TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Deja Vu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Deja Vu. Show all posts

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Tweet of the Day 3: Romanov Redux



I have intended to discuss Russia's potential revival of the Romanov dynasty for awhile, not least because the 100th anniversary of the royal family's murders, on 16-17 July 2018, is coming up.

In 2014 and 2015Vladimir Petrov, the Leningrad member in Russia's legislative assembly and a member of Putin's party, proposed that the Romanov pretenders could be restored and installed in their old summer house, the Livadia Palace in newly-occupied Crimea, to bolster the planned tourist industry there. You can see the Russian government pushing this idea in the travel video below. Check out the number of dislikes the video got on its original Youtube page!

The video at the bottom shows an alternate version of the same ad, cut with clips about the experiences of actual visitors. One way you can see English subtitles is by clicking cc and 'translate page.'

Russian tourist ad for Channel One - Visit the Crimea (2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Alternative advertising "In short in the Crimea" 2015 (29 July 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Tweet of the Day 1: Tweet Forerunners


The Irony of Anonymity


Image Source: Alamy.

Today is the 5th of November, and so the blog is devoted to the Million Mask March and snapshots of the Guy Fawkes mask from Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, which has become a worldwide symbol of hacktivism.

Last year, a variation of the mask was sold by Venetian maskmakers, joining the medieval with the Millennial. The Mascherade confirms that, in Venice, the mask freed people from the strictures on social identity:
"Venetian masks are a centuries-old tradition of Venice, Italy. The masks are typically worn during the ... Carnival of Venice ... but have been used on many other occasions in the past, usually as a device for hiding the wearer's identity and social status. The mask would permit the wearer to act more freely in cases where he or she wanted to interact with other members of the society outside the bounds of identity and everyday convention. It was useful for a variety of purposes, some of them illicit or criminal, others just personal, such as romantic encounters."
One blog, Licence to Mask, examines this old Venetian idea, proving that anonymity is not new; that blog also connects the Bauta mask to today's anonymity on the Internet:
"The mask was standardized and its use was regulated by government to give Venetian citizens the freedom to do business, to pursue interests on their own and to take part in political activities without being identified while still being recognized and respected as legitimate and honorable members of the Venetian society.

I would like to find out if this concept could be a paradigm for internet identity management and anonymity concepts."
Of course, Bauta masks figured prominently in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, which is based on Arthur Schnitzler's Traumroman (Dream Story). Kubrick's film fueled conspiracists' speculations about the Illuminati. It is supremely ironic that the anti-establishment online movement is masked as well, and using the same principle of anonymity that the current western establishment employed when it was in its youth, at the onset of the modern era.

Image Source: Licence to Mask.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

In Millennial Eyes 6: The Antarctic Fourth Reich and the Great Game


Frank Hurley's photograph, taken between 1914 and 1916, of Antarctic explorer Dr. Leonard Hussey with Samson - one of the Canadian sled-dogs on Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Endurance expedition. Image Source: Pinterest via Royal Geographical Society.

Today's post continues my coverage of the Millennial Antarctic Fourth Reich conspiracy theory and its meaning in terms of Internet psycho-politics. In this case, I will describe how this conspiracy theory relates to the revival of the 19th century contest between Britain and Russia for Asian lands and wealth: the Great Game.

I argue that Antarctica now replaces Central Asia, to serve as a cipher in a new virtual Great Game. The Antarctic Fourth Reich conspiracy theory appears to be an alarming Russian-sourced or pro-Russian form of propaganda, which endorses and then moves past the pro-Trump agenda, to encourage Americans to destroy their own country from within. The Fourth Reich theory also channels a folkloric and racist renewal of Anglospheric nationalism, in which Vladimir Putin is viewed as a strategic ally.

The Fourth Reich conspiracy theory depends heavily on the Nazis' merger of the occult, politics, and technology. Secrets of the Third Reich: The Rediscovery of Vimanas (uploaded 11 February 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

The conspiracy theory also seeks to isolate the Anglosphere from the Europeans. It hinges on the supposed historic continuation of German Nazism (with a conspicuous, ahistorical failure to mention Italian fascism, Japan, or affiliated Axis powers from World War II) and returns Anglospheric opinion of the Russians to the sympathetic year of 1944.

Despite the apparent Russian dominance of this online extravaganza, the Anglospheric aspect of the Fourth Reich narrative has an elusive introspective quality which may excise the Russian factor and even nationalist racism. That is, something about this conspiracy theory involves America, the UK, and affiliated Commonwealth countries chewing over internal identity in light of contemporary politics and evolving global techno-economies and societies. The outcome of that muddled cultural reevaluation may be completely independent and unexpected, regardless of whether or not the Russians try to interfere with, or benefit from, this process.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A 1930s' Revival


Image Source: New York Post.

I hoped for a respite from the political nightmare, but that is not happening. Instead, there is a chilling déjà vu of the 1930s. Hillary Clinton launched the 'resistance.' Donald Trump's national security leak to the Russians has an Israeli source; the scandal damages his presidency. The leak endangers a spy who is working inside ISIS and who provided information which led to the laptop ban on airplane flights.

The alt-media are discussing the Seth Rich murder case because it challenges the Democrats' narrative that the Russians hacked the US election. A private investigator and federal investigator came forward to maintain that Rich was WikiLeaks' source of Democrats' e-mails. Contrary to the claims of Rich's family, the alt-media think DNC leaders murdered Rich for leaking 44,053 DNC e-mails to Julian Assange via the hacker Guccifer 2.0. Even the alt-right do not trust this trail of information, yet they conclude that the source which compromised Clinton's electoral campaign was not Russian. Rich's laptop, which could confirm his connection to WikiLeaks, is held by the FBI; his murder is unsolved. This story is dismissed as a right-wing conspiracy theory to draw attention away from Trump's intelligence leak.

The alt-media point to a Podesta e-mail, which states that a warning example should be made of a "suspected leaker." The dates do not line up to support the conspiracy theory: Podesta's e-mail dates from February 2015. WikiLeaksDNC material covers January 2015 to May 2016. Rich was murdered in July 2016. The alt-media further argue that the murder was covered up by the Chief of Washington, DC police at the request of the mayor and the DNC. It sounds like Gotham City!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

North Korean Monopoly: Progress and Poverty


Image Source: hajo via NRC.

VICE recently reported (below) that North Korea is making billions of dollars by sending its forced labour pool to work in Poland and other European countries. If you follow VICE, you know that North Korea is one of Shane Smith's favourite subjects. I have previously blogged about his coverage, here. VICE's report drew from earlier articles in the Dutch media, NRC (11 February 2016), and Reuters (26 April 2016). I was struck by the North Korean Monopoly illustration that appears in the VICE video, reproduced from the NRC report, and the implication that North Korea's totalitarian family dictatorship and weird communists are exporting forced labour around the world as a capitalist commodity. Reuters maintained that the money earned by North Korean forced labour in the seemingly humanitarian European Union was funding the North Korean nuclear weapons and missile programme:
"[T]here is arguably a strong link between North Korean human rights infringements and something that is happening in the EU today. Preliminary research shows that several hundred, possibly thousands, of North Korean workers are hired with legal work permits, but under often illegal circumstances, in EU member states. These states include Poland, Malta and others. The companies hiring North Koreans include those involved in shipyards, construction, manufacturing and agriculture. Details about these companies will be included in a forthcoming report later this year. Once workers are issued these permits, it is not clear what happens after they arrive in the EU.

Funds earned by North Korean laborers working in the EU under what appear to be conditions of forced labor a[re] sent to Pyongyang enable the missile-launching posturing we are now witnessing. Effectively, this means that action to address North Korea’s dire human rights situation could be intimately connected to efforts to fight its threat to regional security."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A New Lament Configuration



It is odd that an architect, much less an American Gen X architect, commissioned to do a World Trade Center design, would not check the cultural message associated with his design at such a sensitive site. From Inhabitat, the new renderings of the Ronald O. Perelman World Trade Center Performing Arts Center released this week show a glowing, lantern-like cube:
"According to the architect, Joshua Prince-Ramus, the rooms and halls will all feature moveable walls that will create up to 11 configurations. ... Designed by REX, the building will be made out of translucent, veined marble and glass, which will give it dull sheen during the day."
I cannot believe that the REX lead architect does not know about Clive Barker's horror puzzle box, also known as the Lament Configuration, which opened gateways to hell in all the Hellraiser films. Youtubers recognized it immediately: "It's the cube from Hellraiser!" This is not the way to quell 9/11 conspiracy theories. The WTC Twin Towers appeared in Hellraiser 3 (1992); you can see the scene here. That flim ended with the box being hidden in the soft cement of a skyscraper foundation in Manhattan, which influenced its subsequent design. In Hellraiser 4 (1996), the skycraper and architect become the epicentre of another battle with demons.

Video Source: The Real Deal via Youtube.

The REX WTC Performing Arts Center design (September 2016). Image Source: yimby.

The conclusion of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992). Image Source: Edge of the Fringe.

The Hellraiser III promotional poster featured the Twin Towers. Image Source: Subscene.

See my previous post on Hellraiser 3, here.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pilgrim Timekeepers


A pilgrim walking the Camino, or Way of St. James. Image Source: Tailored Spain.

If you want to know why tax season is in spring and its subsequent meaning for May, read on. As Catholic pilgrims prepare now for Pentecost on 15 May 2016, the blog returns to France's Chartres cathedral to note how places which attract pilgrims become centres of spirituality and memory. Pilgrimage routes have endured worldwide for thousands of years. One famous European route is the Spanish Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James. In 2014, 200,000 people undertook that journey, and the road is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. 'Walking the Camino' is a huge event, even for atheists. For the faithful and secular alike, it is a modern walking holiday, attracting its share of business and crime.

In 2012, The Guardian asked why atheists participated in old Christian pilgrimages. Image Source: Guardian.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Algorithms of Power


Marilena Preda-Sânc, Globe (Glob, world globe, nails, 35 x 35 x 35 cm, 1999; via the Bucharest Biennale). Image Source: Pavilion.

The footage below of the ruined Syrian city of Homs below was circulated by RussiaWorks on Youtube on 2 February 2016. Business Insider cites the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, which states that 13,301 people have died in the city since 2011. Business Insider also reports critically on the Russian video source:
"The video has not been independently verified but is similar to previous RussiaWorks productions, such as a video from January shot in the Damascus suburb of Darayya.

Speaking to Business Insider in October [2015] Boris [Z]ilberman, a Russia expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said: 'RussiaWorks is part of a slick campaign by the Kremlin to sell the war at home and project Russia as a military power.'

'The videos are put together by a number of Russian war correspondents/production folks that are tied to the Kremlin and probably have a lot of time on their hands — and some good drones — to make highly edited videos.'"
The Russians, with Iranian-backed Shia troops, are supporting Syrian government forces against Syrian opposition fighters and ISIS. On 20 April 2016, American analysts discussed these military movements into Aleppo, with Sunni civilians fleeing Aleppo ahead of the Russian, Syrian government's and Shia troops' advance:
"Russian aircraft, helicopters and troops have also been moving toward Aleppo over the past several weeks, they say. At the same time, hundreds of Iranian-backed Shia militia fighters are converging on the area to bolster existing regime forces.

'The Syrian regime seems to be driving towards the eventual isolation of opposition forces in and around Aleppo,' a U.S. intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.

The official said at least in the area north of Aleppo, Russian actions appeared to be in support of the Syrian regime, aimed at cutting off the supply lines for moderate opposition forces.

'We also see indications of fighting southwest of Aleppo between Syrian forces with Russian backing and opposition elements,' the official added.

Russian officials have long said their actions in Syria have been aimed at terror groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, and U.S. officials admit Russia has picked up the pace of airstrikes on terror targets.

But analysts caution the type of Russian equipment being sent to Aleppo suggests not just a different enemy in the short term but also a broader strategic endgame.

'Russia has begun to alter the shape of its own deployment,' Institute for the Study of War analyst Genevieve Casagrande said during a panel discussion Wednesday [20 April 2016]."

Video Source: RussiaWorks via Independent via Facebook. Also circulated on Youtube by RT.


Some argue that the Americans, particularly the CIA, the British, sometimes the French, and the Israelis are behind a masterful New World Order bid to turn the whole Middle East into a batch of western puppet states, with countries falling domino by domino, after a social-media-driven succession of Arab Springs gone wrong. That gives the Americans and supposed Illuminati too much credit. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is very much 'like father, like son'; the Syrian civil war resembles the 1982 Hama massacre, in which Hafez al-Assad crushed a Sunni uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood which had been brewing since 1976. The failed American bid to topple Assad by joining the Saudis to fund Syrian opposition forces - and some argue, ISIS, despite American battles with the group - has led to a disastrous foreign policy mess, which brings the drone-slinging Americans to what The Guardian called, "plan B."

Déjà vu: similarities between Shia-led crackdowns on majority Sunni uprisings in Syria. Image Source: Georgetown University via Ben Davies.

Plan B involves cooling the American alliance with Saudi Arabia and tentatively supporting Iran, leaving one to wonder where the Saudis will pivot, perhaps toward Russia. The picture: ISIS in Europe; Russia and Iran in Syria; the Saudis alienated by the Americans to temper Iran's nuclear ambitions. All eyes turn to Jordan, now sharing anti-ISIS intelligence with the Israelis and Egypt, terrified of a nuclear Iran. If Iran has nuclear weapons, some argue that other Middle Eastern countries should have them too, or none at all. Beyond the usual astronomical expenditure on weapons in the Middle East, what would a nuclear arms race there look like and where would it lead? There is already a conventional arms race. In 2015, USD $1.7 trillion was spent collectively by all powers on weapons of mass, medium and minor destruction; you can see a worldwide comparative chart here. Of that amount, Saudi Arabia spent USD $87.2 billion in 2015; in 2013, the country spent USD $67 billion, and USD $56 billion in 2012, which gives an idea of the kingdom's escalating anxieties.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rickrolling ISIS


Image Source: Academia Obscura.

In 2007, a bait-and-switch meme started on the Internet that tricked users into watching Rick Astley's 1987 hit Never Gonna Give You Up (hear it here). The meme is called 'Rickrolling' and while it has brought Astley back into the spotlight, by August 2015 he had earned only $12 from the prank because he has performer's rights to the song; profits from Rickrolling went to the very fortunate song-writing trio, Stock Aitken Waterman. Astley remains sanguine: "Listen, I just think it’s bizarre and funny. My main consideration is that my daughter doesn’t get embarrassed about it." Above, from Academia Obscura, a student's physics paper on Niels Bohr. Bohr, the 1922 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, modeled the atom in the 1920s, helped refugees flee the Nazis in the 1930s, worked at the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, and helped establish CERN in the 1950s.

Anonymous cyber-revenge campaign after the 13 November 2015 Paris attacks. Video Source: RT via Youtube.

The Young Turks opinion on Anonymous campaign against ISIS (16 November 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Rickrolling meme is resilient. A day after the Paris attacks on 14 November 2015, Anonymous began to spam and troll Twitter users with pro-ISIS terrorist hashtags by diverting their traffic to Rick Astley's video. This Rickrolling performs as a type of data-mining, in which Anonymous hackers keep track of those diverted to the video and mark them for cyber-attacks. The hackers use social media information to steal ISIS Bitcoin cryptocurrency holdings and they attack them on the Dark Net. They renewed this effort after the Brussels attacks on 22 March 2016. This is the hackers' reverse humour against ISIS operatives and sympathizers: never gonna give you up.

However, as I have commented before on this blog, it would be naïve to imagine Anonymous as purely heroic actors, after one has had a taste of their New World Order and World War III conspiracy theories, here, here, here and here. The campaigns against ISIS are related to Anonymous cyber-attacks on the Belgian government under hashtag #DownSecBelgium. On their announcement that they will rally at Place de la Concorde in Paris, France on 10 June 2016, one Youtuber was skeptical: "rien à voire avec Anonymous, c'est un fake."

Anonymous hacker campaign announced in French against ISIS one day after the Paris attacks (14 November 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Anonymous hacker campaign announced in French against ISIS on the same day as the Brussels attacks (22 March 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Justin Bieber Meets the Renaissance


Images Source: Daily Mail.

A photo of Justin Bieber being choked by R&B artist Post Malone in a club last week has gone viral because the light of the photo and the composition, which follows the Golden Ratio, perfectly mimics the appearance of a Renaissance painting. Several people photoshopped the image to make it look like a Renaissance painting in a gallery. Post Malone, who first gained attention last year for his hit, White Iverson (hear it here), appeared at Coachella on 18 April 2016 covering Nirvana's Lithium (Hat tip: Hot New Hip Hop).


Friday, April 15, 2016

The Canals of Earth


A great cover for Martian Comics #5 (2016) with art by David A. Frizell is a homage to the classic film, A Voyage to the Moon (1902). Image Source: Martian Lit.

See images today from a Kickstarter campaign for a comic book about Martians' view of Earth, The Canals of Earth!
"Humans have long looked to the sky and wondered about Mars. What if someone was looking back? The Canals of Earth is the story of how Mars sees Earth, running from Martian prehistory to its space age. We begin in Martian prehistory, when Martians looked to the skies and imagined Earth as a goddess. We see some of the Martian mythology about Earth, tied to the invention of writing. We then see Martian science-fiction, in which they imagined aliens in their own image."
This comic, fifth in the series Martian Comics (2014-present; details here) is written by Julian Darius, with art by Mansjur Daman and colours by Diego Rodriguez. Darius has a doctorate in English Literature and founded the Sequart Organization, which promotes sequential artwork in graphic novels and comic books as a legitimate art form. You can still support the Canals of Earth project here until 27 April 2016.

While the imagery of the comic's cover is taken from the turn-of-the-century French film, A Voyage to the Moon (see it below), the book's title is taken from late 19th century studies that there were canals on Mars, based on observations of the Red Planet by astronomers Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910), Percival Lowell (1855-1916), and Charles E. Burton (1846-1882).

First page (click to enlarge). Image Source: Martian Lit.

Martian Comics #5. Image Source: Kickstarter.

Kickstarter promo video, Martian Comics #5, The Canals of Earth!

The iconic image of the Man in the Moon from Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902). Image Source: Wiki.

The Blurred Line and the Hard Line


Under conditions of anomie, a fictional social network diagram shows competitive offshoots or spin-off groups, who redefine old norms to create new societies. Image Source: Wiki.

Technology, combined with the Great Recession and globalization, transformed societies, economies and politics through the turn of the Millennium. The mask of the materialist capitalist dream slipped with revelations from the Panama Papers, while also showing how that dream is connected to non-capitalist societies. The latter do not have better systems or superior ideologies. Hierarchy, exploitation and inequality are universal human problems. This post is not about who is correct, but who is seeking to control the claim to be correct.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Time and Politics 15: Educated Readers and Pimlico Flats


Williams worked for Echelon, or the Five Eyes, an intelligence accord between the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The radomes in this photo at RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire are alleged to be part of the ECHELON system. Image Source: Wiki.

Here is a follow-up to a previous post: there are hair-raising rumours online about the 2010 death of GCHQ computer expert and cryptographer Gareth Williams. In that earlier post, I quoted a passage from C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength, on how truth comes out in the tabloids:
"Why you fool, it's the educated reader who can be gulled. All our difficulty comes with the others. When did you meet a workman who believes the papers? He takes it for granted that they're all propaganda and skips the leading articles. He buys his paper for the football results and the little paragraphs about girls falling out of windows and corpses found in Mayfair flats. He is our problem. We have to recondition him. But the educated public, the people who read the highbrow weeklies, don't need reconditioning. They're all right already. They'll believe anything."
Williams's body was not discovered in Mayfair, but in a not-so-safe safe house in Pimlico, another district of the City of Westminster.

A supposed Met computer model reconstruction of the scene when Williams's body was found. Note how different this video-game-like scene is from the video of Williams's flat below the jump. Image Source: Breitbart.

Two rumours about Williams's death appeared in late summer 2015. In one story, he was named as the hacker in the Clinton diary hack. In another, a former Russian intelligence agent, now hiding in London (while chatting indiscreetly with the national press), claimed to have investigated the matter for personal reasons.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blue Moon Past: To Reincarnate, To Forgive?


The Omnipresence or Transcendent Reincarnation (2014) by George Grie. Image Source: neosurrealismart.

You cannot move into the future without first dealing with the past. And sometimes, you can only do that once in a blue moon. The glittering technology of the twenty-first century makes the past a persona non grata. It is a full time job to keep track of data in the present while dreaming of the future. There is no time to digest or assimilate past information and sort out how it relates to real life. Keep moving forward! Move into the eternal Now and discard the past as useless commodity, a broken toy. Even if that past was last week's past, get rid of it, dump it in the unsorted junkyard.

A blue moon refers to an extra full moon in the year. Twelve months normally have twelve full moons, but a blue moon (like tonight's) is a thirteenth moon in the calendar. In folklore, these moons are considered rare events which invite reflection, release and wishes. The 'blue' designation comes not from the colour, but from the Old English term 'belewe,' which meant 'blue' or 'to betray,' promising an intercalary or additional month, where there is none. Nevertheless, the appeal of the blue moon's pocket of hidden, extra time persists. Image Source: wallpapersinhq.

In the name of progress, the past is demonized and feared as a repository of unsolved or buried problems, atavism, regressive beliefs and reactionary politics which damage the Self and others. In the 1990s, it was popular for psychiatric patients to undergo therapies in which they suddenly remembered suppressed memories, manifested in the form of taboos such as incest. That anti-historical fashion 'proved' that the past is full of demons which bar our way forward; it is best to deny, erase and purge them so that we may constantly reinvent our identities en route to becoming shinier versions of ourselves.

No matter what future sirens call, you cannot reach them without facing the past. If you don't do the stock-taking and change course where necessary, human psychology has its little ways of transporting you back to the junkyard. The past will come alive again and pull you back on an eternal loop until you learn its lessons. The Hindus, Buddhists and Taoists call that loop Saṃsāra. The Christians call it Hell. The journey on the wheel rises or falls but always returns to square one: time becomes nihlistic, a flat circle. In the eastern tradition, iniquities repeat across many lifetimes. In the Christian view, iniquities repeat through the course of one life. In these belief systems, there are only two ways out of the loop: to reincarnate, or to forgive, in enlightened ways.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bloom County is Back


Image Source: Facebook.

Bloom County, the beloved 1980s' American alt-politics comic strip that out-alted them all has returned after 25 years. Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed announced the return, which may or may not have had something to do with Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, on Facebook on 13 July 2015. Bloom County grew out of a late 1970s' comic, The Academia Waltz, from Breathed's student days and inspired sequels Outland (1989-1995) and Opus (2003-2008).

Laugh of the Day: Minute by Minute



The cartoon above is from Gary Clement at Canada's National Post (27 December 2014). Clement pokes fun at the six-volume autobiography of Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgård, My Struggle (Min kamp), known for its minute-by-minute examination of all minutiae of the author's life. It was a publishing sensation. Unlike Clement's cartoon, there was nothing funny about the personal outcome. Knausgård admitted that in exposing so many intimate details about himself and those close to him, he committed an "unmoral" act and gave away his soul. But he said: "The point was not to please. It was to speak the truth. To write reality." The first volume was published in 2009, the last in 2011; the whole series is 3,600 pages long.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Riding the Wheel of Fortune


Waterwheel at Daio Wasabi farm in Azumino, Nagano, Japan. The farm appeared in Akira Kurosawa's film, Dreams (1990; see film clip, below, and my previous posts on that film, here, here, and here). Image Source: Youtube.

Is time a circle? Sometimes, it looks as though the wheel turns and returns. The wheel of fortune represents two opposing things: a divination of the future, or luck at the roulette table. That means the wheel, which is also a symbol of human technology, mixes a message about the passage of time because it combines order with chaos. The wheel supposedly reveals the points where Fate meets Fortune. Looking at a problem linearly, we might believe the past is gone, done and fixed, indicating the path of future destiny. But if time is a circle, we can revisit the past, gamble again and change its story.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

True Detective: Time is a Flat Circle


Poster for True Detective season 1 (2014) is set in Louisiana. Image Source: HG Girl on Fire. The show's poster spawned a spoof meme, see: here, here, here.

America loves a morality tale, the deeper and darker, the better. Just as the '70s had Serpico, Mean Streets and Chinatown, the '80s had Blade Runner, Blue Velvet and Angel Heart, the '90s had L.A. Confidential and The Usual Suspects, and the '00s had No Country for Old Men and The Dark Knight as the definitive neo-noirs of those decades, the 2010s have Winter's Bone and the HBO television series True Detective. True Detective debuted in the USA and Canada on 12 January 2014 and debuted in the UK on Sky Atlantic on 22 February 2014. The second season begins in North America on 21 June 2015. Season 2 is set around the Los Angeles transportation system and involves a murder at the heart of a giant conspiracy.

The writing and vision for this series is incredible. True Detective makes the parallel UK drama, Broadchurch, pale in comparison. Broadchurch is strong in its own right and has somewhat similar initial premise: two quarreling detectives seek a murderer. But Broadchurch does not take the same risks.

True Detective season 2 (2015) is set around the Los Angeles transportation system, the venal conduit into the dark heart of the City of Angels. Season 2 stars Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell. Image Source: Mashable.

True Detective does exactly what a noir should do. The tension mounts, and as the characters' flaws deepen, the plot gets more feverish. The Toronto Sun remarks that True Detective, "makes every other police procedural drama seem faint and quaint by comparison. How are we supposed to watch 'regular' TV if HBO keeps dropping these sorts of live grenades in our laps?"

True Detective is not just a genre-hopping cop drama trying to shock its viewers, as with another Millennial series, The Fall. Like Twin Peaks, season 1 of this Lynchian show started off as police noir and ended up as a horror story. There are references in True Detective to H. P. Lovecraft's works and Blair Witch, which similarly involve rational investigations dragging the investigators' subconscious into a confrontation with an immense, malevolent, supernatural being or force.

There is a monster here, behind the police explorations of gritty streets and haunted bayous. The monster inhabits the dreams of this mundane world, but unfortunately for the characters, the monster has legs. It has a history. The Gen X writer of True Detective, Nic Pizzolatto, gives his horror deep roots. He presents this TV series as one story in a long line of stories about a much, much larger legend. True Detective is a metafictional continuation of the multi-authored Carcosa mythos, which started with an Ambrose Bierce short story, "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" also known as "Can Such Things Be?" (1891; read it here) and The King in Yellow (1895) by Robert W. Chambers. You can read The King in Yellow online here. For more on The King In Yellow and the Carcosa story: go here, here, herehere and here. You can see this series' connection with Chambers's stories drawn here and here. The metafiction continuity inspired so much chatter that some critics claimed that Pizzolatto had plagiarized, rather than continued, other authors' works.

In other words, True Detective is supposed to be part of, and continue, a fictional mythology about something terrible that once happened in an ancient lost city. In Bierce's work, that city, Carcosa, is described by someone who once lived there:
Along the shore the cloud waves break, The twin suns sink behind the lake, The shadows lengthen In Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise, And strange moons circle through the skies, But stranger still is Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing, Where flap the tatters of the King, Must die unheard in Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead, Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed Shall dry and die in Lost Carcosa.

—"Cassilda's Song" in The King in Yellow Act 1, Scene 2

Monday, April 6, 2015

New Movies in Old VHS Cases



New wine in old bottles. From the French satirical site, golem13, via The Poke, here's what Millennial movies would look like if packaged in the old 1980s-1990s VHS cases. It shows how graphic art and marketing have moved from the static to the kinetic in 15-20 odd years.