Print Story Cells interlinked within cells interlinked
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Sat Oct 14, 2017 at 02:16:15 AM EST) Reading, MLP, Watching (all tags)
Reading: "The Tidal Zone". Watching: "Blade Runner 2049". Links.


What I'm Reading
The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss. A parent deals with the fallout when one of his daughters has a medical crisis.

Mixed feelings about this one. I read it about the time my son went into hospital and it's strikingly realistic about the feelings and procedures. The protagonist is an academic researching Coventry Cathedral and passages about the bombing and rebuilding parallel the story. I found it surprisingly compelling considering how little happens, and it kept me reading till the end. It's a good account of contemporary British parenting.

On the other hand, the ending is pretty anticlimactic and the story pretty much tails off. Having read two other books by this author where there is an ominous tone but everything is pretty much fine by the end I wasn't expecting anything else. I think the author could do with being a bit more ruthless with her characters, so you can at least suspect one you care about might die. Also as a working parent who does the bulk of the childcare, the stay-at-home parent protagonist seems like a bit of a whiner.

Overall, not bad. The quality of the writing and observation keeps you interested, but not her best and she could do with more variety of tone.

What I'm Watching
Saw Blade Runner 2049 at the cinema. I'd avoided all reviews and trailers beforehand. It was a more art-movieish than I'd expected, with some thoughtful stuff but not that much actual depth. Visually it's great with the original look expanded into vast dusty, hazy expanses. Plot is OK but ending is a bit flat.

Didn't seem particularly sexist in terms of its plot and characters despite the kerfuffles, but it does have more topless nudity than most modern movies.

Overall, pretty good. Glad I saw it at the cinema for the visuals. Think it might seem a bit dull on the small screen.

Review, review, review.

Links
Homes should not be tax havens. There seems to be no link between competitiveness and tax rate. The real reason for the decline in marriage isn't loose morals - it's worsening economic conditions. The curious rise in undeserved life sentences.

Politics. How not to topple a Conservative leader. What Centrists can learn from Marxist methods. Recovering Dominic Cummings' tweets. Conservatives are the real campus thought police squashing academic freedom. Why the Tories can't solve the housing crisis.

Random. Why is Islamic State recruiter Sally Jones always depicted as a nun holding a Jack Russell?

Articles. I invented Baileys.

Pics. London commuters as 16th century style portraits.

< the individual health insurance market is officially dead | Takis >
Cells interlinked within cells interlinked | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Cells interlinked with cells by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Oct 14, 2017 at 11:35:02 AM EST
One of the best moments and truly new SF / PKDean ideas, that, that.

An visually wonderful art movie with less plot than it looks is about right.

I didn't feel like it was a mysogynist movie, it even passes The Bechdel test, technically, but I did feel like it was an entire movie somehow shot with a male gaze. Not a distasteful gaze, but clearly male.

Iambic Web Certified

It walks a fine line by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #3 Sat Oct 14, 2017 at 08:07:02 PM EST
Like Westworld, it's got androids as slave analogs, and also like Westworld, it both uses nudity to highlight helplessness, and also highlights slaves as deliberately created sex objects.  So in that sense, when you see images like this, clearly designed for the male gaze, you have to ask whether the filmmaker is trying to titillate the male audience or saying something about the images the society he is portraying creates.  Given the strong female lead and lack of sexualization in Villeneuve's last movie, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.

I think Westworld does this better, though, the way it appears to fill up it's HBO nudity quota with scenes that call to mind Auschwitz more than brothel, and also in that unlike Bladerunner, it's androids are less unquestionably human.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
In Westworld by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #12 Tue Oct 17, 2017 at 01:49:37 AM EST
I felt it was more a case of the androids as an objectification. There was more female flesh on display but it was also clear women visitors treated the androids as sex objects too ...

In BR2049 the sexual objectification is almost always of women. It seems woven into the world .. the sex androids and 30ft porn stars are all female ...

The exception is the police chief character, almost to the point of anomaly.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
Yeah, that is a good point by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #13 Tue Oct 17, 2017 at 03:55:04 PM EST
Only counterpoint I can think of is that barely anyone in Bladerunner 2049 is actually human.  But that's a pretty weak point.

Westworld does have the big advantage of having ten hours, not two, which lets it spread some variety around.  But also, it may just be the writers thinking more about it.  Unlike, say, Game of Thrones, there's a more penii and more display of imperfect bodies.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Apparently by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun Oct 15, 2017 at 09:27:13 AM EST
The "cells interlinked" passage is from "Pale Fire" by Vladimir Nabokov, but I haven't seen much discussion of its significance.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Yeah by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Oct 16, 2017 at 08:53:15 AM EST
I didn't know that until I read the reviews, though. I think that adds to it if anything. It also makes sense of the dismissive aside K makes towards the book in his apartment.

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
Passing the Bechdel Test by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #10 Mon Oct 16, 2017 at 03:24:13 PM EST
The problem is, that test sets a floor. Also, Raiders of the Lost Ark passes that test, technically.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
For sure by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #11 Tue Oct 17, 2017 at 01:42:33 AM EST
Though possibly Raiders of the Lost Ark was also less sexist ...

Iambic Web Certified

[ Parent ]
I've no opinion about sexism in Raiders by lm (4.00 / 2) #14 Tue Oct 17, 2017 at 10:44:22 PM EST
But the Bechdel test is kind of crap.

It's a very low bar. A movie can be incredibly sexist and still pass the Bechdel test.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
It's like the BMI by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #15 Wed Oct 18, 2017 at 02:01:04 PM EST
A decent statistical measure but pretty terrible when applied to individual instances.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Going to see Blade Runner by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Oct 14, 2017 at 03:42:00 PM EST
Which will be my first intentional big screen experience in decades. Got dragged to something or other about 5 years ago. Not going isn't a statement, just a point of contrast here. For whatever reason I can hardly stand the experience, but I'm going to this.

Toplessness and sexism. Short of living in a society that has need of the term "slut" the way ours does, it's hard to fix in a good way. I get annoyed when the female lead has to take her top off to fuck the male lead, who... also has to take his top off. In context it's exploitative, they're going to shoot the upper third. If they do shoot below that, no dicks or balls shall be seen. But honestly, what's the problem with putting those on screen too? I've seen it done, it works. Doom Generation, half the stuff on Netflix, etc.

Chill out, snowflake.

As Marx himself said ... by lm (4.00 / 2) #4 Sat Oct 14, 2017 at 10:11:44 PM EST
.. je ne suis pas Marxiste.

"You can adopt a Marxist point of view without becoming a Marxist"

Yes and no. I only dabble in economics but (at least in the US) typically serious economists that follow Marx's economic theories call themselves Marxians rather than Marxists.

The Stumbling and Mumbling blog entry might have done well to distinguish between Marx's economic theories and doctrinaire Marxism in the political realm. The two are very distinct spheres with only a limited amount of overlap. It seems to me that the blogger tries to bring in Marx's philosophical underpinnings without seriously addressing his economic theories.

IMO, Marx himself does the same thing. In the Communist Manifesto and other works he advocates for various policies to strengthen the labor movement. Yet his own theory calls for the rise of the capitalist class to squash all other classes save for the laborers at which point there can be a worker's revolution that will destroy the capitalist class leaving a classless society by virtue of their being only one class.

But if that dialtectic is accurate, then a philosophical Marxist should be doing everything possible to support the rise of the capitalist class to hasten the end of history. Labor reforms, in the strict Marxist view, will only serve to retard the revolution.

I don't think Marx really grasped this contradiction in his own thought.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
As far as I remember from Capital by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Oct 16, 2017 at 12:30:50 AM EST
Marx doesn't exactly "call for the rise of the capitalist class to squash all other classes". The impersonal forces of economics and history suck most people in intermediate classs either upwards in the bourgeoisie or downwards into the proletariat.

I don't think Marx is an accelerationist. But as with so much he's very vague on the details of how Communism arises from Capitalism.

He's not so much like a modern economist as half-journalist/half German philosopher. His journalist side packs his books with details about the past and present, but nothing about the future. His philosopher side tends to grand abstractions with a frustrating lack of "but how..."
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Marx doesn't call for that, his theory does by lm (4.00 / 2) #8 Mon Oct 16, 2017 at 06:47:16 AM EST
My point is that if Marx wanted communism, he should have been an accelerationist instead of calling for labor reforms that retard those impersonal forces of economics and history sucking most people in intermediate classs either upwards in the bourgeoisie or downwards into the proletariat.

Anyway, by modern standards all of the great classical economists (Ricardo, Smith, Marx) had some issues.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
"That shit will never sell!" by lm (4.00 / 2) #5 Sat Oct 14, 2017 at 11:10:46 PM EST
Last weekend was my maternal family reunion back in Ohio. Among the various events was a fall cocktail contest. I brought a drink I devised for my wife last year, one part vanilla vodka (Stoli), one part pumpkin pie infused rum (homemade by literally infusing rum with a pumpkin pie), two parts Bailey's.

Everyone complained how my cocktail was too sweet. Then they all voted for it as the best cocktail.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Cells interlinked within cells interlinked | 15 comments (15 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback