Archive for the ‘Apocalypse yesterday’ Category

Movie Moment: Remember, remember

November 5, 2012

“Remember, remember.” It’s that day again. Tomorrow in my country is an election day. Since my country is very bossy, this will affect many other nations as well.

I have no idea which way the election will go. I gave up a decade ago on thinking I could understand people. I have no predictions for the outcome of this election, but I have my hopes. A motif in this film is the immutability of ideas: ideas are bulletproof, indestructible.

Are they, though?

I think they are entirely personal and held inside: no one and nothing is knowable. There is no way to trust that what someone says is what they’re really thinking, nor that anyone will do what they say they are going to. I know what I want to see happen in my country and in my life, but my doubts about those things are ebbing the spontaneity and passion from me, and I hate that, and it confuses me, and I don’t want it to be so. I once had a zeal for politics unmatched by almost anyone I know, and I still follow closely what goes on, but I feel like I’ve been burned over and over, like it’s scar tissue on scar tissue, and there are all these layers of dead hard flesh between the outside and my core.

I haven’t stopped caring. I haven’t stopped wanting to change the world and my own self, but I’ve stopped believing I can be touched or healed by what someone says, promises, proclaims to think or plans to do. I’m afraid that this is reflective of not just my political opinions and doings, but my approach to more interpersonal functions. And I don’t want that. I need to get back that optimism. It’s like I’m so sure of being broken that I throw myself off the shelf so at least it’s my own idea when I’m shattered on the floor. How is that consolation? I’m still in pieces. I don’t want to be bulletproof: I just don’t want to be glass.

This too. Man, if Pirate Bay goes down, my life is over. How fucking shallow am I? Such the molotov-lobbing anarchist, me. “I just want to download Walking Dead.” Waah, waah, waah — I don’t know how to love properly and I like illegally freeloading free loads of downloads. Spoiled and purposeless little shit.

Movie Millisecond: Apocalypse yesterday, or, It’s the end of the [ ] as we [ ]

November 1, 2012

The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963).

It’s not. It never is.

Retread — Burroughs Month: Thanksgiving Prayer

November 24, 2011


“To John Dillinger and hope he is still alive.
Thanksgiving Day. November 28, 1986.”

Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shat out through wholesome
American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil
and poison.


Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and
danger.

Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.


Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin’ lawmen,
feelin’ their notches.


For decent church-goin’ women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
evil faces.

Thanks for “Kill a Queer for
Christ” stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.


Thanks for a country where
nobody’s allowed to mind their
own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the
memories — all right let’s see
your arms!


You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams.

I do not believe it is as hopeless as all that. This year, I am incredibly thankful to be alive at all, let alone to live where I do with the people I love. I understand Mr. Burroughs’ criticisms, I just think that we must keep caring and trying to win out against the sense of defeat and cynicism, and maybe then the dream can still be saved. I don’t believe people are inherently bad; I believe the opposite, and I won’t get discouraged and filled with bitterness toward all of humanity just because of the publicized exploits and outrages of the bad apples in our barrel. I believe that for each one of the headlines that sends people in to despair over the state of the world, there are a thousand unreported little kindnesses and gestures of love and connection.

And world peace. I know. I get cheesey. I’m just feeling very happy and free and alive.




Almost all photos via Square America.







This post originally appeared on November 26, 2010.

Thirty-three years on, 900 souls less.

November 18, 2011

Just Another Auden October: The dreadful wood of conscious evil

October 23, 2011


“Ritual Dance” by Aëla Labbé.

Alone, alone, about the dreadful wood
Of conscious evil runs a lost mankind,
Dreading to find its Father.

(W.H. Auden, For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio. 1941-2.)

Just Another Auden October: This great society is going smash

October 22, 2011


Photographed by bagnino on the da.

This great society is going smash;
They cannot fool us with how fast they go,
How much they cost each other and the gods.
A culture is no better than its woods.

(W.H. Auden, Bucolics II: “Woods.” 1952. 51-54)

Just Another Auden October: Composed of Eros and of dust, show an affirming flame — ft. photography by Andre de Dienes

October 20, 2011



Defenseless under the night,
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,


Ironic points of light,
Flash out wherever the Just,
Exchange their messages:


May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair



Show an affirming flame.

(W.H. Auden, “Sept. 1, 1939.” Another Time, 1940.)

All photographs by Andre de Dienes.

The date in the poem’s title refers, of course, to the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s Wehrmacht … or does it refer with remarkably prescient precedence to my birthday?

No. It refers to the other thing.

Just another Auden October: Apocalypse yesterday

October 19, 2011


via.

The stars are dead; the animals will not look:
We are left alone with our day, and the time is short and
History to the defeated
May say Alas but cannot help or pardon.

(W. H. Auden, “Spain.” 90-93. 1937. )

Anything that men make will shake apart*. Eventually the feats of engineering and machinery humanity has wrought will fall to ruin, maybe sooner than later. Running will be no good: depend on it.


Photograph of Auden’s typewriter via swarthmore.

This poem was first published as “Spain” in 1937. Auden included it in his 1940 anthology Another Time as “Spain 1937” but later disavowed the poem’s political and apocalyptic tone, saying that he never really believed what he’d written, but wrote it because he thought it would be “rhetorically effective.” According to the late Frank Kermode, Auden hated most of all the above, which is the final stanza of “Spain”/”Spain 1937.”

I like it.




*(Except plutonium rods. I admit that those are going to take a really long time to shake apart. Way to fucking go, everybody.)

Just Another Auden October: Faith in humanity

October 4, 2011


Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982). Previously discussed here during E.E. Cummings month.

May it not be that, just as we have to have faith in Him, God has to have faith in us and, considering the history of the human race so far, may it not be that “faith” is even more difficult for Him than it is for us?

(W.H. Auden, “God”. A Certain World, 1970.)

Heinlein Month: Year of the Rabbit — Intelligent application of science

July 6, 2011



If we blow ourselves up we will do it by misapplication of science; if we manage to keep from blowing ourselves up, it will be through intelligent application of science.

(Robert A. Heinlein, “The Pragmatics of Patriotism”. Address at the U.S. Naval Academy. April 5, 1973.)

Heinlein Month: Something better

July 2, 2011


via.

It would be a waste of breath to tell a man who believes in guns that you’ve got something better.

(Robert Heinlein. Methuselah’s Children. 1958.)

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: this is the way the earth dies

June 28, 2011


via.

Not with a whimper, either, as it ends up.

The Earth Dies Screaming (Terence Fisher, 1964).

John Milton June: Incensed with indignation Satan stood

June 27, 2011


“Don’t” by crayonboxx on the d.a.

Incens’d with indignation Satan stood
Unterrify’d, and like a comet burn’d
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In th’ arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war.

(John Milton. Paradise Lost. Book 2, 707-11.)

Fury.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Talent

June 2, 2011


By Archie Scott Gobber.

America’s Got [Nothing].

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Fear and love

February 7, 2011


via.

Vonnegut month — Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: The future ain’t what it used to be

February 2, 2011

Art by Kurt Vonnegut.

Comics crit: Magneto and Sartre edition with bonus ill-conceived insomniacal condemnation of what pigs we humans are

February 1, 2011


I do not believe in God; his existence has been disproved by Science. But in the concentration camp, I learned to believe in men.

(Jean-Paul Sartre.)


Magneto: I remember my own childhood … the gas chambers at Auschwitz, the guards joking as they herded my family to their death. As our lives were nothing to them, so human lives became nothing to me.

Storm: If you have a deity, butcher, pray to it.

Magneto: As a boy, I believed. As a boy — I turned my back on God forever.

(Uncanny X-Men #150. October 1981. Qtd in Jacobs, Rivka. “The Magneto Is Jewish FAQ.” 11 Nov 1998.)

Right?

I think it’s interesting that while Sartre takes it as given that there is no God, Magneto doesn’t say he doesn’t believe in God: just that he’s turned his back on God.

Do you believe there are events so breathtakingly beyond our tiny human processing powers in their scope that even the fallout we ourselves witness is tiny compared to the ripples they create in the universe? Do you think those ripples can become so powerful as they reverbate out in their effect that they can negate the existence of God? I’m not explaining my question well.

Okay. Obviously there are events that can make a person declaim God’s existence, as Sartre does, just as those same events might crystallize another person’s faith, reaction to the primal scene taking a different effect on each in their turn. That part I do not question or debate. But suppose that there was certainly a God: could something happen that was so bad it could kill God? Would not the events of the second World War, the Holocaust and the bombing of Hiroshima, be such a thing? And have we not compounded that as humanity daily ever since with the usual million atrocities and ungrateful offenses that people have committed toward one another and their environment since they first slithered on to land and grabbed hold, just continually jackhammering cracks in the material of the universe? It’s like two in the morning, why am I even writing this. I guess if Nietzsche’s right and God is dead, I’m saying we killed Him. Right? Don’t shoot the messenger, baby.

Take-two Tuesday — William Blake Month: the torments of Love and Jealousy

February 1, 2011

This entry originally appeared on June 12, 2010 at 11:14 a.m.


Why wilt thou Examine every little fibre of my soul
Spreading them out before the Sun like Stalks of flax to dry
The infant joy is beautiful but its anatomy
Horrible Ghast & Deadly. Nought shalt thou find in it
But Death Despair & Everlasting brooding Melancholy



Thou wilt go mad with horror if thou dost Examine thus
Every moment of my secret hours. Yea I know
That I have sinned & that my Emanations are become harlots
I am already distracted at their deeds & if I look
Upon them more Despair will bring self murder on my soul



O Enion thou art thyself a root growing in hell
Tho thus heavenly beautiful
to draw me to destruction

(William Blake, excerpt from “Part I: Enmion and Tharmas,” in Vala, or, The Four Zoas: the torments of Love and Jealousy in the death and judgment of Albion the Ancient Man.)

All photos are screencaps from a collaborative short film put out by Lula magazine and the ubiquitous UK-and-now-THE-WORLD clothing store Topshop. Here is a linky to the video, which is unusual and beautiful and freaky, but as you are watching this artistic short film remember it is designed to sell faux-Bohemian low-quality overpriced clothes that will be out of style in six months to impressionable and likely self-loathing young women with eating disorders and disposable income. The fashion industry is so cruel with its kindness that I go back and forth on appreciation and hate.

I’m sorry, I went to the mall earlier to pick up some comfortable summer shoes with my grandmother and now I’m in a low mood. Nothing puts me out of sorts like that snake nest. Like, everyone is slithering over the top of each other and accidentally biting their own tails and dropping money on shit they don’t need, finances they have gained from the jobs they keep specifically to make a weekend trip to a goddamned mall and drape shiny fabrics over the viper shitpit of the system so it looks all pretty and coordinated while they sip complacently from some kind of frapped coffee bullshit drink packed with sugar and empty calories that they store in the cupholder of their child’s stroller. Their kids are with them, of course, because children must be taught to want made-up food like chicken nuggets and aspire to own over three pair of shoes. Seriously, I want to watch it burn, burn, burn.

I know that my Emanations are become harlots.

I think I’m going to go take ten and paint with the kidlet or something.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Morning

February 1, 2011


via.

It’s the first of the month.

Talk nerdy to me — Winter of my discontent: Season’s Greetings from Hoth edition

January 24, 2011

In the last few weeks, everyone around me (myself included) repeatedly asserted to one another how cold it was — so cold, we said, my gosh, it’s so cold — but Hoth scenes always put it all in perspective, don’t they?


via laurenmoran on the tumblr.

So speaking of Star Wars extreme-temperature location shooting, I was watching this segment on the Daily Show recently, and it ends up that there are protests and massive government upheaval going on in Tunisia, where the Tattooine scenes for Episodes IV and I were filmed. I didn’t know that.

To clarify: I knew the Tattooine scene-filming part. I even knew there was a town there actually called Tataouine, although the Lars homestead scenes were not set there, but instead filmed near the troglodyte architectural mecca of Matmâta, which is about 70 miles north of Tataouine (R.I.P., Owen and Beru).

The life-altering modern politics, on the shameful other hand, was brand-new news to me.


Photograph by Jamal Saidi for Reuters.

This is what a futuristic rebel alliance looks like.

The ousting of Tunisian president Ben Ali came as a result of public backlash in the wake of a sham election last October, condemned by the Human Rights Watch. This was followed by incendiary WikiLeaks which surfaced, detailing the president and his family’s lavish lifestyle in an impoverished country.

The revolt was largely organized via social media, relying heavily on texts, facebook, and twitter. Search #sidibouzid for the hundreds of thousands of tweets from Sidi Bouzid, the seat of the so-called Jasmine Revolution.


via the Peace and Collaborative Development Network.

Coming so soon after the 2009 election riots in Iran, which were similarly organized, some of the power-hungry dictators in the Arab world are getting understandably nervous about the precarity of their positions. I said goddamn. How now, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? You can’t hide technology from the people forever.




What I’m also trying to say, though, with both the “it’s so cold” story and the absolute ignorance of grave disturbances in another country’s Force until seeing it on a quasi-serious news program, is that I’m a shallow, isolated slave to materialism. It is not a proud moment.