Posts tagged words

Sep 13 2014
watched both vols of nymphomaniac over 2-3 days.  it was like surprisingly ….sentimental ?
i mean shouldnt have rly been that surprising since its been common for von trier for psychological / emotional fragility to underlie spectacular violence / devastation , but for some reason i just thought he was going human centipede or sth with this .
it was cool but for real , is gratuitous ‘shocking’ sex / nudity and shallow fibonacci number proxies for esoteric profundity STILL where arthouse cinema is in 2014 ??  literally asking i dont rly pay that much attention.  every undergrad student filmmaker prob thinks ‘yes’ but comeon son .  theres gotta b some new or less exhausted devices lurking out there somewhere ?

have some more thoughts but gets a lil spoilery n a lot long as fuck:
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i think it was prob a lil more complicated than it seems on the surface , and not the bullshit fly-fishing analogies / esoteric numerology 101 ‘complexities’ von trier force-feeds the audience , i kinda think those were head-fakes or part of a larger decoy
like , ok , all the somewhat tedious exposition and pontificating of the main ‘present day’ plot line scenes between charlotte gainsbourg and elder skarsgard were obviously the foundation , the main conceptual apparatus of the film.   and it seems obvious at least on ample occasions that gainsbourg was basically a stand-in for von trier and a medium / platform for him to ‘say his piece’ (esp after his ‘vow of silence' after 'im a nazi-gate’).   that being the case i couldnt help but to read skarsgard as symbolic of ‘the audience’ or public at large.
gainsbourg / von trier tells their story , asserts their perspective while skarsgard fumbles desperately and sometimes impotently (c what i did) to relate these foreign experiences / ideas to his own frame of reference — interpreting , rationalizing and ‘solving’ the parables as best he can from his own naive , literally virginal vantage .  (and gainsbourg eagerly accommodates him by tailoring her stories to his ‘world’ , like any story-teller hoping to captivate an audience)
this meta-commentary is itself kinda complex because it functions simultaneously as the literal , concrete meta-commentary thru which the surface level story-in-a-story is told (i.e. this convo in a bedroom is the actual , diegetic vehicle for the narration of the antecedent stories/scenes that make up the bulk of the film) , while also performing this conceptual meta-meta-commentary im trying to describe.  these multi-tiered nested narratives create at least a formal complexity where all levels of diegesis are fulsomely engaged , and further complicated by trying to deduce who-represents-what at each level of the narrative (von trier [level 1 / extradiegetic] pulling the strings of charlotte [level 2 / diegetic] who is in turn pulling the strings of the rest of the characters [level 3 / hypodiegetic] - except skarsgard, who is also directly von triers puppet but of course opposed to him as symbolic of the audience etc).  and this is made even worse by the creeping suspicion that we are probably dealing with unreliable narrators at each level.  
there r a few moments where gainsbourg & skarsgard pretty nakedly (u see) refer to this dynamic , of course with the plausible deniability that they are referring to their own sub-narratives.  the first and most jarring to me was impeccably timed just as the accumulated implausibility / preposterousness of the narrative was reaching a breaking point.  i had been ready to abandon any & all fuck-giving a few times when shit was just too outlandish to keep me invested , but i would pull back and b like ‘just treat it like horror/sf , suspend ur damn disbelief this is obviously a more ‘poetic’ work than Shame's more social realism take on sex-addiction’ , von trier obviously has not been bound by realism in any recent film.  And then bam , he helpfully if heavy-handedly hand-feeds that very insight to the audience: skarsgard interrupts gainsbourg , complaining that theres too many dubious coincidences in her story for it to be plausible , and she answers ‘which way do u think you’ll get the most out of my story , by believing in it or not believing in it ?’ and skarsgard relents because she ‘might have a point with all this’.   This isnt the last time we hear von trier lecturing us thru gainsbourg lecturing skarsgard. 
The next most standout instance is also the dumbest / adolescentest / entitledest : when skarsgard chides her for using the ‘non politically correct’ term ‘negro’ , and she goes on a stilted diatribe about how in her ‘circles’ its a ‘mark of honor to call a spade a spade’ and some dumb shit about ‘every time a word is removed from a language a stone is removed from the democratic foundation’ which seems like a strange concern since a second later she’s proclaiming that ‘people are too stupid for democracy’ so not sure why shes worried about its foundation.  (here its easy to hear von trier evoking another n-word).  skarsgard dutifully plays the liberal naif and affirms his belief in ‘the human qualities’.
and this sets up nicely the ‘shock’ ending , to the extent that its a shock because it makes no sense and doesn’t follow plausibly from anything in the foregoing 3+ hours of narrative (but ah , he ‘might have a point with all this’).  his point seems to me to be to indict the supposedly ‘decent’ ‘altruistic’ ‘humanistic’ ‘politically correct’ skarsgard (i.e. the audience / public) as being ultimately as capable and prone to evil as the ‘straight-talking’ gainsbourgh/von trier have been trying to convince us that they are — except worse , because hypocrisy   
now , im no stranger to casual misanthropy , but i dont make a grand philosophical statement out of it or make it the bedrock of my worldview cuz ultimately it relies on a boring archaic simpleton-ass notion of ‘human nature’ that makes about as much sense as ‘sea horse-nature’ or ‘computer-nature’.  we all have designs , evolved and learned tendencies / reflexes etc but these are so complex and chaotic and in flux (as are the environments within which they operate) that trying to reduce our (or sea horses’ or computers’) behavior to a simplistic model that can be reliably predicted projected or perimetered now and for all time is like … nah . we invented , built & programmed computers and we cant get these fucking things to reliably do what we think theyre gonna do more than most of the time .  we got dogs sniffing out cancer and squirrels eating snakes and shit but we got it all figured out ?  fuck out of here 
know-it-alls from all epochs have been declaring human nature as this or that , most of the sour adolescent angsty archetypes coming to the same brave / brilliant / precognizant conclusion that ‘its our nature to destroy ourself’ or whatever.  well ok i mean we clearly do that but if its our nature to do everything that we do then 1) this tells us nothing because its a tautology and is meaningless and 2) it must also b our nature to decode the human genome and discover the higgs-boson and figure out how to take pictures of the beginning of the universe n make sounds that give us feelings and cure smallpox and the bubonic plague and invent tiny rectangular slabs that fit in our pocket and connect us to every place and time and all the information ever recorded and build machines THAT FLY THRU THE AIR AND OUTER SPACE and figure out that if u take the seeds of the coffee plant and then roast them and then crush them and then force boiling water thru them in very specific ways it creates FUCKING COFFEE etc etc
im not saying we’re NOT too dumb for democracy or NOT all capable of perpetrating every imaginable evil upon each other or NOT going to exterminate ourselves and obliterate all our accomplishments , im just saying we’re too dumb to possibly know all the brilliant shit our dumb asses might eventually do , prior to or in lieu of exterminating ourselves

so yea the point of this movie just seems infantile.  but it was arrived at pretty tightly , tons of great performances and gnarly shit , beautiful visuals
it was great to see christian slater , fuck the h8ers and also i thought the idiot shia labouf was good except his accent sometimes.
but yea i dont think this gainsbourg-as-von-trier / skarsgard-as-us dynamic is the WHOLE picture but i think its a part and a bit complicated to unpack but ultimately not that insightful cuz the movie aint rly about shit , so we get a lot of sensational graphic shit and some flaccid (u see) entry level sacred geometry bs and thats basically it but rly nice package (……..)

[ppps feel obligated to point out that i do generally find tremendous value in expressions of unnuanced relentless single-minded pessimism of all kinds (more on this l8r) but feel like this wasnt rly that]

watched both vols of nymphomaniac over 2-3 days.  it was like surprisingly ….sentimental ?

i mean shouldnt have rly been that surprising since its been common for von trier for psychological / emotional fragility to underlie spectacular violence / devastation , but for some reason i just thought he was going human centipede or sth with this .

it was cool but for real , is gratuitous ‘shocking’ sex / nudity and shallow fibonacci number proxies for esoteric profundity STILL where arthouse cinema is in 2014 ??  literally asking i dont rly pay that much attention.  every undergrad student filmmaker prob thinks ‘yes’ but comeon son .  theres gotta b some new or less exhausted devices lurking out there somewhere ?

have some more thoughts but gets a lil spoilery n a lot long as fuck:

Read More


Jul 18 2014

secretes

  1. i kinda find most ‘magickal’ ‘esoteric’ (crowley-esque) thinking / traditions to be fundamentally the ploys of idle wealthy brats (or the otherwise chronically privileged) , aimed at justifying and reifying solipsistic self-interest and repudiation of any social responsibility or inhibition of their boundless entitlement .  basically a deeply conservative right-wing neoliberal tradition
  2. i used to find value in a lot of transgressive ‘art’ / cultural production or whatever regardless of who the creator was but then started to realize that theres rly nothing ‘transgressive’ or subversive about straight white men steamrolling standards of decency & morality —> it’s basically the defining dominant force of the entire history of Western Civilization 
  3. (in other words both start seeming like sites of and vehicles for the conservation  , reinforcement + reproduction of traditional privilege and power centers , when theres at least an intimation or outright claim of the opposite)
  4. ((buts thats none of my business)) image

May 9 2014

finally saw cosmopolis couple weeks ago, wanted to since first heard it was in the works.  

A+++++++ would do business again

srsly like early to early-mid period body-horror / ambiguated reality / techno-socio-political theorizing Cronenberg is my lifeblood , middle-late period more personal problematized identity / interiority Cronenberg less my thing , but this emerging late period more explicitly analytical / ideological turn is bringing me back to Cberg.  

all the exposition / pseudo-theory blather will bum out some ppl and idiots that cant deal w plotlessness / inaction (& so prob dont have much of a grasp on life) will not b down.  but i m , + theres always some cogent analysis lurking around in the babble, as has always been the case with cberg imo. 

Cosmopolis in particular , exceptionally plotless + blather-driven , due to the Delillo derivation .  Weak points like , a lot of the cast could not withstand the austere minimal , affectless ~ semi-autistic ~ dialogue , typical of late Delillo prose [where all ‘voice’ n ‘tone’ and even pov is like collapsed into a stark molecular singularity , or like sandblasted / stripped of all idiosyncrasy and personal affect down to a common atomic denominator , characters turnt transparent so the author/narrator’s puppeteering / ventriloquy is obvious].  but for the cast that could inhabit that personality vacuum , n find some naturality or organicity [subjectivity?] in the superficial undifferentiatedness , the performances were all the more jarring + impressive. 

robert pattinson fucking thrived. Nvr saw vampire shit or whatever but he is established as serious / scarily good dramatic force imo [sidenote: pumped].  Giamatti also slays as per ush - juliette binoche , sarah gadon , emily hampshire , patricia mckenzie and whoever plays his uncle also dominate.  

as an imagining & visualization of a near future potentiality of accelerationist capitalism where cyber-capital and technological advance continue their ascent toward hegemonic logical conclusions , the digital-divide and general wealth gaps become evermore stark and yawning [and piketty is perhaps vindicated ?] , the film has its own peculiar rewards and catharses.

if i lived a life where i had time to read thousands of words on thousands more pages i’d prob read the book at some point. 

weirdly , the hook to this k’naan track from the ost also kinda rules in its madchestery indebtedness to shaun ryder  [or , by degrees of separation , MIA ?]

(spoiler alert around 2:30 in vid)


Dec 27 2012

image

a skeletal, severely abbreviated fraction of autobiography. reading more like excerpted annotated outlines of a memoir, barely stretching just over a hundred pages padded with ample textless chapter divisions etc.  worth it for the inimitable Chet Baker deadpan —near catatonic— stoicism that somehow, in its seemingly para-human indifference and detachment, conveys such an elevated sensitivity, psychic fragility and diffuse air of melancholy and portent that only such impassivity could delicately enough carry.  and also for vignettes like these:

[of his experience aboard a troopship bound for Germany after enlisting in the Army illegally at 16] There was vomit everywhere, you could not escape the smell of it no matter where you went on the ship. Since there wasn’t anything alcoholic to drink, some of the guys mixed Aqua Velva with fruit juice. Everyone was getting loaded and fighting. Some went blind from the noxious aftershave mixture. Altogether, it was a trip I could not easily forget.

I spent a couple of weeks at her apartment, but unfortunately some joker ripped off the door of her Corvette when I was using the car. He didn’t even stop. We had a few words about that, and fought about some other things as well. It all ended in my telling her to get fucked.

[of being brought to court on drug charges in England] I really couldn’t take the whole thing seriously. All those seemingly pompous fools with their white wigs. Needless to say, I was found guilty by his lordship.

despite its brevity, a satisfying, shimmering glimpse into imo one of the top 5 most compelling voices in all recorded music (and pretty standard mid-century jazz-genius-junkie archetype).  for a longer look, a couple biographies are supposed to be good, but u prob cant do better than this


Aug 8 2012

Nocturnes for the King of Naples (Edmund White)

i just. really loved it.

somewhat slow-going and hard to read cuz of the mercurial, impressionistic prose, but for the same reason prob the most unique and enthralling reading experience i can remember.

↓↓↓↓↓↓

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May 23 2012

sleep is mad real: social jet lag, human energy economies & the tyranny of compulsory oblivion

been somewhat captivated by sleep lately

bought this book at punk rock flea market cuz it says SLEEP

my cell phone battery life blows. But its energy economy is a monumental improvement over humanity’s. on average, we have to charge like 3-4 times a day, and then SHUT DOWN COMPLETELY for 6-8 hrs a day.  we are abysmal technology.  i hope steve jobs is giving god industrial design pointers in non-existence right now.

whats worse, the fascistic sleep regime seems to have a draconian bio-justice system.

Social jet lag is “the discrepancy between what our body clock wants us to do and what our social clock wants us to do,”


Roenneberg and his colleagues surveyed the sleep habits of more than 65,000 adults and found that people with different weekday and weekend sleep schedules had triple the odds of being overweight.


the body mass index (BMI) of overweight people tended to rise as the gap between their weekday and weekend “time zones” widened.


The findings echo previous research linking higher BMI to sleep deprivation and irregular sleep schedules. In particular, numerous studies have found an increased risk of obesity — as well as chronic diseases such as diabetes — among shift workers


Some of the proposed explanations for the link between shift work and obesity, such as irregular meal times and metabolism disruptions at the cellular level, may help explain the social jet lag findings as well,

"Living against our body clocks is detrimental for our health," … "On an epidemiological level, we pay an enormous price for not being within our natural clocks."

cellular mutiny commanded by the shadowy overlord of forced, rationed oblivion


Apr 6 2012

WE ARE STARDUST

BILLION YEAR OLD CARBON

WE ARE GOLDEN 

CAUGHT IN THE DEVILS BARGAIN

AND WE GOT TO GET OURSELVES BACK TO THE GARDEN

if u dont fuck with joni mitchell feel free to never speak to me again


Jan 31 2012




Dec 26 2011

i love lana del rey.

idgaf.

i love her for all the reasons ppl r ambivalent about/h8 on her: deeply problematized/unchartable authenticity, tranny-chic appearance, lack of any sort of totality, desperate & severe ‘omega point' hauntology without being as egregiously ‘retro’ as amy winehouse or adele, so i can actually stand her music.

(i honestly prefer the ‘pre-video’)

stevie nicks growl, cinematic melodrama, amenability to epic remixes, narcotic melody, doom, fatalism, whorishness, paz de la huerta. 

Video Games (BALAM ACAB Remix) - Lana Del Rey by BALAM ACAB

im also not paying that close attention, which always helps. 


Dec 19 2011
bbook:

AN ACADEMIC DEFINITION of Lynchian might be that the term “refers to a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way  as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment within the latter.” But  like postmodern or pornographic, Lynchian is one of those Porter  Stewart-type words that’s ultimately definable only ostensively-i.e., we  know it when we see it.  Ted Bundy wasn’t particularly Lynchian, but  good old Jeffrey Dahmer, with his victims’ various anatomies neatly  separated and stored in his fridge alongside his chocolate milk and  Shedd Spread, was thoroughgoingly Lynchian.  A recent homicide in  Boston, in which the deacon of a South Shore church reportedly gave  chase to a vehicle that bad cut him off, forced the car off the road,  and shot the driver with a highpowered crossbow, was borderline  Lynchian.  A Rotary luncheon where everybody’s got a comb-over and a  polyester sport coat and is eating bland Rotarian chicken and exchanging  Republican platitudes with heartfelt sincerity and yet all are either  amputees or neurologically damaged or both would be more Lynchian than  not.  A hideously bloody street fight over an insult would be a Lynchian  street fight if and only if the insultee punctuates every kick and blow  with an injunction not to say fucking anything if you can’t say  something fucking nice.

bbook:

AN ACADEMIC DEFINITION of Lynchian might be that the term “refers to a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment within the latter.” But like postmodern or pornographic, Lynchian is one of those Porter Stewart-type words that’s ultimately definable only ostensively-i.e., we know it when we see it. Ted Bundy wasn’t particularly Lynchian, but good old Jeffrey Dahmer, with his victims’ various anatomies neatly separated and stored in his fridge alongside his chocolate milk and Shedd Spread, was thoroughgoingly Lynchian. A recent homicide in Boston, in which the deacon of a South Shore church reportedly gave chase to a vehicle that bad cut him off, forced the car off the road, and shot the driver with a highpowered crossbow, was borderline Lynchian. A Rotary luncheon where everybody’s got a comb-over and a polyester sport coat and is eating bland Rotarian chicken and exchanging Republican platitudes with heartfelt sincerity and yet all are either amputees or neurologically damaged or both would be more Lynchian than not. A hideously bloody street fight over an insult would be a Lynchian street fight if and only if the insultee punctuates every kick and blow with an injunction not to say fucking anything if you can’t say something fucking nice.


Dec 10 2011


Dec 3 2011

The Next 50 Years: Why I’m Optimistic Because Everything Will Be Terrible

Multiple simultaneous crises will create shortages, which will further concentrate wealth in the hands of the few, schisming the world, separating most of the world from the breakthroughs of “singularity” level tech and biotech — this could result in a powerful and eccentric technocrat class with its own elitist rationale for dominance of the technologically under privileged through control of media and mechanism.

When tropical diseases and pests move northward, when monsoons take place in regions unprepared for them, when radical changes in climate impacts agriculture, causing dust bowls in some areas and catastrophic flooding in others, we’ll see a gigantic surge of refugees, hundreds of millions of people, totaling billions globally, moving away from these areas, desperately migrating toward more protected areas.

And don’t forget the black winds, toxic fronts of synergized pollutants capable of killing large numbers of people, quite possibly being formed in the upper atmosphere, like an aerial complement to that corresponding giant whirlpool of plastic in the Pacific ocean. 

Some of this semisuperhuman cyborgian elite will obsess about managing an unmanageable world — and they will come up with some solutions. But other privileged technocrats may well sink into the repellently self indulgent decadence of virtual reality retreats, where they’ll be sequestered physically and mentally both

The real singularity will be simply an unprecedented cybernetic intelligence explosion to many orders of magnitude, combined with astronomically improved interactivity—but the Kurzweilian singularity that allows us to interface with machines until, in his words, “there will be no distinction between human and machine” , will not come about sustainablybecause the psychological and social consequences would be so dire.

People who are quadroplegic have noted that they feel less emotion than they did, when they could still feel their entire bodies. The projection of the self into electronics reduces our relationship to the body, the seat of our emotions, and for several reasons that might lead to an increase in psychopathology.

"I am 100 per cent positive that we can get evolution to work outside organic biology," claims this researcher. If he’s right we could breed the next form of technology. And it’s a little worrisome when you consider that researchers in Seoul, Korea and in Bristol, England using the Venus flytrap as a model have developed plans for something they’re calling an “ecobot” — it’s a robot that eats. It will be able to ingest flesh and turn it into fuel. 

But yes — there will be catastrophe between here… and there.

We’ll have astounding technological advancement against a backdrop of grievous social inequity and quite possibly increasing barbarity, for a period, until we are forced by waves of crises to come to terms with the consequences of developing a civilization blindly. Wars, plagues, radical separation of privileges, famines due to climate change and other environmental consequences, will force humanity to reassess, simply to survive, and accept Buckminster Fuller’s “spaceship Earth” concept as very real.

I’m optimistic for the long term… because everything will be terrible in the short term. 


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