I would like all semester breaks to just be a break in the work, but not necessarily a break of being on campus. Perhaps I don’t want a faculty job, but something in support or admin so I no longer have to be in this holding pattern until I can be myself again.
I hate it here today, but I can’t say that because she always says she hates it here, too…first…worse. She’ll express a camaraderie that doesn’t exist. We hate different things. Or maybe we both just hate her. I don’t know, I’ve never been allowed an isolated feeling in my life. I’m always derivative.
I am having a low motivation day and am desperate for it not to turn into depression.
Twitter post by @011scenes: “there’s no stranger things without her sorry”
Well, yes and no. While 11 is the catalyst for much of the overall plot – the writers can’t seem to have the character do anything besides scowl, stretch out an arm, and grimace until her nose bleeds black.
Sure, Stranger Things doesn’t exist without her (narratively and well, literally, I suppose) but Stranger Things doesn’t know what to do with her either.
It’s been a while since I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) and I was reminded of it when I just watched A Trip to the Moon the 1902 silent film by Georges Méliès.
The wizard/scientists fall asleep on the surface of the moon (as you do) and are awakened by snow, created by what appears to be Saturn, a whole other crescent moon, and friends. My mind immediately connected this with the poppy field in Wizard and how they are awakened by snow flurries created by Glinda the good witch. Had any one made the connection before?
I started looking then thought, wait, am I remembering the film or the book. In the book, Scarecrow and Tinman get a sleeping Dorothy away from the poppies but leave Lion behind to “sleep forever” until some grateful mice heave-ho him into the grassy field, safe from his opium dreams.
As someone who gets time-blindness playing a game, watching a film, reading a book or manga, these kids are escaping reality and I don’t think that’s quite the same as addiction.
Games, especially those with micro-transactions, are built to keep the player playing and paying. Anybody been to Las Vegas? Though I can spend hours and hours playing a video game, I got bored after five minutes playing the slots. Casinos are set up to keep you playing. They are logistically set up to keep you inside, but it never felt like a place where I wanted to stay.
It’s immersion, that’s the draw. Why do we want to be distracted from the rest of the world? What is it (the world) offering these kids right now?
I agree these kids are dealing with something; I don’t know if the video game is problem or just a distraction from the real problem.
Obviously, no account of someone under 18 should have any kind of credit card attached to it. If a player can’t be in a legal contract with a bank, they shouldn’t be in a financial contract with a gaming company.
There’s got to be a few, right? I’m not saying there’s not, but anything?
Sometimes research takes you in weird places. Honestly, I’m taking notes on Stephen Spielberg’s 2005 War of the Worlds and in disagreeing with a scholar’s opinion — well, part of the opinion, or actually the way the opinion was stated, fine, I didn’t like the tone of the opinion, okay??– I came across an abstract about Nocturnal Animals the 2017 Tom Ford film that I only know from TikTok.
I think it’s TikTok, or Instagram, the meme where you go to Netflix and watch the first few minutes of the movie and record your reaction because there’s nothing more shocking than fat bodies moving. Oh, wait, naked fat bodies. Eww!
Anyhooos, I read the plot in the Wikipedias because I’m never spending money on that film and in the references list came across Victoria Coren Mitchell’s amaze-balls review: “I’m so glad to spoil this film for you” in The Guardian.
Director Tom Ford, a fashion designer by day and a film-maker with a gorgeous aesthetic touch, can make anything beautiful – and he really does it with these cadavers. The whole image could be hung in an art gallery, if it weren’t for the risk of flies. They look exactly how a pair of raped, murdered women wouldn’t look. But if you want to believe that a pair of raped, murdered women would be a lovely sight to behold, then Nocturnal Animals is the film for you.
And this, on that opening sequence of fat women existing:
On and on the dancing goes; we really get to have a good old goggle at the undulating folds of flesh. This is Ford’s David Lynch moment, but, in the darkest room of Tom Ford’s psyche, you don’t get dwarves speaking backwards, you get fat women dancing. Yeurggghhhhh, look at their rubbery tummies, their flabby thighs! Make it stop! Monsters! Fat fat fat fat fat!
And that’s what you get when you let a f***ing fashion designer make a film.
Hats off to you, for an unwavering review that says the quiet parts out loud. This movie sounds like shit. It reads like shit. It may have wonderful performances, but it’s probably shit.
Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club is discussed in detail and while I’m pleased we found the time to discuss a female writer, I’m saddened that her story has to be about hope generated through the expression of her psychological and physical trauma and that her contribution is about forgiveness. Thank goodness for the lady nurturers. “It might seem that by organizing these readings in this way, I’ve been building up to a spirited defense of the social and therapeutic value of writing one’s memoirs” (24). Reader, he is not. Amis, Krakauer, Descartes all new that writing could exemplify, amplify their anxieties: “extend one’s sense of despair and one’s sense of superiority” (24) but they lacked the knowledge that Karr had, that writing could generate hope and forgiveness and an understanding of one’s own past and path. Miller forgets to point out that men often have the space, time, leisure to amplify their pain because the women compromise, cajole, and cooperate. Karr finds hope and optimism because she is not allowed the space to brood and sulk in the literary world. Her pain isn’t vented through literary doppelgangers or shooting sprees—it burns until it’s contained and only valued when her trauma is transformed into that most useful of all stolen artifacts—hope.
Vague spoilers for Hunter X Hunter and Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, I think.
I don’t know if I’ve talked about this before, but when watching Hunter X Hunter, and the Demon Slayer movie, I found myself puzzle by the deaths of certain characters and the emotional toll that it placed on the protagonist. I felt that it didn’t work. The protagonist hadn’t spent enough time with the character to create a bond worthy of such pain.
Actually, I hadn’t spent enough time with the character to make me relate to the despair of the protagonist. ‘Yes, but,’ I think to myself, ‘you spent as much time as the story gives you. That should be enough to bond with the character through the protagonist, right? You have no other qualms about the writing in either story, right?’
Right. And as I was typing up my notes this morning, I found myself following a similar line of thinking concerning The Time Machine, George Pal’s 1960 adaptation of H.G. Wells’s scientific romance.
The humorous bond the time traveler creates with a distant mannequin, the change in whose outfits represent the passage of time, is forced, an obvious point to…wait a minute.
It’s me, isn’t it? I’m the issue here. I’m the one that needs much more time with a character (or real life person, to be honest) for some sort of bond to form. Ah! I get it now.
Remember when you’re analyzing or critiquing a piece of art, search for signs of yourself that may be getting in the way. Your experience and existence are integral to your unique view, but make sure that what you’re seeing in the work isn’t just a mirror.
Why purposefully use “teenager” in this headline to describe the adult male pleading guilty? His attack was racially motivated and since we have a long history of “aging up “ Black people in our media to make them seem more threatening, this is a bad editorial choice.
“Man pleads guilty to killing ten Black workers and shopper in Buffalo.”
There. You don’t even have to put “white” before his name if it makes you uncomfortable, because we know. Of course, we know.
A post in which I talk about a podcast, but also about how you can hear a smile and why that scares me.
Thanks to the If Books Could Kill podcast and its co-host, Peter Shamshiri, I started listening to 5-4— “a podcast about how much the Supreme Court sucks” which Peter also co-hosts. It’s good, infuriating, and informative. But handing you a new podcast to listen to is not why I’ve asked you here.
There is a promotion at the half-way point for a newsletter — Balls and Strikes — that another co-host, Michael Morbius, narrates. They seem to run it each episode and I’ve started noticing something. Actually, I’ve noticed that I’ve noticed something. It’s a bit meta.
I’m getting there.
At one point as he speaks I could tell that he starts smiling. The change is clear but undescribable. I don’t know why my brain has picked up on this. Less so, do I know why he’s smiling. So I went to the Internet, as I do, to find out why my brain does what it does.
“Smiling voices maintain [increased trust] even in the face of behavioral evidence of untrustworthiness.” (1)
“We present an experiment in which participants played a trust game with a virtual agent that expressed emotion through its voice, in a manner congruent or incongruent with its behavior.” (1)
“Using an investment game paradigm, we found that positive vocal emotional expression – smiling voice – increases participants’ implicit trust attributions to virtual agents, compared with when agents speak with an emotionally neutral voice. As previously observed, the monetary returns of the agent also affected implicit trust, so that participants invested more money in the agent that was behaving generously.”(1)
And this is the point where I’ve saved the citation in Paperpile, sat back with my arms folded and leaned over to look down into the murky depths of this rabbit hole. I still don’t know what stimuli my brain is picking up that translates into “smile” after Michael says “Supreme Court sucks”, but I can pick up the danger of being able to simulate this in such a way that creates trust between yourself and stranger on the phone.
This is more than just Cash Green’s white voice in Sorry to Bother You, this is the “right voice,” the one that flicks an unknown switch in your head and you picture a reassuring smile. The “right voice” is built upon the research that pull the secrets out of our brains and tools them for algorithmic benefit. The “right voice” won’t just relieve people of their hard-earned money, it will lead them astray, down paths not yet cut.
What do I do? This digression has made me thoughtful. Sigh.
(1) Torre, Ilaria, et al. “If Your Device Could Smile: People Trust Happy-Sounding Artificial Agents More.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 105, Apr. 2020, p. 106215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.106215
I signed up for Post.News a few days ago and think it’s fine for now. I’m not sure who will adopt it outside of journalists (if they do), but I think I will stick around for a while.
I finally got my Mastodon.Social account set up as well. I’m still wrapping my head around the Federated system, but I see that I don’t necessarily have to split myself into multiple pieces. I already have multiple personalities online, so I need to be careful here 😉
My plan is to have daily summary of the things I like elsewhere until that becomes unnecessary or unwieldy (or I just abandon it due to forgetting, which is more likely). Feel free to follow me in any of those places.