Movie rawr: Requiem for the American Dream

It is hard to level criticism at a documentary that has the famous Noam Chomsky as spokesperson in it. Who am I to naysay a man who knows more, has experienced more, means more and has more written all over? But this, in a strange manner, works both ways. When a documentary is out to proof something accepting it because Chomsky says so sets us up for a fallacy called speaking from authority. But before continuing on: what is the documentary about anyway?

This documentary is trying to make the case that there is some kind of conspiracy to kill democracy and the American dream. It is not a documentary trying to give you an insight in the theories of Chomsky for instance or trying to give you an overview of his career. In fact Chomsky, being a linguist, is treading outside his area of expertise. We are in the land of economics, politics and power-mongers in general. Which doesn’t mean that he has noting valid to say, but it is really a pity that what he seems to have revolutionized isn’t being talked about or used. Linguistics, the use of language, is a powerful way to shape the world around us for it is the way we get to know the world. You can read books like 1984 or How to read Donald Duck to get an idea. Mind you that me naming them doesn’t mean that I agree with the contents, it merely to give you examples.

The documentary is split in two logical parts. One part has figures and charts that show how the divide between the rich and the rest of the country dramatically changes over the decades. It shows how all kinds of restraints and controls on banks and other financial institutions have been done away with. It shows how the labor unions declined and so on. It tries to make the case that power is getting monopolized. And this all commented upon by Chomsky. And there is nothing wrong with this as far as I can determine.

It is the second part however that made me pause. It is where the documentary and Chomsky try to suggest that all of this is deliberate and aimed at undermining democracy and the American dream to the benefit… of who actually and planned by whom?
And here is the weakness of the documentary which is profound. Who are those people, Chomsky? Only a flimsy piece of evidence is given, which is where Chomsky strongly suggests that Alan Greenspan admitted in an open inquiry to promoting worker insecurity. I was baffled at this, for what use is a conspiracy that openly reveals itself and thus admits to being one? And as a matter of fact, it wasn’t what Chomsky said it was. And Chomsky was even challenged on this back in 2014, but he didn’t bother to correct himself and even repeats it in this documentary but now in a sly way.
The documentary first has Chomsky say it was designed. Then it shows Greenspan concluding worker insecurity  kept the wages low and an excerpt of the rapport is given and then Chomsky immediately says in the next shot that it is deliberate again. Thus suggesting again strongly that it was a deliberate policy. It took me a few minutes to google this how Chomsky tries to misuse this. Down below is a link where Chomsky in Counterpunch says it was imposed. You can google the internet too.

Here are screenshots from the documentary

22 minutes into the documentary

[SCM]actwin,0,0,0,0;Netflix - Google Chromechrome 5/22/2016 , 11:55:33 AM
Chomsky stating it is deliberate(designed)
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Chomsky pointing at Greenspan
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Here Chomsky is at his slyest. Running implies he was in on it. But it also doesn’t imply direct involvement. He can can always claim he didn’t mean to imply Greenspan planned it.
[SCM]actwin,0,0,0,0;Netflix - Google Chromechrome 5/22/2016 , 11:55:49 AM
Read the the whole paragraph. ‘Considered surprising.’  ‘Less than predicted.’ ‘Atypical.’ Greenspan is making observations and they are not as many would have expected(Greenspan probably wants to pass himself off as smart by suggesting others are surprised but he is not. Oh the irony for now he is open to Chomsky’s accusation. Had he said: it surprised me as well, Chomsky would have had no case to make. Well almost not.).
[SCM]actwin,0,0,0,0;Netflix - Google Chromechrome 5/22/2016 , 11:56:04 AM
Probably but you still have to proof it was deliberate and planned.
The documentary in this part reveals to be another conspiracy aimed at promoting the idea that yet another version of the Illuminati is at it again, only now they are so vague that we do not even get to know who these people are(was it Greenspan?), what they do and how they do it. Chomsky talks unopposed and no criticism of what he says can be found in this documentary. It is preaching for the choir. It is propaganda.
Chomsky strikes me as a man walking in a forest who hears a tree topple over and concludes that a private company is out to wreck nature because the tree must have been cut down by a man, and that man can only work for a company and companies only do stuff because they aim at enriching themselves at the cost of anything else and therefore it is a deliberate way to wreck nature.
Upon investigation however it could very well be that the tree toppled over because it was old and decrepit. You can probably think of yet another explanation.
Alas this documentary doesn’t give room for alternate explanations and this damages the whole purpose. For what would be the upshot of Chomsky’s arguments? That a nefarious group of people plans this? Hence: get rid of this group and all will be well?

Chomsky shoots himself in the foot. For he has to twist language to vindicate his believes which is really shameful for a man who has been a linguist. Twisting words in one case with intent discredits everything else that is said for I do not have the time to fact check everything. And now? What can I trust you to say truthfully? I would almost say: shame on you, Chomsky and those who made this documentary and didn’t bother to check and correct. You did everyone(including yourself) an extreme disservice.

Sources for  Chomsky’s claim that it was planned(by Greenspan?)

Chomsky stating that it was ‘imposed’ by Greenspan in Counterpunch.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/28/on-academic-labor

Actual text of the report:
http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/hh/1997/february/testimony.htm

Invesitgation by politifact & social coldstream
www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/jul/21/facebook-posts/social-media-meme-says-alan-greenspan-said-insecur

social.coldstreams.com/2015/11/09/appeal-to-authority-assertion-of-false-quote-alan-greenspan-did-not-say-this

A detailed examination by the New York Times of the role of job insecurity at the time
http://www.nytimes.com/1997/02/27/business/job-insecurity-of-workers-is-a-big-factor-in-fed-policy.html

Movie rawr: Contact

 

IF
Oh the earth.. and look that is the sun..

After spending a third of a trillion dollars Ellie, played by Jodie Foster, finds herself at the other end of a worm hole. That is to say: back on Earth. It took her 18 seconds to do so.

Earth, inhabited by moronic creatures called humans, has just found itself to be the target of practical joker living on a planet orbiting Vega or thereabouts. Thereabouts cause that planet was probably just a relay station. It send them humans an instruction manual for building a device nobody on Vega or thereabouts could afford to build, hoping them dumb humans would do it. And they did. In fact, they made even two of them. How stupidly funny is that.

To their great embarrassment one of those earthlings appeared so they had to sent it back with some garbled message that would have the slow witted creatures pondering stuff for the rest of their pathetic existence and leave the rest of the universe well alone.

What is next? Ellie asks her dead daddy, the guise the alien has assumed for her convenience(and not Adolf H, which would have been funny). Well, we sent you back without a shred of evidence and nobody will believe you. And we erased all the tapes, and the audio and anything that could proof we exist. How about that? It will be just like.. a religion! You feel right at home!

Fine with me, Ellie says. For we have found out that Ellie doesn’t believe in gawd.. but she does believe in something after having had her trip to another world. So she has become a spiritual person so she can have intercourse with the religious guy named Palmer Joss without feeling ashamed about it. (In hindsight the painful look on her face when she kisses Palmer might very well be because Foster was a closeted lesbian, which by Jove would at least have made the movie more interesting if Ellie had been too. Nuke them straight people! )

So the whole movie, aptly named Contact, was about finding an excuse for the atheist (assumed closeted lesbian) Ellie to have (straight) intercourse with the Christian Palmer(who isn’t gay). Two third of a trillion dollars spent on matchmaking and brain reprogramming.. Does this movie get closure that way? Perhaps it does.

The more I think of this movie, the lower my scoring. The biggest part of the movie turns around a conflict between science and religion, in which the latter means: the Christian faith of the American kind. 95 percent of the humans are religious someone says to atheist Ellie, which is why she doesn’t get selected to go to Vega at first. She could have replied: but only a third of them are Christian. So who will it be? A Christian volunteer? A Muslim one? A Jewish? A Buddhist? Which religion shall be required? And if it will be Christian, which of the ten thousand denominations? The catholic one? Oh and did I tell you about my sexual orientation? Only 4% of the female population confesses themselves to be lesbian. And how about white vs black vs Asian? What race shall represent earth?  And what country? But we just skip over those shall we.. cause, darn it, this is America and there is just one American gawd and that is the white Christian one and no other exist!

And the American atheist gets to finally go after the designated white American Christian dude and the first alien device gets blown to smithereens by an equally white American religious nutcase cause them Americans prefer their own American atheist to go after all in their secretly build religious nutcase free intergalactic American travelling device version two, so they can adorn the alien property with an American flag. Only they forgot to give her one. Or that atheist is just as unAmerican as McCarthy would have us believe..

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Isn’t space nice without humans?

The nicest part of the movie is the beginning sequence, in which we see no humans at all. The camera travels backwards from the planet into outer space. Cool that! In between there are some more nice shots of desert landscapes and some sequences about the planets. As long as there are no humans in it, the movie is actually nice.

Jodie Foster, how I like her, is at her worst here. She seems constantly on the brink of a nervous breakdown, about to scream or about to cry. Why did they send that nervous wreck to the aliens? No wonder they returned her without any evidence so they will not send another one. Cause them humans are just too stupid to get that travelling through wormholes mucks with space and time. But you know.. Einstein is dead and with him all the brilliant scientists have died out.. Stephen Hawking? Never heard of the guy. Carl Sagan? Wasn’t he a script writer for sci-fi movies? Higgs? Penrose? Witten? Just a bunch of loonies.

The movie has also Blofield in it. He is named Hadden. Hadden is a deus ex machina. When the plot grounds to a halt, he steps in with a lotta money and gets it floating again. So Sagan, writer of this marvelous trash sees salvation come from the upper 1% of the upper 1% of the upper 1%. It is the gawd of monies that makes the world go round and the atheist go to Vega.  Jup.. the movie is almost brilliant. But there aren’t any cats in it though so it remains almost.

At the end of the movie Ellie is back were she started: in command of a large array of antennae listening to the universe. Did anything happen in between? Apparently not. It was all a dream probably or maybe she got back to another Earth in another universe? Isn’t that her once deceased dad in the background walking toward her over a pearly white beach? What was it all about? Well, we see her looking up at the night sky showing a milliard sparkling stars. She has become that spiritual person in which the scientist and the religious fanatic have become one. I feel at peace with the universe now. I am not alone anymore.. So let’s depart with that gooey feeling. Yuck..

I give it a five out of ten.

IF

Sign of Life: Lab-coat fallacy

Perhaps it already exist in one place or another.. but I am introducing a new fallacy called lab-coat fallacy. Lab-coat fallacy is created to me in disrespect for a person called John Morris Pendleton and actually in honor of Logicked who called him out for pretending to be a scientist on spurious credentials and wearing  a lab-coat for pretense.

Deductive logic
Scientists wear white lab-coats.
John wears a white lab-coat.
John is a scientist.

In movies of Carl Baugh Morris is even called a professor. I am amazed that people, professing to be guided by moral principles like the christian ones, just lie.
This should not be translated to: people who are christians lie by default. Just these guys like Pendleton and Baugh do.

Inductive logic
Scientists have been known to wear white lab-coat.
John wears a white lab-coat.
John might be a scientist.

Lying for jesus can, to my mind, only be done if one doesn’t belief that jesus or god exist. Hence, from my standpoint these guys might just be bad atheists in disguise, knowing very well that whatever they say will have no consequence at all in the after life, because there will be non.

Abductive logic
John is wearing a white lab-coat.
White lab-coats are sometimes worn by scientists.
John might conceivably be a scientist.

These people are far from honest and decent atheists like Amon Ra, Logicked,  Mister Deity,  Matt Dillahunty, Richard Dawkins, Darkmatter2525, Thunderfoot and the like. Some might want some kind of money, but they do not to lie to you because of it, but basically because they are passionate about people and need some money to do what they do.

Moronic logic
John thinks scientists are god deniers.
John pretends to be a scientist by wearing a lab-coat.
John becomes a god denier.

I have no specific favorite but if you want my opinion of the smartest atheist out there on you tube, my vote is for Tracie Harris.My second vote would be for Jen Peeples who goes down to the human level. I am happy that two women like them are on you tube showing that they can be as smart and concerned as any man.   Mind you, I don’t want to make Jen into a lesser version of Tracie. That would be very unfair to both of them.

 

Story thoughts: Unbearable knowledge(Oldboy)

The scene

A pretty young Asian girl hangs over the edge of a walkway on the top of a dam. An equally young Asian man holds her by the wrist, but she struggles free from him eventually. He cannot hold her and she falls to the green waters far below.

Revenge and punishment have always been important  in stories. What would be a proper punishment for a crime that causes the death of a person, beloved by another person? How can one atone for such a crime?
Oldboy is about a man, Oh Dae-su, who gets locked up in a room for fifteen years for reasons unknown to him. Who locked him up? Why was he locked up? That is what the movie seems to be about.
But the movie turns things upside down. It doesn’t take long to find the man responsible. We know this pretty soon into the movie. But with the who does not come the why. For that is what the man responsible, Lee Woo-jin, charges oldboy to figure out. Why was he put there?
And Oldboy has been given a hint: he talked too much.
But even that doesn’t seem to be quite the purpose. For while he gets a five days to find the motive, he is also set up for revenge that actually represents the reason why. And when he finds out the reason, he is also discovers a truth that makes  him a  the victim of it.
And here is an interesting idea:is a man guilty of a death he did not know he caused?
The movie does not quite end with atonement.  Oldboy finds out what is the cause of his imprisonment but he also finds out what revenge is in store for him. And knowing is unbearable.  And thus he atones for his crime by cutting his tongue and ask a hypnotist to erase all knowledge.
Without his ability to speak and remember he should be able to get on with his life. But the movie doesn’t let him off the hook so easily. At the end he might not have forgotten everything.
What it is about is for you to find out…

IF

 

 

 

Story thoughts: The better life(Trainspotting)

The scene:

In a smoke filled pub Renton, Sick Boy, Begbie and Spud squat around a table filled with empty beer glasses. Prominent on the table is a black and white sports bag. The men are merry and exchange light banter. Begbie rises to get a new round of beer.  His gaze glances briefly over the bag. He nods at the bag and tells the others to keep an eye on it. Sick Boy rises as well to go to the bathroom and mentions to the remaining two that the bag would better still be there when he returns.

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For a moment Renton and Spud are alone. Renton suggests to Spud the notion of taking off with the bag as if in jest. Spud rejects the idea. A moment later the Sick Boy returns from the bathroom. 

Then Begbie makes his way back to the table, his hand full with glasses and he collides with another man. The beer spills over his clothes. Enraged he turns around to shout abuse at the man. The man returns words in kind. Begbie explodes and smashes a beer glass of beer in the face of the man, kicks him hard and again when he falls to the ground. Next he draws a knife to threaten the mans friends. When Spud closes to calm him down he cuts Spud in the hand by mistake.

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Renton, his back to the scene of violence, then makes his decision. He will abscond with the bag to a better life.

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I’m about to be on the floor again,
Surely you’re gonna find me here

I’m about to sleep until the
End of time, drug I take
gonna wake my
fear right now
I’m passing away on to the
Better life
“The Better Life” 3 Doors Down

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4/15/2016 , 9:50:59 PM

The desire for another -often better- life has always motivated people to do things they wouldn’t do otherwise. Like stealing from friends of instance. Trainspotting starts with Renton listing all the things ‘normal’ people have and he lacks. At the end of the movie, after having acquired the means to attain a better life, or so he thinks – he lists them again. Everything he is going to have. The movie has come full circle: the snakes bites its tail.

Renton lives at the other side of the fence, in the prison: he is a drugs addict, living in a poor area, in a time the economy was in a bad state. He smokes, he drinks and is involved drugs and petty crimes. And his friends aren’t really friends. So he calls them mates. For Renton has just one friend really, which is Spud. Which is why he give Spud his share of the money from the bag.

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4/15/2016 , 9:47:28 PM

Will Renton escape the prison to the better life?

What do you think?

And does it matter?

Movies end before we actually find out. For once the escape is done, there is nothing more to convey. Like the summit of the mountain has been reached what was needed to be told is told. It reminds me of the movie Goodfellows: Henry Hill escapes from his life as a mobster by ratting on his fellows, an inevitable development because he is caught by the law and his criminal associates suspect him of doing what he is going to do: betray them as part of a deal with the authorities. In the end he has no other option. At the end we see Hill on the porch in front of his house. It is an unremarkable house in an unremarkable neighborhood. He is a nobody now, like you and me. Safe perhaps, but a nobody. And he seems to regret it in a way.

Many story is are like aiming at the better life: if the ring has been destroyed then the evil is gone and a better life will return. It is a powerful motive in a story. A kind of MacGuffin that makes a story go. Stories seems to abide in a world that is off-kilter, a temporary state of unbalance and unrest. Different from the normal world. Something to consider when writing stories.