Posts Tagged ‘Wall-E’
* International adoption nightmare. What a mess for everyone involved.
* Here’s something much less horrible: Where’s WALL-E?
That is, I propose starting the forum from scratch. In our classes we’ll explicitly (and temporarily) forbid students from reading the House of Leave forum. Instead, we create an alternate forum of our own, seeded with a few initial threads that appeared in the original forum. The idea is to recreate the forum, and see how its trajectory would play out ten years later, in the context of a literature class. The 50-60 students from the five classes seems a manageable number to launch a new iteration of the forum; enough to generate a sense of “there” there, but not such an overwhelming number that keeping up with the forum becomes unmanageable (though that would in fact replicate the feel of the original forum).
After three weeks of intensive cross-class use of the renetworked forum, the final step would be to lift the ban on reading the official forum, giving students the opportunity to compare the alternate forum with the original, and draw some conclusions from that comparison.
* A provocative Matt Yglesias post asks what exactly right-wingers are so nostalgic about if not male privilege and white supremacy.
* The coming war on the NLRB. A key figure in all this is the legendary Darryl Issa, who made news this week after the discovery of a former Goldman Sachs VP working incognito for him as a staffer (under an assumed name!).
* And from the “Damn you Krugman!” files: Just 48% of Democrats in a recent national poll said they were “very excited” about voting in 2012. In 13 previous polls, the average level was 57%. It had been as high as 65% and only twice had the number even dipped below 55%. Meanwhile, confidence in both Obama and the economy is cratering. It didn’t have to be this way, but it’s hard to imagine the way back now.
0) Let’s just get it out of the way: Micky Mouse appears to have a serious drug problem, most likely speed or crystal meth.
1) The Carousel of Progress, sad to be Walt’s favorite ride, depicts how white American males’ obsessive pursuit of the dream of progress systematically destroys the lives of everyone around them.
2) We didn’t see WALL-E anywhere—and we looked. Our conclusion was that the WALL-E’s critique of consumerism in general and Disney in particular was too dangerous to be allowed inside the park; this made me like the movie quite a bit more.
2a) Or else maybe he was at EPCOT.
3) There’s also the question of Pixar’s relationship with Disney and Disney World, which is still being visibly negotiated. The only costumed characters we saw in the entire park that day were Pixar characters—not one Mickey, Goofy, or Pluto—and the two most prominent new attractions of Tomorrowland were Buzz-Lightyear- and Monsters-Inc.-themed. Pixar, defined by its technological apparatus and always figured as the future of animation, is a natural fit for Tomorrowland, and this is the region of the park where Pixar is foregrounded. (We did see Woody and the female cowgirl from Toy Story 2 in Frontierland, and billboards for some sort of Finding Nemo thing in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.) But where then was WALL-E? Who mourns for WALL-E?
4) For a theme park with a forty year history, Disney is remarkably unprepared for rain. Little or no attention seems to have been paid to drainage in its design; after an hour or so of heavy afternoon rain, there was flooding everywhere.
5) The Hall of Presidents and Pirates of the Caribbean had both been completely redone since I’d last visited as a young teenager. The Hall of Presidents film is narrated by Morgan Freeman now, naturally, and alongside our trip to Kennedy Space Center this was our second huge heaping spoonful of unapologetic American exceptionalism. I was careful to keep my sarcam to just a low whisper in Jaimee’s ear.
For the record, here is Disney’s list of official “great” presidents:
* George Washington
* Andrew Jackson (He’s just like us!)
* Abraham Lincoln
* Teddy Roosevelt (He’s the sort of guy you’d like to have a beer with!)
* Franklin Delano Roosevelt (I was a bit worried they’d leave him out altogether, though if America is your object of devotion I guess you have to mention WWII)
* John F. Kennedy (though the end of the story depicted only in image and a vague LBJ soundbite)
Poor, poor Jefferson, unpersoned again.
After Kenendy—presumably to avoid politics—presidents only exist as authors of public mourning:
* LBJ: JFK assassination
* Reagan: Challenger explosion
* Clinton: unspecified disaster; we think it was Oklahoma City
* Bush: 9/11 (yes, they use the “I can hear you” clip, though not the “the people who knocked down these towers” part)
None of these disasters are actually named, though adults and older children can identify the context from the images.
Both Animatronic Nixon and Animatronic Bush’s faces seemed to us to have been deliberately hidden by shadow; aside from the brief moment in which the spotlight hits them and they get to say their names, they’re basically deliberately invisible. I was pleased by this.
Obama, as the current president, gets a pass on the tragedy trap, and Animatronic Obama gets to give a short speech and recites the oath of office. I confirmed later this was Obama’s real voice; he recorded it for the show last May.
6) Space Mountain remains pretty rad.
* The trailer for the SF-infused Paul-Giamatti-as-Paul-Giamatti comedy Cold Souls causes io9 to ask whether “Charlie Kaufman” is officially a genre yet.
* Kari in the comments directs us to a defense of Holden Caulfield against the spurious assertions of irrelevance I blogged about yesterday.
* Bruce Schneier: SF Writers Aren’t a Useful Aspect of National Defense—a followup to an article I posted last month. Via Boing Boing.
* Also not useful: classifying “protests” as “low-level terrorism activity.”
* What’s wrong with the American essay? I’m not sure anything is, but certainly not this:
The problem, of course, is not merely our essayists; it’s our culture. We have grown terribly—if somewhat hypocritically—weary of larger truths. The smarter and more intellectual we count ourselves, the more adamantly we insist that there is no such thing as truth, no such thing as general human experience, that everything is plural and relative and therefore undiscussable. Of course, everything is plural, everything is arguable, and there are limits to what we can know about other persons, other cultures, other genders. But there is also a limit to such humility; there is a point at which it becomes narcissism of a most myopic sort, a simple excuse to talk only about one’s own case, only about one’s own small area of specialization. Montaigne thought it the essayist’s duty to cross boundaries, to write not as a specialist (even in himself) but as a generalist, to speak out of turn, to assume, to presume, to provoke. “Where I have least knowledge,” said the blithe Montaigne, “there do I use my judgment most readily.” And how salutary the result; how enjoyable to read—and to spar with—Montaigne’s by turns outrageous and incisive conclusions about humankind. That everything is arguable goes right to the heart of the matter.
“The next best thing to a good sermon is a bad sermon,” said Montaigne’s follower and admirer, the first American essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. In a good sermon we hear our own “discarded thoughts brought back to us by the trumpets of the last judgment,” in the words of Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance.” In a bad sermon we formulate those thoughts ourselves—through the practice of creative disagreement. If an author tells us “love is nothing but jealousy” and we disagree, it is far more likely we will come up with our own theory of love than if we hear a simple autobiographical account of the author’s life. It is hard to argue with someone’s childhood memory—and probably inadvisable. It is with ideas that we can argue, with ideas that we can engage. And this is what the essayist ought to offer: ideas.
It doesn’t seem to me at all that American letters suffers from a lack of hypotheses confused for certainties.
Okay, I think YouTube and I have reached an accord, and all of the clips from the Morton/Rudy roundtable are now up and viewable. The whole playlist is in order here.
On Discursive Intervention in Ecology
On Ontology and “Ground”
On WALL-E, Sentiment, and Irony
On Dark Ecology and “Bambification”
On Marx and Anti-Capitalism
Excerpted moments from the Tim Morton / Kathy Rudy / Polygraph “Ecology, Ideology, Politics” Roundtable are now up on YouTube. You’ll note the clever product placement of our secret sponsor, Dasani.
The poor camera angle, somewhat poor audio quality, and incomplete coverage are all functions of the device used to capture the video, but still, I think these excerpts came out pretty well.
Introductions (YouTube messed with this one. Up in two bits soon.)
Question #1 (on rhetoric)
Question #2 (on ontology and “ground”) (YouTube messed with this one. Up soon.)
An Excerpt Concerning WALL-E, Sentiment, and Irony
Dark Ecology and “Bambification”
On Marx and Anti-Capitalism (YouTube messed with this one. Up soon.)