Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘clichés

80% More Likely To Be Vegetarian

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Hunch Blog has a breakdown of my particular demographic on along Mac vs. PC lines. Thanks Bill!

Tuesday Night!

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* Hard to say which is more shocking: that a male worker born in 1973 retiring at age 70 can expect to live a full year less than the expected length of retirement for a worker born in 1912, or that Richard Shelby apparently has evidence that by 2025 “America will be burned … and a lot of us will be dead.”

* Catholic Church approves iPhone confession app. Not an Onion hotline…

* Paul Campos tries to read Laurence Tribe’s mind.

* The Tea Party Movement has driven out Colorado state party chairman Dick Wadhams. Because I am an adult, I will leave the man’s absurd name out of this, and just bid him adieu…

* Behold the Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator.

* Wolverine or 2 Batmen: a duckrabbit for our time.

* Academic Cliche Watch: “I want to argue that . . .”

* Fox News draws ever closer to its Fort Sumter moment.

* HuffPo’s Achilles Heel: Search engine optimization won’t work forever.

* Provocative claim of the day:I find myself slightly gratified that one consequence of the now-dying post-Thatcher free-market consensus is that it made nuclear power development in the Anglosphere more or less economically impossible.

* And a quick note on how beer commercials work.

Beer commercials are designed around certain dominant themes, but the people who sell the beer would prefer that the dominant themes be misunderstood. What are beer commercials about? The two central premises are these: 

1. Beer—cheap, common, domestic beer—is a rare commodity that drives men mad with the desire to have it, at any cost.

2. Women are the great obstacle between men and the fulfillment of this desire.

Taken literally, this is baffling. Beer is cheap and easy to find. The only cost should be $6.99 for a six pack, at any convenience store. And rather than hiding from women to drink their beer, many single adult heterosexual men seek out female company when they’re drinking. “Drink our beer and avoid contact with women!”—who could possibly be the target for that pitch?

But it makes perfect sense if the target audience is—and it is—16-year-olds.

The girls aren’t really girls; they’re Mom. And Mom is the first hurdle in the thrilling obstacle course that makes up the world of the teenage beer drinker.

‘Inception’

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Very quickly, and with spoilers: I’ve been informed that my quick take on Inception’s dream-infiltration as an allegory for film creation—both dreams and films starting in medias res and employing cuts to obscure origins and transitions, both building small but deceptively complex conceptual mazes into which the viewer can pour her secret desires and emotional investments, both organized fundamentally around willed suspension of disbelief and slight-of-hand—has already been taken up by io9 and CHUD. This is what I get for going on vacation!

Most of the other Internet criticism I’ve been reading has been preoccupied with the problem of the ending, particularly whether it “means” the one thing or the other—which of course is about as useful as trying to “prove” it was the lady and not the tiger. The audacious-but-predictable refusal to show the final orientation of the spinning top, which in my theater as in most was greeted with gasps, groans, and happy nervous laughter, isn’t some puzzle to be solved: it’s just the exclamation point for the allegory. The same goes for any of the rest of the film’s many plot holes, inconsistencies, and mild surrealities. Of course none of it makes any sense; it was just a film, it was just a dream.

The stronger criticism, I think, has to do with the utterly mundane nature of the dreamworlds themselves; why, in an age of almost limitless directorial power, do Nolan’s characters dream solely in action-film clichés? In another director’s hands—perhaps in the hands of the young Ridley Scott, for whom the premise seems to call out—Inception might have been a masterpiece; here, it’s merely a very enjoyable spectacle, maybe even the best film of a not-great year for film, but far too impressed with its own limited gimmicks and possessing a startlingly small vision for what either films or dreams might achieve.