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  • 31256.1807

    The nearer edge of the subjective cuts across and includes part of our present time, viz. the moment of inception, but most of our present belongs in the Hopi scheme to the objective realm and so is indistinguishable from our past. There is also a verb form, the INCEPTIVE which refers to this EDGE of emergent manifestation in the reverse way-as belonging to the objective, at the edge at which objectivity is obtained; this is used to indicate beginning/starting, and in most cases there is no difference apparent in the translation from the similar use of the expective. But, at certain crucial points, significant and fundamental differences appear. The inceptive, referring to the objective and the result side, and not like the expective to the subjective and causal side, implies the ending of the work of causation in the same breath that it states the beginning of manifestation.
    - BENJAMIN LEE WHORF AN AMERICAN INDIAN MODEL OF THE UNIVERSE

  • 3123.0824

    The conscious conquest of the sky continues in Dubai. Despite all rational fears, humans are sky-reachers, yearning to defy gravity at almost all costs: the Tower was renamed for Khalifa, the leader of the UAE that is saving the finances of Dubai.

  • 313364.1641

  • 313351.1352

    Not to be misunderstood, our generation's Walt Disney via Werner von Braun, James Cameron carefully combs his five previous sci-fi arcs through the lenses of both The Matrix and the cgi Star Wars Trilogy and comes up with a blatant utopian-eden fantasy named Avatar, more or less a retake of The Abyss's central themes about ecology and technology, now staged across the galaxy (updated from Abyss' salt-water to non-breathable air for humans, a step-up on the movement ladder, but he keeps that bioluminescence vibrating anyway) on a planet not subtly named Pandora (talk about the wrong prophecy from earth mythos).

    The most expensive (anti-war) film ever made is about an invasion of little green-obssessed men (humans) onto a green planet populated by blue-giants, the star-affixed Nav'i who remain somewhat tethered to their planet and its creatures in a manner not unlike a bio-analog version of The Matrix's pulsing digital simulation (plugging into its moonwide broadcast signal). If you're blue, wrap your hair around a local plant and suddenly: who knows what might be under your tannenbaum. We know how strained the film is when Cameron takes his best actor and has her undersell the miracle of Pandora to her superiors (hint: reweave Earth like this and you can save it and make the bucks). Sigourney Weaver's throwaway key monologue (a scene repeat from the much better Aliens) would have us comprehend the revolutionary aspects of Pandora's biome at the expense of the deaf ears of the military-industrial complex that's paying for the project. They're both protector and enemy, a metaphor for the studio that footed the film's bill. They're aiming for the exact same thing the planet achieves by plantlife digging roots and linking botanic and geologic forms, except these business types are using wiring and encryption and credit card access. People still gotta pay for it, yet Pandora the planet is an open source biological wi-fi network waiting for a genetic revolution of information. Is this open source's first massive metaphor? Cameron is so obsessed with the tech-aspects of his film, he shorts our comprehension of his biggest star, the sphere the film is set on. A somewhat 'thinking' (somewhat conscious like it's resident bipeds, the Nav'i), a living planet operating in unity, unlike our own Earthly disconnected networks of animal, plant and geosphere. Disney's Pandora, is a clearer name for this film, whose planet a direct opposite to the Death Star. And absurdly, the Na'vi are as monotonous as the troopers that inhabit the Death Star (the Na'vi, does is read as naive, never use the tree to phone for help; never once try to ride 'the last shadow' themselves, whose riding is the sort of legend equated with the discovery of 'The One" in The Matrix), they remain at a consciousness mezzanine within their planet's potential and Cameron suggests their game-changer (the awakener Sully) must be a specifically disabled outsider, with few preconceived notions of their world. The key to Sully is his lack of legs which gives him an unconscious weightlessness neither the other avatars nor the Na'vi can experience flight through. Cameron shows you his atrophied legs as a taunt, they look pathetic, yet they render his Na'vi unique in many unmentioned ways. 

    Earth by this time, 2154, is a dead planet (the film's first shot, travelling over rainforest, could be a memory of Earth). And humans, thinkers from the dead-planet, bring the usual suspect archetypes, a working class-hero - Sully, a tough as nails scientist (Grace Augustine, an unsubtle reference to the Christian thinker who wrote the autobiographical The Confessions, about a pleasure seeking sinner redeemed), a colonel with self-esteem issues, Cameron wisely glosses over the usual set-up conflicts and goes right for the meat of the journey: whether or not these humans belong on Pandora's Eden. Like most films about the future it's actually about our past. His film is telling us, our way to eden is by reverse thinking to a near past, the moment we began our colonization and rape of the Americas/Africa/Asia; humans must become what they once were and change the outcome, even slyly hinting that we can reverse our invention as a reinvention.  His symbols are still operant, sometimes even vibrant (Pandora is first seen as a metaphor for us in an earth-made mirror, a vast field field of solar panels, an earth-like gem framed by a blue-hued Jupiter copy), the creatures that signify promise are Abyss's spindly bi-valves (they suggest the air in Pandora also has properties of water), the beds one accesses an Avatar through are green hued - a shout out to The Matrix) and the list goes on. The compression is impressive, Sully's got his Military father-figure (his speech to the troops is framed by a window that apes the USA's flag - only now in green), a dead twin (never seen), a Scientist Mother figure (that runs slightly Oedipal once she inhabits her Avatar), a harried corporate golf-pro (again, all humans), a rebellious sister-type played by Michelle Rodriguez (she slips out of the tree assault early like a spoiled child) and an entire array of Nav'i - Natives developed around a cauterized First Mother First Father First Daughter and the first heir (Cameron ejects complexity here, there is no threatening Uncle, the son-heir though contentious is easily impresssed, the real question is, why is he using Earth mythology to show-off an altogether different planetary consciouness - is he unconsciously lampooning it? is he making fun of his own projection?) their customs, and animal life that compete for screentime are the secret stars of the film with the orb itself: Pandora. He even blends the bioforms through a bilateral-symmetry that's more ordered than Earth's (connected- the Lucas inflence here is felt, except Cameron is linking the life forms AND the spaceships slightly differently than what Lucas does), Pandora's Nav'i have flattened noses that appear in other lifeforms, watch the flying creature's quick glance into the camera, it looks just like a Na'vi, a subtle mirror in staring. The unspoken visual elements are sometimes, enragingly brilliant: the bioluminescent 'stars' the Na'vi facially possess suggest, wildly, that the 'planet' (and the spirit of the planet Eyva) sees these stars and then projects them genetically (through time via nature, through genetic patterns that emerge through mating-sequencing across eons) into the individual Na'vi patterns. The planet is, however distant as a controlling force, still connected to these creatures, and weirdly, the Nav'i's consciousness disconnects them from the total system's possibilities- sound familiar? Even though the Na'vi express fear, doubt even rage against the encroaching aliens, their planet doesn't get the message. As chunky as the material is and as blatantly copied as the third act accomplishments are, his real feat is haunting the planet with a feasible antidote to the false simplicities of eco sci-fi. 

    Cameron is best when he makes the process of discovery seem intuitive with deadly force (Jake Sully's avatar Nav'i is told not to look his romantic interest's flying creature in the eyes and then later, as he approaches a herd of them to claim one for himself, he asks her how he will know which one to choose from, she tells him only then the proper choice will try to kill him first). Later on however the brutality of the Nav'i seems to run counterintuitive to the sacred treatment that counterintel agent-Sully's Nav'i avatar receives, when the humans start ripping the Nav'i's forest to shreds (a direct reference to Phantom Menace), they banter about whether Jake is to be trusted. Cameron slides from Flaherty brutalism to DeMilleian chicanery when the audience requires it.  Similar logic-holes surround the half-completed premise of the sleep-wake cycle built into the Avatar program, and Cameron decides to milk it for laughs rather than complexly address what is a crucial, serialized disconnect: the inert Avatar host body 'sleeps' while his human inhabitor is awake.  Imagine what Cameron could have done with a Sully coitus interuptus scene between his Na'vi female and Grace Augustine (Weaver) trying to 'wake' him. Another source of plot-waste is the video-diary Grace forces him to perform, obviously a direct feed to their military and corporate handlers (is Cameron trying to make his audience paranoid of its social-media ties while making mother-figure Grace appear foolish? Cleverly he shows us a reverse of how the computer sees him.). While aspects of utopian bio-genetic structuralism lure the audience with intensive and futurist group eco-therapy, the film seems more concerned plot-wise with our recent past colonizing the Americas and erasing form-connections between native image and knowledge, the Nav'i (Native-Avatars) are dead ringers for the harrassed, evacuated and now nearly erased Indians that now nickname our military's flying hardware. There are enough broken arrows aimed at bullet-proof glass to veer slightly into self parody. The American blockbuster ethos seems like a playground of Native-myths searching for a resurrection in our language (see esp. the Skywalker regime), the way west transformed into third-stage mythmaking (past the scrubby predecessor Europeans). Unfortunately like all unconscious colonizers, Cameron cannot go the extra mile, he's thinking like an American but acting like a King's subject (he's a substrate Lucas that betters him at times, a Kubrick disciple that went sideways), he can't seem to make new myths or new forms beyond those narratives of the early 20th century, he's simply refitting our catastrophe to theirs, a somewhat conservative approach (that's the disconnect, the planet is sure damn weird but the play he's having performed on it is oddly routine), war is war to him, its outcome looks no different than an Iraqi/Vietnam War exodus of technocrats leaving the Green Zone (and they my friend, are doing what everyone does when the film is over, they're our mirror, we ALL have to leave Pandora behind), he still thinks innovation lies in the hybridization between 'freethinkers' like Sully and the static-continuity of local wisdom (a leaky trope taken from James Fenimore Cooper or worse, Kipling); it's Sully after all who does what the Na'vi themselves did not know how to do: he calls in the biological ground and airstrike via the fiber-optic tree (he prays to the econet) AND conquers the forbidden, legendary and flame-painted 'last-shadow' (he has no fear of what the Nav'i fear), all within 25 minutes of screentime. And watch the menial back-and-forth, we think Sully can't decide if he's human or acting Nav'i as a ruse, but of course he's going native, Cameron thinks he can sustain tension on this level of the plot, when really the conflict lay in the how, not the why of it, this is a common failure of recent blockbuster narratives, it's a genre regressing faster than it can evolve. Directors like Cameron haven't gotten scientific about why the product has to be emotional but he's the sharpest at pivoting emotions when the audience needs something besides adrenaline to hold on to.  He crassly uses ancient markers of film-sentimentalism to get us to well-up on cue (he engages James Horner for this unexotic task). The problem at the core of Avatar lies in its activist plotting outmoding craft advancement. A megathinker like Cameron believes that by reverse-engineering propaganda, the film's messages can warn us against our impending eco-disasters here, but he falls into the first paradox of all anti-war/anti-technology 'message' films: the war is too riveting, it drives the pulse rate and brings us back for more. To be as revolutionary as Cameron thinks he is, he had to attack the baseline of humanity: the meaning of the issues, the definitions of the words and symbols we use to discuss ecology and commercial exploitation. Instead Cameron does his work in the casting phase hitting up great actors who embody archetypes that can submit to the film's black and white ideas of good and evil. For all its visual advances, Avatar is still spiritually Manichean, an approach that turns heads without altering them.

    Sully's not employing particularly earth-based innovations but Cameron wants us to think he is, maybe he assumes the final, only worthwhile earth-export is 'thinking outside the box'. The lack of proof is in the videogame: Cameron doesn't fold his mediums, he farms out a paint-by-numbers from Ubisoft simply because the economics require it - Cameron's alter-ego is slightly more the steroided Colonel than the open-minded Sully. Cameron is still a masterful even revolutionary technician despite his considerable conservatism (the action sequences are more riveting than lately Lucas/Spielberg/McTiernan, the optical detailing, gaseous distortions, exhaust streams, and the machinery are staggering in execution, they are not to be missed; and follow-through: the final battle between his G.I. Joe Colonel and Neytiri is a brilliant upgrade of Ripley's loader-assisted battle with the Queen Mother Alien). And his product is carefully visually crafted (he gets the scale shift between human and Na'vi dead-on, an inventive digital lens that captures forest floor alternating with a new eye-popping armageddon scale fluidly, a movie-first outside of Lucas and Spielberg, something Emmerich's Godzilla didn't, Spielberg's War of the Worlds did carefully, and Transformers does intermittently) though his storytelling isn't pantheonic-grade anymore, or maybe it never was. The pairings between technology and bioform are crucial, the Nav'i's flying horses and the "last shadow" equate with the two scales of airframes (Spider and Gunship), Cameron even forms his cockpits as frozen rasterized versions of these creature's heads, and to square the point he applies a decal of a yellow dragon to the giant gunship of Quaritch's.  Some subtle techniques developed in 2-D (in early silents) remerge finally in the 3-D, when Sully and Neytiri are exploring their languages and the meaning of seeing early in the film, Cameron has her look at the audience for a second after she spends the majority of shot looking down at Sully, this is the first 3-D film to weave parallax and character's eyeframes carefully (he knows the medium's technique flourishes with audience-character eye-contact: imagine flashes of Donnie Darko in 3-D). Cameron's first two shots, a travelling shot over the forest canopy of, what is guessed is, a real image of earth's fauna and a screen filling cloud (a flash of memory for all of us and hopefully the only special effect-free shot in the film), and a zero-g close-up of beads of water merging under purple light (a sly SFX nightmare version of that natural cloud), indicates that he's got the nuances in play, it has the feeling of being visionary. Is it visionary? Only at its petri stage, what Cameron could have grown as a narrative, not what happens here. In a film that continuously references the idea of seeing both in English and Nav'i (and unspoken: film's own visual definition), he ends the film with more than a nod to 2001, it's a direct copy, a now 'unified' Sully (unified by a tree network) opens his eyes looking directly at the audience, if only for a split second. Cameron, who knows he is the heir to sci-fi's baton is also its current placeholder for the next visionary. Maybe visionary is next up in Avatar 2.

    Two final shots, one message.

  • 313338.0936

     

    "Elin is reportedly being offered a "re-signing" bonus of $5 million to stay married to Tiger -- about half of what A-Rod got when he reupped with the Yankees. She'd get $80 million to hang with him another seven years."

    "I knew he was married, but whenever he had come into the restaurant with his wife he looked so miserable. They didn't talk and never held hands. There was no affection there. But I didn't feel bad about seeing a married man, as to me it was just a drink."

    "She had not come forward until this point out of respect for Mr. Woods and because she wanted to remain anonymous," he said.

    "This woman was 20 when Tiger approached her . . . She was a VIP cocktail server," he said.

    "Her relationship was not a one-night stand. It was long-term, and it was witnessed by many people in this community . . . She has detailed knowledge of his life, his habits."

    The narrative of Tiger Woods' marriage conflicts seems to expose a basic insecurity/flaw between needs and language and how legal sub-culture/sub-language warrants sexuality. A man or woman paying up-front for short-term sexual encounters is a john and the target of the spending is a prostitute. These are felony acts and are rarely prosecuted unless the crime is committed in concert with other crimes. A man or woman can avoid these labels by arranging a long-term contract called a pre-nuptial that includes structured payments (before the consumation, during the marriage at arranged dates, and upon the termination) as well as behavioral demands (proper spouse attitudes, nanny-like services, even procreative abilities). Bonuses can be offered for fecundity and behavior that exceeds certain thresholds. The ability to renegotiate the terms of any pre-nuptial for unexpected moral transgression reinforces the notion that this is state sanction prostitution.

    After arranging these figures and contract goals, Tiger marries, successfully enters the contract and then proceeds to engage in infidelties unceasingly, using no contractual basis for these ulterior affairs, but offering instead simple oral and text based promises: travel arrangements, dinners, and these come with his sexual focus: a predator's. His marriage appears to have the trappings of prostitution, indentured servitude, womb rental and nanny (a role Elin starred in prior to the marriage) while his infidelities appear to be the proper motions of a single man in heat with a nearly unlimited spending budget. It is clear the state merely punishes sexual transactions when payments do not involve a court's transaction. While Tiger is endlessly demonized for his moral latitude, Elin, a beneficiary of state-sanctioned sexual contract, has prepared for this legally and financially in every respect. Consider it, in our culture of legal-control, Tiger has no choice but to continue to prowl, he has no idea if he owns his wife or really loves her (if she really loves him). The state creates endless paradox encrypting ideals of love into its spiderweb. How many marriages are under the spell of this kind of legal protection, it indicates our culture continues to mythologize marriage and Tiger was aware enough to create an aboveground and underground split to protect his sponsor's investment in him. Do women and men simply operate illusions of each other through lawyers and courtrooms?

     

     

  • 313328.1519

  • 313328.0542

    News, journalism, newspapers, all seem increasingly irrelevant as the venn between reality and fiction blur. In today's NY Times is a complex, well organized, positive review of the bland and visually stylized first-person shooter game (a genre somewhat invented by John Carnack in his Doom) called Borderlands ("the thrill is in the gunplay") and a sloppy, fearful, mediocre review of security in post-massacre Mumbai. (Both reviews have recent parallels: released last week, Call of Duty: MW2 has a very realistic terrorist massacre that closely resembles Mumbai and Chechen massacres, and India's head of state was feted last night with a state dinner at the White House). The review goes into loving detail regarding the gameplay, the weaponry and the storytelling, making sure to elaborate nuances that distinguish it from other games. The Mumbai article contains a slight narrative retelling of the massacre in which 10 highly armed, trained and drugged men held police in check for almost three days, shooting at everyone they could sight (and even confirm life-death decisions by cellphone calls to a handler who utilized live television news to spot for them), a narrative that increasingly looks more and more like a videogame the more it is analysed. The article is jarringly xenophobic of Indian politics and even tries to denounce the leadership for not following suit with our own narrative: "Unlike the United States, India did not create the equivalent Department of Homeland Security." The article continues that India did not even punish its leaders for their lack of prediction, or the manner with which the massacre was dealt. The Time's perverse xenophobia can be seen in its lack of cultural awareness, how the writer's and editor's perceive a proper response is evident in what is left unsaid. They want us to think (imply) that a military crackdown coupled with bureaucratic spying (ie: public evidence of a secret-police/intelligence) is the only proper response to the massacre. Very strange, somewhat obvious where awareness lies, the Times employs a videogame reviewer that is more adept than an international reporting team. Even stranger: our species needs to integrate videogames (like these first-person shooter games) into science and learning while simultaneousy extricating ourselves from violent encounters like Mumbai. News is perhaps too conservative a construct, driven by unnecessary ideologies, it is simply not a forum for any real convergence of ideas.

  • 313323.1553

    The Chinese merchant ships escorted by a China’s fleet sailed on the Gulf of Aden when they met some suspected pirate ships. Thousands of dolphins suddenly leaped out of water between pirates and merchants when the pirate ships headed for the China’s.

    The suspected pirates ships stopped and then turned away. The pirates could only lament their littleness befor the vast number of dolphins. The spectacular scene continued for a while.

  • 313320.1112

    Although the first moon-trip was filmed in Melies' whimsical silent short, and then later a bizarrely epic, no less fantastic Frau Im Monde tortured the Weimar with spherical conquest fantasies, it was only until George Pal's Destination Moon that color and politics and military industrial complexes fused to imagine a male fantasy of space race warfare of bragging rights over a largely inert orb. Though seven years before Sputnik, DM was a collaterally assured, hardboiled red-fear thriller written by Robert Heinlein with science so 'complex' it was deemed necessary to use a spokes-teacher, like Mr. DNA in Jurassic Park, and thus, Woody Woodpecker was hired:

  • 313312.1005

    As a profligate metaphor for the gateway between left and right (brains as well as politics) posing as east and west, the Berlin Wall was remarkably small compared to other separations (96 miles compared to The Great Wall's nearly 4000 mi).  1978 - during the hiccup of the Carter-Callaghan years, the former commander of NATO, John Hackett, penned a book by committee (The Third World War, August 1985) that was best understood as science fiction, a story in pensive framgents that detailed a tactical war the Soviets would fight as World War III, part of a unique genre of narrative (the 'what-if' altered from retroactive to active) that hovered between suggestive propaganda and realistic fear-mongering. Having been a strategist that made Berlin a ground zero for any future wars on his watch, Hackett gave his WWIII a three week premise (the other WWs totalled some 10 years in length) that involved a decaying Soviet economy foraging for greater European control and a leadership playing blink with atomic weapons. The initial invasion of West Germany is halted and repulsed by NATO ground war strategy and as an attempt at coup d'grace the Soviets drop a devastating ICBM on Birmingham U.K. NATO responds by liquifying Minsk. The book's too simplified arc is that the bombing of Birmingham unified NATO and the extra Soviet world and the loss of Minsk helped dissolve the already fragmented and collapsing states in the Soviet realm. Strangely the same thing occured minus all the predicted warfare and the tactical armageddon as the Soviets turned inward reflectively in 1989 and allowed their bitter children Afghanistan, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and East Germany to escape dominance. Hacket updated the book in 1982.

    What happened to a WWIII, could it really be happening now in slow motion instead of Hackett's three weeks? Replace his 1985 euro-invasion with 1979 Afghanistan and suddenly the time-frame shifts, attacks are indirect (we practiced third-party warfare via insurgents and now it is practiced on us). As the Soviets fled in their attempt at jockeying a mummified communist regime in Kabul, will the coalition leave after propping Karzai's democratic regime? As we no doubt served to assist the mujahadeen of Afghanistan, who now feeds currency and weapons to the Taliban to assist in our possible exit? Does a WW, its nascent rebellions and corresponding technology become cheaper to operate in third-party warfare? Why have three 'superpowers' (Britain, U.S.S.R., U.S.) each fought for control of Afghanistan and two so far walk away bruised and confused?