Fear Culture, USA

Next month will be one year since I stopped watching TV/cable news (and listening to radio news). I feel… lighter? More awake? Difficult to describe.

Michael Amato explores this inescapable hold the media has on American life in Fear Culture, USA. His carefully staged photographs depict TVs glowing from corners in living rooms, gas stations, and other everyday environments. Sensationalist news stories beam from the screens, charging these otherwise untroubled scenes with a sense of doom. “Cable news projects fear into everyday environments,” Amato says, “and it can be very overwhelming.”

Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash coming to Amazon Prime

“Snow Crash will be a one-hour drama. A product of the early 1990s, it’s set in a failed state that used to be America, where the corporations run everything. It too has a vast artificial location, but this time it’s the Metaverse, Stephenson’s extrapolation of a VR-enabled Internet. Hiro Protagonist—an on-the-nose name if ever there was—is a hacker and pizza delivery driver for the Mafia who comes into possession of dangerous file, Snow Crash, which sends him on a rabbit chase.”

Amazon commissions three new sci-fi shows: Lazarus, Snow Crash, and Ringworld

Color prints from Walgreen’s: Good, fast and inexpensive

I was never one to want or need prints of digital photos. Back in the day the print quality was too poor to bother with (unless you purchased an insanely expensive printer) and the consumables were expensive and it was just more trouble than it was worth. And once it got easy to share photos online, why both printing?

But for some reason I got a hankering to have some prints of the ‘new’ truck so I headed for Walgreen’s where I printed out half a dozen 4×6 prints (and one 5×7). Cost less than 50 cents a print and they were as good as anything I ever had commercially printed. Can’t see any reason (for me) to own and high-end color printer.

The Vietnam War


Watched the first episode (of 10) of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick. It clearly showed how world events and U.S. politics resulted in our involvement and how badly we fucked things up. I kept thinking, “Why don’t I know this?” But it was current events or much of my early life and filtered through the media propaganda machine. I don’t expect to fully understand any important event until Ken Burns and his collaborators have time to make a documentary.

Atomic Blonde

Jason Bourne can just sit the fuck down. I’m not gonna say Atomic Blonde is a great movie. We could argue all day about that. I am gonna say it’s one of the better movies I’ve seen in a long time. Boy, oh boy… where to begin?

I’ve heard critics say there was no story. Well, if you need a story, take my library card and go check out Great Expectations. If you want an entertaining movie, look no further.

Now let’s talk about action. I thought the fight sequences in Atomic Blonde were as good (better?) as anything since the first Bourne movie. Remember the fight scene in Kill Bill: Vol.1 between Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah (in Michael Madsen’s mobile home)? And the scene where James Gandolfini kicks the living shit out of Patricia Arquette in True Romance? Every fight scene in Atomic Blonde was at the level or a smidgen above.

You might not have noticed but after a long, protracted fight scene, male stars might have a cut lip and be breathing hard. Charlize Theron LOOKED and ACTED like she’d been in a brawl. And during the brawl? Grunting and screaming and gasping. I mean, you were _there_! Oh yeah. I’ll bet there was a half gallon of fake blood splashed on the camera lens during these scenes. And watch for the quick POV (point of view) camera shots.

What else? The sound track! Best I’ve heard in awhile. Every cut worked.

And last but not least… girl-on-girl sex. That’s become standard far in these liberated times. Every action movies needs some hot lesbians. Was Charlize Theron’s character a lesbian? Don’t know. But there was a 20 second scene that was so hot they should have handed out welder’s goggles as you entered the theater.

I was expecting a cartoon but got way more with this movie.

Tired: Ethan Hunt, James Bond, Jason Bourne
Wired: Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde

Awaken

“Awaken is a new feature documentary by Tom Lowe detailing humans’ relationship with technology and the natural world. The project was shot in over 30 countries during a five-year period, all while making use of next-level cinematography techniques such as time-dilation and underwater photography, ultimately providing viewers with a look at the universe like never before. No post-production effects have been used for the picture, as everything has been captured and thus showcased ‘in-camera.'” (Release in 2018)

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television

Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1978) is a book by Jerry Mander, who argues that many of the problems with television are inherent in the medium and technology itself, and thus cannot be reformed. From Wikipedia page:

“Television has effects, very important effects, aside from the content, and they may be more important. They organize society in a certain way. They give power to a very small number of people to speak into the brains of everyone else in the system night after night after night with images that make people turn out in a certain kind of way. It affects the psychology of people who watch. It increases the passivity of people who watch. It changes family relationships. It changes understandings of nature. It flattens perception so that information, which you need a fair amount of complexity to understand it as you would get from reading, this information is flattened down to a very reduced form on television. And the medium has inherent qualities which cause it to be that way.”