Updated: 5/31/02; 8:40:35 AM.
there is no spoon
there's a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path

Friday, May 24, 2002

Your Star Wars Name

What could be more fun than learning what George Lucas might call you if he cast you in his next movie? Get the DSS Name Convoluter and find out. And since today is about keeping things light and fluffy: Happy Half-Birthday!  9:03:59 AM      comment

Where's Baudrillard?

Brent Staples claims to have learned something about French philosopher Jean Baudrillard's opinions of "The Matrix," a movie that borrows heavily from Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation. However, Staples' short piece on the subject has a lot less of what Baudrillard thinks of "The Matrix" and a lot more of what Staples thinks of Phillip K. Dick and Hollywood's penchant for misinterpreting science fiction. Of course Baudrillard would say that no movie could do justice to his book -- no surprise there. But the fact that "The Matrix" spends most of its time in the world of the image (the "virtual" world) is not sufficient evidence that the film misunderstands what's at stake in Simulacra and Simulation. I also think Staples' analysis doesn't do justice to the other allusions in "The Matrix," including Althusser's concepts of ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs). The contest between image and "real" is only way to frame the more central issue of the various problems caused by our imaginary relationship to our real conditions of existence. And on the question of "Blade Runner": I wrote a short paper on the film and Dick's book -- perhaps I'll find time to post it soon.   8:39:13 AM      comment

Condoms Lead to Depression?

This report is highly suspect. It claims that "women who have unprotected sex frequently are less likely to be depressed than those who do not." Sounds to me like a bunch of men want a new excuse to shirk their birth control responsibilities, but who knows...  8:25:28 AM      comment

A Little Break

I've got to cut down on the couple of hours a day I've been spending surfing and posting. I'm also reconsidering my approach to political news -- I suspect many potential readers leave my pages when my politics are screaming at them rather than attempting to have a conversation with them. I'm a teacher, so one of my instincts is to spell things out the way I think they are, which often ends up sounding didactic and offensive. I've seen students completely turn off to this before, and I've learned in a classroom that it's better to lead a horse to water than to try to force it to drink (sure, there are horses and water in the classroom -- when's the last time you were at school?). It's about tone and often about restraint and humility; most important of all, it's about not sounding like you think you know the truth. Remember: there is no spoon.

So on a slightly lighter note, I saw "About A Boy" last week and absolutely loved it. (Check the review from The NYT.) I haven't laughed so hard during a movie in forever. My impression is that this was Hugh Grant's best-ever performance, and Nicholas Hoult is a great pesky, brutally honest and incredibly resilient 12-year-old. Toni Collette (from "Muriel's Wedding" fame) also does a terrific job. Reviews of the book more or less agree with my impressions.

Tonight we're planning to see "Insomnia," which I don't really expect to be as good, but Al Pacino and Robin Williams directed by Christopher Nolan (the man behind "Memento") is at least very promising. We'll see.

(In the movie category: Did you know there was a recent film adaptation of Herman Melville's classic, "Bartleby the Scrivener"?)  8:06:05 AM      comment

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Last update: 5/31/02; 8:40:35 AM.