Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The difference between H. P. Lovecraft and the I.W.W.

The Old Racist from Providence |: "The workers of the I.W.W. were equally as ‘of their time’ as HPL and yet they did not express such vile opinions of people."

You just gotta love the I.W.W.

As for Lovecraft, I think anyone who's seriously interested in fantasy or supernatural horror should read at least one story by him, but that's no reason for him to be the face of the World Fantasy Award.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My favorite movies: Strictly Ballroom

Just saw Strictly Ballroom again. Afterward, Emma said, "It's the best arts movie and the best sports movie ever." IMDB only gives it 7.3 out of 10, but Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 95%, which seems about right to me. Baz Luhrman's one of those great directors who can create an artificial world that's emotionally real, and this is my favorite movie of his. Though I think we'll be rewatching Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet sometime soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Secret of the Incas

Just saw Secret of the Incas, the main inspiration for the Indiana Jones movies. I liked it more than I should've, given the erratic script, but I had fun mapping the characters on Casablanca and imagining the 1940s black-and-white version:

Humphrey Bogart as the lead.
Ingrid Bergman as the romantic sidekick.
Peter Lorre as the commie diplomat.
The main antagonist could've been played by Sydney Greenstreet, but given the character, would've been better played by Claude Rains.

It really is a flawed script. I liked the first part best. The second part needed more bad guys. Still, it's an interesting attempt to fuse film noir with pulp adventure, and Lucas and Spielberg ought to be more forthright about their inspiration. Charlton Heston's Harry Steele is to Harrison Ford's Indy what Michael Keaton's Batman is to Christian Bale's.

If you share my interests, it's prob'ly 3.5 stars out of 5, not a must-see but not a must-avoid either. It's available on Netflix in 10 parts:

Warning: the Yma Sumac musical interludes are just bizarre.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My question at io9 about the effect of popular entertainment on behavior

In The Secret Twist In the Bobo Doll Experiments That Turned Kids Mean, Esther Inglis-Arkell concluded, "We can all admit that what kids (and adults) read and consume probably does have some influence on their behavior."

I replied, "We can admit that's the argument of every censor. But it assumes we are nothing more than the product of what we read and consume. If this is true, slash fanfic involving children and young teens should worry everyone. Is that your belief?"

My comment is still "pending approval" and hasn't been answered. #NotHoldingBreath

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

On civility, disobedience, and yo mama

I left this as a comment at Corey Robin's The Reason I Don’t Believe in Civility is That I Do Believe in Civility:

Civility is not bourgeois. Working class people of all hues know the meaning of "Didn't your mama teach you any manners?" Bourgeois civility expects obeisance, but simple civility expects equality, and equals don't treat anyone as inferiors, which is the essence of incivility.

When I think of what's civil, I think of civitas and civil disobedience and the example set by the civil rights leaders, including Malcolm X, who said, "Respect everyone." He believed you should be prepared to send anyone who laid a hand on you to the graveyard, but he never suggested you should stop respecting others even then; he only said you should be prepared to stop them. If I had a time machine, I would arrange a meeting between Brother Malcolm and Citizen Tom Paine. I think they'd agree about a great deal, including the way we should treat each other.

ETA: Excellent advice for revolutionaries: “Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.” ―Thomas Paine

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Respect everyone, post #3: Kadampa Buddhism

"Do not contemplate your own good qualities, but contemplate the good qualities of others, and respect everyone as a servant would." —Atisha, Kadampa Buddhism


#1: Respect everyone

#2: the "respect" quote of the day is by Anthony Bourdain