Archive for the ‘but whatever’ Category

Suppose Foucault and similar critical theorists are correct, and we are controlled and directed by repeated discourses. Suppose that the repeated phrasings of political leaders create new realities.* ** Is it so far-fetched to believe that World War Z contributes to a kind of discourse which will make apocalypse inevitable?

The most recent decline of the big budget film may be traced to the mid-90s schlock Independence Day, in which a president of the United States, a fresh prince, and a drunk saved the world from brainless predatory aliens who vaporized cities.*** To survive, it was clear that no one must think. Random mass death and special effects became the primary concern. Star Trek: Into Darkness confirms that major sci-fi has been irrevocably divorced from thought. Where The Wrath of Khan featured obsession and calculation and several tangled webs of human relation, Into Darkness features mindless CGI fights that are impossible for the human mind to follow.

The fight scenes of just about all contemporary films, and not just sci-fi flicks, seem impossible to follow. I was first lost in The Bourne Ultimatum, when Bourne fought this Algerian guy in a fast-forward sequence that would have been comedic twenty years ago, but was made seriously now. This is done, I think, in the interest of realism. It is hard enough to understand the impulse to the drudgery of pure replication in any medium. It’s much harder l to understand when attempt to replicate the fighting ability of engineered super-soldiers. We despair of reason altogether when you attempt to replicate real life action when you’re shooting on blue screens with thousands of digitally projected laser beams and zombies.

I recommend slowness.

*”Weapons of mass destruction,” etc.

**The latter may be an easier-to-understand rephrasing of the former supposition.

***It was also the beginning of dumb ass propagandistic movies in which American presidents are not soft-handed liars, but action heroes. The most recent iteration of this here phenomenon seems to involve Jamie Foxx.

History may be unwrapped in a line that improves the globe. So claim the Happy Pundit Droids of Hope. They deny Egypt. But we have squatted these houses and rounded these blocks and driven alongside the river at least a hundred million days of weather. No matter how calendars get marked, our corpses pose in ancient styles. Whoanow, for instance, had been eaten out and drained, his arms folded upon opposing shoulders and his eyes unfocused like all gods. He bled upon a streetlamp. Right then we would have killed for mummy wraps.

after all this

Posted: January 21, 2013 in but whatever

i am staggered by the number of otherwise intelligent people who are inspired by the speeches of politicans.

the saddest dialogue ever.

Posted: December 3, 2012 in but whatever

“you’re not old, pactor.”

“man, you’ve never seen me after 9:30pm. that’s when i look well-suited for a cane, Medicare check, and worry over the lawn.”

The Coup’s Genocide and Juice came out in my first year or two of college, I think. The mid-to-late nineties was the high point of my rap fandom. It’s never ended, exactly. As a style of music, I still enjoy it well done. The problem is that it’s rarely well done.

I’ll discuss reasons for that another time.

The Wife bought me a new copy of this album for my birthday. I’d been telling her about it and had shown her a YouTube clip of “Fat Cats, Bigga Fish.” She thought it was interesting and wanted to hear the album herself.

Some albums you buy and keep forever. Some albums get lost in moves. Some albums get stolen by roommates or lovers. Some albums end up sucking with time. Some albums you sell for food money. Other categories must exist, but who cares? Genocide and Juice got sold for food money in the mid-nineties.

The album is brilliantly descriptive:

The streetlight reflects off the piss on the ground

Which reflects off the hamburger sign that turns round

Which reflects off the chrome of the BMW

Which reflects off the fact that I’m broke—

Now what the fuck is new.

“Fat Cats, Bigga Fish” really is the album’s jewel. It’s told from the point of view of a wannabe hustler who steals bus passes and scams free burgers off ugly girls. But when he poses as a butler at a rich man’s party, he learns how small-time he really is. In this and many other songs, we see the various economic ropes which bind us and choke us. By “us,” I really mean poor people.

The album’s vision is both funny and bleak: “If everybody in the hood had a phd, you’d say, ‘Doctor, flip that burger hella good for me.’”

The prescription is far less interesting, though. In 94 or 95, I probably thought violent revolution was the obvious road to travel, but home invasions and fairly random murders described in “Takin’ These” and “Gunsmoke” seem like copouts today.

Of course they do, Pactor. You’ve always been white, and now you’re middle class. True, true, but that doesn’t mean my response is purely white and middle class. But I’ve been reading Aristotle lately. He thinks of ethics not just as a system of action, but as a system of reaction. We let the world affect us in a variety of ways, and when we let it provoke our most violent, savage responses, we are not only revealing our character but shaping our character for later action and reaction.

Violent revolution has a definite, clear history. Rarely do the masses get to enjoy the spoils. A new elite takes revenge on the old. Regular people get new orders. They get trapped in a new system which they have not designed. The revolutionaries become the cruel psychos they wished to depose. This can’t be the answer for kids in the hood.

I don’t know the answer.

I do think it’s much easier for me to offer these critiques as a white, middle class adult in little personal danger from the cops.

Anyway, regardless of their faults, you should listen to The Coup. Drake sucks infinitely more.

it’s come to my attention that a measurable percentage of non-hippie humans think of themselves as energy made flesh or as energy draped in a mirage of flesh. this theory explains their inability to get properly laid.

Notes on Horror

Posted: November 1, 2012 in but whatever, fun is fun

About 10 days ago, I found out all the Hellraiser flicks were on Netflix and decided to watch them. Halloween, sure, but also nostalgia. I saw the first two Hellraisers in the theatres when I was in middle school. They thrilled me on some level I couldn’t understand back then, but I sensed they were different from the slasher flicks I’d seen. But I couldn’t articulate that difference then and wanted to see if I could now, since I’ve grown up and turned intellectual.

They’ve aged and haven’t aged. Late 80s films have taken on this veneer of corniness that really is similar to the corny veneer I used to feel watching movies like The Great Escape. You can feel it in the hairstyles and ladies’ pants, which fit like tents over their waists. But they had actual sets for horror movies then. The special effects were physical things, not computer projections.

The first Hellraiser, in particular, is focused on what most classic horror (and most classic art anywhere) is focused upon: obsession. Frank’s obsession with limits leads him to the box which opens the door to hell and its sick pleasures. Frank is able to return by blood from his brother’s wound. It turns out that the brother’s wife and heroine Kirsty’s stepmother was once Frank’s lover. Another layer of obsession is revealed, and she agrees to help Frank by getting him more blood and skin.

The layers of obsession move slowly, patiently in this movie. A few people die, but not in particularly creative ways: hammers to the head just about every time. Then Frank takes what he needs, and he usually takes it in the old Greek way, offstage.

The famous Pinhead and his underlings, cenobites, come for Frank. In this movie, the Cenobites are described and act more like aliens than demons. True, they like pain and suffering. They can call hooked chains from anywhere to snag and pull your cheekskin back. But Pinhead describes them as explorers, as though they’ve come to our world to see what is available to them and to see what we can tolerate. They might appear to us as Cortez appeared to the Aztecs.

Anyway, I couldn’t get past Hellraiser IV: Bloodline. The idea of patient building of tension and obsession’s all over in this mess. Instead, we get three time periods (the main one appears in the future, on a space station) and a lot of torture porn. I suppose this is the fate of any kind of sequel. Even the old Frankenstein sequels degenerate into parodies of the original. It’s sad.

That wasn’t my Halloween, though. Speaking of parodies, we saw Young Frankenstein. They showed it at the theatre in a one-night stand. Beautiful movie. Hilarious. Brooks and Wilder seemed to understand, even as they’re dishing out jokes, the importance of Frankenstein’s obsession: “My name … is Frankenstein!”

The nerd understanding of horror, which is obviously where I’m at, given my superintellectual grown-up status, as proven by the fact that I’m writing about this, is that the horror isn’t in the blood. It isn’t in how people get torn up and left meat for stray dogs. It’s the obsession with limits, the need to push beyond, Eve’s secret desire to transgress. We need to see what happens. That’s why, weird as it sounds, Dr. Frederick (not Froderick?) Frankenstein and Frank have more in common with each other than any of the Hellraiser sequels.