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20170208

Vous Voudriez au Ciel Bleu Croire...

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Nobody ever accused The Verge of being the brightest star in the sky, but their political take on Arrival did help explain, to me, why some of my semi-politically engaged friends, like Lara, or someone, whose claim to activism is more spiritually inclined, like my good friend Abigail—only the names have been changed to protect the innocents—would reportedly feel touched in such a deeply personal and emotional way by the film, a well-meaning, if somewhat dated movie, imho, which might have felt fresher and more original had it been made, say, three or four decades ago, at a time when advances in cognitive psychology and cognitive linguistics was renewing interest in the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, and the New Age movement was at its peak—but apparently the critics loved it, so what do I know?



I mean, "America’s colossal missed opportunity"? Seriously?

The commentator, here, is literally equating what the female lead, in the movie, achieved for (I quote) "global cooperation," "working together," and "communicating and keeping open minds about [one another]," to what Hillary Clinton (I quote) "a massive talented diplomat with years of experience," would have achieved for America and the rest of the world, if only she had won the last presidential election.

Are we talking about the same Hillary Clinton?

And is anyone who didn’t vote for HRC "basically evil"? I am not sure.  Just trying to make sense of the commentator’s take on the result of the election, where she explains that while she saw in Arrival an "argument that most people are basically good," (I quote) "looking back at it after the election," she finds it "hard to believe in that argument [that people are basically good.]"

Perhaps, and not too surprisingly in those turbulent post-electoral times, there is a certain measure of expected political-spin, here, and, to a certain degree, some element of propaganda in all this. One must keep in mind, after all, that for all practical purposes, The Verge has been and remains a media network operated by Vox Media, the same Vox Media that owns the Vox website, derided for its so-called "explanatory journalism." (Glenn Greenwald, among others, criticized Vox for "suppressing reporting that reflects negatively on [the Democratic Party] and instead confin[ing] itself to hagiography" in the run-up and aftermath of the election.)

But, I think, there is more to it than that. There is something about the thread and the commentator’s take on the whole thing, that causes me to suspect that, quite possibly, she’s sincere and genuinely believes what she’s saying.

And what about my good friend, Lara, for that matter?

Or starry-eyed Abigail?

I don't know. According to cognitive dissonance theory, it is said that there is a tendency for individuals to seek consistency among their conditions (i.e., beliefs, opinions, actions). As a result, a person who experiences inconsistencies tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and so is motivated to try to reduce the cognitive dissonance by actively avoiding situations and information likely to increase the psychological discomfort.

Most certainly, deep in the human psyche is a pervasive dependency to the psychological shelters, people do create for themselves.

A. A. Attanasio had that quote, that I love, which says essentially that we are made of our stories, and because we do create those stories from nothing, with strength, they make us whole.

It all depends on the stories, of course.

This is the reason why one must be vigilant about the kind of stories one tells oneself.

While it might appear, of course, easier and emotionally comforting to reduce one’s understanding of the world to a simpler black and white "reality," in which people are either good (those who vote like you do) or evil (those who vote differently than you do), the real universe is always more complex. And so are people.

The point I have been painstakingly trying to drive home, here, is that, simply put, Hillary Clinton is NOT Louise Banks (the fictional hero of Arrival).

Really, really wishing that this were the case doesn’t make it so.

Basically, there is a reason why characters like the one portrayed in the movie (that of an expert linguist) by Amy Adams are not the same kind of characters usually cast in the role of politicians in other movies, or in the real world.

If what we know of history is of any relevance, it appears doubtful that the female of the species behave any differently than their male counterparts in any position of power, and, while in terms of breaking the glass-ceiling, a female POTUS would certainly be a positive development, there is no reason to believe she would behave any better, nor any worse, because of her gender, than the males of the species, especially when it comes to a person with such a polarizing hawkish reputation and foreign policy track record as Hillary Clinton (which either registers as a positive or a negative, depending on one’s level of political awareness and what one's opinion might be in support of or against "regime change," America's role in the World, and the kind of hegemonic geopolitical policies advocated by the Project for a New American Century).

In the end, when it comes down to it, even the fictional character of Louise Banks fails the test, and doesn’t, in her interaction with Ian Donnelly (when he asks her if she’s ready to have a child), exhibit the behavior of a person who believes that "people should work together, COMMUNICATE (emphasis mine), and keep open minds about each others."

A point another commentator, on that same thread on The Verge, addresses, possibly unwittingly, when responding to the question of whether she would make the same choice Louise Banks made:



Even Kaitlyn had to agree (—up to a point):



The title of the post, "Vous voudriez au ciel bleu croire," is a line taken from Louis Aragon's poem, "J'entends, J'entends".






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20170126

Sssssmokin!

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When you durst do it...



Then you where a man...




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20161018

A Matter Of Perspective

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Reuters:   Young Americans are so dissatisfied with the options in the US presidential election that nearly one in four would rather have a giant meteor destroy the Earth than see Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the White House.



The tongue-in-cheek question was intended to gauge young Americans’ level of unhappiness about their choices in the 8 November election, said Joshua Dyck, co-director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion which conducted the poll alongside Odyssey Millennials.

The choice alluded to the Twitter hashtag “#GiantMeteor2016”, a reference to an imaginary presidential candidate.

Some 53% of the 1,247 people aged 18 to 35 said they would prefer to see a meteor destroy the world than have Republican Trump in the Oval Office, with some 34% preferring planetary annihilation to seeing the Democratic former secretary of state win.

Some 39% said they would prefer that Barack Obama declare himself president for life than hand over power to Clinton or Trump, with 26% saying the nation would do better to select its next leader in a random lottery.

Some 23%, nearly one in four, preferred the giant meteor outcome to either Trump or Clinton.

The Giant Meteor 2016 movement, also known as Sweet Meteor O' Death or #SMOD16, began as a joke by those unhappy with their presidential choices.

The Twitter account now boasts more than 20,000 followers. You can even get a bumper sticker.




In other News:

- The Guardian (Dave Schilling) 10.02.2016:

Junk the system: why young Americans won’t do as they’re told this election

- The Intercept (Glenn Greenwald) 06.25.2016:
Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions
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20160927

But let me tell you something baby...

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You love me for everything you hate me for.






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20160804

Oh Well...

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Never mind, then!

            
            
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20160802

Why do elephants paint their toenails red?

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       Genius abhors consensus because when consensus is reached,
       thinking stops. Stop nodding your head.

       —Albert Einstein

Some people just simply don't get it.

And that means you, Rotten Tomatoes:



And you, Katie Walsh and Christy Lemire:





It is you who are confused, Christy.

Mike And Dave Need Weeding Dates is NOT raunchy comedy, it is absurdist/existential comedy at its very best.

Says who?

Says Salvatore Attardo:



I quote:





But, as I said, some people don't get it:



Or perhaps, it is just simply the "professional" critics who don't get it.

The audience seems to be getting it well enough.

Is Mike And Dave Need Weeding Dates a successful comedy?

Well, let's put it to this simple test: Does the audience laugh?

The audience does!

A lot!

And that's all one needs to know. Forget the professional critics. Forget Salvatore Attardo. People are laughing. The proof is in the pudding. This is all the evidence one needs that Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates is successfully funny.

People are laughing because at some level the movie connects with them. It's close to home, and in your face. It connects with people's daily reality—a thing that, incidentally, professional critics, just like politicians, have totally become disconnected from. The movie exposes the absurdity of daily reality and social conventions and makes light of the burden of all those arbitrary rules and norms governing our society and behaviors all of us have been programmed through force of habit to take for granted without necessarily thinking about them.

This dialogue from the movie, in which Alice attempts to cover her total ignorance of what a hedge fund is, is a most perfect illustration of it:



You are laughing?

Of course, you are—that one piece alone is a pure gem.

But are you laughing at Alice, now, or are you laughing with her?

How many people, if put on the spot, would actually be able to give a coherent definition of what a hedge fund really is about?

Insofar as I am concerned, this is possibly one of the best description I have heard.

The way she picks up those ready-made words form the talking points mosaic of daily news (like so many people do), and spin them to the point where they lose coherence, beginning with "too big to fail," and ending up with "Bernie Mac" and "DL Hughley," through words association, inscribes itself in the tradition of Absurdist/Existential comedy at its best.


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