Thursday, April 8, 2010

He Makes Wars Cease to the Ends of the Earth. (Psalm 46:9)

Drifting, drifting inside... man, the highs and lows lately have been killers.

Where to start...

Watched A Serious Man last night. What an absolute waste of time. I kept waiting for it to get good, or at least have something to say. It was either WAY over my head, or it was an inside joke that the Coen Brothers decided to pull on the industry. With about 20 minutes left in the movie, the word USELESS formed in my head, and by the time the end credits rolled, it was set in stone. The movie was/is completely useless. Nominated for Best Picture? Yeah, I don't think so. I have now seen 6 of the 10 Best Picture nominees from March, and this one is a distant last place...

  1. Up in the Air
  2. Inglourious Basterds
  3. Up
  4. Avatar
  5. Hurt Locker
  6. A Serious Man

Haven't seen Precious, Blind Side, An Education or District 9 yet. When I do, my ranking list will be complete!

There have been a lot of Star Wars mash-up pics online lately - this one I saw today, and I have strong mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I take the Vietnam War Memorial very seriously, and anything that in any way makes light of it immediately gets my dander up. On the other hand, it can be said (with a loooong stretch) that all those stormtroopers that get pew-pewed to death in the Star Wars films were people, and thus were likely somebody's loved ones, in a galaxy far far away...

It also touches on the idea of who defines bad and good, as far as "good guys" and "bad guys". I'm sure in about every conflict, each side thinks they are the good (or at least justified) guys. World War 2 seemed such a black and white case of good versus evil... but I bet from the Axis' perspective, they didn't see themselves as evil, at least as far as the rank and file frontlines guys... I'm sure they all wished the war would end so they could go home, like everyone else.

I had an idea for a short piece of Fantasy fiction, whereby the same story is told from the perspective of the Hero and again from the perspective of the villain. I'm sure it's been done before, but I like the idea of each side believing he/she is in the right, and justified in his/her course of action, and portrays the actions of the other side as unreasonable (or evil, even...). There's a lot to play with there, I think...

All that to say, I saw the Star Wars pic up there and immediately had strong, conflicting feelings. It was funny, inappropriate, in bad taste, and moving, all at the same time. Weird.

On a completely unrelated note, check this out...

There's a teacher out there who attaches McDonald's applications to failed tests. Classic.

So Middle Daughter was given a netbook by my sister (her aunt Lisa) recently, and it has been the new toy in the house. Eldest Daughter made it known that she wished she could have one, so I took her out this afternoon to get her a new one as well. Now they both have one, and they are happy. Gone are the days of "Dad, can I get on your notebook computer for a while?" Now they both sit in different rooms and videochat with each other on Skype...

It's almost Eldest Daughter's birthday, so it was an early gift. She's turning 20. Dang. I'm old.

In honor of Robin Wright Penn's birthday on April 8, here is a scene from Princess Bride.

Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? Morons.

Heading for the finish line on Hawkwood's Voyage. It has enough strong elements to warrant a full read-through, I'd say. The author writes with confidence and competence, in spades. I'll have a review up soon. Then I'll get to decide what to read next!

Next from Netflix is The Invention of Lying and Duplicity. If either of them are any good, I'll let you know! Ah, such are the services I provide for my vast blog-reading audience! You are welcome!



Drydoryssus said...

It is indeed a moving pic.
No matter how 'bad" one's role may be, he still has emotions and ideals of his own.

A question one asks himself from studying History or Philosophy is exactly that : what's good and bad ? what's right and wrong ? and who decides the distinction ?

My figure, is that there is neither bad neither good. It depends.
Each culture, each civilisation, each society has its own definitions of good and bad, which constantly transform through the ages.
These definitions don't just vary among societies, but among individuals as well.
Everyone does what he thinks is right.

Given that all of us adhere to our own sense of good and bad, our own sentiments, and our own morals ... to a truly objective eye, either all of us are good, or all of us are bad.

Also bear in mind that the History we know has been written by the victors.
Just imagine what we'd learn at school today if the Axis had actually won ...

My draft conclusion : there is neither bad nor good. There's only human nature.

P.S. I like that teacher. That's what you get for not studying basic Integral Calculus !
P.S.2. My captcha : "yoppo" !

logankstewart said...

I liked this post. I think my list, from the films I've seen, would look like

1. District 9
2. Inglorious Basterds
3. Up
4. Avatar
5. Up in the Air
6. Hurt Locker

I like the picture. I don't feel like it's belittling or picking at the Wall memorial, but that it's pointing out a truth in warfare, be it fictional or real. People die, and those people are loved by someone. It's all just a matter of perspective.

Drydoryssus' argument of there being no good or bad warrants further investigation. I think it's logical to reach this conclusion when we look at the state of the world, but looking deeper I believe there is a clear distinction between "good" and "evil." Evil exists because of sin in the world; otherwise there would be no pain and suffering. Every person (with the exception of those mentally incapable) recognizes when they cross the threshold into doing something "bad" to someone/something. I think after crossing that threshold too many times then the mind molds itself to acceptance and the "bad" is justified, thus it becomes "good."

Now as long as you can switch perspectives then it's easy to see people as always doing good or bad. However, I don't see why we should be free to switch perspectives. No, perspective should be held constant.

An excellent post and a great comment!

By the way, Duplicity sucked. Queue up District 9!

Anonymous said...

Blind Side had an excellent story line, but you probably won't be impressed with the acting. It appears to have been done intentionally, but some shots come across stilted.

Good move on the netbooks. I get rankled when I come home from work and the battery in my laptop is drained.

Book talk: Wow, the 2nd Mistborn is starting out slow...I shall persevere in the name of giving new genres a fair chance.

Now, let's see if an anonymous user can leave a comment....

Drydoryssus said...

Thanks for the follow up to my Amateur Philosophy comment.

"Evil" is a wider concept in this world we live in.
I never intended to deny its existence. What I aimed to express is how different minds have different perspectives, like you said.

The absence of "good" and "bad" tags is required just for the purposes of objective thinking, essentially unaffected from the observer's own conscience.
Such an observer cannot change his perspective, because quite simply, he hasn't got any.

I fear my argument has more holes than that, but we'll see ...

P.S.3. Great existentialist opening pic !
What's best to express one of those mood swings / depression attacks.

Paula Titus said...

You have a 20 year old daughter? That makes you older than me in child/parent ratio years. HAH. And I am totally sympathetic to the highs and lows you speak of, being peri-menopausal does that to a girl.

Joseph said...

Duplicity was just not very good. Lying I wish I had walked out of.

Abbie said...

why do people think that the 2nd mistborn started out slow? I thought it was perfect. I tore through it, lol.

The top picture is very interesting. I keep being drawn to that tiny speck of light in the left corner and I wonder, what is it?

haha, and I have NOT seen any nominated movies!! muahah, i am the bomb :D

David Wagner said...

Dang... lots of great comments today! You all = the Best.

Krista said...

You know, I've been reading for a while and, I can say, I haven't come across a book that gets into the head of a villain. Several months ago I was interested in maybe finding a book that the narrator (or one of the narrators in some cases) was a villain. I asked around over on Barnes and Nobles fantasy thread, and not a one knew of any. Not even the book reviewer/moderator Paul Goat Allen(has a review in the front of Pats paperback :), and he has read more books than imaginable! lol... Very Sad. I'm still looking, too, it's definitely a cool concept so if you come across any let me know. Anyway, I hope you go for it! I, for one, would love to read a Fantasy Fiction like that.

Seen all these movies below and I think this is how I would rate them. They were all great except maybe Hurt Locker, it was just okay.

Inglourious Basterds
Up in the Air
Blind Side
Hurt Locker

ha-ha, Love Princess Bride!

Wicked Cool top picture! And you know, since you talked about "wicked" here on your blog I am hearing it everywhere! On tv, in movies, life, and it's quite crazy!! lol

All the best.