Welcome To The Real World

The French were all exited thinking Hollywood really, really dug Isabelle Huppert in her role in “Elle,”and that she was going to win the Oscar for best actress—they are so cute.


Welcome to the real world, suckers!!!

And what is the real world? The real world is whatever Hollywood says the real world is.

Or what the media tells you it is.

Or the political establishment and their cohorts (MSNBC, Fox News, John Steward, John Oliver, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera). Their name is Legion.

That said, I have no opinion whatsoever regarding who should have won best actress (considering I haven’t seen any of the movies nominated for best actress, this year, or for that matter, any, hardly at all, of the movies nominated in any category.)

I am sure Emma Stone was very good in “La La Land"—if Hollywood says so, it must be true.

Anyway, and without further ado, here is the list of the winners:

Best Picture
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”Hell or High Water”
”Hidden Figures”
”La La Land”
”Manchester by the Sea”

Best Director
Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”
Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”

Best Actress
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges,”Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Adapted Screenplay
”Hidden Figures”

Best Original Screenplay
“Hell or High Water”
”La La Land”
”The Lobster”
”Manchester by the Sea”
”20th Century Women”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Land of Mine,” Martin Zandvliet, Denmark
”A Man Called Ove,” Hannes Holm,  Sweden
”The Salesman,”  Asghar Farhadi, Iran
”Tanna,” Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, Australia,
”Toni Erdmann,” Maren Ade, Germany

Best Documentary Feature
“Fire at Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“Life, Animated”
“O.J.: Made in America”

Best Animated Feature
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
”My Life as a Zucchini”
”The Red Turtle”

Best Film Editing
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”Hell or High Water”
”La La Land”

Best Original Song
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” “La La Land”
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” “Trolls”
“City of Stars,” “La La Land”
“The Empty Chair,” “Jim: The James Foley Story”
“How Far I’ll Go,” “Moana”

Best Original Score
”La La Land”

Best Cinematography
“Arrival,” Bradford Young
”La La Land,” Linus Sandgren
”Silence,” Rodrigo Prieto
”Lion,” Grieg Fraser
”Moonlight,” James Laxton

Best Costume Design
”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
”Florence Foster Jenkins”
”La La Land” 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“A Man Called Ove”
”Star Trek Beyond”
”Suicide Squad”

Best Production Design
”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
”Hail, Caesar!”
”La La Land”

Best Sound Editing
”Deepwater Horizon”
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”La La Land”

Best Sound Mixing
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”La La Land”
”Rogue One”
”13  Hours”

Best Visual Effects
“Rogue One”
”The Jungle Book”
”Doctor Strange”
”Deepwater Horizon”
”Kubo and the Two Strings”

Best Short Film, Live Action
“Ennemis Intérieurs”
”La Femme et le TGV”
”Silent Nights”

Best Short Film, Animated
“Blind Vaysha”
”Borrowed Time”
”Pear Cider and Cigarettes”

Best Documentary, Short Subject
”4.1 Miles”
”Joe’s Violin”
”Watani: My Homeland”
”The White Helmets”

Very predictably, The White Helmets won the Oscar in the short documentary category despite the film being accused by some of its detractors of being a "contrived infomercial".

Welcome to the real world!

The White Helmets, by the way, is the group to which we owe the Mahmoud Raslan's propagandistic exploitation photograph of “the boy in the ambulance” from Aleppo, circulated to intensify the drumbeat for direct U.S. military involvement in Syria.

The photograph famously (or infamously) made the rounds of main stream media worldwide, including, for those of us who watch TV-5 Monde, on well-meaning but politically naive French talk shows such as On n'est pas couché, the now overly simplistic (ever since Aymeric Caron ceased to be one of the polemicists on the program) night-show, hosted by Laurent Ruquier,

The nice thing about Hollywood and the Oscar, or talk-shows like On n'est pas couché, is that they are a useful gauge of the toxicity of mainstream propaganda.

The same thing goes for the papers. Take the Washington Post for instance, if I am curious about, say, what the next CIA's taking point might be for the day, all I have to do is read the column of David Ignatius, who will faithfully publish whatever his CIA sources tell him.

But then again, no one ever accused Davis Ignatius of being politically innocent. Or is he, now? And could he maybe just possibly be—Ah, what was that term again?—a "useful idiot"?


As a rule of thumb, the more naive the medium (Hollywood, a columnist or the host of a talk show), the better.

The way I look at it, if political propaganda were an intoxicating gas, well then, Laurent Ruqier would have to be the idiomatic canary in the coal mine.

Regardez comme il est beau:



Vous Voudriez au Ciel Bleu Croire...


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".





When you durst do it...

Then you where a man...



A Matter Of Perspective

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