A few quick remarks on ma boi Xenophon, whom I've been reading recently when I couldn't fall asleep:
1. Reading Xenoboi and Plato side by side is like reading two weebs' wildly different fanfics about their identical favourite waifu from some obscure anime no one else ever watched back when it aired, making it difficult to distinguish canon from fan canon - Was Socrates an elitist nagging condescending piece of work or was he a funny drunk condescending piece of work?
2. I concocted this whole theory in my brain that Donald Trump is not an irate madman constantly wallowing in self-pity, but rather an ardent Xenoboi devotee and dedicated performance artist re-enacting "Hiero" absolutely faithfully in front of the public. Can't wait to see who he cast as Simonedes, because his tyrant impression is incredibly spot-on.
3. If Xenoboi's depictions of parties including Socrates and the gang are in any way credible, it must have been a wild mixture of bantering about man love interwoven with geezy sexist jokes on the expense of women in general and Socrates' wife specifically, so basically the atmosphere of a bro bar mixed with the atmosphere of a gay bar, with both a pinch of wednesday afternoon strip club and sunday morning country club buffet vibes. The plot of Symposium basically focuses on a rich guy lusting over a socialite athlete and to get to the shagging part of things he invites the athlete, Soc and the gang and his date's dad to a banquet. Then someone calls Socrates ugly. Hilarity ensues.
Occupy White Walls really drove home the point for me that I'm completely done with memes and vaporwave and digital fetishism and the pastel goth color scheme in art and art curation and that the hip young artists the developers got involved in the project all learned what art technically looks like and that you get a lot of "W O W" out of people for creating 2D-renditions of melting blue faces and glitching oversaturated sunsets and collapsing voxel tunnels and ironic MS Paint recreations of classical paintings. What they didn't learn was the difference between design, illustration, decoration, kitsch, camp, and that just repeating "Movements and styles and genres are meaningless, I'm mixing it up, anything goes nowadays #contemporary" isn't exactly a novel idea either (coming from someone who had a glitch phase on this very blog).
Also, as a Sims aficionado, I find the build mode offensive.
I spend a lot of my free time in that game, though. The game's far too conservative for my taste, and yet I build the most conservative gallery I've seen so far. Like, it gets out the worst in me. The newest works I purchased are dated around 1935. AND I bought TWO terrible hyper-Swiss Ferdinand Hodler pieces.
EDIT: I just spent another 5 hours in the game and bought ANOTHER Hodler piece. What's happening to me?
Also I found out that a lot of the art featured in the game is taken from the game's Discord channel and therefore these are probably mostly hobbyist works, which explains a lot and makes me much more relaxed about the melting faces.
You need to put something on the walls of your kitchen, otherwise it's just an empty room with a stove and visitors'll think you're a weirdo with all those cold white walls surrounding you. But whatever you put on the walls will eventually be covered in grease and you'll have to dispose of it if you don't want to put everything in glass frames beforehand, which brings us back to the weirdo side of things because who does that?
So the task is to find something not too tacky or tasteless you would like to see on your wall every single day that you also care so little about that its destruction via grease film and absorbed smoke and spill doesn't bother you at all.
Which is why my walls are still weirdo-white.
Okay. I read my obligatory ten paragraphs of Jordan Peterson and watched some of his interviews. And I'd like to tell a story, just as he likes to do.
Once upon a time, I had a housemate. Seemed innocuous, nice enough, voice a little high-pitched and drawn out, eyes never blinked, but I'm not judgmental (Of course I am). When I told him jokingly once that I thought that after two weeks of living with him I'd be lying cut into pieces in his bathtub, he looked very surprised and, in all seriousness, informed me that he did not have a bathtub.
Turned out he was suffering from a severe psychosis and paranoid schizophrenia that he was keeping at bay with medication, but since he had come into contact with some esoteric baloney recently that had convinced him that mainstream medicine was evil, he was down to a minimum dosage and at one point stopped taking it entirely. Landed him a vacation in the ward, obviously.
Point is, he was convinced that he was some kind of saviour. He wrote articles and entire books about how to combine all three major monotheist religions into one omniferous philosophy for mankind. How homesexuals should not be persecuted, but rather be treated as people who had gone astray and must be lead to get back on the literal straight and narrow (And don't even try to get him started on trans* people. The word "self-mutilation" came up a lot in that context). How eating this and that was damaging our bodies or souls or the environment, how too much freedom for specific groups was damaging to society as a whole et cetera. I read that garbage and I hated it just about as much as he called my writing banal and meaningless. He wrote a letter to my parents, asking them to get me out of the apartment because I was trying to psychologically terrorize him.
He wrote letters to Donald Trump and the Pope, trying to convince them of stuff he commanded. Pestered gallerists in the area, asking them to exhibit his childhood drawings next to his, uh, religious sculptural works. Felt a weird sense of ownership over female bodies in his proximity. Talked about the devil or "the evil" a lot.
Interestingly, once in a blue moon, he brought a woman home. Mostly younger than him and apparently searching for something. One of the women was his age, highly religious, and had lost her husband less than one year ago in an accident. Two adolescent kids and all. Not before long, when she visited, he greeted her with "Why did that take so long?" - She did not leave him for a year.
I found him ridiculous. Most people found him either ridiculous or menacing. His weird messages of love and peace sounded like tyranny, and they were unstable. If he found out he couldn't follow one of his own commands, he just forgot about it. If you called him out on his misinterpretation of a text passage (turned out I and most other people knew the bible better than him), he first wouldn't believe you, then forget about it entirely or later tell the story in a different way, how he had convinced you of his idea. He forgot most things that included him having done something wrong because his psychosis was busy convincing him that he could do no wrong and therefore had to rewrite his memory day after day after day and his paranoid schizophrenia was busy nourishing his persecution complex. He was, however, able to convince quite a few people, at least for a while, that his nonsensically worded rants and opinions were some sort of higher wisdom by an enlightened intellectual. He never had any and never was one. He was a deeply ill man whose own parents didn't know how to help him anymore and whose only saving grace turned out to be that he fell ill long before he had a career and could accumulate any kind of professional pedigree to back up his claims with his social and/or financial status.
In the end, most women didn't show up more than once or twice. Once you saw his part of the apartment was in utter disarray while he proclaimed the new world order and that he blamed not just all of your, but all of his problems on you, it only took you so long to realize your key problem was that this guy was still in your life.
Thanks for tuning in.
Time to be negative!
I stumbled over several redemption story blog and vlog entries and some reddit posts in the past week that all read roughly the same way: Impressionable kid finds Sargon, thinks he's kewl, becomes fash, then finds ContraPoints, realizes she's cooler, unfashes, changes Patreon donations. And while it's nice that that happened, I find it a bit underwhelming, to say the least, that most redemption arcs now can be condensed to "I followed a different YouTuber". Maybe I'm old, but the ex-nazis that got invited to my high school had more... story in their stories.
It's not like I never had my mind changed by a person with better lighting and make-up skills than a previous one, but that just is a story about how the YouTube algorithm decided their viewers might enjoy a change of scenery. There's very little introspection going on in most of these posts (except that they were young, impressionable, vulnerable and depressed) and rarely ever a thought spent on why any kind of real-world interaction or actual research, if it ever took place, has less value than a person with some clout and followers talking into a camera, completely relying on Google and Facebook to get their message across. Treating politicial alignment as a streamable outside stimulus basically owned by two corporations does not sit well with me.
I'm also mighty uncomfortable with the possible equation of likes, shares, confession vlogs and donations with reparations, though more from the "How are the trolls going to turn this one around?" kind of angle once they pick up on the new trend of ContraPoints reformists (she seems to be fairly troll-safe so far, but I'm not so sure about her fans).
I used to be very much against post-irony, but since I'm reading Chuck Tingle's books for the plot now, I guess that part of my personality went out the window.
I genuinely never read the original Peter Pan before and thought I might give it a go to see what I missed as a kid.
I missed to witness the adventures of an abusive, manipulative and terminally sad psychopathic child gaslighting his friends, taking advantage of a little girl's affection and murdering people for shits and giggles whilst a handsome, cultured and depressed motherfucker named Hook, who is my spirit animal if nothing else, suffers his way through anxiety issues and the eternal aftermath of his societal downfall whereas admirably managing to not descent into madness like everyone else around him.
My lame take on Suspiria 2018 after having re-read "Against Interpretation":
This is very much an anti-allegorical movie, isn't it? Dr. Klemperer lived through WWII and knows how euphemisms work in favor of oppressors (he even says so in the police station), but faced with a patient bluntly telling him she's being hunted down by a coven and evidence for her point of view is piling up, he still goes for an allegorical approach and interprets the shit out of his patient's "hallucinations" when what is going on is plainly and directly available to him through her diary. The film is so much against subtext that even the witches tell Klemperer into his face that his main flaw is that he prefers to read things allegorically or metaphorically while the movie almost never does. The dances do not represent spells, they are spells. Mother Markos' followers have their heads exploded for believing her to be a re-incarnation of an allegorical figure that decides to show up and make clear how very literal she is.
I even think it does the film a disservice to follow many critics' assumption that this is 'about' something like betrayal between women of different social status. If we cast aside the idea of the Berlin Wall and the RAF as hackneyed metaphors, they instead become the exact environment in which the coven can flourish because the world is busy with other things. "They've been underground since the war" is not so much a reference to reblossoming fascism but more to the blossoming German art and dance scene that is referenced in the movie through nothing but posters and Swinton taking hints from Pina Bausch and, I assume, a good portion of Abramovic otherwise. Gender is strictly and openly a performative thing throughout the entire film and the psychological dependence of the dancers on their instructors isn't so much metaphorical as it is an actual 2011 Wim Wenders documentary.
This is so different from the first movie, which goes all the way "open for interpretation", and my guess is that the idea behind this is that the target audience of "Suspiria 2018" has seen the original film and the reveal of the dance instructors being witches won't come as a surprise for them, so the creative leads of the remake just inverted the thin plot: Let's make the allegory literal, and make it all about the idea of literal witches living in literal Berlin casting literal spells through dancing, and have the reveal be that none of this is open for interpretation. Put in a vagina dentata for good measure. This is mirrored perfectly in the super-precise filmmaking and muted color palette and just the exactitude of the edit.
(I'm very aware I just interpreted a lot of stuff after having read an essay saying that interpretation is the intellectual's revenge on art.)
The only part of the film I completely disliked was the final meetup between Mother Suspiriorum and Klemperer in which she tells him about his wife's death and how she wasn't afraid and thought only of him 'cause true love and hope. That's such a Hollywood thing to say and it is so incredibly odd especially in a movie like this. Suspiriorum is revealed as an unusually kind being (minus head explosions), but her kindness can't retroactively change a bleak, terrible death in Theresienstadt.
Other than that, thumbs up and I'm off to fanfiction.org to search for some Madame Blanc/Susie Bannion slash fics.
EDIT: Oh my God I found the one fetish no one has written anything about. I went out of my way and even searched through Wattpad. There is nothing, nothing, I'm shocked.
EDIT 2: Oh, also Dakota Johnson's wig was very distracting since it was so obviously a wig. I mean, nice foreshadowing with the red hair = witch thing, but still.
Nerdy shit I won't care about in a week, but do so now:
1 - If they hadn't cast Danny Glover as the protagonist of Predator 2, that film might have been the most racist film since Birth of a Nation.
2 - It's uncanny how obviously the Borg were inspired by the Cenobites from Hellraiser and how the Hellraiser franchise acknowledged that and paid back the compliment in its third iteration and how much every clickbait article about the top ten worst Cenobites throws so much shade at these Techno-bytes because I unabashedly love them.
3 - The Sokal affair is only a powerful means for the destruction of postmodernism for people who haven't looked into postmodernism or the Sokal affair.
If someone ever wanted to display petite bourgeoisie in a zoo, the whole exhibit would comprise of people discussing tableware.
Very late to the party, I finally heard about and watched The strange thing about the Johnsons. Maybe it's because I'm a terrible person or because the acting was so stiff or because I'm used to much, much more intense stuff (thanks Ubuweb!), but I laughed for half the time and was kinda bored at the other half and now I have trouble feeling bad about that and should I even? I'm not very good at the suspension-of-disbelief thing and never was.
This just feels like a rebellious film student's attempt to make something a little more out there than usual. Furthermore, this was a reaction-video-worthy film? 2011, what innocent times.
The film certainly is not a catastrophe, but sadly hasn't much to offer except for its premise, at least for me. I read Malcolm Harris' take on the movie and he sees something valid and important in the film I really didn't, so I might be wrong. Or people come from different points in life and therefore see different things in artistic production.
Other than that, it is always amusing to see how filmmakers imagine writers' lifes.
Donut County says more about the current state of the US than any New York Times non-fiction bestseller reiterating the point that the current POTUS is quite not great.
I wish I had as much going on as the color red in We need to talk about Kevin.
They Live is an effing brilliant movie about a guy catching a glimpse on privilege and inequality, then believing himself to be starring in an action film and relentlessly shooting at the privilege-havers, beautifully oblivious to the idea that the aliens aren't the main problem in 1988's hypercapitalist Los Angeles and maybe also just wanna go to a grocery store, buy a magazine and get a perm like everybody else because "Consume, marry and reproduce" is also kinda their motto. They see those ads 24/7 without obfuscation, after all.
Also, I can see why antisemites dig this movie. It's because they're dumb and they think the movie is just as dumb.
Second worst habit: Incessant quoting.
Worst habit: Incessant quoting of shit you haven't read.
Most of contemporary German cinema consists of Nazi or GDR schmalz and terrible gross-out comedies that peaked in the US around 2001. Sure, language-wise you have Haneke and Seidl, but Austria is a whole ‘nother story. And then there are the Reding brothers making actual movies with interesting perspectives on the German psyche and no one ever watched any of these films, but rest assured everybody knows f*cking Combat Girls. Oi!Warning was almost exclusively available through piracy for a good while, and man, we all need access to b/w films about punks and skinheads making out in the mud or white German rappers playing journeymen.
I've been sad and tired in my life, but never "Peter Jackson in behind the scenes footage of The Hobbit reminsicing his artictic integrity" sad and tired. Holy moly.
Who'd have thought that the hardest artist to rip off base fanart on would be Linda Karshan? When I imagine showing her work to the average non-gallery-loving Joe, I expect an answer like "Huh, like, just straight lines? I could do that!" and then I imagine myself shouting "Yeah, good luck trying, asshole!" but I'd never actually scream in a gallery. Best case scenario is it's taken as an impromptu performance and god I'm bad at those.
The Disaster Artist sounds like a great film idea on paper, and then it's just five minutes of gratuitous meta exposition and far too many minutes of vicarious embarassment and Dave Franco's face covered in pubic hair, followed by another five to ten minutes of pointless re-enactments of a movie many things have been said about, but certainly not "no one could act like that". And that's not even mentioning that Tommy Wiseau is still alive and, if even remotely similar to James Franco's interpretation of his character, probably not in a mental state in which he can fully understand what is being done to him.
Random comparison: Yu-Gi-Oh! is kinda like Fight Club.
1) Fights/Duels are surrogate intimacy for people out of touch with acceptable human behaviour.
2) The Fight Club/Tournaments are realities, separate from that of grown-ups, in which every inner turmoil and outer conflict will be resolved through this surrogate intimacy.
3) The whole split personalities thing.
4) The decks/The fights are representations of the duelists'/fighters' worldview and personality, dictating twistedness and level of brutality.
5) It's hella gay, and the token female characters thrown in can do nothing about it.
1) Fight Club, sadly, has no "Heart of the Fist" motif, instead winners are irrelevant. Cop-out.
2) Yu-Gi-Oh! could definitely adopt the mandatory "no shirts allowed" rule.
3) Tyler (book version) is expected to come back as-is. Atemu only comes back temporarily when Konami smell cash they don't yet own and need to do something about it.
The Sexy Brutale was a good thing, then the directors decided that it needed the most basic, cookie-cutter, Shutter-Island-ripoff-y, tarot-card-psychology-heavy plot possible because it didn't mean something yet. Now it means that people (men?) cannot endure feelings like guilt except through forty years of violent puzzle game fantasies that look very silly and involve cutesy one-dimensonal burlesque characters, but are super-painful and brutal, believe me, they are. It turned the game into a tour de force about how the mere existence of an explanation can destroy something that otherwise could have been a solid piece of art. I wouldn't like to write an interpretation about something that spells out the very meaning of every polygon in painful detail already. It would be too hard not to write something insultingly condescending.
The parts of myself I am least proud of are also the parts I want to put online the most. So, welcome to this sentence. I'm not proud of it.
I Am A Hero has the best possible ending of any comic book series because it is unsatisfying, explains nothing and is inconclusive. I don't know many non-artistique comic books that dare to go there.
It's really hard to take a philosophy professor seriously after he emphasizes several times that "Batman kills at night", no matter how much you remind him that there's this universe thing and the code and timelines but you can't stress it too much because then you risk your colleagues believing you actually read that garbage. And then you let him have his point, which is based on the "killing at night" thing and all, but hey. Foucault based a whole lot of theories on Las Meninas, and those still work though he read the entire painting wrong. So maybe this man's theory will also survive the fact that Batman's characterization is completely off.
Fight Club is pure sublime gayness, made so surface-un-gay that a straight male audience can bear it and even mistake it for a proto-fascist men's rights cult movie/book instead of just a kinda clumsy gay Republican fantasy.
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