STUPID. I'm pushing sixty now and I keep backing off to the big
picture. I think about the fact that our president is almost a
generation younger than I am and he is obviously pissed off at
everything that made him what he is. Whereas I don't care that much
about myself anymore and am pissed off thinking of those who will have to come
after and live down our mistakes.
This is the great problem of secularism. Of atheism. Why Europe is
dying. They're not producing a next generation. Their belief in God has
died and they are living for themselves, which is why they can't abide
austerity programs to save their economies and cultures.
Why so-called liberals in our country are prepared to hurl us back into
the pre-industrial age in the name of preserving the earth for those
species who are not cursed with consciousness. They'd prefer it if four
billion people died and the survivors lived like Stone Age hunter
gatherers. The Obama administration isn't that draconian. They want to
roll back time to the early twentieth century, when we had just enough
electricity to power our flush toilets.
It is, obviously, the old, nay, the ancient,
original sin. Human beings are inherently and uniquely a
sin against creation itself, greedy, racist, etc, to the point that
only sustained penury can ensure sufficient atonement. Every other form
of life on earth is justified in what it does to survive. But not
humans. We are the sole villains of a universe that somehow has no
meaning. And the villainy can actually be specified to originate with
the white people who invented conquest and capitalism.
This isn't philosophy. It isn't science. It isn't the total fiction
called social justice. It's pure nonsense.
Obama isn't a Christian. He's Spartacus. He wants to hurt what he
thinks has hurt him. Which is kind of the opposite of Christianity. And
to the extent you let him continue in that mission, you aren't a
Christian either. You're just beta and gamma predators yourselves who are content to be
ruled by an alpha wolf.
The continuum of human civilization depends on the belief in God.
That's the first indicator that God exists. Without belief in God,
people feel no need to mitigate their own material demands on behalf of
their children. Children themselves become ancillary, their upbringing
subcontracted to others, their needs subordinated to egotistical
displays of how very very much we care for them. As opposed to actually
raising them to be good citizens themselves. So we raise crap and our
species dies slowly away.
Without some concept of divine justice, we're back to Atlas standing on
an unsupported turtle while he holds up the world. No reason why all of
us shouldn't be ravening wolves. But it's the secularists who insist, wrongly, that
they are something other than brute survivors.
Can't tell you how many movies and TV shows I've seen of late in which
break the law to cover for criminal children. This is held to be a
great virtue, a kind of triumph of parenthood. It isn't. It's nothing
but the alpha of the pack protecting
his young. This is my pup, I
matter above all others in my pack, and
therefore I will do anything to ensure his survival.
I can look like this too. But when I
do, I have an idea in mind.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that if I had confessed a murder
to my father he would have informed the police at once. He would have
testified against me while paying for my defense and he would have
visited me in prison up to the day of my execution. And I would have
understood. He was a human
being, not a wolf.
Interestingly, wolves are called an "indicator" species. They don't
adapt well to change in their environments. Why there are (way) fewer
million wolves alive in the world today and more than 100 million dogs,
supposed offshoot more notable for altruism, loyalty, and, well, love
than any other species.
Imagine 100 million wolves. Imagine 6 billion. I'm thinking they
wouldn't be straining to find ways to save endangered human beings if
the circumstances were reversed.
I'll resume this discussion later. There're far more than one or two
indicators of God. But start thinking about the question on your own.
I'm thinking we're being asked to consider this question more deeply
than we have for a generation. Independent of all our usual cliches.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
At Long Last...
My Review of Atlas Shrugged
mind can be an action hero. Oh yes it can.
ALWAYS KNEW IT WOULDN'T WORK. We're on a new schedule here, not that you should
care, but it
involves the alarm going off at 4 am. You can do it for days at a time,
but sooner or later the body rebels. My wife handles it by sleeping for
12 hours a
night on weekends, but I'm yawing all over the place. Sometimes I crash
as early as eight o'clock, and other nights I can't even get sleepy. So
last night after my wife went to bed at a reasonable hour, I watched Atlas Shrugged on my iPad. And today I can't keep my eyes open. Sigh.
Brizoni already reviewed it here,
and he's much more of a fan than I
am, but I'm moved to write this because we don't quite agree about what
wrong. He blamed the SyFy production values. I have a different take.
I don't think the production values were all that bad. I have four
objections to what was done. 1) Setting, 2) Casting, 3) Casting, and 4)
Brizoni caught the problem but misunderstood it. He called for an
adaptation rather than a transliteration. Meaning that he saw the
clunkiness of Rand's dialogue when he was confronted with it. Good for
him. He's a smart boy.
Thing is, and this is the good news for all you Randians, the movie
convinced me there is a movie
to be made from Atlas Shrugged. This just wasn't it.
They tried to make it topical, with multiple references to the kinds of
economic crises the Obama administration is perpetuating or creating.
Which isn't inaccurate, just wrong-footed. Distracting. Like watching
an episode of Law & Order where you wince at every snide allusion
to the Bush administration. I get what they're referring to, and I even
agree, but it's so ham-handed I can't stand it. Give me a movie, not a series of conservative one-liners.
You've got to begin by trusting the work. Atlas Shrugged is not about
Obama, no matter how well he reflects the mindset being attacked. It's
a work of philosophy, an allegory. a parable. In other words, it's a
comic book or, to put it more kindly, a graphic novel. It's the 300 of the mind. It requires
enormous gyrations of logic to put railroads at the center of a
contemporary economic crisis. So don't do it. Make Sin City or Dark City instead.
Accept that Atlas Shrugged is like 1984, a place in the imponderable
past where a
wrong turn was taken. Trust the audience to make the connections. They
will or they won't, but make a damn movie they'll remember anyway.
Romanticize the trains, which
isn't hard to do, and lionize the woman
who was determined to keep them running.
Make it a dark, timeless, hyper-dramatic world, where Manhattan looks
like Gotham City, and forget all about contemporary celebrity and
society culture. Follow Dagny.
Which leads to my three other objections. Find actors who have the
chops to play the lead characters or don't make the movie at all. It's
that important. Eschew for once the Hollywood cliche of the underage girl-power
executive and the dashing male tycoon who looks like he belongs in a
soap opera, not a Shakespearean tragedy. Find the dangerous ones, the
smoldering ones, the camera magnets who become the black holes into
which all audience attention is funneled. If you have to, lie to them
about what they're doing. The audition is not a political science test.
For me, it's imperative that Dagny Taggart be an action star. Claudia
Black. Rhona Mitra. Yeah. Brits. Not young but still choice and
absolutely commanding, violence suppressed and channelled. The tycoons,
Reardon and Francisco, should be equally strong. Make your own
nominations. I'm guessing they'll be Brits too.
The movie they've made is glop. Not because of bad CGI, but because
they missed the point and made an op-ed instead of a story. "Who is
John Galt?" should be a throwaway line, as it is in the book, not a
scene-killing non sequitur. Make a movie bout keeping the railroads
going because everything depends on it, and don't bother arguing why.
That's the reality you're accepting when you pay for your ticket.
All the political shenanigans should be in the background, a constant
chaff of weak-minded bureaucrats who keep changing the rules. Make them
look pale and keep them in the background. This movie is not about
political dialogue. It's about making people fall in love with the ones
who consistently make things happen regardless.
And, uh, yeah, if that means junking all
of Rand's dialogue, do it. Find the story that is buried in her
political manifesto, put it on the screen, and make a goddam movie.
Just don't betray her ideas.
Because she'll come back from the dead and kill you.
started with the music because it's the right music for the story. If
you want a movie clip instead, here it is.
See? Awfulness is its own signature.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Reductio ad Liberales
is as funny does.
DOORWAYS BECKON. It's only the dumb ones who get all weepy about
older relatives like babies. If you're educated enough, you know
that they're all as inconsequential as a Bill Maher twat joke, if not exactly the same thing. Certainly not worth
losing any sleep over. Enlightened medical
ethicists know the score:
Don't you just love the PC male and female pronoun usage referring to neutral, insentient things we're entitled to squash like bedbugs?
The argument above was posed in an
eminent medical journal in the U.K., which has a much longer history of
government run healthcare than we do. But Americans are catching up.
Singer is quite as eloquent on the subject:
Singer states that arguments for or
against abortion should be based on utilitarian calculation which
compares the preferences of a woman against the preferences of the
fetus. In his view a preference is anything sought to be obtained or
avoided; all forms of benefit or harm caused to a being correspond
directly with the satisfaction or frustration of one or more of its
preferences. Since a capacity to experience the sensations of suffering
or satisfaction is a prerequisite to having any preferences at all, and
a fetus, up to around eighteen weeks, says Singer, has no capacity to
suffer or feel satisfaction, it is not possible for such a fetus to
hold any preferences at all. In a utilitarian calculation, there is
nothing to weigh against a woman's preferences to have an abortion;
therefore, abortion is morally permissible.
Similar to his argument for abortion,
Singer argues that newborns lack the essential characteristics of
personhood—"rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness"
-- and therefore "killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing
a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living."
You probably don't see the wisdom in this argument yet. But that's only
because you're a hyper-emotional, under-educated troglodyte who isn't a professor at Oxford or
Princeton and has weird ideas about what life is.
You've got till November to learn. After that, the government will
render your personal ideas on the subject irrelevant. Then you
can lean back and content yourselves with waiting for the great new NBC and ABC
sitcoms about how much fun offing newborns can be. I mean, if the mother's
got a cute body and a gutter mouth, you'll just laugh and laugh with no thought about what happens after the commercial. The way you always do.
Extra credit for being able to laugh just as hard at the next step: toddlers.
Don't fret. With the help of the MSM -- and probably incandescent comic star Louis CK -- you'll be on board no later than midway through
Obama's second term. There's no species of liberal tolerance you can't
be taught to accept. Look at how anxious you are to lynch the brown man
who killed the black man.
Everyone can become civilized. It just takes time. And close attention
to the Comedy Channel.