Monday, December 20, 2021

Opportunity Cost

I'm ready for a sprawling network of quasi-academic institutions, with more military levels of risk, in terms of the dangers of leaping from helicopters or donning scuba, with the curriculum intelligently redesigned, to include, for example, American philosophy.

However, my fellow chrono-bums (cronies) are more into robot re-enactments of WW2 scenarios, with some "evil communists" in the picture although it's hard to say exactly how that works.  

So many DC roles are defined as "X vis-a-vis the former Soviet Union" i.e. the Russians moved on, but the Americans are still stuck in the 1980s, reliving Reagan and believing their own fantasy TV shows.  

Out to lunch in other words.

So nothing much is getting done, of a materially beneficial nature.  

We can keep hammering on the metaphysics until the cows come home, or is it the chickens that come home to roost?  Something animal related.  Something about a farm.  That would connote basic macro-economics, which is what this is.  

If you're coward who can't face your responsibility to make the world work, then you'll take up arms and hope to die a hero for no good reason other than what your village elders managed to concoct -- something about "communists" or "authoritarians" -- you know, the ones who assume authority to destroy the earth in the name of their stupid and obsolete fantasies?

If you want more self understanding, you will work to provide yourself and others with more opportunities for travel, and not just to resort destinations for conferences.  

My Truckers for Peace was / is a refreshing break from the usual format, involving more heavy equipment, but not degenerating into toting WMDs around (highly unfashionable in my book).

Friday, December 10, 2021

Metropolis (movie review)

I haven't been doing movie reviews, and I doubt readers notice.  Even when I did them quite a bit, they wouldn't always stay on topic and just focus on the movie in question.

Starting with the facts:  I told Glenn I was sure I'd seen Metropolis at some point, hasn't everybody? It's one of those Citizen Kane type films, archetypal.  And so it is.  But I'd never seen it.  Excerpts maybe.  

And this from the guy who went downtown five weekends in a row to watch that fifteen hour odyssey about film making.  I'll have to link to it.

The film is German, released in 1925, and as shared on this Multnomah County Library DVD is to some unavoidable extent a reconstruction.  All the real footage that remains, is used.  Some captions are added to keep the storylines clear, which is important, as the storylines twist around quite a bit, with lots of spying and people outsmarting one another.

A privileged son is turned off by the insipid shallowness of his padded existence and catches a glimpse of his heartthrob from the other side of the tracks, from the Morlockish underworld of the downtrodden proletariat.  

The Morlocks, if you don't recall, were the subsurface technologists who kept civilization going in The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.  I'm borrowing some of that imagery.

The hero starts out Eloi (a privileged child-like surface-dweller) but is determined to discover the depths of his own father's depravity in chasing his heart throb.  

When it comes to exploiting the underclass (his dad is the industrial overlord of this whole Metropolis project, the Tower of Babel in particular).

I should probably go no further without stating the thesis and teaching put forward explicitly by the film: the heart is what mediates between head and hand, meaning if you think of something you want to have happen, it needs to filter through the heart, and be real, in the heartfelt sense, to lead to right action.

The father decides to deceive the son into seeing his heart throb is really a slut (thanks to the stunt double robot he has cast in her place), but the son isn't fooled for long and the ruse backfires, and seemingly plays into the hands of the robotics expert originally charged with the cloning project.  

The slut robot is programmed to run amok, to stir up worker rage, while meanwhile the actual heart throb, good to the bone, sets about rescuing the children, who will surely be impacted when the workers, whipped into a mob frenzy, decide to destroy the machines.

The evil dad (the dark father or "darth vader") has been wanting to provoke the workers all along, so they'll do something he can use as an excuse to use violence against them.  

The whole seething mess of unleashed pathos is ultimately self destructive and both the above ground and below ground aspects of Metropolis are existentially threatened.  

This brings people to their senses, at least a little, and the mob figures out they've been duped, multiple times.  The dad and the workers reconcile, as the hero rescues the heart throb from the robotics guy, who falls to his death (spoiler alert) in the denouement.

That's all me regurgitating much of the plot and calling it a movie review.  Glenn and I were agog at its sophistication, for one of the earliest commercial movies.  Glenn said Hitler saw it and liked it.  That's what they say about The Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin as well (that Hitler found it funny).  For his part, Chaplin said he wouldn't have made the film had he understood the full scope of the ongoing holocaust.

Carol (92) watched the film with us (Glenn and I).  We paused the film for popcorn and beer. I expect to watch the commentary on another occasion.