With only one episode left in the first season of “The Leftovers”, HBO’s new quasi-apocalyptic offering based in the contemporary suburban town of Mapleton, it remains to be seen whether the spontaneous worldwide disappearance of 140 million people was the start of something, shall we say, metaphysical.
We know, for sure, that there was nothing terrestrial about the “great vanishing” (my term); just – poof – like a fart in the wind. And fans of other HBO series would be remiss for not drawing parallels between “The Leftovers” and 2003′s “Carnivàle”, which, set in a Dust Bowl era traveling circus/sideshow, explicitly dealt with a coming apocalypse. That is until, in a kind of metapocalypse, it was cancelled after the second season. Continued…
Categories: Communications & Media Studies, Literary Criticism, Pop Culture, Psychoanalysis.
“We may deal with flimsier coin, but, like the abstractness of high finance, the business is even more serious for it.” – Ernest Becker
Founded in 2005, reddit bills itself as “the front page of the internet.” It has a small staff and hasyet to make a profit. Much of the lifting is done by hundreds of thousands of active “redditors” who post, comment, and vote on each others’ submissions.
Reddit has its own internal logic, self-contained culture, and inside jokes that keep its more active users hooked. A friend describes redditing at work and cracking up at all kinds of stuff he has no means of explaining to his coworkers. Its a place for people to indulge tendencies that they can’t or wouldn’t elsewhere.
The site has, let’s say, a reputation. Reddit is a casual diversion for bored tech bros, hipsters, and cubicle jockeys, until it isn’t. On reddit, you never know when a simple discussion is going to get heated, abusive, or unbelievably stupid. Continued…
Categories: Arcana, Communications & Media Studies, Pop Culture.
Quite often, when discussing works of art, people argue about the intent of its creators. What did Stanley Kubrick want to say with “Barry Lyndon” or, let us say, “Eyes Wide Shut”? What ideas did Jean-Paul Sartre encase in “Nausea”? What’s the message of <…>? On and on these questions go.
Questions of this sort appear due to various reasons, but I’d highlight this one: the desire to see past the obvious things and discern various intricacies. Symbols, references, thoughts hidden between the lines, you name it. In other words, these queries are driven by curiosity, by thirst for knowledge. And in this specific case, who can quench it more effectively than the creator of the work?
But all such discussions will consist of pure speculation, unless the author had the courtesy to accommodate his work with some sort of documentation, an official guidebook of sorts, which contains authentic revelations. Such a commentary, if provided, swiftly puts an end to all arguments about what the author himself saw in the work he produced.
Categories: Long Form, Philosophy, Psychology.
Hi. It’s been awhile for me. I suppose this is a bit less abstract than the usual writing on the site, but it’s been something I’ve been thinking about as it has reflected off of a lot recent events that I’ve gone through.
The Big Lebowski is one of the greatest films ever written.
This is a fact about the world in which we live. It is not merely my subjective opinion. But why is it so beloved? If you think about it, nothing really even happens. I mean, of course, lots of things “happen”—it’s very complicated: a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous—but in the end, nothing of any meaning or consequence has occurred: nothing’s changed. Sure, Donny died, but—Fuck it—that wasn’t even enough to stop the Dude and Walter from competing in the semis. What makes The Big Lebowski so great, though—apart from being the most quotable movie of all time—is that it is essentially a statement about the souls of us Americans at the end of the 20th century.
Fifteen years ago, The Big Lebowski was released in theaters and was roundly rejected by the American court of public opinion. But as Oliver Benjamin, founder of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude, notes, it was a different world back then: America was still in “full-achievement mode,” riding high on government surpluses and the techno-optimism of Silicon Valley. Or maybe we were just too busy playing with our Furbies and getting jiggy with it to have much time for any introspection. Since then, however, a “Great Lebowski Re-evaluation,” as Benjamin calls it, “gradually took root among the youth counterculture after the goddamn plane crashed into the building,” and the movie is now considered to be one of the most revered cult classics of all time.
Categories: Long Form, Philosophy, Pop Culture, Psychoanalysis.
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Categories: Arcana, Current events.
PoMo Twitter buddy @SilentMachinery is a font of bad jokes and good observations. Following an exchange about ‘House of Cards’, about which I can’t say much, @SM invited comments on some other pop culture phenomena, specifically ‘Kill List, Field in England, Tree of Life, any random Lars von Trier movie, Sopranos finale, BrBa finale, pick a Cronenberg’. I’ve been noodling on the reply a bit, and even though I can’t really do much over Twitter, I remembered that this website exists for exactly that sort of thing. I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to doing any of it, but this post is about why I’m not really interested in doing parts of it.
Someone on the Internet is … curious (and someone else is apparently vain).
March 6, 2014 at 2:01 pm