Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
My new minimalist strategy of writing to the graphoseme.
Monday, March 22, 2010
THIS IS THE NAME OF A NEW WEBSITE I HAVE CREATED WHERE FRIENDS TRY TO BE REAL FRIENDS BY BEING HONEST IN PUBLIC, AS IN "FACE IT, YOU REALLY NEED TO GROW UP. YOU ARE 36 AND STILL LIVING WITH YOUR PARENTS?! COME ON." EVERY POST BEGINS WITH THE DEFAULT, 'FACE IT.' OF COURSE, PEOPLE WILL INEVITABLY MISTAKE FRIENDLY ADVICE FOR UNFRIENDLY INSULT. PEOPLE WILL RESPOND TO ADVICE WITH COMMENTS LIKE, "OH YEAH, WELL, YOU REALLY NEED TO FACE THIS, MOFO!" AND SO FRIENDS JUST TRYING TO HELP FRIENDS FACE UP TO THEIR WEAKNESSES IN THE HOPE OF MAKING THEM STRONGER WILL END UP DEFRIENDING EACH OTHER AND START POSTING THE PEOPLE THEY HAVE DEFRIENDED AND TRASHING THEM ON THEIR FACEIT.COM PAGES UNTIL THEY ARE DEFRIENDED IN TURN. THEN THEY WILL TRASH THEM ON OTHER YET TO BE DEFRIENDED PAGES. SO THE AIM WILL BECOME, INADVERTENTLY THOUGH NECESSARILY GIVEN THAT WE ARE, AFTER ALL, JUST HUMAN, TO LIST AS MANY "DEFRIENDS" AS POSSIBLE. EVENTUALLY, SOMEONE AT THE NEW YORKER WILL PULISH AN ARTICLE ON THE WEBSITE.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a startling instance of the extent to which cynical reason has now penetrated the pre-teen world of pre-programmed celebrity worship and popularity contests. In a country where the rule of law never applies to the ones who flaunt it the most, where the Supreme Court allows corporations to be persons and buy elections, where injustice may be recognized now and then but justice never meted out to the powerful criminals (Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Wall Street, and so on), a pre-teen film with the usual loser formulas apparently no longer can be made. In this deeply nightmarish take on middle school, the wimpy kid, who is actual a real jerk, wakes up to find himself an impotent old man (at the beginning of the film, he wakes at 4:00 a.m. a week early to go to school). It's like 1950s sit-coms turned upside down. Now Father Knows Best is Mother Knows Best (the mother is the moral center of the film, the lawgiver; the father is ineffectual, if supportive of his jerky son); Eddie Haskell is now the wimpy kid, while Beaver has morphed into the wimpy kid's best friend (the loser who keeps getting to win because of the jerky things the wimpy kid does to him). A pre-teen Napoleon Dynamite appears as a total nerd, but no one is mean to him, and he seems fine thinking he is actually cool. Lolita has become Humbert Humbert (a pretty and preternaturally articulate girl who wears great outfits and edits the newspaper is first seen hanging out by herself reading Ginsberg's Howl). The ironic and self-conscious literary or rock star loser (Thomas Bernhard or Beck) has no place in this pre-teen narrative in which "wimp" is code for immature, cowardly, selfish, bullied, brat. It's a testament to the film's unflinching and uncynical take on our "resig-nation" to cynical reason that the ending only provides a touch of cheese. When the wimpy kid finally does a brave thing by saying he ate the piece of swiss cheese that's been lying on the playground for months, not his friend who was forced to by teenage bullies, the beyotch on the block girl yells out that he has the "cheese touch," and everyone runs away from him. The newspaper girl approves and he gets his nice friend back. But that's as cheesy as the film gets. Injustice will prevail, bullies will get away, as will older brothers, and neither cowardice nor bravery provides a way out for the wimpy jerk or jerky wimp. At least the film does not wimp out.
The entire Final Destination series is a parody of Creationism and the "proof" offered by "Intelligent Design." Death is the negative theology of Creationism. Just like "G-d" death cannot be represented or even presented, anthropomorphized, personified, or embodied. Clearly, there is only Da-sein, being there, a Heideggerian post-Christian existing toward death to be confronted in these teen pics. There is no priest figure as in A Haunting in Connecticut or The Exorcist. There's just the black guy who works at the funeral home where he creates corpses. Final Destination is the most openly parodic, starting with the TV interview of a guy who has been marginalized who finally gets a chance to talk about "death's design." The guy turns out to be psychotic, as we can see very clearly when he confuses inference with proof, and the TV interviewer calls him on his bad logic. The psychotic's account of death's design is the inverted mirror of the Creationist one. The only difference is that the plot of each film proves the psychotic right. Death always makes a come back. You can't skip over your mourning; you death is pre-planned, and all you can do is da-sein your life unto death, meaning that you are back to Kirkegaard's existentialization, as it were, of Christinaity: lay people face up living out their sickness unto death by taking a flying leap knowing will be no safety net, no safe landing, just falling.