoundly ahistorical. It implies something very different from the truth. In reality that movement was largely comprised of the French that would have been vulnerable to the Nazis, that would have been taken in any secondary wave of arrests. Who was the most vulnerable? ..gays and freaks of all kinds (bless them all), as well as the socialists, former labor union organizers and anarchists. These groups largely were the French Resistance (and their prior experience in keeping secrets helped them). Instead of showing this the movie shows a stereotypic man + woman cooing at each other, just stopping to fight the Nazis. ... "Open City" is a translation of Roma, città aperta (I'll add to this note later).


her mistake is, she thinks this is civilization

A famous 'feminist academic' has dissed Steve Irwin!

Her mistake is, she thinks this is civilization.

If this actually was, then there would real Dad figures everywhere (and peace etc). In such a world, the television 'crocodile hunters' would be less important.

Unfortunately this is a faux culture - underneath everything nowadays lie violence, fear, ritual, and religious belief.

So many people today yearn for any grown up man who isn't hostile or sold-out or a moron or a fool or a drunk. This is why they settled for ..crikey!.. Steve Irwin.

Any Dad is better than no Dad, and that is why Germaine Greer is wrong to knock the venue he was in, whatever it was.


the Conan O'Brien interview at AV Club

AV Club has an OK interview with Conan O'Brien [part1, part2].

About one of the jobs he has had:
“There were no vacations at The Simpsons that I can recall. You're in a poorly ventilated room with horrific furniture, worse than any furniture that had been in my dorm room. In my dorm room, we had, like everyone else, found furniture. Like, "Look at this thing on the sidewalk! It looks pretty good!" When you're there, it's really fun, but when it's 10 o' clock at night and you just want to go home, but you can't until you figure out what Marge says after Homer shoves the plutonium rod through his ear, and you've got to come up with that next line: "Oh, Homey!" It gets kind of grim.”
about his sense of self:
“I'm kinda hyperkinetic. ...

...I've been this way since I was a kid. I said something about this in an interview years ago, and my dad called me up and said, "That was so perfectly true about you." Unfortunately, the quote was, "I'm making a living off of something that should be treated." I had mixed feelings that my dad thought that that was absolutely the best, most true thing I ever said about myself.

...For lack of a better way of looking at it, if I existed 200 years ago, all the other farmers in my community would be like, "That guy is worthless! He's sitting on a rock, jumping up like a frog, coming up with weird concepts and ideas, making faces, and combing his hair into a giant pastry." It's a good thing I was born in this century, when superfluous television seems to be part of the economy.”


photo w some of my pet peeves

No dense prose in this post!


definitive new solar system mnemonic

How do you remember the names of the planets?
Responding to a Zembla post, I just invented a mnemonic for our newly-8-planet solar system:

'many vegetarians eat meat
 - just show up naked!'

After posting this, I worried it might not be original. So  I Googled to see. The closest I found was:

'Many Vegetarians Eat Meat,
 Just Secretly (Under Nourished)'

Mine is clearly superior, and may even be definitive.  And so I want permanent credit.
Or blame. Whichever.


what superhero I am, and other quizzes

In comic book terms, when I was a boy I thought of myself as something like a courageous cat who rides a silver surfboard and carries a green lantern. But I haven't thought about that in a long time.

I just took a quiz on the topic and it inaccurately says I "am" now these fictional beings:

Spider-Man 80% Superman 65% The Flash 55% Supergirl 50% Hulk 50% Robin 47% Batman 45% Wonder Woman 45% Catwoman 40% Green Lantern 30% Iron Man 10%

No. Not even close.

Thinking about it, nowadays my mitigated background adult fantasy (in comic book terms) might be: orphaned deconstructo --a being who would have the power to deconstruct all evil if he did not live under the light of earth's yellow sun.


The quiz does add:

"you are intelligent, witty, a bit geeky and have great power and responsibility

Yeah, right.


Over the years I have taken a lot of online quizzes. Among them:

which 20th century theorist I am: Homi K. Bhabha

which movie do I belong in: Nightmare Before Christmas

which country I am: Mexico

what kind of dog I am: Italian Setter


The true me quiz has good questions.


I once took an online personality quiz that said I was a 'Sober Rational Constructive Follower', one of its 16 possibilities. This type they nicknamed 'white house staffer', insulting me in more than one way.

It was dubious quiz. Other of its types were; 'golden god', 'enemy of the state', 'hacker', 'mob boss', 'evil genius', 'hippie'. I would give the link but it's defunct.

re-ordered and modified on 2007-10-29


genius actually explained

I haven't read 'Genius Explained' but a (thumbs-up) review says the book says
genius is the product of environment, personality, and sheer hard work, not a mysterious property that can't be analysed
It sure sounds like the book doesn't explain diddley, and its title is a lie.

That's the kind of thing that happens when you stick to historical figures, all of which you necessarily read about in documents. How can an un-genius figure out what genius is via such indirect evidence?1

As it happens, geniuses are around now, too. One encounters them occasionally.2 There is no need to peer into books and extrapolate from extrapolations of observations made centuries ago.

that gut feeling you get

When someone says something to you two things almost always will occur to you:
  • the mundane content of what they said
  • why the person said it, in the most general way
Let's call the latter the 'the general cause', and abbreviate it 'GC'. In life, you will understand GCs. You may only process these pre-consciously, but nevertheless at some level you will be aware of which category each GC you hear belongs:
  1. rote learning
  2. fight (introjected)
  3. flight (introjected)
To be specific, let's say you are talking to your best friend. He (or she) utters some opinion, let's say they angrily say: 'In high school everyone should be taught to drive'. Whatever.

You can tell (right?) from you friend's anger that their statement is about their underlying introjected fight against the universe (#2 on the list above).

In other words, you will always get the societal subtext of what people say.3 That is ..except for the thinking of geniuses. Some of their statements are exceptions. These expressions have have a free, origin-less quality. This may seem to you like a miracle or blessing, so you may respond: 'man, you are a genius!'

crazy but true - it's about faces!

To actually explain genius, additional terms are needed, which do not appear in psychology textbooks. Specifically 'Prana', 'prana-face', and 'will'.
prana is energy that cells use to relate to each other.

In my opinion, geniuses are the few individuals whose prana-face is not entirely connected to their will. This means, in practice, that they have trouble expressing some societal feelings that are normally expressed by the face.

The profound social nature of the face is in the prana, too - and naturally gets transferred to the genius. This is why these people characteristically have a hopeful, optimistic quality, because the face itself is optimistic.

For two examples, the flaring of the nostrils or the raising of the eyebrows. If - in any person - the myriad entirety of these expressions is not available, then the quasi-facial expressions can remain internal, like memories.

Because, for these individuals, these quasi-thoughts are not in any of the 3 categories above (not fight, flight or rote), but emerge instead from the 'good' aspect of the primate (the human face) these individuals over time can produce not just oddly free statements, but also works of art or craft which can transform the world and sometimes seem to shine with their own light.

To sum up

Genius is real and emerges from a particular minor disability (which cannot be defined without the recognition of prana). It is because they are disabled that geniuses are usually treated as second-class citizens.

one historical example!

A turn-of-the-century postal worker named Albert Einstein is the most famous genius. What characterized the prana of his face was a loose center and solid periphery.

In terms of his animal existence - Albert probably did not produce the full range of expressions with the nose and characteristic of this type of prana had an angelic expression which was reassuring because it held firmly without being at its center dogmatic.

His scientific theory formally matched the prana of his face (and is also - to intellectuals - angelic and reassuring). This theory - relativity - is firmly grounded yet not dogmatic.

  1. Imagine a field-goal kicker in the back of a van is gotten drunk and is blindfolded. He is taken to an empty stadium that has crowd noise piped in. The kicker thinks it's a real game. He is told where the ball is and where the goal posts are (very close, just ten yards away). He makes the kick. Cheers from the piped in crowd noise!! The kicker is told he made the kick. On the way back in the van the kicker feels surges of pride. More drinks!

  2. But it is a mistake to tell someone they are a genius (or what they just thought of was genius). If if you do they might interpret this as an insult. They might get the impression that you are calling them an idiot, that you are really saying: "that moron figured something out I cannot, therefore it must be some attribute, seperate and uncreditable, called: 'genius". ..And you really might be saying that.

  3. unless you are a moron


Videodrome (1983) vs en Passion (1969)

I watched Videodrome (1983) last night. It is maybe one of the top 50 movies all-time. It's not for everyone, though.

Imagine an R-rated Twilight Zone episode, written by an angry screenwriter on hallucinogens for the first time. In this movie's low-brow but existential plot television is compared to hard-core pornography.

Imagine the famous blindfolded Lady Liberty holding her scale: in one copper tray the earth, in the other a tv set. Then imagine simultaneously she is on all fours being whipped. Well .. you don't see that. But that's kind of its style. And in VideoDrome the fate of the world lies in the balance.

Many commenters say Videodrome was ahead of its time but its ending is incoherent. Some say appropriately so, others say forgivably so.

I did not experience this incoherence but maybe I don't suspend disbelief in the normal way. I cared more for the fate of the metaphor than the fate of the main character.

I saw that the love interest needed to talk out of a television, even if she was dead. This was right because the plot is about pornography in the abstract. Also, the movie's finale had the only possible moral (try to guess it!). It involved a kind of squirming unease, but it had to be that way.
a few hours later

I was still thinking about it. And that was when I remembered a 2nd movie I found more comprehensible than most viewers: En Passion (1969).
Aka, 'the Passion of Anna', made the same year the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman was divorcing his 4th wife AND breaking up with the actress Liv Ullman.

Not surprisingly, Bergman cast Ullman as an unconscious murderer!

Like Videodrome, En Passion
  • has dream sequence(s)
  • includes the theme of sexual perversion
  • has death(s) revealed as murder
  • is about the danger of narcissism

En Passion was a boring mess, and few have seen it. And it's clear that Bergman lost control of the production.
Viz: the sideplot involving the mystery of who is abusing farm animals is referenced disjointedly; an important sequence involving the key romance appparently was cut out in editing; spliced in are interviews with the actors.

needless to say

Bergman's overall set of work surpasses Cronenberg's. Amazing but true: including love and redemption in your worldview can help your career.

[significantly modified on 2006-07-10, then cleaned up on 2007-2-21]


An I For An I

One of today's value systems is called "political correctness". People have reduced this name to an acronym: "PC".

An amazing thing about political correctness is that it is only indirectly about politics. Directly, PC is a set of speech guidelines for specific and general settings.

At the surface PC's appearance shut down the common use of jokes demeaning groups of people. But a priori to these guidelines PC is a categorization of reality. Like other value systems, it dictates which entities are to be referred to by which words.

PC itself flouts PC

Generally, PC applies when the subject is gays, or people with disabilities, or people who are not caucasian. But PCs strictest mandate is that these must not be grouped together! For example, PC commands that homosexuality must not be spoken of as a disability.

This incongruity was humorously revealed recently when TV news' Cynthia Izaguirre substituted 'gay' when the teleprompter said 'blind'.

they're trying to make a better world

PC advocates share a motive with the proselytizers of classic religions. As the former demand the term 'gay' be used instead of 'homosexual', the latter demand 'the 10 Commandments' be put in every schoolroom.

Of course, these are not identical approaches. We can safely say one approach is newer & more intellectualized and the other is older & hoarier.

writing down a value system

The rules of PC are not supposed to be written down. Today people's pre-conscious pretends this is because of PC's superficial fascist nature (no PCer wants to be caught coming across like ten-commandment type). But in reality this is done because of 1) the contradiction 2) breath taboos.

New Age interpretation

The West is becoming more and more a settler culture (and less of a warrior culture. It is also merging with nomadic culture). As this happens its 'breath-death wish' is weakening.

Also weakening is what Alan Watts referred to in 1966 as 'the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are':
“It is said that humanity has evolved one-sidedly, growing in technical power without any comparable growth in moral integrity, or, as some would prefer to say, without comparable progress in education and rational thinking. Yet the problem is more basic. The root of the matter is the way in which we feel and conceive ourselves as human beings, our sensation of being alive, of individual existence and identity.” [from]
The weakening of this taboo means knowledge of the contingency of the breath is reaching modern pre-conscious. The (in some ways) over-educated middle-class of the West has now sensed what Watts sensed. But they disagree with his advice
“We do not need a new religion or a new bible. We need a new experience--a new feeling of what it is to be 'I.'”
Instead these moderns invented a new value-system: Political correctness.

the current behaviour

In their relation to PC, Moderns behave one way or another
  • some never flout it
    (or feel guilty if they do by accident)
  • some flout it superficially
    (by making a joke demeaning one of the 'victim' groups, or a medical/political claim about one of the victim groups)
Each of these two groups pretends they are the free speakers, even as each of these two groups obeys different taboos. In other words: not everyone acquiesces to PC , but everyone acquiesces to its opacity.

added 2006/06/16:

The acclaimed-but-little-seen 2002 movie Far From Heaven represents a similar conflation (as PC itself does, as Cynthia Izaguirre did). In it the director -Todd Haynes- shows what it might have been like in the USA in 1957 for middle-class closeted gay men and their wives.

Haynes set the drama in Connecticut, and he has said this was partly to take advantage of the fall foliage. But for some reason Haynes included a sub-plot involving race-relations. This, even though in interviews it's clear he had done no work on what race-relations were there then (he makes it seem as if every white person in the state then was a committed racist).

Far From Heaven's twin themes do ring true. It's a good film. However, to me there is an echo in the movie not of reality but of the Western identity issues PC is partly designed to cover up. Westerners -trained to equate race prejudice with sexual-orientation prejudice (while simultaneously trained never to think about them together!) - have been largely ineffective in ending either.

If I haven't been clear: Both racism and prejudice against gays are wrong. And egregiously stupid. I just think there's a reason modern people who share with me the desire to end both have no idea why either prejudice exists. They think they know (they think these are taught behaviors) but they don't.

updated 2006/07/08


someone is being fooled [politics,rock music]

This is a topic about a week old, blogosphere-wise. But it will certainly linger for years. This because an unstoppable force is going up against an immovable object, and it's involved.

In one corner -in the red trunks - (ladies and gents) is
- the Washington, DC mindset
- Peak Oil blah blah blah
- racism, arrogance, you name it

in the other corner -in the blue trunks- is
- comedians
- ordinary homeowners with guns
- Rock 'n Roll

The first is unstoppable, and it's name is 'fascism'. But the second is immovable, it's name is 'the majority of the people in the USA'.

In my opinion, the NRO wears red trunks (and loves the way they look). They certainly have sensed the power of Rock 'n Roll. So they try to defeat it cleverly, by claiming ownership.

Speculating wildly, I suggest the NRO team has been reeling some lately, and the author of the linked article watched a concert off of a DVD to cheer himself up. Not just any concert, but the one after 9-11 with the firefighters in the audience (yes, it would be depraved to cheer yourself up by remembering a tragedy but that is my opinion of NRO).

talking Rock 'n Roll

Flash back to 10/20/2001, to MSG. "The Concert for NYC" was about giving to help those suddenly in need. The Who were one of the featured bands, and the group was in top form (almost universally considered one of the alltime greats, maybe the band hadn't been that good in years).

Their 4-song set culminated in Won't Get Fooled Again'. I'm suggesting the NRO man recently noticed this. Whatever, the point is that the closing song that night (a common Who closer) is the song the NRO guy chose as his greatest 'Conservative Rock Song of all time'.

I wondered if the performance itself proved that the group meant 'we won't get fooled by liberal softiness again'. That is the NRO opinion. So I pulled out my copy and watched it.

The video of that concert shows many firefighters in the audience. During their performance shown behind them was a slide show including images of the WTC and the Statue of Liberty.

Just before the final song Townshend cups his hands and says 'We are honored to be here'. When Daltry starts singing the first lines ("We'll be fighting in the streets...)" he does not look happy (but maybe it's just jet lag). When he gets to the first ideology reference he sings those lines easily
"And the party on the left Is now the party on the right"

significantly Daltry does not sing the famous final lines
"Meet the new boss - Same as the old boss"

It seems clear the band made the decision out of tact, not sing that line. Most time I am sure they do. From this performance one can get the impression that its a conservative song.

If I am right that this was the kernel performance, then leave it to the NRO to turn tact into class war.

I imagine this NRO guy seeing this concert and not noticing the missing lines. I imagine him thinking 'wow -Rock and roll really does belong to us and not to those nasty smelly liberals'.

Townshend power chords can bend many a mind.

So he submits the idea to his editor... and is told to make it a long list. Which he fills up, often highly superficially. But these guys don't care because -they think- they've got We Wont Get Fooled Again.

Continuing to speculate wildly, I imagine someone mentioned to this guy that the last two lines might mean it isn't a conservative song after all, especially since Pete Townshend says it isn't. But Miller has done all that work, so he throws in some rhetoric, and the piece is published.


The long battle between fascists and the American people can be described by more than one metaphor. Imagine an erupting volcano on a glacier. It's sort of like that. Think of the entrails of the hot magma, and the hissing sound you would hear as it reaches the long-dormant water. That is what the linked article is - it's hissing.

This post is more political than usual, but popular music is part of the culture so I figure it belonged. Having an indirect effect and all.

I just get offended by self-serving analysis.

for more political viewpoint try

rewritten 2007-02-21


'airline ticket global warming tax' proposed

Excess CO2 causes global warming. Knowing this, years ago someone (Lester Thurow?) suggested a fund could be set up, paying Brazil for their rainforest (because plants convert the gas back to oxygen + water). Under the proposal, each acre that Brazil allowed to disappear would mean less money for them.
[this was suggested as a way of applying the rules of the marketplace to the problem].

People were willing, at least to some degree. In 1999, a professor from Minnesota noted:
“Environmental economists recently conducted a survey of Americans to determine how much (in a one-time payment) they would be willing to pay to permanently protect 10% of the world's tropical forests (Kramer and Mercer 1997). They found that Americans are willing to pay about $21 to $31 per household, about $3 billion total, or $110 to $230 per hectare of rainforest.”
But basically nothing was done.

In the interim the concept has reappeared, now being called 'carbon balancing'.
[People are using the phrase 'carbon footprint'
and now jet travel is finally being added to the topic.

For instance, from a SF Chronicle article:
An explosion in commercial air traffic may be triggering formation of high-altitude clouds that trap heat and could worsen global warming.

And the problem is expected to get much worse: Global aircraft emissions should increase sixfold by the time today's college students are ready for retirement, experts say.

The menace comes in a beautiful form: cirrus clouds that resemble silver, windblown beards and float at 20,000- to 50,000-feet high.
Not as mainstream is a overview from George Monbiot:
“It's not just that aviation represents the world's fastest growing source of carbon dioxide emissions. The burning of aircraft fuel has a "radiative forcing ratio" of around 2.7. What this means is that the total warming effect of aircraft emissions is 2.7 times as great as the effect of the carbon dioxide alone.”
For these reasons, I propose the world agree by treaty to a 'airline ticket global warning tax', much as there is now a 'airline ticket terrorism security' tax.

By formula, the money collected should be paid to whichever nations do the most re-conversion of carbon-dioxide back to oxygen. Whether their carbon-balancing is via a rainforest or whatever.

[see also Dean Baker in Harper's: 'Insurance by the Mile']

famous equations as famous women (short)

1 + 1 = 2     Mandy Moore
F = ma     Jennifer Love Hewitt
a2 + b2 = c2     Alexis Bledel
E = mc2     Charlize Theron
eip + 1 = 0     Isabella Rossellini

[I have no idea what the last equation means, but in 2004 mathemeticians voted it their favaorite.]


the blog's temporary disappearance

The blog was unavailable for maybe a month, but I never did find out why.

Water under the bridge.

Probably I will add another long post in a week or two.


This is about a cartoon that appears in many US newspapers. But I do not read the funnies, so I wouldn't know.

a claim about underlying symbolism:
“Marmaduke the dog is the rape fantasy taken flesh; he is the overpowering force that conquers your will and thus leaves you inculpable. You physically cannot resist; therefore you are absolved of responsibility. It is not your fault. (The tacit implication is that you are then free to enjoy it guiltlessly.)”
a claim about the fans of the strip:
“This is great for little-old-lady-with-her-morning-tea comicstrippery (while the coal-black spark in her inmost being is fanned, perhaps, into a wan but unrecognized flame) but bad for our hip, ironic, post-postmodern cynical times.”

[originally appeared in a longer post
about Backwards City vias]

Magritte was a faker, but he still inspires book covers

When this was written in 2006 there was a link about an exhibition of book covers called "images in the spirit of Magritte".

I couldn't stand any of them. I have long believed Magritte faked it. So to me the covers were fakes of a faker.

Peruse this
Magritte - 'Threatening Weather'

It means nothing. If it is a window into the artist soul, then there is nobody home.


Here's the breakdown on the two forms of surrealist art:
“There were two main forms of surrealist art. The first was called organic or biomorphic and involved "automatic" drawing and calligraphy as a way of expressing the subconscious freely.

Magritte was a member of the second branch which created more concrete and dream-like images. This second group created works which could be paradoxically considered to be realistic representations of the absurd or impossible. René Magritte was a master of this second form.”  [italics added]
Instead of the italicized part I would have written "which were empty of meaning but pretended not to be".


To clear your sensibility, painted by Joan Miro in 1921-22, an example from the first ('organic' or 'biomorphic') branch of surrealism, called "the Farm"

Miro - 'La Masia' (the farm)'

The world needs more Miro. Here's a crazy idea: when Paris Hilton memoirs are published the publishers could put 'Dawn Perfumed by a Shower of Gold on the cover!

[originally appeared in a longer post
about Backwards City vias]

edited 2007-01-01

then significantly modified on 2008-01-15

Benchley obit, and Jaws symbolism

Speaking of the V-shape, Slate's obit of Peter Benchley.

Apparently the man was a Puritan, and possibly his story about sharks (and their jaws) originally had an underlying meaning, somewhat lost thru editing and then later dissipated in the movie version.
“Start with heavy-handed symbolism: The seaside town the shark will terrorize is called Amity. Next add ungainly metaphor: "The past—like a bird long locked in a cage and suddenly released—was flying at her, swirling around her head, showering her with longing." Finally, throw in a charmingly awkward lovemaking scene: A couple "thrashed with urgent ardor on the cold sand." The novel opens with that ardor, and after its climax, the still-naked woman slips into the ocean, becoming an opening course for the shark circling below.”  [italics added]
“The Associated Press reported this week that Benchley's initial 100-page book draft was filled with puns. His editor, Thomas Congdon, wrote in the margins "NO JOKES,"”
I do not believe Spielberg 'rooted for the shark', btw.

[originally appeared in a longer post
about Backwards City vias]

link to Portman interview about V for Vendetta

An interview with Natalie Portman about V for Vendetta.

I guess with that title your unsconscious is supposed to wonder 'what else could V stand for?". Heck, the letter is practically a pictograph!

[originally appeared in a longer post
about Backwards City vias;
See also the later, longer post on this same topic]


links to old material added

This week a few posts have been improved, and some pieces I wrote years ago have been added (but buried in the archive).

If anyone cares, newly on this blog are:
  • the Star Wars movies compared to the Thousand-Hand Guan Yin

  • two posts that had to be directly political: something written when the Batman Begins trailer came out, and a rant about Spartan.
Pretty soon I will post (at the top) a cleaned-up old piece on what subtext is, using an old Frank Capra movie as an example.

If I can't think of anything new, that is.


a movie composer's breakthrough score mentioned

One of the best movie scores I have heard recently is from Sur mes lèvres (2001). The English title is Read My Lips.

It's classical music. The closing credits have a nice long chunk.
We hear bells as if from far away. Then a string section rises sadly into a melodic interplay with a horn section. After that dialog completes, it's back to the distant bells.

Not too many Americans have seen this interesting thriller because it's French. It does seem likely it will soon be remade by Hollywood (because of the way lip-reading is tied into the plot). However the soundrack might not be the same.

The composer's name is Alexandre Desplat, he'd been sort of France's Danny Elfman. When Sur mes lèvres came out he had already done scores for 77 movies&TV shows.

Other people I guess were impressed because it was just after that Desplat started getting hired by Hollywood. In the last few years his scores have included Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Upside of Anger, Syriana and Firewall (now in a theater near you).



double 'pink' coincidence

In 1963 a comic caper movie was made that was supposed be about a knighted British jewel thief. The part of the bumbling French policeman on the case went to Peter Sellers, an English comic actor.

By the time the movie came out, the movie was called 'the Pink Panther', referring to a diamond. A cartoon pink panther appeared in the opening credits portraying sexual elusiveness.

As many know, the movie was a hit. The thief character was deemed inessential, and 5 more Sellers 'Panther' movies were made (as well as a few without him). The diamond was not in all those but they all had the phrase in their title, the teasing pink creature + the vamping music in their credits1 and featured the incompetent French policeman.

The most striking feature of the Sellers' character was that he wasn't just incompetent, he was essentially a eunuch. The blatant subtext of the movie series was that France has no balls.

No male eunuch character before that or since has been such a hit in the USA, as far as I know. Supposedly this was because of Sellers' skills.

possibly helping the popularity

It may be no accident that the movies' prime years coincided with the Vietnam War. The original came out more or less when the French basically pulled out of the conflict leaving the USA to fight it alone.2  Personally, I believe that is why the word 'Pink' ended up in all those titles. It just worked at an unconscious level, in my opinion [reading pink=eunuch, not pink=commie].

It is not clear that the rights holders thought this, however. The 'Panther' movies kept being made even after the Vietnam war was over. But maybe they should not have, because these were not nearly as successful at the box office.

the revival

In the nineties, apparently, another Panther script floated around (at one point the idea was floated that Chris Tucker could play Clouseau).

Then in December 2003 -doing interviews promoting another movie- Steve Martin told interviewers that he had been working on the Panther script, and was planning to play the lead.

The movie was, in fact, greenlighted and now 2½ years later is now in theaters [promo photo]. Critically panned, it is nonetheless #1 at the box office. After its opening weekend anyway.

again, a political coincidence

Not to get too political but in 2003, France had ducked out of another war the USA was entering into. Rightly or wrongly. France refused to join in the new Iraq war and some people in the USA then revived the 'surrender monkey' insult, the WWII claims and so on.3

Someone could ask Martin (and everyone else involved) if -in 2003- they had cynically been thinking that anti-French sentiment would help ticket sales in the USA.

But no-one will ask.

btw, when I posted this idea on a webboard last week someone asked me if I just thought of it .. the truth is, i had never seen it anywhere.

  1. the theme by Henry Mancini has since become famous

  2. As far as some in the USA were concerned France did not do enough to fight the Nazi in WWII either. That is too political to get into here. I am just trying to analyze the movie

  3. in March of that year that the US Congressional cafeteria had changed the name of french fries to 'freedom fries'. Remember all that?


irony still being dumped

Last September, the international version of the NYTimes ran a short article about restrooms in the new Moscow
“Restaurants are outdoing one another to create the most elaborate restroom in this booming city awash in oil money, with such things as gold-plated toilets, walls of padded leather, urinals with spectacular skyline views and toilet bowls resembling Gzhel porcelain, the Russian version of Delft”
Among other people, they talked to a movie director about this:
“[Andrei] Konchalovsky discerns deep-seated psychological complexes behind the quest for luxury toilets in the restaurants and homes of Russia's nouveau riche.

"Rich Russians, because they didn't live in very good conditions 10 to 15 years ago, sublimate their attitude to money with extravagant, unthinkable toilets and wine for $1,000," he said.”
The article uses Russian history as its frame (it includes toilet quotes from Putin & Lenin). Finally it gets to this:
“Yevgeny Katsenelson, a prominent restaurateur, waved off attempts to analyze the fancy restroom fixtures - all imported from England - at his latest hit eatery, Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, which takes its name from the film by Luis Buñuel, who, coincidentally, often used toilet imagery in his films.”

Somehow I don't think the reporter saw the movie...  Released in 1972, its most memorable scene is a bourgeois dinner party set up around a table as usual but on toilets instead of chairs (they may also have not worn pants). [someone who saw it]


I am not posting this now because I just learned there is a new restaurant stupidly referencing an ironically-titled movie. Or that the NYTimes has a bourgeois reporter that didn't seem to get any of the ironies (even as she used the term 'nouveau riche').

No, the reason I post about this now is because a restaurant has just opened in Japan with toilets as the decor! [photos]


the subversive sequence in Who Killed Bambi?

Qui a tué Bambi? is a sexy-thriller set in a hospital, from 2003. Very cinematic, it's not a really good movie.

The best thing in it is a throwaway sequence intended to increase the mystery surrounding one of the characters. Watching that part of the movie makes one wonder (even more) whether this man is a sociopathic murderer or just a handsome doctor lacking a wife ...

the game

Isabelle takes a sleeping pill but, for one reason or another, ends up in a nightclub before it takes effect. A bunch of people at work have set up an outing there.

At the moment of her waking, everyone else giggles and urges her to play a game. Lights are pulsing - it is all very strange. The doctor pretends to have had a dream and Isabelle has to guess it using 'Yes' or 'No' questions only. She reluctantly agrees.

She asks things like
  'Was it an erotic dream?' (he answers 'yes').
  'Was there sex?' (he answers 'no').

A dream emerges from the questions, about a man in clothes, a nude woman, starlight.

Finaly Isabelle asks if the nude woman is her. At that point everyone laughs and tells her it is all a trick! They explain to her that -whatever she asked- the mysterious doctor answered Yes if her question ended in a vowel, otherwise he answered No.
In this game French works well, as it has key optimistic words ending in vowels like Ici and oui.

As they laugh at her that such a romantic scenario emerged from herself, Isabelle quickly leaves the room.

Oh my God! It's not you, it's me!

I can't remember a better screen depiction of projection (the psycholanalytic term).1

The sequence is subversive, in the best sense of the word. Marvelously indirectly-direct. Everyone who has watched the sexy thriller has learned in the marrow of their bones what projection is, if they did not already know.

That Isabelle is the heroine, that she has been victimized (in a way) into creating this projection strenghtens this effect. This because many people who need to come to terms with their own projections feel themselves as victims. Watching poor Isabelle, they will have no problem internalizing the concept.

the screenwriter's title

Btw, the title (translated in English as 'Who Killed Bambi?') was clearly chosen for it's cleverness. It's certainly evocative and probably helped sell the movie (a good thing). But it gives a misleading impression of the plot. More accurate would have been the working title, translated in English as 'Run away, Bambi, Run away!".

added later: in 1998 a sexy thriller was released in France called "Cours, Lola, Cours" (translated from its German title: Lola Rennt, aka "Run, Lola, Run"). It is possible this clever title inspired the original screenwriter to write what he called 'Fuis, Bambi, Fuis' (different plot). Also, I guess it is possible that in 2003 when the movie came they didn't want it to sound too similar to the German movie.

They might also have discovered that in 1992 a book had been published in English called "Run Bambi, Run", and didn't want to be sued if they used the working title (fyi: "Fuis" can be translated as "Flee" or "Run Away").

  1. This is not a classic case of projection. The dream is never within Isabelle, formed as part of her.



the TV ad with the weak man

In the USA, a TV ad apparently belittling men is aired. A rw radio host complains about it.

There's a culture war going on, after all. This is not an isolated case.

The ad gets pulled. The Green Knight argues

“What the culture warriors don't get, though, is that this narrative almost never appears in any serious context. It's always in the form of comedy, and one point of comedy is that it's an inversion of what people think of as the natural order of things. The reason our culture considers a gormless man funny (and a capable woman funny) is that we don't really believe in them. Despite what the culture warriors think, ads like this reinforce the patriarchy as much as they subvert it, because they require it as a norm against which to contrast their comedy.”

GN is on my blogroll, I agree with him a lot. But here he omits the overall picture. He is right that the ad does not promote weak men, but instead laughs at them. And he makes a nice point about subversiveness.

But his post glosses over the importance of the issue to the culture war. And I don't think 'patriarchy' is an exact enough term here.

In terms of archetypes, in the ad the woman wants her husband out obtaining food (not bossing her around). That's how I saw it, anyway.

Left-wingers have long intuited that the hunter-gatherer archetypes have to go. [And they're right.] Meanwhile the modern world has its emasculating forces. These trends overlap like in a Venn diagram, but are not the same.

What is confusing is this trend and these forces end up embodied in the same people.

Forget the lame embodiments of two seperate trends. Remember that if and when alpha, non-hunter-gatherer men show up en masse that will be when the USA begins to emerge from the its current Culture War. That's the truth neither the left or the right seems to get.

eg: Many men in the USA did not vote for Kerry in the last US election not becaue they thought he was gay, but because they thought of him as too 'French'.

As for the pathetic man symbol in the TV ad --whether laughed at or laughed with, via any archetype at all-- they are irrelevant in the sense they will have no impact on this.

one last thing

In the baby-boom generation I trace some of the confusion of ancient archetypes with emasculation to ... Dr Seuss! For instance, the enormously influential Horton Hears a Who children's book taught (among other things) that 1) animals kidnap the small and weak and 2) the best way the weak can live in such a world is by making an important symbolic sacrifice.

The Dr Seuss analysis is too long to go into here. I do remember an exchange from the television show Rosanne
A little kid asks his father:

"Dad, I thought it was good to be a man"

His father replies

"Not since the sixties, son"

The rw radio host probably feels the same way.

Meanwhile the left is confused as to the extent of the truth of this, and the way forward.


the gay cowboy movie's existence

Released 6 years ago, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon cost around $15m to make. In the USA alone it grossed $128m. That's $100m profit.

ASFAIK, in Hollywood it was co-distribution deal, meaning the profits were spread around.

Naturally the director got another chance. He made .. Hulk. It's budget was $120m. In the USA alone it ended up grossing $130m. Not a huge money maker, but a pretty good result for a disappointing, arty-type monster movie.

Among the director's earlier movies was Sense and Sensibility, a big moneymaker.

Ask yourself this - let's assume Ang Lee is liked, a good guy. We know he made pots of money for Hollywood. What do you do if you run Paramount and this director shows up with a well-crafted script about gay cowboys, two major stars have signed on and .. the budget is only $14m?

Answer - you don't run Paramount, you're reading this.

Seriously, if you did run a movie studio you would agree to finance the movie. Every time you would agree to this. Every single time. It is called 'business'. And guess what? ... So far the gay cowboy movie has grossed $42m.

What do you now?

Answer - you promote the movie for an award because that's free publicity.

There is no gay agenda in Hollywood. I am not gay myself but in reality 6-10% of the world is. Yet a far smaller percentage of movies Hollywood makes feature gay characters. It has got to be less than 1 tenth of 1 percent. From this statistic alone is easy to see Hollywood does not have a gay agenda.

The fallacy is that this movie is lauded because it's gay. I haven't seen it but a gay movie is never going to be made unless the script is superior to other scripts in the first place. And the big stars the studio demanded would not have agreed to do it unless they saw it as Oscar material.

An equal fallacy is the one about how so many of the best American movies over the last few decades involve gangsters and/or torture. This does not mean the USA is a gangster nation. Does it mean we're a torturing culture? Does it mean Hollywood likes to see people's ears cut off, or horse's heads cut off? No it does not. That is also a fallacy for similar reasons.

The secret is not giving a crap about hype. Too much hype .. turn off the TV.