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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Top 3 for March 20, 2014

Room 237 directed by Rodney Ascher

I actually saw this about a month ago, but the recent news brought it back to mind.

The film presents five persons giving their theories about the secret subtextual messages hidden in Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining. As the theories themselves are abjectly ridiculous, what I enjoyed about the film is the way the interview subjects' theories seem to exist in search of a vehicle to convey them. I mean how else would somebody happening upon a movie poster with generic advertising copy that goes something like "the wave of terror that's sweeping the country" have a reaction that goes "well neither this movie, nor the book on which it's based is all that popular, so this is obviously a reference to the slaughter of the Native Americans." The fact that The Shining is a movie by a director with a reputation for meticulousness which happens to be riddled with continuity errors can only mean that he is sending secret messages. (Well, some of the Native American stuff is kind of interesting, but since the setting is a desecrated Indian burying ground in Colorado, not as much of a stretch as the claim that the film is Kubrick's obvious confession to fabricating the Moon landing footage.)

Which leads me to the coverage of the missing Malaysian airliner. Since there are exactly zero known facts about what happened and why, and we have multiple 24-hour news channels that need to fill time, this tragedy is now allowed to be a vehicle for theories like secret hidden island runways, the certainty of Islamic terrorism etc, etc Unfortunately this all being given the aura of respectability of news.

I remain a fan of William of Ockham in things like this.

(Since you asked, what separates this stuff from the previous Wheel of Socialism post is that I think the Wheel thing is coincidence, not conspiracy)

Blue Sky Days by Tomas van Houtryve in the April 2014 issue of Harper's Magazine.

 A series of photographs taken from small drone aircraft, interesting in their own right, but also meant to evoke the sorts of banal events captured by military drones on the other side of the world which end up leading to bombings, on the advent of their use domestically. 

Three movements from Petrouchka by Igor Stravinsky performed by Yuja Wang

as heard on Performance Today

A very buzz laden pianist who seems to specialize in the kind of sweeping romantic repertoire that doesn't terribly interest me. I caught the middle part of this performance in the car and listened to the whole thing on the website and found it to be a very exciting. Big sounding, fast, precise and detailed without being clinical or too mechanical (a little bit of mechanical actually suits this piece)

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