Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fellowship of the Ring

Fellowship of the Ring

Frodo had been living amongst the inhabitants of the Shire for at least fifty years since he went off with the wizard Gandalf to retrieve a Dwarven homeland and rescue onto them, a treasure-hold of gold. He came back to the Shire possessed not just of gold but of reputation — here was one who had had actual contact with things others in the Shire could only count as imaginings, and been sufficiently up to the experience he hadn’t come back blemished. This prowess was useful for Bilbo, for it served as a protective ward over his quiet, comfortable living space: what other would ever dare venture upon his space other than timorously, when, after all, he could quickly transplant into any unforeseen entangling situation the Bilbo that kept wit and self-possession, with and before a dragon!

All magic, all charms, run out eventually — if this isn’t truth, it’s nevertheless how all the simple view those of prepossession built in part out of magic. And since something along these lines is what drew the dwarves to eventually decide to test the dragon Smaug’s might in the first place, Bilbo knew if he held out any further in his long splendid period of quietude in the Shire, he’d have hobbits… and others, much more dangerous others, testing his resolve to withstand overt attempts at capturing his wealth. He was going to have to make out soon for some place that’d welcome him, unknown to those in the Shire. He’d very soon have to make out for Rivendale. So he prepared for departure, and made one — in a manner that suited his impish desire to leave relatives befuddled and estranged, and his egoistic desire to presume some scatter into his departure. He thought to take all his magical possessions along with him, but his visiting friend, Gandalf, forewarned him that the Ring was no longer part of his story, but now of something quite dark and terrible, and thus the proper adornment of someone whose life would be rather other than the fulfilling one he had lived.

His home he left to his nephew Frodo. Frodo wasn’t to have time luxuriating in it, for the Ring left to him was being sought by a vile god who’d incinerate whomever was withholding the Ring from him, and who’d begun to key in on his existence. Not that he was intent on doing so anyway, staying that is: since it was not going to be for him to be able to cow the locals with his stature, he was going to have to deal with them as they were normally — namely, unmasked, bumbling sordidness.

He left along with three friends, Sam, Merry and Pippin. All three thought they were not just escaping attack but adventuring into the beyond, like Bilbo before them. Indeed, as if young captains steering a ship into a landscape unknown but not outside their conquest, they made clear their dismissive attitudes, their haughtiness, towards where they’d just previously come from and the new territories into which they were passing. But not much past their dissing of the Shire, brutally dangerous Black Riders were upon them. And not much passed rebutting the majesty of the old forest, the forest had them entangled and helpless. Lesson learned: if holding the Ring was dangerous, it paled in its danger-attracting prowess compared to any act of arrogance on their part. Better to put on the Ring than carry “attitude,” any day.

They made their way to the trading town of Bree. Here they met the “ruffian” Aragorn, who taught them more than anything else that freedom is always with never declaring yourself. For once you’ve done so — as he eventually will in admitting himself the King returned — what you once had as far as an independent will will be lost in subscribing to role.

They all venture to the elven’ realm Rivendale. They once again meet Bilbo, who in a sense went “out from the frying pan into the fire” in seeking escape there, because he escaped the tedious for the effortlessly frustrating — for those who are in every way embarrassingly more adept in everything they do than he is. A council is held where a decision must be made as to what to do with the Ring, and whom will be its next bearer. A number of possibilities are considered — not all of them overtly dubious. It could be hidden, for example, deep into a sea — something that might delay the dark lord multiple ages from acquiring it, which would buy time, great loads of time — for a miracle, if nothing else. But the problem is that the Ring wants to be found, and has a way of being found. So given this, it seems best to actually do it now, even if it seems unwise in that it offers a balm of immediate action for those who’d feel the outside world as threatening even if it weren’t in fact threatening any kind of attack at all: it’s an action built also to appeal to the paranoid.

No attempt is made to clear those judging of preconceptions — namely, that since the last two wearers were hobbits, and since it’s just been in the care of Frodo, that he is already the de facto choice unless a highly convincing argument is given otherwise. Strangely, they all pretend the choice is fully open, and also that it is a genuine surprise when Frodo declares his intention to further bear the weight of the Ring. Not much of a plan of action is given them. They are to get to Mordor and destroy it, but otherwise, all decisions are open. The only reprimand they serve under is to always choose the most unlikely of paths, as every one accounted ideal would surely be under watch. No discussion is made of a return. No discussion of how a return trip would be provisioned. They spend a lot of time in Rivendale. Enough to become familiar with every bit of Middle-earth’s geography, if such was their interest. But very little on explorations that would indicate that trip could be something other than a suicide mission.

They come to a point where the party is not in agreement as to where to go, which path to take. The Ring-bearer is beholden to Gandalf, however, and there’s a sense that this would have determined their course even if wolves hadn’t arrived to seemingly channel them down Gandalf’s preferred choice — the Mines of Moria.

Gandalf dies but everyone else makes it closer to the midway pit-stop where another batch of elves rule. Each of the Fellowship is tested and each receives spectacular gifts, and it feels as if each of them has been through some kind of river initiation that’ll proof them against most else the evil wilds of Middle-earth would present them with.

Boromir finds Frodo alone and tries to take the Ring. Frodo senses that the elves — or the elf queen, Galadriel, in particular — in individually testing them, served to loosen somehow the affiliation they had as a united Fellowship, and it seems possible now to set off on their own without it amounting to a break in something sacred. After escaping Boromir, Frodo in fact does so.

They’re all lost for a moment, though, in the one point in the whole of Lord of the Rings where chaos, amongst friends, reigns. But it’s a tease of a total disintegration only, for their friendship is real and their thoughts gravitate toward one another readily, and they bring themselves quickly to order.  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Film reviews: 2013-2017

Get Out

Nocturnal Animals

Fantastic beasts and Where to Find Them



The Witch

Hacksaw Ridge

Dr. Strange



Keeping Up with the Joneses

The Accountant

Birth of a Nation

Girl on the Train

The Magnificent Seven

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Captain America: Civil War

Deadpool (Superimposing another "fourth wall" Deadpool)

Deadpool (Dead potential)

Hail, Caesar!

The Big Short

The Force Awakens

In the Heart of the Sea

Bridge of Spies

Steve Jobs

The Martian

The Overnight

Inside Out

The Hobbit (book review --2014)

American Sniper (from American Sniper to Triumph of the Will?)

American Sniper (Eastwood's comfort zone)

12 Years a Slave (it might not have been worth it, Lupita)

Oscars (too late -- we saw your boobs)

Gravity and 12 Years a Slave (out of the frying pan and into the fire)

Wolf of Wall Street (fork in the road)

Wolf of Wall Street (part two)

Wolf of Wall Street (part one)

This is the End (and summer self-surrender)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

"Get Out" encourages a step back

"Get Out" inflicts upon the viewer a vicariously experienced form of shame. The main character, Chris Washington, is dragged along, deep into a weekend, where he has to constantly try and mentally encircle an enclosure around a constant barrage of overt breaches of respectful conduct, so to claim his weekend experience as something he lasted through and bested. He wants his rich girlfriend's relatives to be nutty, is intent on transmogrifying experiences to process them as idiosyncratic, oddball, rather than as they are -- which is off-puttingly presumptive and assaulting -- because he wants to force the experience into one of "just meeting the strange but very rich, old wealth relatives of my-perhaps wife-to-be," rather than their ostensible old-fashioned preference of it as "just meeting another of our daughter's off-putting boyfriends we'll pretend to be all for but really just ably manipulate, use, and discard." If he's successful in making them feel like they've more played into the narrative he wants to process the weekend part of than they are in making him feel part of theirs, it will force his possible new relatives into fulfilling their role in finishing the victorious narrative by granting gentry status to the outsider who marries their daughter. This is his game. Even if we are directed not to see it this way, we process it this way; and if he wins then we get to vicariously feel for a moment what it might be like to beat an initiation test to gain entrance into the land of opulent wealth ourselves.

The shame comes from undertaking way more on than he can handle, thinking he's got something bullet-proof to any projectile they could put at him. He's caught out being casually arrogant, ignorant... unawares. He's black, and no family of old-wealth that doesn't dwell so deep in the Mississippi it's basically unacknowledged, can afford to be known as aggressively anti-people of color. Even if they are such, if they have the "misfortune" of finding their daughter intent to marry a black man, the only way they can use the situation to enfranchise their prejudice is to aggressively co-opt him, use him as advertisement of their ostensible clear lack of prejudice, should anything they do in their business enterprises bring about this suspicion. We can pretend if we wish that our society isn't one which has legitimized a divide between the one percent and the rest of the country principally by directing us to see how those in the professional class have become so open to women and people of color while the poor remain just as fixed as ever in their racist and sexist prejudices, but at some level we know this is the world we live in. If you're black and seem to present upon the white and well-placed the right to partake in their glory as much as Tiger Woods would any golf club's, you're beyond indisputably in... and we know it. Unacknowledged, but this guy Chris Washington knows he's bee-line for anointment into the upper crust. All he's got to do is play out the "uncomfortable weekend with future inlaws” part, and he's in. He's not truly trepidatious about anything, but it's part of the role to look that way lest you be mis-seen as not genuine about love and mostly interested in status.        

The reason the movie can yet persuade us in making him seem immediately misplaced in this confidence, is that it makes us sense that there is another narrative, a more powerful and relevant one, that has just emerged but has grown quickly large in our society, and it is -- surprise! -- actually drawing mostly on it. Not of person of color vs. network of old wealth, which Chris Washington would be right to think he could engage with as if pit against a lame-duck; but of the presumptuous young thinking they can kick the constituents, the sinews, of their country, yet again, and continue to get away with it. When a country is turning nationalist, as ours is, what becomes enlivened is a sense of the old as something that has been kicked at for too long, but, finally stirred, is now prepared to do something about it. It displaces the cosmopolitan sense of old hierarchies as having nothing for them but to rent themselves out as antique pieces of ancestry for display -- else go the way of the dodo forever -- for something fearsome and vital. So here when we see gaggles of elderly members of old wealth coming together, absurd, completely comprised trees of family linkages, it feels a bit, not of feeble twigs assembled for further mishandling but of a tangled, mean, vital and dangerous old forest, that's kept intact old ties to old colonies that we all have forgotten completely about. It's got something newly firmed up and great to harness while everything we've attached ourselves to is becoming tangential. It's a visit of something from the long-forgotten past that'll hold this day as well as the next... looking in fact, with cause, to own our futures.

The impetus for racial inclusion, to decry the legitimacy of the category, "race," altogether, which is where the film begins, in showing no meaningful distinction between protagonists built on color of skin, is at the end replaced by a plea to stick with those you know... because if you're actually not different, it's too venturesome to pretend to partake of this "truth." The white woman is just using you if you're black. If you're black, your best friend had best be black as well, for no one else will truly have your back. Stick with your "bros," even if not a specifically racial congregation you're thinking of but just the familiar. What feels like it's being kicked at in this film is the aspiration towards higher reach... of stretching yourselves outside of previous limitations to experience self-growth and know people better than you once had. At the finish you feel as if at any time you'd want to show up fossils with your agility and reach in the future, you're no longer in the world where you're just being the progressive faced with a racist police officer... that beloved scenario, where you can't lose, even if you get arrested, can’t cow your opponent down, because no "virtue" on his side has any socially accepted legitimacy. What you are instead is someone merely alone, because that type -- the progressive; that ideal aspiration of spirit -- no longer exists, and has been replaced by someone overtly cynical in their intent. And because a world like that where new fashion is shown up as false in intention, is much less optimistic and presumptuous in outlook, it's a safer one to count yourself part of in an age where the old is empowered and on the lookout for those hoping to further displace its legitimacy.

The film takes you back a few steps, more than a few steps, and it feels strangely comfortable. You step back from the "whitey" -- or whom the "whitey" represents in your imagination... someone you're not supposed to presume to count yourself amongst but whom for your own self-growth you'd actually be wise to come to learn to -- and re-enforce old stereotypical thinking, old neighborhood thinking, old-wives’-tale thinking, because it takes you back in outlook at least fifty years, and hence makes you feel nowhere near the kind of head-stuck-out flowering poppy our time would want to inflict a lesson on.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Transgender bathrooms

The left would be most smart to fully understand that part of their previous success with the transgender bathroom policy, with transgender recognition overall, owes to what was only going to prove a momentary situation: that much of the population was suffering from a masochistic desire to be lead along into viewpoints that run counter to anything they can ground as "common sense." The left has always understood that it is though the courts or through a sympathetic president that they were going to advance human rights issues; they never really believed they were going to get most Americans' sympathies, and ground their gains through them -- through their enlightenment. "You can count on the coastal cities, but everywhere else you have to stake gains at least in part through coaxing, manipulation, and near-blunt intimidation, because here's the people "we all," after all, escaped from for the dense-knittedness and never-endingness of their coarseness, intrinsic cruelty, and stupidity," is what they always thought. They did think they could create an environment which most people would at least want to pretend they were fully part of, would pretend they were fully part of, held in place out of a fear that if you weren't part of it you weren't relevant to contemporary culture -- you were left behind and in the dustheap, and weren't allowed to count oneself with Beyonce. But what they weren't savvy too, is that masochism played a part as well. 
What I mean by this is that many of those who voted for Obama but then voted for Trump, knew immediately with the transgender bathroom issue that in agreeing with it they were agreeing with something they could at the moment allow to register as showing how easy to manipulate they'd become, how their "masters" could now presume it so much that they would register up as down, and down as up, if a quick stern look was given to in fact do so. They knew they had another number they could use here to demonstrate themselves those who've served mostly as those who've been manhandled all these long years by an economy that's pit against them, and a professional class and ideological system that just plain out and out hates them. They knew they could say that their years had been not just been about economic suffering but about their being forced into playing the overt fool... all just to survive, and prosper not much beyond this. They also knew that when they'd about finished this period when suffering was required -- what they wanted and needed to demonstrate their virtue, their absolute lack of sin, they're being absent possession of anything that overtly represents their own interests -- and now convinced of their own sinlessness, they could go next stage and face this movement that represents everything about themselves they've needed to disown, with an absolutely fool-proof ability to go hot on the path of revenge. 
We're in this time now, and so when the gender right activist on the show argues that only "you" know what gender you are, and that if Tucker Carlson insisted she was a she, that that is what gender she is, and how that would qualify her to play on women's sports teams and for government subsidies and programs available only for women, and we see this guest agree to this, and further to the fact that science was now ostensibly absolutely on her side, this to the American populace is not any of what I discussed previously -- anything one is obligated for selfish purposes to mask in a beauticious manner, as wisdom, as evolution, as glory -- but only the overconfident Mouth of Sauron, unmasked, absurdly standing up to Gandalf and telling him he's to bow to the foul mien of the overtly demonic... even as the American populace has secretly got their Frodo in place, about to blow this shit-show up for once and for good.
To me, transgender rights is about two things: 1) it's about furthering the ongoing liberal mission to deny regressives... to deny the lagging psychoclass in society any category of people they are permitted to hate; 2) it's about the ongoing liberal mission to think creatively and openly and sensitively towards the world about them. For flow and deep truths and ongoing revelations; against ossification and stupidly stalwart clinging. These are great things. 
Is science on their side? Psychiatry, really? I honestly think the better question is who asking these questions is representative of a 21st century cosmopolitan and caring outlook, and who, someone cherishing the 1950s? Who is for enlightenment? And who is for bringing the good and the vulnerable, down? It's a bizarre thing, but if "science" to most people still represents 1950s white coat jackets, sterile laboratories and the Golden Age science-fiction whiz-bang, then it's not really their cup of tea, either.
Alex 🇼 I would not believe if someone said this to me, Check out Donald Trump's facts  http://happy-foxie.com/the-many-scandals-of-donald-trump.../
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Patrick McEvoy-Halston He's clearly what you see in an adult who has been subject to a love-denied, trauma-filled early childhood. He's a very emotionally un-evolved person who is in power because too many of the American populace shares his severe childhood, and wants to war against all the vulnerable people in the world, as well as all the "uppities". I don't focus on him much because the problem is the American people. If he is disposed, he'd be filled with the same; and if HE was disposed, he'd be ... There were several million potential Hitlers and Mussolinis: the problem was all the more-than-willing German and Italian executioners, ready to use their leaders for their own desired purposes.
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