Posts Tagged ‘narrative’

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Incredibly brave Palestinian girls create an unforgettable PSA to tell the ignorant west what’s happening to their people. I was misty by the halfway point.

 

Alexander Khodakovsky

Alexander Khodakovsky in Donetsk. ‘That Buk I know about … They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence,’ he said. Photograph: Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters

The Guardian has interviewed a confused “commander” in the east who has no direct knowledge whatsoever of what went on, and tries to turn it into an admission of guilt.

“That Buk I know about. I heard about it. I think they sent it back. Because I found out about it at exactly the moment that I found out that this tragedy had taken place. They probably sent it back in order to remove proof of its presence,” Khodakovsky told Reuters.

He heard the same news story put out by the Ukrainian government, the fraudulent audio “intercept” that was sent everywhere. He’s relaying the news story without any first hand knowledge that a rebel-controlled BUK ever existed, or was “sent back,” to Russia which was the Kiev government fraud, exposed by its sloppy video evidence.

So this interview subject, Alexander Khodakovsky, a “commander” has no first hand knowledge that any BUK system even existed prior to the Malaysian incident. Odd?  No?

Nor any knowledge that it was ever sent “back” anywhere. He’s clearly speculating. He has no knowledge that it ever existed at all, and is only relaying stories he’s heard, though where he heard them from is of no concern to the Guardian.

The Guardian then goes one better–

” This week the Guardian also spoke to witnesses who said they saw a missile-launching system that looked like a Buk drive through Torez, near the crash site, last Thursday, a few hours before the plane was downed.”

Really?  No Names. Nothing to corroborate this story. No idea of the sympathies of those who are allegedly making these claims, but since it fits in with the ‘blame Russia’ bias of the rag, let’s throw that in too.

This is the standard of evidence for deciding matters of war and peace?

PS: The Spy Satellite that Didn’t Bark

There’s an easy rebuttal to the Guardian’s Torez claims from unnamed so-called witnesses: the spy satellite photos.  Where are they? Why is the US hiding them?

If the US had pictures of these large lumbering vehicles, as claimed, they would be on the front page of every newspaper in the west. The propaganda is shown by what they won’t show as well as what they do claim.

 

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Raindance

 

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Gay Overachieving Warmongers & Their Myths

I recently heard Oliver Stone talk about wanting to recut this film, after two different versions have already released.  Just what is it that drew him to this, and more importantly what is sabotaging it?

Well, the film is a mess and a half.  Long, and many irrelevant scenes and endless exposition from a minor character, as well as from the principal people, make this a hard film to watch.  It’s a history lesson from an old Greek, and it’s melodrama amped up to eleven.  It’s got exciting battles, but these are undermined by endless speeches and I’m not quite sure Colin Farrell was the right actor for the job.

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Stone chose to include many scenes that should have been cut, and failed to include other developments that would have fleshed out the story better.  Alexander ends up inhabiting a pretty low spot on the director’s filmography.

Perhaps Alexander’s homosexuality made him an interesting character for a certain time and place today.  As gayness is opened up and more acceptable than before, the original larger than life gay character should have had his opportunity to make inroads.  Not sure of the lgbt cult status, but that may have been a part of the calculus.

I actually liked Angelina Jolie and her strained accent, as Alexander’s witchy mother.  Only, I didn’t like many of the specific scenes, how they were filmed, staged.  It seemed clunky and inconsistent.  Part of it shows like prime time TV, and other parts like a psychedelic experience.  I’d prefer the latter, but it’s indicative that more than the appearance was inconsistent.

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Anthony Hopkins’ endless monologue should have met with some whiteout.  His entire character lacks any development for the entirety of the film, excepting the final scene.  But it’s not just his monologues, as Alexander and several others also go on and on at length, dropping the tension and the plot right out of the chariot.

The Source Family, an actual talking head documentary was more visually interesting and suspenseful, always telling the story through visuals and leaving the talking heads behind.  Stone seems to have drank his own Kool Aid on this one, substituting a history lesson for drama.  But even as history, there are large gaping holes in Alexander’s development.  So much isn’t included, making it frustrating when the stuff that is included lags.

Perhaps readers may expect me to compare the film to Caligula, as my review of it still draws a good number of readers here.  There is no comparison.  Caligula is a total masterpiece up against this psychobabbling, over the top payday.  Sorry, Oliver.

This battle was lost at the script stage.  And no recut can salvage that.  Let it go.

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Betray Friends’ Privacy to Comment?

 

I was ready to “Login with Facebook” over on TED’s website, when their privacy invading app told me they were taking my email address and other info – including my friend’s info and video information.  And I stopped.

Who gives them the right to stick these data mining marketing tricks into their message board?

Fuck you, TED. We live in an invasive, privacy destroying Brave New World of aggressive marketing yuppies with no scruples.  Rudeness is being normalized.  You can’t even have a conversation with a human for more than two minutes without them pulling out some tappy tappy device in the middle of it.  The humans are resembling cyborgs more and more, slaves to the devices.

Anyway, I wanted to comment on Maajid Nawaz’s talk about extremism allegedly running rampant across the globe far and ahead of democracy.  Some of his claims make more sense in particular Arab countries than they apply to the rest of the globe.  Some of his thinking is constrained and limited in scope, and that is the point I wish to make. The talk, and the world view behind it, are completely missing the larger picture of empire, global hegemony by the US and friends.  Behind the scenes the real exercise of power grinds on to coopt and derail popular movements, to benefit extremists when convenient, to fund and arm military dictators, which is very often convenient, to protect brutal human rights abusers when they provide strategic benefit, and etcetera.  This is not a new or novel understanding.

The Arab world in particular should know well the machinations of Uncle Sam in propping up oil dictators and overthrowing the disobedient ones.  Iran’s actual democracy was destroyed in 1953 by the CIA, and even admitted to.  This is not covered up today. Nawaz focuses a lot on Egypt, without mention of US support of Mubarek right up until his ouster by one of their torturer friends in the Egyptian military.  The Egyptian military receives more than a billion dollars in so-called military “aid” every year, $1.3Bn as of 2010.  What are they purchasing with this graft? Pakistan has also received much.  Saudi Arabia and Bahrain receive quite shockingly positive media when their people rise up demanding democracy – and are brutalized, tortured and imprisoned for their efforts.  US leaders smile and change the subject. To fail to mention any of this obvious undemocratic imperial meddling is a credibility killer, in my view.

Nawaz himself is a former “extremist,” already taken in by one set of dogmas.  One wonder if this new prevailing democracy myth he ascribes to is similarly processed in extremist fashion? As far as fighting for democracy and against Islamic militant extremism, we again must examine the facts on the ground.  In 1979 the Mujahadeen, the precursor to “Al Qaeda,” were created, armed, trained and imported into Afghanistan to overthrow the pro-Soviet government.  Decades of horror and destruction followed, which persists to this day.  That particular US supporting of extremism was launched under Jimmy Carter of all people. Today, the Al Nusra Brigades in Syria are doing the empire’s dirty work.  These absolute extremists, with a blood drenched record of terrorism that exceeds Al Qaeda’s record already, are part of the current imperial strategy to topple dominoes.  Al Nusra is supported directly and unequivocally by US client regimes Saudi Arabia and Qatar and are hosted and given free passage on NATO state Turkey’s territory to invade Syria next door.  US CIA are also on the other Syrian border in Jordan, arming and training fighters.

How does any of this fit into the picture that Nawaz paints during his talk? His is a sin of omission.  The myth prevails rather than the reality.  I’m all for democracy and promoting it, but let’s not close our eyes and play fools.

And TED, you can go to hell for daring to demand personal contacts from people commenting on your website.  Have some shame and some tact, basic etiquette.  To talk to you in the street you first demand my mother’s Facebook posts, and which videos she watches?  And my sister’s dog photos?  Can I say my comment then?

Up in the Air

A Review of Up in the Air
A Landscape of Impossible Options

By KIM NICOLINI

If you’d asked me before I did this movie, “What’s the worst thing about losing your job in this type of economy?” I would’ve probably said the loss of income. But as I talked to these people, that rarely came up. What people said, time and time again, was: “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.” It was really about a lack of purpose. They would say, you know, “After I finish this interview, I’m going to go get in my car, and I have nowhere to be.” And I can’t imagine thinking that every day.
– Jason Reitman on the making of “Up In The Air”

“How much does your life weigh?” This is the question that Ryan Bingham (played to perfection by George Clooney) asks in Up In The Air, Jason Reitman’s brilliant new movie that so beautifully, hilariously, and brutally encapsulates America’s current cataclysmic economy. This is a question for the current economic landscape where people are losing their jobs, their homes, and their every possession at astronomical rates, an economy where people are being left empty handed and without many options for a new future. Ryan Bingham thinks he understands the transience of material culture. That’s why he delivers informational seminars telling people to eliminate excess weight in their lives. Bingham understands the fragility of economic stability and material acquisition because he spends the large majority of his life traveling the country and telling hard working Americans they’re out of jobs. Yes, Ryan Bingham is a professional hit man in this depression era economy which has generated a real unemployment rate of 22 percent. He packs his suitcase, takes to the air, and is like some kind of corporate downsizing angel of death as he delivers bad news encased in motivational speeches that sound like something he pulled out of a fortune cookie.

As the movie follows the story of Bingham and the people he encounters, it delivers one hell of a powerful commentary on where we stand in today’s economic landscape. While it could be classified as a depression era comedy (and it plays like the best of them), in the end the movie is more devastating than funny. Sure, it has loads of exquisitely hilarious moments in which we laugh our asses off, but ultimately the movie is a sad and tragic tale of the dehumanizing effects of neo-liberal economics and the decimation of the American workforce.
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District 9

DVD: District 9 (Two-Disc Edition)
Blu-ray: District 9

See also:

District 9 (2009)
District 9 (2009) – Sci Fi Action With Brains and Soul
District 9 (2009) – Science Fiction of the Now

District 9 & Sci-Fi Politics
Binoy Kampmark

A sci-fi B-Film that punches above its weight. So argued Anthony Quinn of The Independent (Sep 4, 2009) on the South African spectacular District 9, directed by Neill Blomkamp. Certainly, it is a refreshing change from such overly done efforts as the Transformers series and Terminator with their tedious super effect twaddle that does little to inspire. Nor will viewers be left wondering about the special effects in this production – Peter Jackson made sure he peppered this work with a fair assortment of them.
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