Thursday, 25 December 2014

Entertainment stuff for the 11 days before XMAS 15-25/12/14

Hi Christmists,

I hope you're having a Happy Christmas and a Merry Winterval. Or that it's passed, and you survived it!

Sorry there wasn't a posting, last week - i do try to be regular, but unfortunately my dwelling lost not just internet access, but phone access too.

Someone from the telecommunications provider had bodged a connection, in the local box, and so half a street lost its landline connection.

But anyway, here's some stuff to remind you what time of year it is... whether you like it or not! :-P


I have now seen the last Hobbit movie, and it's very LOTRy indeed. Lots of running; lots of fighting; lots of screaming; lots of panoramas; lots of lots.

It does seem a bit odd, though, that the dragony stuff ends so soon, as if a production decision was to make the second film half an hour shorter, and make the third half an hour longer, by cleaving the final dragony bits from the end of the second, and onto the third.

Cliffhangery it might have made the end of the second film, but it did seem a bit too abbreviated.

One question that i'm sure almost everybody had on their minds' lips, as they left the cinema, was "If only someone would go to the effort of explaining the mythological context to all of the stuff i've just seen". I'm sure <s>. So here it is:

'The Lord of the Rings Mythology Explained'

All in all, an enjoyable film and another enjoyable trilogy, with more plot than any of the films advertised pre-showing.

That said, the ideological motives of JRR Tolkien, in writing the stories were politically ugly.

Everything in LOTR, The Hobbit, etc, is symbolic of something, and so all the horrendously poetic problems of conflating ugliness with evil (orks) and monarchism with goodness (human kings are glorified and depended on to fight evil) finds itself a place.

I realised, on the day (and you might think me slow for only just noticing) that there is a parallel with the Star Wars trilogies.

Aside from the fact that the second trilogy was also a set of prequels to the first trilogy; there is the stomach churning superstitionist ideology laced throughout the plot.

-- Light side v. Dark side (Biblical terminology, by the way [John1][John2][Isaiah][Corinthians]) parallels the simplism of LOTR's Good gods' creations v. Bad gods' creations

-- Jedi is a Religion (which is a good thing, apparently, and equivocated with goodness) and Magic is the key, through Gandalf (as long as you don't turn to the dark side, like Saruman)

-- The baddies are ugly, and the goodies beautiful (hideous, scarred orks v. pristine elves et al)

-- Midichlorions parallel the Holy Spirit / Karma (ability is not achieved - it is 'unction from above'!? Even Kung Fu Panda does better, in this sense) and Magic and inexplicable plot-based traits of the various species in LOTRs.

And this is just stuff i'm remembering off the top of my head. Sci-fi movies so often end up more like sup-fi - not science-fiction but superstition-fiction, because superstition is more crucial to the narrative. The Sciencey stuff is just for show.

"The story is cast in terms of a good side, and a bad side, beauty against ruthless ugliness, tyranny against kingship..." - JRR Tolkien himself. He was a big fan of Fairy Tales, by the way. He seems to have been one of the many to read them without understanding them.

Comparing the two, Tolkien's anarchist/Christianismist muddlings are far less coherent, and thereby far less obvious and lambastable than Lucas' Christianismist (he says Christian-Buddhist) idiocratic agenda. This personal political parallel finds its way through to their creations. Tolkien, btw, is attributed the blame for indoctrinating C.S.Lewis, and thereby for causing the godawful Jesusismianistic idolatry in Narnia.

None of this, however, changes the fact that either set of films can be enjoyed, with a suspension of both belief and disbelief - a temporary imposition of nihilism.

I, however, prefer not to have to do the hard graft of rethinking reality as the plot proceeds. I like plots that make sense, and i don't like Doctorscientists! [Prometheus,grrr,1][Prometheus,grr,2][Prometheus,grrrrrr,3]

Don't get me wrong, though - i know it's all made-up stuff - and i find great additional pleasure in imagining how the film was made, as well as following all the purported narratives, character traits, etc, that are the fiction of the film. Spotting evidence of filming techniques, and appreciating nice shots, i think, enhances the experience of a production. For example, there are some really nice 3D-glasses-utilising shots in Hobbit 3.

As Richard Feynman said:

“I have a friend who's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts.”

I think taking a film/book/whatever apart and seeing how it works can only add to the wonder of a wondrous filmbookwhatever... or subtract from the negative wonder that an anwondrous film doesn't.

Richard Feynman also said this:

“It is surprising that people do not believe that there is imagination in science. It is a very interesting kind of imagination, unlike that of the artist. The great difficulty is in trying to imagine something that you have never seen, that is consistent in every detail with what has already been seen, and that is different from what has been thought of; furthermore, it must be definite and not a vague proposition. That is indeed difficult.”

Maybe that is why i respect concordant movies more than discordant ones - because it takes so much more effort to produce dynamism while remembering the constraints of reality. Maybe?

I'll fill you in, when i've worked myself out. Ever noticed that yourself is always the hardest person to study? :-P

And maybe that's also why i don't appreciate people crudely pasting miserably pathetic mythological narratives over seasonal festivals, in an attempt to subvert it for the purposes of ideological proselytism.

Yes, it's Christmas Day, and i just wrote an extensive interrogation of the contextual bigotry to two ageing film series. Ain't i a laugh! :-P

But enough of my heresy. This is Christmas. A time for stoic, arcane and/or archaic rituals; and for glorifying the senseless act of enthusiastically lying to children. "What did Santa bring you, kids?"

Let's not be prejudicial though. If we must respect Christian trans-linguistic dogma, then we must respect other religious trans-linguistic dogma. Because it's only OK to subjugate and exclude Atheists, isn't it. <s>

If Christmas is for worshipping Jesus Crosst, then Tuesday is for worshipping Tiw, Wednesday is for worshipping Woden, Thursday is for worshipping Thor, and Friday is for worshipping Frigg. So get down on your knees and pray!!!!

...Or, we could just accept that a name is just a name, and its etymology has no real importance to whatever that day is currently used for.

Can i smell lots and lots of food cooking? Mmmmmm.... [drools uncontrollably] that's what it's used for. :o)

Until my next on-time posting, Happy Christma-Hanu-Rama-Ka-Dona-Kwanzaa. And remember -- Christmas is pain pain pain :-D

------------------------------------------------------ contemporary stuff

'FLOBER - Christmas'

'World's Smallest Christmas Tree (made from 42 atoms)'

'How to get drunk by eating food'

'Rudolph The Redshifted Reindeer.'
*'quashed' not 'squashed' ;-)

'Fake Snow - Periodic Table of Videos'
Nik282K's got some brilliant close-ups of sodium polyacrylate absorbing huge amounts of water.

'Ultimate last minute GEEK present!'

'"Christmas Is Pain" by Roy Zimmerman'

'"Christma-Hanu-Rama-Ka-Dona-Kwanzaa" by Roy Zimmerman'

'A Merry Heathen Christmas'

'Christmas: Behind the Curtain'

'Unusual Christmas Tree At The Library'

'Seasonal Pareidolia'

'Christmas tree's roadworks-themed decorations removed'

What a stupid thing to do. Why complain about a novel tree decoration design? And why comply? "It's the most unreasonable time of the year"

'Lost Voice Guy wins BBC New Comedy Award 2014 (set and winners speech) - 17 December 2014'

'Father Christmas accused of illegally monitoring millions of children'
"Williams told police, “He asked me if I’d been good, and told me not to lie as he’d been watching me all year anyway.” “It was terrifying. How can he break the law like that and not find himself in front of some sort of government select committee?”"

'Bookmakers stop taking bets on Queen revealing reptilian self'
“Right now our exposure is just too high, so we’ve decided to suspend betting on the queen peeling off her skin to reveal herself to be a humanoid lizard on Christmas day.” “Personally we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for familiar platitudes and a bit about it being 100 years since the first Christmas of the first world war.”

'8 year-old criticised for revealing to trainee Vicar that God isn’t real'

“She’ll get over it, just like I did when I realised Santa wasn’t real. And it doesn’t stop me enjoying Christmas, does it.”

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