Posts Tagged ‘horror’
* Great research opportunity for any PhD student studying science fiction, fantasy, horror, and/or utopia: the R.D. Mullen Fellowship. I loved the time I spent in that archive.
* CFP: The cultural impact of Dr. Who, at DePaul University. Saturday, May 4.
* On Getting a Ph.D. This is stirring, but all the same my unhappy advice hasn’t really changed since the last time a rebuttal to the just-don’t-go doomsayers was making the rounds.
* …But the most unfortunate part is that not one of the expert-amateurs seems to have given much thought to what MOOCs imply: that teachers are unnecessary. MOOCs don’t use teachers; they have curriculum designers and they have video presenters. Actors are the best for that latter role, seriously.
“If you want to take gender studies that’s fine. Go to a private school, and take it,” McCrory said. “But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”
Again, I’d personally be very surprised if those gender studies classes weren’t paying for themselves and more.
* The wisdom of the market, in all its glorious efficiency: Confessions of a corporate spy.
* Over the last three months wind farms produced more electricity than any other power source in Spain for the first time ever, an industry group has said. To steal a line from Twitter: oh, if only we had wind!
ES: There’s a particular quote that I’ve seen as signatures in military forums or quoted, and for some reason military members identify it. That’s Tigh’s New Caprica silioquoy: “Which side are we on? We’re on the side of the demons, chief. We’re evil men in the gardens of paradise, sent by the forces of death to spread devastation and destruction wherever we go. I’m surprised you didn’t know that.” Why do you think that quote resonates with veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq in particular?
Parts 3 and 4 coming soon.
* The latest from Randall Munroe’s “What If?”: Will the Internet ever surpass FedEx’s bandwidth? What would happen if you tried to fly a normal Earth airplane above different Solar System bodies? What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool?
* Special pleading watch: nearly all of the 600 recess appointments since the Reagan presidency would have been nullified if the hyperformalist interpretation applied to Barack Obama were applied universally.
* Some local pride! Milwaukee in top ten list for best urban forests.
* ‘Democrats Gleeful at Prospect of Running Against Gingrich.’ That’s the first bit of Gingrich-related news that’s made me nervous.
* Duke University trustee Bruce Karsh and his wife Martha have donated $50 million to Duke for a permanent endowment to support need-based financial aid for undergraduate students from the United States and other countries, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Monday.
* Henry Aaron: So… here is my prediction. The Supreme Court will sustain the individual mandate, and it will do so not by the narrow 5 to 4 split that has become so familiar, but by a vote of 7 to 2. Or 8 to 1. Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sottamayor, and Kagan are virtually certain to find the mandate constitutional. But also voting to sustain it, I believe, will be Justices Scalia and Kennedy, based on reasoning similar to that of Silberman and Sutton. Justices Roberts and Kennedy are in play and I am assuming that either or both will vote to affirm the mandate. Justice Thomas, who has staked out a far-reaching opposition to federal regulation in many currently accepted forms, will say that the mandate exceeds Congress’s constitutional authority.
* Apocalypse tomorrow: In fact, according to the latest science, says Anderson, “a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable.”
* And today from America’s finest news source: Global Warming May Be Irreversible by 2006.
* But it’s okay that we’ve ruined this planet; after all, there’s always Keppler 22b.
* In an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets — up to 5 million a day. At the agency’s Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the ‘vengeful librarians’ also pores over Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly.
* It was linked in the Adam Kotsko post from earlier, but it’s worth promoting on its own merits: Nobody Cares about Property Damage.
In both cases, the liberal position is based around a belief that we can control how we are perceived, and how the state (and its ideological apparatuses like the media) will respond to us. Or actually this could be put more strongly: the criticism reveals the liberal’s desperate need to be in control. The fact that protestors have very limited ability to prevent state crackdowns, and certainly individual protestors can do almost nothing, is scary, and it conflicts with deeply held liberal beliefs about how the state works, and how protesting can change it.
* Occupy Oakland contrarian watch: WSWS.
* The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has devised a bizarre plan for deploying its new XO-3 tablet. The organization plans to drop the touchscreen computers from helicopters near remote villages in developing countries. The devices will then be abandoned and left for the villagers to find, distribute, support, and use on their own.
* From Facebook: the fifty states of paranormal horror.
* And the chart of the day: American oligarchy.
* Kottke links to audio of David Foster Wallace’s memorable “This Is Water” commencement speech.
* Forgive the unhappy juxtaposition: Seed considers whether intelligent people are more likely to commit suicide.
* And the Big Picture returns to the Gulf with more devastating photographs.
* The Obama method: One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that’s not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists—it’s a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict. It’s how you deal with people with intractable demands—put ‘em on a committee. More on the summit idea from Benen. I’m willing to be proven wrong, but I must say that I am deeply skeptical that this method, however effective on the local scale, can work on the national stage. In fact I have come to think that Obama’s (frankly naïve) belief that bipartisanship is possible, much less good or necessary, will stand as the first cause of most of his presidency’s eventual failures. After 2009, he still thinks this. When the mortal enemy who has proven himself beyond redemption time and time again is finally on the ground, don’t help him up! Finish the job.
* The headline reads, ‘Pentagon Looks to Breed Immortal “Synthetic Organisms,” Molecular Kill-Switch Included.’ What could possibly go wrong?
* You really can’t please everyone: ‘Is Barack Obama killing too many bad guys before the U.S. can interrogate them?’ As Matt explains, the problem here seems to be that the Foreign Policy author believes torture is not only a regrettable necessity but is, in fact, an affirmative moral good.
* Can the EPA actually regulate carbon effectively? It’s looking more and more like they’ll have to, so hopefully the answer turns out to be yes. Related: all about cap-and-dividend, the carbon-control system no one talks about.
* DC giving Superman to Chris Nolan? If they won’t give him to me, I guess that makes as much sense as anything else. Nolan, take note: The Death of Superman, Red Son, All-Star Superman, and any number of other perfectly good stories are just sitting there waiting to be adapted for the screen. Please, don’t use the Lex Luthor, Evil Real Estate Agent thing again.
* Today in horror clichés: the mirror scare.
* And our long national nightmare is finally over: Shelby has called off the shakedown.
* While I’m certain that the neoliberal project will resume soon, I have to agree with Think Progress that what we’ve seen in Haiti thus far is not properly described as an “invasion.” Like it or not, the U.S. military is the (only) organization that has the resources to administer aid on this scale; we should be vigilant about mission creep and work hard for things like debt forgiveness, but (it seems to me) the U.S. military presence really is on the side of the angels, at least so far.
* Philip Kennicott on why the media doesn’t censor the images coming out of Haiti. Kennicott is right to raise the issue, but his explanation is pretty clearly incomplete; the article doesn’t manage to use either the word “race” or “racism” even once.
* I’m not sure “brave” is quite the word I’d use to describe the Royal Caribbean cruiseships that are now resuming their trips to Haiti.
“I just can’t see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water,” one passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic internet forum.
“It was hard enough to sit and eat a picnic lunch at Labadee before the quake, knowing how many Haitians were starving,” said another. “I can’t imagine having to choke down a burger there now.”
Some booked on ships scheduled to stop at Labadee are afraid that desperate people might breach the resort’s 12ft high fences to get food and drink, but others seemed determined to enjoy their holiday.”I’ll be there on Tuesday and I plan on enjoying my zip line excursion as well as the time on the beach,” said one.
* Nate continues to model the MA-SEN race. As the link says, assumptions are everything right now, from the polling screen on down; nobody really knows anything about how this race will turn out. I still think Coakley’s party-ID and GOTV advantages will help her squeak out the win, but she’s been a pretty terrible candidate, and Brown an unusually strong one, in a moment that (sadly, wrongly, terribly) favors the GOP.
* Science proves blondes are less fun.
* And important reporting at Harper’s: An army sergeant blows the whistle on Guantánamo “suicides.” Via Spencer Ackerman.
Megan Fox is also not the main character; and she’s not the boy hero’s plucky sidekick (there are no boy heroes in this movie). Instead, she’s the toothy, gory, puke-soaked object of repulsion and disgust. In short, she is the monster.
And she’s a very specific kind of monster, too. She embodies one of the scariest demons who haunts girls’ dreams: The popular, pretty girl who pretends to be your friend while secretly trying to steal your boyfriend, your pride, and your life. Written and directed by women, Jennifer’s Body is a film made in a women’s genre about women’s problems. It’s a movie about why women want to stab Megan Fox in the tit with scissors.
An otherwise fairly illuminating io9 post linking the box office failure of Jennifer’s Body to misguided, male-centric marketing contains this surprising (for me) statistic: the built-in audience for horror is predominantly female. In this context using hot Megan Fox pictures* to market a film about dysfunctional female friendships written and produced by the writer of Juno is even more misguided than you’d otherwise expect.
I, too, might have seen the film if it hadn’t been marketed as porn.
* not Google search bait
* Fox News caught stage-managing 9/12 protestors.
* Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, speaking to fellow members of his Conservative Party: “Fifty years from today, Americans will revere the name, ‘Obama.’ Because like his Canadian predecessors, he chose the tough responsibilities of national leadership over the meaningless nostrums of sterile partisanship that we see too much of in Canada and around the world.”
* Also at TPM: new polling data suggests that resistance to health care reform peaked at the emergence of the town hall disruptions, suggesting this strategy may have backfired for the Republicans.
* Game of the weekend: MagnetiZR.
* Cynical-C catches Kids in the Hall parodying Glenn Beck over a decade in advance.
* Collapse IV, “Concept Horror,” is a free download.
* Between 2010 and 2050 each $7 spent on basic family planning can reduce emissions more than a ton; to achieve that same level of reduction using low-carbon tech would on average cost $32 per ton. Via Donkeylicious.
The thing that makes “The Walking Dead” unique and interesting is that it’s a zombie movie that never ends—that’s the log line or whatever. To do a zombie movie that’s based on that? Kinda dumb. The whole idea behind the book is that it’s a long-term exploration on the characters and their situation and how they’re dealing with these problems over a long period of time, the different things that happen to the characters and how it affects and changes the characters. You can do that in a series of movies, but it’s not ideal. It’s not really common for people to go, “Oh, I’ll buy this thing and commit to making 10 movies based on it!” So, the TV show makes way more sense to me for all of those reasons. Robert Kirkman talks The Walking Dead at Comic Book Resources. Via io9.
The depravity of some crimes challenges your hope for humanity. I’m sorry for posting this, but I feel punched in the gut for having read it.
Wrong Side of the Art: a blog devoted to a huge “collection of movie posters specializing in cult/horror/exploitation/B/sci-fi and basically any other genre to which one may refer as ‘shit’.” Not to mention blaxploitation, naziploitation, nunsploitation, and bruceleeploitation. Some of the images are not safe for work, of course.
Via Cult Media Studies.
If The Dark Knight is the greatest superhero movie of all time—and I think it probably is—it is entirely on the back of Heath Ledger’s immaculate turn as the Joker. Ledger is utterly, utterly, utterly perfect in this role—so perfect in fact that it is impossible to imagine either anyone else ever playing the Joker or any other villain stepping in to carry a sequel.
(Who’s even still on the bench at this point? The Penguin? Riddler? King Tut? Catwoman can’t carry a movie all by herself. The best bet, it seems to me, would be to go forward with the long-teased Batman vs. Superman project; it’d be something of a genre mismatch for the Christian Bale franchise, but at least it’d spare us all another round of movie nonsense with the highly overrated Riddler.)
There’s no question about it: Ledger’s performance is simply stunning. His sociopathic Joker is so good that it’s hard to say that the movie is actually enjoyable to watch—I feel exhausted after seeing it, disturbed and just a little bit broken. In this sense The Dark Knight isn’t really a superhero movie at all, but a horror movie, a slasher flick, and really—with Ledger so famously dead
by suicide* just after shooting—a snuff film. As David Denby put the point in the New Yorker:
When Ledger wields a knife, he is thoroughly terrifying (do not, despite the PG-13 rating, bring the children), and, as you’re watching him, you can’t help wondering—in a response that admittedly lies outside film criticism—how badly he messed himself up in order to play the role this way. His performance is a heroic, unsettling final act: this young actor looked into the abyss.
This is in all respects an astoundingly dark movie that’s hardly suitable for adults, much less children. And if The Dark Knight doesn’t quite possess the necessary sense of self-awareness to be the Watchmen of superhero film, it may well be its Dark Knight Returns (wiki)—or, perhaps more directly, the story from which it draws its most direct inspiration, Alan Moore’s definitive Joker story, The Killing Joke (wiki).
What Moore gets, of course, is what the film is only able to hint at: the extent to which Batman and the Joker (to mix my supervillain metaphors) are two sides of the same coin. It is not just that they are both insane, but that they are both equally insane and insane in exactly the same way—just in opposite directions.
* Abe rightly points out in the comments that Ledger’s death by overdose probably wasn’t a suicide. Obviously I’m not watching enough entertainment television.
Let me put in a plug for the Nevermore Film Festival, which is playing at the Carolina here in Durham all weekend. (Here’s the schedule.) Last night Ryan and I checked out Tenebre, which was pretty classic—and at some point this weekend I want to see Nobody and Los Cronocrímenes, and possibly also the original Highlander.
Nobody in particular is probably the greatest movie of all time:
Shawn Linden’s beautifully-scripted directorial debut is part mystery, part gangster film, part time-travel paradox, and part extraordinarily ambitious supernatural thriller.
You’re speaking my language.