Computing Forever takes on the EU(starting with Richard Dawkins)2/2

2:50 “It is not difficult to do some basic research[]”(Computing Forever)
Sometimes it works to look at the sources someone uses for his arguments.
https://youtu.be/omlGfwLC2Lw

These are Computing Forever’s named sources.
1 The sun.
2 An article by a pro-Brexit writer, written for a news website called Heat Street, a libertarian source. The article is otherwise unsupported.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_Street
look up : Lukas Mikelionis to get to know the writer.
3 Above article(point 2) is in itself is based on a article by a former UKIP politician writing for the daily mail who cites no sources and is otherwise unsupported.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janice_Atkinson
4 Infowars, a website run Alex Jones, a man who is a libertarian and a  conspiracy theorist.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Jones_(radio_host)

None of his named sources are supported by credible sources like:
http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com/2012/12/17/the-best-english-newspapers/
I don’t mean that they do not support him. I mean even if they support his claims he doesn’t mention them.
Above link is just an example. Go look for yourself.Check this man’s sources and claims.

Note that Computing Forever hardly uses any credible source even if these supports his claims.
He uses the Guardian once, only to cite a biased interview of a former Greek finance minister who can hardly be viewed as being objective.

Here is a detailed breakdown:

00:00
CF opens  with an article on Theresa May and Scotland that comes from the sun.
The sun is a tabloid paper with a pro-Brexit stance.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sun_(United_Kingdom)
It is also not considered a reliable source.
http://www.djsresearch.co.uk/MediaAdvertisingAndPRMarketResearchInsightsAndFindings/article/The-Sun-Crowned-Most-Read-and-Least-Trusted-Newspaper-by-UK-Poll-00886
No other sources support this article.

00:45
She wants to slowly forget about it.”
An unsubstantiated statement by CF.

1:10
The Eu “[] is an anti-democratic superstate.
Anti-democratic:Unsupported claim.
Superstate: Unsupported claim.
It is not a state:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union.

2:05
So many scientists seem to be against leaving out of self-interest.
Unsupported claim.

Note:there are however sources that support this claim, but CF does not use them. He simply fails to back up his claims even if he can.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jul/07/brexit-is-also-a-vote-against-the-elitism-in-science
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-the-science-community-says-no-to-brexit/
http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/7.35380!/file/Brexit%20survey_full%20results.pdf

2:10
Now I am not saying that is the reason Dawkins is against Brexit, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was.

It can be easily found that he is. Did Computing Forever even look?

Twitter:
The #Brexit vote makes me seriously doubt the existence of any sort of human evolution
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/richard-dawkins-eu-referendum-brexit-david-cameron-a7059201.html
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/richard-dawkins-brexit-catastrophe
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/29/eu-referendum-parliament-leaders-david-cameron-david-mitchell
https://richarddawkins.net/?s=brexit

2:40
Basic research how the EU operates

a) First mentioned article: 6 Time EU bosses who sneered at the electorate.
This is written by Heat Street, a libertarian news agency by a pro-Brexit writer. He ends the article with: “Vote Leave to wipe the smirk off their faces”

Point by point:

1) Euro parliament president: Referendums for “mentally weak”, “like Nazis”


The underlying source is an article by Janet Atkinson in the daily mail. She mentions no sources and no other sources support what she says. She was a UKIP politician and therefore can be assumed to be a Brexit supporter. More about her here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janice_Atkinson
As it comes to nazis it was Schulz who was being accused of being one.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Schulz
See the incident with Godfrey Bloom.
And
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/tory-mep-provokes-uproar-with-attack-on-nazi-eu-776748.html

2)“Decisions taken by the most democratic institutions in the world are very often wrong.
Jose Manuel Barroso 2010
This is an often quoted statement and seems valid enough. Context hard to establish.

3) Rompuy: “But we do it anyway.”
http://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20140429_01087318
Not accessible, so hard to establish context or validity. I am Dutch so I can read the Standard. Can’t access the page without becomming a member.

4) “Britain belongs to us.”
http://www.itv.com/news/2015-06-17/martin-schultz-britain-belongs-to-the-eu/
Quoted out of context if you look at it as Schulz says the UK belongs to the EU(not us) as it is part of it.
But the writer conveniently overlooks Schulz saying that Britain is free to suggest changes as any other member state can at 1:10 into the interview.

5)Juncker: “PM’s listen to voters too much.”
Quote:
“Elected leaders are making life “difficult” because they spend too much time thinking about what they can get out of EU and kowtowing to public opinion, rather than working on “historic” projects such as the Euro, he said.

6)Trade Commissioner: “I don’t take my mandate from the European People.”
This is quoted by John Hillary in his article. He is an opponent of TTIP for which the Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström is responsible. She has denied saying this.  See controversy:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/i-didn-t-think-ttip-could-get-any-scarier-but-then-i-spoke-to-the-eu-official-in-charge-of-it-a6690591.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecilia_Malmstr%C3%B6m

b)”Greece Is A Scapegoat For The Disintegration Of The EU”
http://www.theguardian.com/business/ng-interactive/2015/apr/29/the-austerity-delusion
Based on an interview with the Former Greek minister of Finance.

c)Hate speech code.
Unsourced, so here are the sources Computing Forever fails to mention. Read for yourself.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/31/facebook-youtube-twitter-microsoft-eu-hate-speech-code
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1937_en.htm

d)ELITE WILL USE MIGRANTS TO DESTROY EUROPEAN LABOR
http://www.infowars.com/elite-will-use-migrants-to-destroy-european-labor/
This is an article in infowars.
It is run by Alex Jones.
He is a conspiracy theorist.  
I can confidently say he is a crackpot. The aritcle is written by Kurt Nimmo, but based on what Alex Jones thinks(see associated movie on website).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Jones_(radio_host)
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Alex_Jones

3:50
“(sarcastic) We should just listen to our politicians? They can never be corrupted, biased or plain wrong on any issue?
What he seems to claim is that he doesn’t trust in the democratic process with which the country is organized.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_the_United_Kingdom

4:44
I can’t believe that I bought two of his books.”(about Dawkins)
Apparently, books get only credible when the writer agrees with you in everything even if the books discuss unrelated subjects.

5:25: “Where have I heard this before?“(on a second referendum)
From Nigel Farage.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nigel-farage-wants-second-referendum-7985017

6:15 : False dichotomy: it is referenda or dictatorship and nothing in between.
Yet, he refuses to vote a second time in the Irish 2009 one.  https://youtu.be/pZ9fxpmM1lA?t=66

6:20 “you are anti-democratic to the core.”(to Dawkins)
Dawkins is undemocratic because he says that the decision should have been left to an elected parliament and he proposes a second referendum.
Computing Forever doesn’t like this.

6:25 “Ireland and France were asked again for the Nice and Lisbon treaties because the EU doesn’t care for[].”

Referenda are not enforced from the EU. In fact the democratic elected parliaments and governments have to initiate and approve them.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amendments_to_the_Constitution_of_Ireland
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendums_in_France

7:50
I will always respect you.”(about Dawkins)
Look back at 4:44 where CF wonders why he bought two books from Dawkins.

And that is the end.

What it all boils down to is that you are watching a video that uses as sources articles from the sun, heat street and infowars, twitter and the like. And biased interviews.  The only credible source he mentions is the guardian. Otherwise his statements go unsourced or unexplained.

Computing Forever takes on the world 1/2(starting with Thunderf00t)

Computing Forever takes on people like  Richard Dawkins and Thunderf00t on his YouTube channel.https://youtu.be/pZ9fxpmM1lA

Oh… Who are these guys you might ask?

This is Richard Dawkins:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkin

This is Thunderf00t:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Mason

I ran into Computing Forever when he called out Thunderf00t in his video.

What struck me was that he says this about Thunderf00t:

“These arguments he makes in the video come from a place[]of speculation, hearsay, emotion,[] none of the rational empiricism[]. It is just a series of cognitive biases throughout.”

So.. well. Maybe he is right. I thought.

And what do I discover?

That you can say about Computing Forever:

“These arguments he makes in the video come from a place[]of speculation, hearsay, emotion,[] none of the rational empiricism[]. It is just a series of cognitive biases throughout.”

You do not believe me?

Read on:

On the 15th of June Computing Forever publicized on the Undoomed channel his criticism of Thunderfoot’s stance and arguing against a Brexit.

The video started out with Computing Forever stating at 00:45 about Thunderf00t that

“These arguments he makes in the video come from a place[]of speculation, hearsay, emotion,[] none of the rational empiricism[]. It is just a series of cognitive biases throughout.”

Next Computing Forever goes into criticism on the arguing of Thunderf00t. And to a point his arguing can be taken as valid, even when you don’t agree.

But the Computing Forever uses this video to launch his own arguments for a Brexit and one would expect that after launching that hefty dose of criticism he would be sure to not make the same mistakes.

And does he not make the same mistake?

Let’s see him argue for the Brexit(which is more: why I am against the EU).
Starting 10:15. 

The UK will lose its own sovereignty.
Computing Forever does not elaborate how that would come about. He just makes it a matter of fact statement without backing it up with any source, link or proof. You either believe him or not.

So I did the work he forgot to do, and if you read the Wikipedia on sovereignty you will see that it can not be lost. It is either given away or taken by force:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereignty
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acquisition_of_sovereignty
If Computing Forever wanted to argue the UK would be suckered into losing its sovereignty, then he is free to do so. But he doesn’t. He just states it as a fact.But it isn’t a fact. It is speculation on his part.

10:17: The EU wants to have its own police force.
Another claim by Computing Forever that goes unsourced.
So again I looked it up.

There is no proof to be found on the internet. So if he has any proof it would be nice to be supplied with that proof, otherwise: it is hearsay.
There is Europol:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europol
“The agency has no executive powers, and its officials are not entitled to conduct investigations in the member states or to arrest suspects. “
There is a European gendarmerie which is an intervention force operated by five nations and has nothing to do with the EU.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Gendarmerie_Force
What sources I can find are like these:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/1360785/What-the-EU-really-wants-now-is-its-own-police-force.html

10:18: Its own rule of law.
Computing Forever accuses the EU of trying to get its own rule of law.
Whatever does he mean?

Rule of law: “the restriction of the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws.”
The EU already has a rule of law. Or does he mean he rather has no rule of law?
He might mean something but he does not tell.

An  own constitution.
It is true they tried to have a constitution and I think that someone argued that the legal arrangements already in place are a de facto constitution. However when it was attempted to have a constitution this was blocked by the French and Dutch.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_establishing_a_Constitution_for_Europe

We will see further into the movie how emotional he reacts when it comes to the Irish referendum.

Become the  United States of Europe.
No sources that such is occurring or planned.
So here are some sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Europe
So according to the polls held there are more people for than against it. If he wanted to support his case,he could have pointed to this poll. But he didn’t.

The EU is profoundly undemocratic.
It would be very nice if he somehow can explain why it is undemocratic. But he doesn’t.
What sources keep track of democracy are focused on countries.
Here are some sources that he might have given.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_deficit_in_the_European_Union
http://internationaldemocracywatch.org/index.php/european-union

We can continue on to the slightly skewed representation of the Irish referendum where Computing Forever becomes pretty emotional.

To wit: he is exactly like he accuses Thunderf00t to be.

It doesn’t make him wrong, it is just that:

00:45 “These arguments he makes in the video come from a place[]of speculation, hearsay, emotion,[] none of the rational empiricism[]. It is just a series of cognitive biases throughout.”

To be continued….

 

Story telling: In the heat of the night 2/2

In the hunt for key scenes in movies, it was hard to make a decision for In the heat of the Night. In an earlier post I showed one scene somewhat one-third into the movie where Virgil Tibbs is sitting at a train station waiting for the train so he can leave the town of Sparta with its oppressive atmosphere of racism.
Another scene I find intriguing happens about halfway into the movie. Virgil Tibbs and Police Chief Bille Gillespie visit the local big wig plantation owner Endicott played by Larry Gates. The scene is set in a greenhouse where Endicott is tending to  Orchids. After an intro, which is in itself epic, talking about orchids and comparing the meticulous tending of orchids to the tending of blacks the two policemen seem about to leave.

IF

IF

IF

After the discussion about the orchids the suspicion against Endicott grows as fern was found in the car of the victim and fern is used in the cultivation of or orchids. Gillespie makes a move towards the exit.

IF

In these scenes we see Endicott change from amicable condescending, to downright condescending and then the quarter drops. The key trigger is Gillespie who basically uproots the exchange by suggesting to leave.
And you can see Endicott, beautifully played by Gates get suspicious and hostile. For why did they come here?

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This is a classic WTF moment.

The next scenes move the story towards the slap scene.

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Now the roles switches, staying perfectly formal and neutral Tibbs explains their presence, but it is obvious that he feels and acts in no way that Endicott finds acceptable. The ‘Negro’ becoming the dominant one and questioning him.

 

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Gillespie’s presence in this scene is important. He seems like a neutral bystander just watching what is happening.. Steiger plays Gillespie in a way that it is hard to get what he is thinking. People around him vent their opinions, but he never seems to have one. This is a handy way, for people often take it that by having a clear opinion he seems to agree with them.  As the movie progresses it becomes clearer that a kind of respect is growing between him and Tibbs. At the end of the movie this results in a scene in which Gillespie turns around and tell Tibbs to take care of himself.

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At this point Endicott drops all pretense of civility and enraged slaps Tibbs in the face.
Tibbs instantly returns the favor, to the astonishment of everyone.

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We are now halfway through the movie and Gillispie, a sheriff from a town deep in the south sees a ‘negro’  slap a white man. But this particular negro is a fellow policeman and the suspicion that Endicott might have been involved, which is what Tibbs believe or like to believe, might have gotten hold with Gillespie too.  And  so he doesn’t act. Or rather he acts by not acting. Hence Endicott’s reaction:

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The interesting part about the movie isn’t the investigation of the murder. It is pretty pedestrians as murders come. On the face of it, it seems like a movie about racism. And while that is true, it is more about the relation between Gillespie and Tibbs and how this unlikely pair of policemen work together and find common ground and respect. And thus racism might disappear.

Story telling: In the heat of the night 1/2

The scene:

Virgil Tibbs(Sydney Poitier) is a black police detective from the North who gets stuck in a small town deep in the South where  black people are addressed as ‘boy’ and other derogatory names. He is more or less forced against his will to aid the local police forces headed by Chief Bill Gillespie(Rod Steiger), investigating the murder of a prominent businessman.
The murder isn’t the most interesting  part of the movie and is more the MacGuffin that keeps the story going.  The racial tension itself is more the focus. But in a way in how Tibbs and Gillespie interact. For while there is the racial divide, there is also something like a band of brothers for they are both policemen.
The scene starts with Tibbs, having a belly full of the racial hatred, deciding to leave town. Chief Gillespie attempts to change his mind.  Since the images say enough(edits are mine):

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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..

IF
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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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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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Book review: To Kill a Mockingbird

 

So……
It’s a good book.
It really is..
Of course, I have to admit that To Kill a Mocking Bird was not an easy read for me, but this has nothing to do with the book itself, but rather with my haphazard reading habits.
I am not a very good reader, actually. And you have to believe me, for this is no attempt at humility or browbeating of myself: it is a fact. You see, at times I just skip parts of a book and then page backwards to read what I must have missed, and then skip forward again to pick where I broke of.
And so it was with To Kill a Mockingbird..
Well…, almost.
At least at the beginning.
But this book is compelling and it somehow commands you to pay attention. It traps you, so you have to follow what is going on. You’ll have to. There is no escape.. beware.
This book reminded me of a book about Coca Cola. It mentioned how, in the thirties, it’s advertising strategy changed dramatically. Coca Cola hired Norman Rockwell as an artist and Rockwell conjured up Huckleberry Finn and similar scenes to chase away the sufferings of extreme poverty. It was after the financial crisis of 1929 and poverty struck, hard. But it was countered by something that was akin to the love and admiration for simple things. It was poverty, but also that feel of pureness. Of simple things appreciated, because they are simple.. and honest and close to the heart.
The book can be divided in two parts. Not as such, but by inference. There is a first part which describes the life of the protagonist(I am deliberately obscure here) It describes the life of a mid western village. The people are poor.. really poor, for they can often only pay in kind. The father of the protagonist is a lawyer. And some of his clientele have no money to spend.. so they give him things. Goods. Eggs, sides of bacon.. you know. Things you can use or eat.
We are flung back towards the middle ages economically.
And we are far far from the Rules of Civility.
Rules of Civility?
Yes.. that is another book that is set in the thirties, but that one does not have poor mid western town as focus, but bon ton New York, the affluent, and certainly that book has no knowledge of racial issues. Indeed, Rules of Civility is basically unaware of the ‘racial’ issues for it only tells us about the whites and the negroes do not surface in that book.
Segregation? What segregation?
But not so in To Kill a Mockingbird.
The first part almost seamlessly merges with the second part. Which has a trial at it’s center. It is the trial of a negro accused of having raped a white girl. It seems to be the pivot of the second part, yet it is not, for what is at the center is not actually the trial itself.. it is humanity. When the father of the protagonist acts as lawyer for the defense, he does so against knowing better and while he does so he makes a difference.
The heart of this book is humanity, whether it is Jean, the main character in the book or her brother or their housemaid Calpurnia or the father Atticus or judge Taylor or the sharp tongued neighbor Miss Maudie or Boo Radley, the recluse who hides from himself in his house, yet issues forth to come to the rescue of Jean and her brother at the end. It is in Heck Tate, the sheriff who stands up to Atticus when he is a bit too certain that justice should be served.
It is humanity that is at the center of this book.
And it is hopeful and positive.
And there is where it fails to get the final fifth star.
It’s just a bit too neat really.
Really…
Reality?
Reality is a bit harsher then this book wants it to be and I do not buy into it.
I love each character in this book.. but down to earth.. it is just too much a fairy story.
A great fairy story, but make-believe in the end.
Despite my cynical view I would recommend to book to anyone.
It is about humanity.. and that is a good thing.

Movie review: Resident Evil: Retribution

Mister Anderson,

I know that you will never read this letter, but I feel compelled to write you anyway as you are the director of 3 out of 5 Resident Evil movies and thus in a large part responsible for the way the series has developed and is going to develop as you are about to release yet another one in the near future, at least that is what is being promised at the end of this movie.

I, being interested in stories in general, have been itching to ask you a question but before doing so I have to first establish a few things to make you understand the question better.
First let me admit that I never made a movie like you have, let alone made three movies and therefore are not aware of all the toil that goes into a movie. To be honest it seems like a daunting task to make one. Yet I am also a consumer of movies and as such I noticed a few disturbing developments about your works that must be brought to your attention, not only for your own sake, but especially for those who still endure in watching your products. Which made me prompt my question below.

A second thing that I might remark upon is that the movies have never been remarkable in any way and that nobody expects a Shakespearean experience here, although it would be nice if it just had a some of it, just a little part, but even a tiny little bit seems a tree too tall to climb for you. Therefore steady mediocrity has been the defining level of quality of the series, at least up till now.

And here we come to the heart of the matter. You see, most surprisingly the quality of you latest movie seems to have taken a downwards turn, a sharp one, we might say: a nosedive. Which is odd for someone who has been doing this for quite some time and should at least know better through experience. It seems as if you are getting a bit tired of it all.

Now having stated this, I need to back up my statements with examples and, given tons of examples to pick from, I will pick three as showcases of mishandling story telling that even a newcomer would have avoided.

The first is too much of everything.

There is unnecessary and mishandled exposition. Exposition is avoided in movies as it is telling something about the story which therefore yanks a viewer out of the story. Sometimes it is needed to establish the background quickly, like at the start of Star Wars for instance. Star Wars is a good example of properly handled exposition as it keeps it to the point and, most of all, it doesn’t let the protagonist do the exposition. But what do you do? Not only do you supply a lengthy exposition that is unnecessary as those who have seen the series already know and those who haven’t have no use for the lengthy speech, but most of all you have the main character Alice do it, which thus means that whatever dangers she is exposed to in this movie will not harm her in anyway. A bad bad mistake.

Then there is the three starts of the movie. It starts with a scene that has no bearing on the rest of the movie, except that it is the end of the previous movie. Then after that start we get another start. And then another before it finally takes off.

And the cast is bloated with too many people, some who have been killed in previous movies and thus reappear as ‘clones’ and in one example even three times over!. In fact there are so many actors that a lot of them get not enough screen time to establish a meaningful personality. Most are killed off shortly after, probably to avoid them becoming more interesting than Alice.

The second example is the lack of emotions displayed by everyone involved. Waves of zombies appear and nobody is shocked. People get killed and nobody bats an eye. A clone of an American woman wakes up inside a Russian underground station and gets shot at and for her it is all in a days work. Nobody cares, nobody screams, nobody curses and nobody gives a shyte. They go through the motions as if drugged. Nobody is even trying anymore.

A third thing is Alex Wesker who behaves like Mr. Smith from the Matrix movies. You have to make up your own anti-heroes and not copy them from other movies.

There are many many more examples of completely mishandling everything, but three is enough for the moment as it is time for the question:
Can you please, please sack your script writer? Because the current one sucks.. big time.*

 

*(for those not aware: Anderson is the script writer for all the Resident Evil movies(,