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The question is whether Tron is a story about a place that is not what it seems to be, or a place full of people who cannot be what they are. Either way it leads to a lot of hackneyed fight scenes, and that’s what I find fascinating. Here we have people who are clearly not where they say they are. There is no part of your computer that does that.
And all they can think to do is fight. They fight for each other’s amusement. With the addition of Tron Legacy to the canon, which does a wonderful job of elucidating the thematically bland Tron with brilliant visuals but no additions to the story whatsoever, I think we get closer to the question of what the Grid is.
Literally. It is the land of dreams. It is obvious that we are not inside a computer, but inside the dreams of a computer. Or, to be more precise, the dreams of a bunch of CGI animators.
By not dealing with this problem at all, Tron has allowed itself to describe it perfectly, much like a handful of scattered sand can reveal the outlines of a hidden door.
Or I hear that it can. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve seen it in movies.
Sometimes I get it into my head that a film is better than it possibly can be, and 2013’s “The Lone Ranger” is such a film. What should be a sterile, aimless waste is an unexpected labor of strange love, a lush romantic remythologization of the Western for the 21st century tied to the complete rebirth of a forgotten legend.
Jerry Bruckheimer, Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp, prime movers behind the Pirates of the Carribean series, brought the Lone Ranger to the screen in 2013. It is one of the most unusual blockbuster action films ever released. Designed as a love letter to a franchise that nobody remembers, the Lone Ranger functions as an elegy for a myth and a recasting of the Wild West in a way that resonates with a modern audience. It is successful as both an action movie and as a work of art, but it missed its mark with the theater-going audience of the summer of 2013.
Depp’s Tonto and Armie Hammer’s Lone Ranger race the clock to stop the villains from robbing, stealing and killing the town, the railroad, the lonely widow woman and the last of the Comanche. The action is so over-the-top as to be hilarious; this is not a serious film. However, in between being a lot of fun, the Lone Ranger manages to be honestly deep.
Recounting the various levels of framing and commentary in the film would take a much longer article than this. Suffice to say, the myth of the Lone Ranger is thoroughly deconstructed and artfully rebuilt, settling the foundations of the story squarely upon Tonto. The focus of the narrative is literally lifted from the Lone Ranger and placed on Tonto, who now becomes the central figure of the legend and the main character in all but name. The tragedy of Native American history in the Old West is no longer politely ignored in the grandiose vision of our mythic past promulgated by The Lone Ranger. Instead, it takes center stage. The riddles and contradictions inherent in Lone Ranger and Tonto are given a “zen” significance, and the very concept of the morally valuable blockbuster action picture is taken to its logical extent.
The film was not a box office success. It cost $225 million to make and $150 million to market, but it only earned $260 million internationally upon its initial release. American critics found themselves baffled, and audiences responded with similar disinterest. The Lone Ranger is not a film that anyone was asking for. It is not a well-remembered franchise. Instead, this is the result of a lifetime of meditation upon stories and myths. Because the Lone Ranger is essentially a finished franchise, the story is complete, and any comprehensive comment upon it becomes a comment upon the whole. This movie is a labor of love from a man who has spent many decades thinking about this myth and what it means.
This film does nothing less than point to a new understanding of the American story.
Bruckheimer and Verbinski are telling the audience that, by changing the way America looks its past, the nation can come to terms with it. The history of America is painful, and the Lone Ranger is an indelible part of that history. This film is an attempt to directly address that connection between fiction and reality, allowing audiences a cathartic opportunity to grieve for the mistakes of the past, celebrate the victories and move forward together. All that is needed is to understand that the Lone Ranger was never, ever alone.
American Horror Story season 4: Pretty. Pretty dumb.
It is made from bits of stories and they never come together. There are constant hints of some of organizing principle, something that makes some sort of larger sense. But it is not really there. It is shapes in the smoke. The show is dedicated to getting as much screen time as possible for as many people as possible as they thrash through a soap opera encyclopedia and a CD of creepy music cues. I’m not aware of anything the show has to say except “Mothers can’t be trusted” and “Everything happens and nothing matters.”
With that in mind, here is some of my favorite fan art for the show. I don’t know who made any of these.
Somebody sent me this rather amazing reply to the True Detective essay so I thought I’d repost it here and answer at length.
We began by discussing the Notre Dame line in TD, which he takes to be very important, because of Rust’s attraction to places of great ritual significance.
The Paris connection is there for anyone who reads Chambers. It isn’t entirely easy to discern, but it is there.
You are correct about it being Notre Dame. Why is this significant? Well for starters it is well known for its Gothic architecture and the Naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass. Naturalism in the arts is the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without artificiality and avoiding artistic conventions, implausible, exotic and supernatural elements. Realist works of art may emphasize the ugly or sordid, and deals with the accurate depiction of lifeforms, perspective, and the details of light and color. This is contrasted and a reaction to Romanticism which emphasized intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe. Romanticism revived elements of art and narrative perceived to be authentically medieval in an attempt to escape population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism.
So what you are probably asking. Well, Rust and Marty fit this descriptive contrast. Marty and Rust, Hart and Cohle, or “Heart and Soul”. Marty is all emotion and sentimental. Rust is his opposite introspective and introverted. The way each makes sense of the world have obvious parallels to naturalism and romanticism. And the reason neither could find the clue that was right under their noses was because Rust excluded the supernatural at first and Marty tried to escape the progress of of not only his own life, but all life as represented by the growth of industry, population and urban sprawl. If he doesn’t look down, he can see 40…
The cathedral treasury is notable for its reliquary which houses some of Catholicism’s most important first-class relics including the purported Crown of Thorns, a fragment of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails. The connection here to Rust is obvious. He was the sacrifice. He pondered the nature of accepting that by placing a cross above his bed even though he himself didn’t believe in the supernatural explanation for it. Time is a flat circle, so there is reason to believe Rust was pondering this before we ever see him in the show. Symbolically speaking, a relic is something that has survived the passage of time.
The suicide you mention may have a possible connection as well. The suicide note contained messages concerning the destruction of a way of life, the problems of decadence, and the dissolution of the nuclear family. These themes have an obvious connection to many in True Detective. Perhaps RUst went to the church to kill himself and found he “lacked the constitution for suicide” as he tells Marty.
The North Transept ROse is beautiful stained glass. It also looks remarkably similar to the vortex seen in the finale.
Here is where it gets interesting. The position of titular organist (“head” or “chief” organist) at Notre-Dame is considered one of the most prestigious organist posts in France and the world over. Chambers
wrote of an organ player, or something far more sinister disguised as an organ player. Chambers short story “In the Court of the Dragon” involves a narrator who seeks refuge in a church in France called St Barnabus. Overcome by an unknown fear, he is offended and angered by the Organist’s playing, which nobody else seems to notice. He mistakes the exit of the organ player and assumes this was a mistake in the way he measured the passage of time. He interprets the organ players look as one of hatred, and notices that others in the church are looking at him the same way. He leaves, making his escape back home but realizes he is being followed by the organ player. He decides struggling is pointless and awakens back in the church, deciding it was a dream. He realizes he knew the organ player all along as death or a messenger or deliver of death and realizes he is disguised to everyone else eyes but his own. The church disappears and he finds himself on the shore of the lake of Hali (which runs up into Carcosa in other stories and is mentioned in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos). The story ends with the character dying, and it reads, “Then death seemingly comes, “And now I heard his voice, rising, swelling, thundering through the flaring light, and as I fell, the radiance increasing, increasing, poured over me in waves of flame. Then I sank into the depths, and I heard the King in Yellow whispering to my soul: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!”.
So what can we make of this? Here we see, **poured over me in waves of flame**, like we see Rust in the introduction to the show each week. The **flaring light** also reminded me of the shot you linked of Marty on the phone when he calls his mistress. The story ends with “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”. How does one fall into those hands? Suffering, sin, punishing oneself ( ever the control freak, Rust struggled with blaming himself for his daughter’s death), eroding defenses by drug and alcohol abuse? All of the above? I think the important thing is that at some point during Rust’s visit to France, he attracted the attention of the Yellow KIng (or his followers or more symbolically, death and madness), just like the main character in this story. The yellow King (or his followers or more symbolically death and madness) has been following him since. An interesting relation and perhaps a less obvious resource for the writers of the show, St Barnabus was a church in Carcosa in Neal Wilgus’ story “The Rest of Your Life” where the congregants chanted “have you seen the yellow sign” over and over just like they did in Chamber’s “The Yellow Sign” where the Church Watchmen and unnamed others chanted, “Have you found the yellow sign”?. Interestingly, in that story which also takes place in France, a man walks alone in the night and finds the streets abandoned, except for a figure on a church’s steps. When he sees the figure he is overcome with anger and confusion, and is compelled to hatred and violence, the same way the protagonist was in “The COurt of the Dragon” when hearing the organists music. And just like the protagonist in that story, this one is also pursued by death who is in the service of the Yellow King. Worth noting is the fact that both antagonists were uncovered in churchs. It would seem that the Yellow King and his servants evidently hide behind the cloak of religion…
I could make other connections but for now, that is the best I have to offer. I do have some questions though and would like to pick your mind!
First, what are your thoughts on the mask? Childress says” Take off your mask”. I can make several connections to Chambers, Maupassant, and Poe, among others, but I don’t have a grasp yet on what was being said and why.
The second Childress says that he’s screwed, because Rust wears no mask.
Cassilda: Indeed it’s time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.
Stranger: I wear no mask.
Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!
Rush “knows who he really is.” He’s the exact opposite of Childress, who is nothing but mask upon mask — he never even talks the same way twice. This makes him the Monster at the End of the Book for Childress.
This is another reason why I think Pizzolatto read House of Leaves — the awareness that, to the minotaur, Theseus is the monster.
And then he “uses his head,” by headbutting Childress.
Second, have you noticed the way sex is shown with the main characters? Marty, a slave to his emotions, is on bottom with both mistresses (and bound by one of them) while Rust, ever vigilant to not lose control as you pointed out in your essay, mounts Maggie from behind? The closest we see to two character making love, we get a quick shot of missionary before the shot fades away. What are your thoughts on this and do you think it is significant?
No, I never noticed it, and yes, it’s definitely significant. I think it’s part of Marty’s essential immaturity that he always wants to be punished — he’s a Bad Boy. It’s deeper than that, though. There’s a lot of stuff about the job of policing and the police department that goes unnoticed, but Rust and Marty are shown to be thoroughly bad rotten no-good cops who abuse their power in every conceivable way. Marty likes to be handcuffed because he knows he deserves it.
What happened between Rust and Maggie barely qualifies as sex. It’s more like some weird ritual.
Third, when Rust goes to the payphone to look for clues about who called the prisoner that killed himself after promising to tell of the yellow King, did you notice the lone yellow Lilly? Rust looks right at it. What is your take on this?
No, I did not notice that, but it’s a really interesting point as well. Does that happen before or after the scene in the sanitarium? Maybe by that point Rust understands that the flowers mean that he missed something….
Lastly, you seem to hint in your essay that you don’t buy into any type of larger conspiracy in the storyline. What are your thought on the elder Tuttle moving from governor (local) to senator(senator)? What was the purpose of the cultlike activities being covered up? Do you have any thoughts on the theoretical idea of a psychosphere? And do you think Rev Tuttle meant something more when he said, “There is a war going on behind the scenes”?
I bet he did! There are a few things that he could have meant there. One interesting point for me, and something that I think Pizzolatto was talking about in the series, is that there were a LOT of powerful-people-running-child-pornography rings that were discovered and rolled up in the early 1990s. The most famous are of course Louisiana and Omaha (the Aksarben scandal), but there were also ones in Austin Texas (the Kallisted ring) Seattle Washington (whatever was going on with the orphanages), Belgium, and of course the Catholic Church. I think I remember others as well.
I think that local businessmen running sex rings was a very common byproduct of the Western system until the 1990s, when some essential tipping point was reached and they were all (most? Some?) wrapped up and brought down. I think this is one of the main things TD is about.
That might be what he meant, or he might mean the impulse of good and evil, or he might just be talking about power in general.
As to a conspiracy, obviously the Tuttles are related. What I meant is that no grand manipulator was abusing Marty’s daughters just in case he was some day assigned to a case, and the woman in the Fox and the Hound is not a spy. As a matter of fact, she’s probably a direct outgrowth of a character in NYPD Season 2 episode 21. A whole lot of this show comes from NYPD Blue. For example, lighting the cigarette and being told to put it out in the very first scene with Rust.
But I digress. What I meant is that there are conspiracies but they are not magical or all-powerful, and they are not behind every single thing that happens in the story. I don’t think Papania or Gilbough are in on it, for example. I’m sorta hoping to see them again.
Book six of Fief! I have finally decided to do a story without a standardized spelling for the title. Because, honestly, why on earth not?
Anyway, this is a good one, I like this one. Leda in the real world is one tough customer. This next book is all about her unique approach to problem solving and her ability to turn an ordinary day into a terrifying expression of brutality.
So today is the 155th anniversary of John Brown’s oddly-fated raid on Harper’s Ferry. As much as I’d like to boil the event down to one or two pithy lines, my reading on the subject has not refined my thoughts. Instead, it’s just tossed new thoughts on the pile.
So the best I can do are some pictures worth a thousand words, more or less. Let’s say twenty.
In May 2011 I went beekeeping with my friend Kelsey, somewhere on the Minnesota/Wisconsin line.
Kelsey was of the opinion that Colony Collapse Disorder is caused by everything. All those causes you’re hearing about, they’re all doing it. Cell phones, pesticides, destruction of habitat, GMO, invasive species, climate change, all of it. It’s just a hard life for a bee right now.
Merle: Man, it sure is rough being handcuffed to a roof in a town full of zombies. Maybe if I hadn’t been such a crazy racist I wouldn’t be stuck here. On the other hand, bad luck had a lot to do with it. I guess you could say it was nature AND nurture.
Merle: Those zombies sure are scary, and if they could get through that fire door I bet they’d eat me up in a trice. Well, better get to escaping.
(through complicated maneuverings drags hacksaw across roof to self with belt).
Merle: what to do…what to do. Well, guess there’s nothing to it but to cut my arm off.
(sticks tongue out, screws out eyes, prepares to cut).
Merle: Wait! I almost forgot the most important part! The tourniquet.
(takes shirt off, wraps it around arm, ties off. Arm immediately turns bright red)
Merle: Legendary badassery here I come! Think I’ll start with the back of my wrist, save the veins and tendons for dessert.
(begins to saw through skin. Hacksaw quickly clots with bits of flesh)
Merle: Wow, this hacksaw doesn’t work very well. It’s almost like it’s designed to cut through metal instead of flesh. Of course, it’s so dull that it won’t cut through metal (obviously, or I wouldn’t be sawing my own arm off) but how is it therefore sharp enough to cut through flesh and bone? Oh well I will just have to saw harder.
(cuts through the outer layer of epidermis, begins to peel fascia away from inner sheathing of muscle and bone. Fingers begin to jerk uncontrollably as the tendons are slowly abraded away).
Merle: My goodness, that smarts! Good thing I have lots and lots of time while those zombies:
Merle: those zombies over there repeatedly try and fail to get through a locked door. You know, I’ve been out here so long, sawing on my own arm in the hot Atlanta sun, monologuing, I guess it wasn’t really that important to escape quickly. Those guys could have hung around for a while and really helped me not be handcuffed to a roof as much. Then I wouldn’t have to saw my own arm off. This is definitely their fault, by the way. Every time I sever another tendon
(there is a plonk!ing sound as one of his tendons breaks)
Merle: after I recover from feeling dizzy and lightheaded from losing all this blood and pain and stuff I am just so ANGRY at them. This is definitely all their fault. Oh well, I’ll just swear epic revenge. From now on where I look at the awesome empty space where my hand used to be I will only see my own bad ass, revenging myself on them. When they least expect it, too. Maybe season three?
(saws some more, gets to the bone, starts slowly grating through. Blade slips repeatedly).
Merle: This was easier before the blade got wet. Looks like there are still some dry parts on either end of the blade, guess I’ll use those for a while.
(comically saws too close to the handle, then too far away)
Merle: Oh if only I had had proper father figures in my childhood then perhaps I would not use a saw like such an idiot. Hey…you know what I just noticed? The links on the handcuff chains are made out of metal just like the handcuffs, but it is a lot thinner metal than the handcuffs! Well anyway what does that have to do with me.
(he gets halfway through the ulna. The blade gets stuck)
Merle: Oh man this is TENSE.
Merle: Better hurry! (saws) There we go!
(the ulna pops in half)
Merle: That’s pretty good, but it’s not good enough!
(he starts sawing on the radius. His hand randomly jerks and flops around)
Merle: Hey, you know what I just thought of? I bet I could have just cut my thumb off or maybe just a finger or two and slipped the cuff out that way. Less effort, too. (pause) But ya know, walking around missing fingers? That just looks stupid.
Zombies: (looking at each other) BRAIINN….????
(disappointed, the zombies leave. Merle whistles as he saws his arm off).