Amoeblog

Target Practice 1: On Sundry Topics

Posted by Charles Reece, March 1, 2008 09:09pm | Post a Comment
This is my trial run at blogging on my new laptop.  I switched to a Mac, which is a bit like what those really young kids must've felt in Piaget's experiments on object constancy where they hadn't yet developed the proper conceptual framework to understand that when a doll goes behind an obscuring object it doesn't cease to exist.  My perspective is all out-of-whack -- no right-clicking, can't figure out how to easily shift between programs, there's a bunch of little objects at the bottom of my screen that have no meaning for me -- forms without functions -- and I have no idea if files still exist once I've saved them.  It was definitely time for a change, however.  My other laptop looks like it was dug up on a excavation in New Guinea, a talisman from some forgotten arcane ritual.  Now, everything on the Web works the way it's supposed to (well, once I downloaded Firefox) and I don't have to wait for the grinding gears to stop before my next action, so I'll get used to it.  Baby steps.  The agony of living in the First World.

~ ~ ~

On my conversion to Macatholicism, I'm reminded, of course, of this piece from Umberto Eco, written way back in 1994:
The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers. I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach -- if not the kingdom of Heaven -- the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

OSCAR RESULTS

Posted by Charles Reece, February 24, 2008 09:55pm | Post a Comment

Welp, I got 67% (that's 16 out of 24) right.  Red is for what I got right, and blue what I got wrong .

Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal)
Julie Christie in "Away from Her" (Lionsgate)
Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in "Juno" (A Mandate Pictures/Mr. Mudd Production)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There" (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement" (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax)
Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Continue reading...

Angels & Incest: When Is Your Sister Not Your Sister? When She's Only Acting!

Posted by Charles Reece, February 19, 2008 01:06am | Post a Comment
The "love that dare not speak its name," which Oscar Wilde shared with Lord Alfred Douglas was cited at the former's trial for gross indecency.  Accepting homosexuality as morally permissible has often been cited by conservative moralists as providing a slippery slope to Gomorrah, setting precedent for even lewder acts, such as bestiality or incest.  However, regarding incest (but I'm betting bestiality, as well), its lure seems to have been with us as long as homosexuality.  If not always accepted in practice, incest is a longstanding part of mankind's fantasies as a seedy imaginative otherworld, suggesting what's always possible if man-made laws didn't get in the way.

clash of the titans laurence olivier zeus

Greek deities and demigods, for example, were a saucy bunch: Zeus, the longest running head of the Gods, was the son of brother and sister Titans, Chronos and Rhea.  Following in the family tradition, Zeus's second wife was also his aunt Themis, goddess of law.  After things went south with that, he hewed even closer to his father's matrimonial views and married his sister Hera, who gave birth to Hephaestus, buttfugly God of blacksmithing.  Hera, being the Goddess of chain-smoking trailer trash with a thing for two-timin' goodfernothins, had little need or love for such a ghastly son and kicked the poor fuck out of Olympus.  Despite this treatment, according to some versions of the myth, Hepahestus sided with his Ma's henpecking his Pa, resulting in Zeus beating the tar out of him, giving him an eternally permanent limp.  Those kind of mommy issues point towards meth addiction and a life of petty larceny, if these had been mere mortals.  But they weren't, so Hephaestus managed to marry the most beautiful of all the Olympians, Aphrodite, Goddess of love, who was also his half-sister by way of Zeus's tryst with Dione.

OSCARS VS. THE GROUCH

Posted by Charles Reece, February 17, 2008 01:54pm | Post a Comment
             


I'm sick as all hell, grumpy, and my mind ain't much good for nothing but thinking about the Oscars.  So here are my choices (at least, who I think will win in terms of my model Academy voter).  And, in case you're wondering, here's how the nominees are chosen and then voted for.  My selections are in red, with my reasoning in italics.

Performance by an actor in a leading role:

George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)

There's no competition here: the juiciest part being played by the juiciest actor and in a film that's anti-capitalist and anti-fundamentalist.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role:

Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)

Continue reading...

Paranoia, They Destroy Ya: Death Sentence vs. The Brave One, or Jodie Foster's Continuing Relevance to the Presidency

Posted by Charles Reece, February 8, 2008 12:50pm | Post a Comment
Given Hillary Clinton’s history of backing neo-liberal economic policies and war-making by the United States and its allies, her advocacy of women’s rights overseas within what is widely seen outside this country as an imperialist context could actually set back indigenous feminist movements in the same a way that the Bush administration’s “democracy-promotion” agenda has been a serious setback to popular struggles for freedom and democracy.  -- Stephen Zunes, Sexism, the Women’s Vote and Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy
These promises of morality, protection, and recognition of harm are false promises. The criminal justice apparatus is about order and its reproduction, and about maintaining the existing hierarchy of status and privilege, and only incidentally about crime or morality or the safety of individual citizens and their communities. It operates most effectively at
the level of the symbolic, by naming individual offenders as morally defective, and using them as scapegoats, and only incidentally as a useful tool for community security, although at times it is the only and the most appropriate social institution available. -- Diane L. Martin, Retributivism Revisited: A Reconsideration of Feminist Criminal Law Reform Strategies

At a time when Spider-Man still had some aesthetic worth, being drawn by the great Steve Ditko, New York was on its way to becoming a dangerous city, giving the super-powered vigilante something to do, presumedly on a daily basis.  However, looking at the crime stats for NYC in 1965, one finds that only 3% of its inhabitants experienced any sort of crime for that year.  With a population of 18 million, it's no wonder that there was rarely a cop around as the Vulture was flying off with his ill-gotten loot.  Now, if you're one lone webslinger, even with the aid of your trusty spider-sense, it ain't very likely that you'll be fortunate enough to come across a crime as it's occurring even on a monthly basis, much less a daily one.  Thus, we have one of the central absurd conceits of the vigilante sub-genre (with radiated powers or merely a stock of ammo): always being in the right place at the right time.

Continue reading...
BACK  <<  48  49  50  51  52  53  54  55  56  57  >>  NEXT