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View Diary: Bookflurries: Bookchat: Will The Book Hold Up? (280 comments)

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  •  They Live directed by John Carpenter. (10+ / 0-)

    I liked it, thought it was uh, okay at the time.  A friend went bananas over it and told me to watch it again and appreciate the underlying political message.  And, yup, it DOES bear closer attention.  The film has a kind of 99%-er populist message, but it's given a right-wing, rather than left-wing twist, as buff professional wrestler whatshisname whips out a gun and goes to town blowing away the aliens (the 1%) and sacrifices his life to expose them.

    Here's a scene from They Live, after Roddy Piper (that was his name...) discovers special sunglasses that let you read the hidden messages on ordinary street signs.

    I've long been a big fan of Repo Man.  It's a great example of genre mixing, like Harry Stanton explaining "The Repo Man Code" so sanctimoniously.  The basic plot of the film is too silly to take seriously, and thus it serves as a good non-premise for what turns out to be a great number of individual scenes.

    "The average man spends his life AVOIDING tense situations.  A Repo Man spends his life GETTING INTO tense situations."

    Oh, here's another one.  John Wayne is a fag.

    About that quote above about American Beauty:

    I thought it was deeply insightful, true about the world in ways that no one else was expressing at the time. That scene with the plastic bag? I really believed it, that you could see the beauty if you just looked hard enough.

    I'm one of those people who see beauty in the plastic bag.  Too often, maybe, and more often as I have gotten older.  I ascribe it to my bipolar disorder and have to try hard sometimes to not draw too many conclusions about my own powerful reactions to some things.  Like bags blowing in the wind.  Or eight count-em eight notes of Mozart, like one diary I wrote just to gush about eight notes of music out of the middle of the 40th symphony.  

    The question of just how "real" our aesthetic responses are is a very interesting and deep one.  A very powerful case can be made that it's all just bullshit and that's probably the safest conclusion.  It seems tempting, though, to try to make a parallel counter argument that there may be something more objective that we sense when we respond to something so strongly and other people agree with us.  It takes more fleshing out to make that argument without devolving into mystical horseshit.

    •  Maybe there are ancient memories (6+ / 0-)

      stirring us that we don't know about...

      A very powerful case can be made that it's all just bullshit and that's probably the safest conclusion.  It seems tempting, though, to try to make a parallel counter argument that there may be something more objective that we sense when we respond to something so strongly and other people agree with us.

      Monkeys remember about snakes even when they have never seen one.

      Maybe one of our ancestors passed down the love of certain things seen or heard...

      Just saying  :)

      Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

      by cfk on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 06:53:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's one way of looking at it. (7+ / 0-)

        I can't find a source for this right now, but...

        There's an evolutionary theory that states that our identity as individuals comes from the ability to formulate "narratives," which was an evolutionary adaptation that enabled early man to begin communicating with others.  Without being able to string individual thoughts and scenes from your own life together in your head in order to create the narrative that is YOU (or, in my case, ME), YOU wouldn't exist.  From that, you could conclude that what YOU are is something that exists outside the normal framework of material concerns and that YOU think of as YOURSELF exists more as a narrative creation.  Just as, I would argue, so does much of our reaction and interpretation of the beauty of things, like eight notes of Mozart or bags blowing in the wind.  We try to insert those attractive things into our own personal narrative that is our selves.  

        So it is all very subjective, and there may be no avoiding that, but then what's the difference because we exist as our own subjective aesthetic experiences and relate to others the same way.

        That's a rough draft of my own soft-of theory about these things.  Personally, I find it a bit too profound to be actually useful.

        •  I agree about 'They Live' and 'Repo Man' (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cfk, Urizen, RunawayRose

          but it's like you started a whole nother diary with

          The question of just how "real" our aesthetic responses are is a very interesting and deep one...

          An aside: on music, I've seen you write on classical music, and it looks fascinating (I have 6000 albums, and know far, far more about music than about books), but I just don't know enough about classical music to follow them. If you listen eclectically, you'll find that my last two diaries covered the 30 greatest double LPs in rock.

          But on aesthetics, and personal perception, and to what extent we share each other's worlds, how completely we can ever communicate with another soul - just fascinating stuff.

          One thing that intrigues me is how our humanity evolves over time. So, before Petrarch, noone bothered to climb mountains. They might look at them, but noone said "hey, why not struggle for hours at personal risk, just to see if I can get there". Now, it's something we all understand. Some people look at words in different old languages and say, "look, before this point in time, noone really saw what we call blue", and that's why Homer wrote instead about the "wine-dark sea".

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 08:26:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't know this...thanks! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brecht, Dumbo, RunawayRose
            One thing that intrigues me is how our humanity evolves over time. So, before Petrarch, noone bothered to climb mountains. They might look at them, but noone said "hey, why not struggle for hours at personal risk, just to see if I can get there". Now, it's something we all understand. Some people look at words in different old languages and say, "look, before this point in time, noone really saw what we call blue", and that's why Homer wrote instead about the "wine-dark sea".

            People have asked me why people believed there were gods on Mt. Olympus and I did think that maybe no one wanted to climb up and find out.  

            Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

            by cfk on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 08:41:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I had a friend I worked with from the Kingdom of (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brecht, cfk, scilicet, barbwires, RunawayRose

            Lesotho Africa, a landlocked country surrounded by South Africa.  He was explaining how, when learning English, he was confused and yet he marveled over how many words we had for some things.  Like walk.  There are so many ways of saying somebody walked.  Like saunter, stagger, lurch, waddle, etc.  

            He told me that in Lesotho, they didn't have names for the basic colors that we have.  They have a word for blue, and for not-blue -- and that's it.  

            Weird, huh?

            I saw a PBS thing on the Yamato Indians of South America, one time, that said that they could only count up to two.  They had words for one, two, and more than two.  That's it.  Once you got past two, it was just "more than two."  When I saw that, I thought of my friend from Lesotho.

            The language that we use determines a lot of what we it's just basically POSSIBLE for us to think about.  That was one of the themes of 1984, the whole idea of Newspeak, the only language in history that gets smaller year after year.  They would remove words from the dictionary over time to the point where eventually, someday, people would not be able to hold intelligent conversations about anything subversive.

            So, today, mountains are a common metaphor for "things to overcome."  Climbing a mountain to prove a point or for bragging rights is an evolved concept.

            By the way, just guessing from your handle, but if you're into Bertolt Brecht, I wrote a diary that was primarily about him and German "Degenerate Music" in the 1920s, 1930s.

            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            When I see rock and roll diaries, I often check them out, although I can be kind of picky.  I'll keep my eyes peeled.

            •  Ah, the cornucopia of the English language (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cfk, Dumbo, RunawayRose

              Yes, the words and concepts that we are fluent in, define the boundaries of what we can conceive.

              Moods can do the same. When I moved to LA, I was surrounded by a wealth of possible choices, what I could do with my day. But I was so depressed that I lay in bed agonizing over the tunnel I saw before me: to get out of bed, or hide under the covers.

              I'm more named after Brecht than a fan of his, though he certainly doesn't bore me. Just a bit hard to wholeheartedly admire, at least for his character.

              Thanks for pointing me to your German "Degenerate Music" diary. I'm stuck on a soundless computer, so I bookmarked it to read tomorrow and listen to later.

              Goodnight, Dumbo.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 10:22:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I had a soundless computer (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dumbo, Brecht, RunawayRose

                until my son-in-law pointed out that my cat had jumped on the button with an x next to the round button...to the left and turned off my sound.

                I know you problem is probably not that simple, but...

                anyway, I thought I would mention it.

                Best wishes with getting your sound back, soon!

                Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

                by cfk on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 10:28:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, actually, it's my aunt's computer (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cfk, Dumbo

                  The problem is just the speakers are broken. I could get  her new speakers but, since she prefers it soundless, I just leave it alone.

                  Next visit, I'll bring some with me to use while I'm here.

                  "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                  by Brecht on Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 08:19:11 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  For what it's worth I'm a big fan (7+ / 0-)

      of both of those movies.  One of the things that Carpenter's movie has never been lauded for is that it's the only mainstreamish film I know of that acknowledges the tent cities in downtown Los Angeles, which are very real, and a very real statement about the difficulties that people who live in poverty face.  I wouldn't call Carpenter's take on it right-wing, though: his politics are way savvier than that.

      And Repo Man is a stone-cold classic.  Has ever a more quotable movie been made?

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 07:44:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been pushing Repo Man for years. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cfk, pico, Brecht, RunawayRose

        I think I've been a pest about it on Hullaballoo in the comments for Dennis's film posts.

        And... Just this Halloween, somebody on there identified the name of a really great Italian horror movie that's been eluding me.  It's Italian name is La Strega in Amore, although I think there were multiple titles in America, including Bruja (which is what I thought it was), and as The Witch or Aura.

        Here's the only clip of it on youtube.

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