Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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When Liberation Enslaves

August 9, 2013

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Having just read a blog that featured the concept of Liberation Theology, I find myself somewhat boggled.

The author soon gets into railing against “the liberal secular agenda”.  He might want to note the joint etymological root there.

Then, he descends into a whining victim mode.  What?  “Liberation” should not be a word that generates such a paucity of joy.  Be free, be as happy as you can, when you can and try not to impact negatively on other people.  Is that so hard? 

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Abjuration of The Conjuring

July 31, 2013

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It seems that watching “The Conjuring”, which set off my Spider Sense before even making the attempt, was a mistake.  Still, ever one to give something a fair shake of the stick, as it were…

By way of a disclaimer, I should point out that I like horror films.  From “Nosferatu” to “Cannibal Ferox”, from “The Legend of Hell House” to “Silent Hill”.  However, …

From a horror movie standpoint, “The Conjuring” is a pastiche of “The Amityville Horror” 1&2 and Poltergeist in places with a modern remake feel.  The problem there is that the modern feel tends to espouse the steady build-up approach and opt for a rapid jump cut technique that can leave you spinning at times.  Occasionally, it’s easy to forget which house a set is supposed to represent and then, when a character comes into shot, I found myself thinking “What are they doing there?”, when, in fact, the jump cut was so fast that the change in location was temporarily lost on me.

Thinking of editing, it seems rather haphazard at times, like it’s been done by Ray Charles with a cut throat razor.

Soundtrack-wise, this could be just about any modern movie.  Audio tropes abound.  At least the dialogue is fairly clear, which is a change these days.

The actors playing the Warrens give very human performances.  Anyone who’s seen footage of the actual Warrens will know how much of a surprise that will have been.

Content:  Well, here’s where I reach a bit of a sticky situation.  Firstly, the start of the film proclaims that the contents of this film are only just being told now, for the first time.  Well, the book that one of the Perron’s wrote and was published over two years ago must be a figment of my imagination, then.  Proclaiming it to be based on a “True Story”…

There are a slew of problems inherent here.  Firstly, the “True Story” banner has to be considered somewhat flexible.  Paranormal encounters are usually personal experiences.  I’m not in a position to say yea or nay as to the veracity of the experiences of others.  “Based on” also gives the film makers a lot of leeway and that, I think, gets thoroughly exercised here.

Secondly, the Warrens turn up and seem to go to “It’s demonic!” by default.  There’s nothing quite like telling scared people that they’re tangling with a “demon”, I suspect.  If that is, indeed, the way things unfolded, then I would have to call that course of action irresponsible at best.

Now for my biggest problem with the film.  I’m an eclectic grey Pagan.  The whole “evil witch” thing is really not on.  If any of the Abrahamic faiths had been slandered like that, there’d be trouble.  It appears that Christians, Jews and Muslims of all stripes are unassailable as far as mainstream cinema is concerned.  Pagans, often witches, are thrown with abandon into the grinder and vilified.

It’s not on, but I have to accept that my expectations were lived down to, despite trying to approach with some form of neutrality.

Peace and Blessed be!

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I really should know better…

April 13, 2013

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…  than to read a book by someone I would consider a Fundie that is written about the Occult.  The truth of the matter is that I sometimes hop around Ye Olde Interwebz and read a little of what people of other faiths are writing/saying with regard to my own faith and the greater group within which I’m classified.  I hope for insight into other peoples’ thought processes and find a little out about how they view mine/ours.  In this case…

Really, what did I expect?  Tolerance?  Maybe a balanced view?  Reasoned arguments?  Nope, it just turned into a long tedious screed.

The upside of this turd of a tome is that it has now developed comic undercurrents.  Consider this:  The author (one Fred R Coulter) references his own works, the Harry Potter books, a missive titled “What Does God Have To Say About Harry Potter?” and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.  Yep, all deep and insightful guides to Occult/Pagan faiths and their beliefs.

Add to this the usual buzz terms about authority, pugnacious “armour of God” warblings and the wonderfully dichotomous “free will” and “obedience” contradiction and away you go.

Fortunately, I know that not all practitioners/adherents to other faiths are as barking mad as Fred the Wonder Author.  My Christian friends were all very supportive of me when I came out of the broom closet 14 years ago.  They’re still my friends.  I lost an Atheist or two along the way, but I can see it from their point of view.  “What’s barmier than following a God?  Believing in a pantheon of them!”

For the most part, though, we can all get along.  I won’t proselytize and promise to try not to shock the people around me.  That doesn’t mean I won’t be forthright, but I try to temper this with tact.

Blessed be!

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Force of Hobbit

February 22, 2013

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Recently during a conversation, a friend pointed out that in the Lord of the Rings, a better strategy for Gandalf would have been to use the Great Eagles (who had fought alongside Edain and the Elves in the First Age, so their species’ loyalties would have automatically have loaned themselves to allegiance) to take the Hobbits on an aerial mission to the top of Amon Amarth and chuck the ring in.  The eagles later encounter no resistance from the Fellbeast-mounted Nazgul when they rescue Sam and Frodo (though the status of the Nazgul at that point is in some question).

Further consideration also brings up the possible use in a similar fashion of a giant Moth, such as the one used in Gandalf’s escape of the pinnacle of Orthanc:  Surely a moonlight raid to ditch the ring into the fires would have been even stealthier!

Such are the thoughts that plague me at night.

There is, however, a reasoning I would like to present as an implication and it is in some ways similar to one that may be applied to the Star Wars canon.  Here goes…

Gandalf sees many similarities between Frodo and Bilbo.  Neither is particularly suited to the pastoral life of Bag End and, once they have seen a greater world, there is no turning back.  Bilbo’s desire for one last adventure, to see the world as partially revealed to him in his journeys with Gandalf is over riding.  A last hurrah by way of a journey to Grey Havens seems to be just the remedy for Bilbo, but Frodo has to see the greater world as espoused by his uncle, clearly, over the years since his return to Bag End.

Frodo has to forge his own path, to experience the fellowship, triumph and loss in his own way.  This is necessary to my point and proposition:

Gandalf is, in many ways, an analogue of Merlin.  Sorcerer, Kingmaker, ultimately transcendent of death and time.  I also would like to postulate that Gandalf is a time sensitive, able to discern a certain amount of possible outcomes of actions both of himself and those around him.  He sees his own transfiguration from the Grey to the White and can extrapolate some of the possible entanglements within the Time Space Continuum.

Remember, though, that like Merlin, Gandalf can also be taken by surprise, as when Arthur gives Leondegrance Excalibur to perform the act of knighthood, since no none-noble may lay claim to the pledge of other knights.

Without Frodo’s participation, the whole forging of the Fellowship of Nine will not happen.  He is the catalyst and, by consequence, responsible for the revelation of Aragorn to Denethor, Boromir and Faramir and as such responsible for the ascention of Aragorn and the reunification of the greater Dunedain kingdom and a knock-on of that series of actions is the resurgence of the Rohirrim.

Frodo’s journey, though circuitous and arduous, touches many and forges the path of kingdoms in consequence.  Mind you, if Tom Bombadil would just dain to get involved, maybe the loss of life would have been contained, but hey, he’s got a hot wife at home…

What does this have to do with Star Wars?  Obi Wan Kenobi.

In the first film made, I was puzzled as to his act of immolation.  Surely, he could have turned the fight through the 90 degrees to facilitate an escape the the Millennium Falcon, rather than the whole “If you strike me down…” bit?

“Hey, Luke!  Your guardians are bits of charcoal and here’s another chunk of trauma…  I’ll get lopped in two!”  Subtle.

Here Kenobi acts as the initiating catalyst, providing Luke with the impetus to develop a level of hatred for Vader.  For all Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back” is disparaging of Luke’s possible contact with the dark side of the Force, here I believe that Kenobi has outwitted even Yoda.  Kenobi sees the limitations of knowing only one side of the force.

It’s a dualistic power source, that is shaped by the application as rendered through the user.  Knowledge of only one side is a limitation – one that I believe Kenobi sees and he wishes to equip Luke with knowledge of both sides, to enable a greater strain of Jedi.  It’s going to have to be good, given that this new Jedi order is going to be starting with somewhat limited numbers.

I believe that Kenobi is acting his Arthurian Sorcerer role as both Kingmaker and chooser of destinies from the flux of possibilities.  There are two contributors of the Skywalker midi-chlorian extravaganza, plus via Leia there’s Solo DNA to start a dynastic pool.

Due to the efforts of Episodes 1-3 to make Kenobi seem rather difficult to like, I believe the great plan forms during his exile to Tatooine.  Quite what causes his blind spot as to the identities of R2D2 and C3PO is a mystery.  Maybe Sir Thomas Malory could have told us…

 

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“It’s a plot, Harry!”

May 7, 2011

The thought occurs that any event in the world, past or present, seems to draw a corps of conspiracy theorists.

JFK?  Conspiracy.  MLK?  Conspiracy.  UFOs?  Conspiracy.  Hanes’ label-less underwear?  Conspiracy.

A truly gauche one is Giant earthquake/tsunami/nuclear power plant = HAARP conspiracy.

Honestly, what do these pygmies think they’re doing?  Even if there was a global conspiracy that humans have participated in for a large part of our existence, do a few screaming people think they can shift the balance of power?  Perhaps they think they’re immune to the possibility of being snatched and crushed by the Masons/Reptilians/Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  Do me a lemon.

Here’s the bottom line:  We have a finite lifespan, so maybe taking a day or two off here and there from the ranks of the tin foil hat brigade and stopping to smell the roses isn’t a bad idea.  Unless the roses are an alien construct placed on Earth by Reptillians and imbued with a narcosynthetic (cunningly nicely scented) mind-control drug.  Only David Icke (the self-proclaimed “Son of God” who was incapable of saving a 20-yard volley) knows…

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How we learn.

March 23, 2011

As children we first learn the rudiments of the physical world and language, followed by the installation of our ethical and moral codes.  This might seem obvious but there appears to be a catch.

One of the things that is not installed in the average human child is the concept of attempting to anticipate the actions of others.

Said actions of others are, for the most part, difficult to accurately plan for if the possible paths and  outcomes are not constrained.  Too many possibilities equal chaos theory.  I suspect that children who grow to be chess players and business magnates have a combination of ruthlessness and anticipatory skill embedded, which in turn channels them along certain academic and recreational paths until they reach maturity.

My point (as much as I ever have one) is:  Whilst setting up moral and ethical precepts for future generations, why do we fail in the “tell them to try planning for the actions of others” department.  There is no real need for the anticipatory facility to come into conflict with the ethical facility.  Planning without guilt while remaining within our moral code.

Maybe that’s not such a bad concept.  Aesop gives us moral codes in bite-sized form as children and his impact on the Greek philosophers is evident, but we must also bear in mind that life’s lessons do not come in single chunks, a solid single point at the end.  The end of the lesson is contingent on the many factors in play.

Don’t limit yourself – anticipate a little.

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TV: The Modern Composite.

March 4, 2011

It’s been an odd 12 months televisually.

“The Cape”, which should have done fairly well in the ratings, given the box office attraction of the Superhero genre, tanked and has been killed after 10 episodes.  AMC’s adaptation of “The Walking Dead” was well received by the audience and (deservedly in my opinion) got renewed, despite being a darker subject matter than US audiences are used to getting.

Sitcoms have come and gone, folded and failed and been replaced by a succession of equal ratings failures.

Then, there’s the really odd…  “Hawaii Five-O” being trailered as “the biggest new show of the year”.  Suddenly everybody in it is a photogenic charicature, sometimes dramatically changed to fit modern sensibilities.  Forget 12 seasons (September 20th, 1968 – April 5th, 1980).

My point is, why use the character names in roughly the same locations, but simultaneously changed drastically?

Here’s an idea for those lazy reboot merchants in the Networks:  Ironside.  This time, Ironside could be played by an actor like Forrest Whittaker.  Caucasian male lead is either anachronistic or blandly metrosexual.  The female lead would probably wind up being either a single mother or a bi-sexual (why not go for a double demographic hit there?) and the “Mark Sanger” character would probably turn into an East Asian tech type with a dubious background.

That’s how easy it is to take an old property and retool it.  Just add a generic script, cut and paste in character names and let the PR machine take over.

D’oh!