Friday, May 31, 2013
I was just thinking, what person is there that's simultaneously dumb enough to buy into societal systems and functionalities while still being useful and intelligent on an efficient level in their work environment. It doesn't strike me as possible; in other words not only is the correlation between merit and success non-existent it is even reversely correlated; because you can't have someone smart who is also a patriot; you can't have someone truly intelligent who's motivated by something like greed. Wealth at some point becomes a liquid mysterious substance. It isn't actually valuable for anything; it's not like the old days where you had a pile of gold or something; it's literally just a set of numbers and bank accounts containing nothing of physical value. There may have been a few countries who for brief instants in the past were worthy of extended amounts of respect and loyalty but that certainly isn't the case now; even the desired victor is still horribly flawed just a better choice than our end.
So there's two core detectable motivations for someone like me, survival of course and perhaps filial devotion. But the problem is that you are accultured in the United States to dismiss most aspects of filial devotion so I for example am lacking in this field to be sure. Now I do have wide reaching moral structures thanks to having a religious upbringing and those are somewhat motivating but the pure agency of logic still overrules that for the most part. But it doesn't take much to survive in the US so there's really not much of a motivation. It's a cliche that geniuses don't succeed but I don't actually think this is random chance; there's a few situations to be born in where I would be given power via nepotism sure but if I was born upper middle or even lower end upper class there's still a fair chance that I would be rejected out of hand.
Why? Well the people in power want to stay in power but the problem is even if they were meritorious in the first place natural replacement dilutes the intellectual capacities of those in power. In essence, they give power to their sons who may be competent for one generation (this is a typical occurrence throughout history, the first son of a great man is often the most competent, the next generation is a crapshoot and so on); men who are otherwise competent overrate their capacity to parent and pattern their children after themselves and fail to simply find or tutor a non blood relative meritorious successor. At this point we're 7, 8 generations in and there is almost no clear cut competence at the top; the financial disaster of 2008 is more than clear evidence of that. They fear someone like me, that I might be disruptive or revolutionary; and to be fair this is a reasonable assessment of my capabilites and tendencies. However to resist change in this fashion actually destroys the creative usefulness of our society and deteriorates our position on a global scale.
So basically there's I don't know several hundred to several thousand people like me out there that could potentially secure the US as the world power for years to come but the people in power are either too stupid or too fearful to embed us in effective positions and instead we're left to twiddle our thumbs. This isn't conspirational bullshit it's just a set of obvious facts aligned in the most logical fashion; I, for being born too smart, am selected against because of it. Not only is being smart not particularly useful in American society it is in fact a detriment to your success. Sure if I was in position of power I might be able to do all sorts of wonderful, interesting, and innovative things but as I am not and likely will not become so I have nothing except for my philosophical insights to show for it. Of course at this point I'm supposed to blame God or something since I do have a strong religious background and continuous faith. But I have respect for God as an experimenter; God throws a lightning bolt down like Zeus and is curious what will happen. I am a functional thought experiment trying to figure out a way to break out of said experiment, even though the boundaries are seemingly limitless. I suppose I could write a book about this in the off chance that someone vaguely intelligent reads it; of course it probably wouldn't get through publishing and editing.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Mud is a limited release picture (so far) which I was fortunate enough to have released in my city. If perchance it is in your area I highly recommend seeing it as it is easily the best film that’s going to come out for another 4-6 months and could well be the best film released this year. It centers on Matthew McConaughey playing a would be homeless person on an abandoned island in the middle of a water moccasin infested river; a dangerous place to be sure. He’s visited by 2 young strapping middle schoolers and he immediately begs them for food. Yet, Mud is a mysterious individual and intrigues the boys who continue to help him for the rest of the film.
I won’t spoil the rest of the plot but suffice to say it deals with numerous powerful themes and has multiple extremely well done father-son relationships that contrast with each other remarkably. The film’s other message is basically “don’t trust women,” but it isn’t done heavy handedly and it’s not universal. Obviously the director or writer or someone had issues with a divorce as either a youth or an adult and this is his way of dealing with that period of his life.
This movie could have been bad for a huge number of reasons, the subject material is difficult, the acting had to be good from almost everyone, and it still delivers. The script is excellent, several of the scenes are extremely memorable and scream “Oscar worthy performance,” and the film ends well even though it easily could have gone off the rails. Even the one mediocre scene in the picture is used to tie up another loose end and teach another morality lesson; while that entire subplot is perhaps unnecessary it does serve to better flesh out the teenager’s character (who is the protagonist).
In addition to the basic more obvious thematic elements there are also very strong rich vs poor, urban vs rural, and law vs vigilante dichotomies that play out in the picture. One of the last fringe elements of rural American life is being threatened both internally and externally; but it is wisely constructed in the sense that there is no over-arching political message that the film embeds here (as would usually occur); it’s simply a sort of mournful look at the late game impacts of Manifest Destiny gradually destroying the locals’ way of life. Mud is superb, well-acted, well-constructed, and badly advertised; I can only hope someone goes to see it as a result of reading this.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Ah summer movie season begins. Actually this year had a pretty loaded pre-May slate, the best of the bunch was Oblivion and that is probably the best movie that’s going to come out; so go see that before it goes away. Iron Man 3 is the best Iron Man movie, but eh it’s sort of dicey describing why that is. The movie is a very solid action flick with good CG, excellent acting, and superb usage of humor. But it doesn’t have anything that elevates it over Avengers and certainly nothing that scrapes the surface of the Dark Knight. Guy Pearce could easily deliver a “Joker” performance but this movie didn’t want to do that quite clearly. Trust me when I say Guy Pearce is a better, or at least more proven, actor than Heath Ledger was and probably one of the top 5 working actors around; it’s a shame that he wasn’t in more mainstream movies to this point but at least he finally seems to be getting his due.
The plot of this film is odd to say the least, it’s just not very good. However the writing (or improvised dialogue) is excellent and almost all of the character interactions are done extremely well. Basically there’s some DNA magic that makes people into Superheroes, but they’re evil superheroes so Iron Man has to stop them! It uses worldwide style of events and scale but then uses Ironman to save the world when the Avengers had just done so only recently; I don’t think the choice of villain type really fits. Another tech genius, sure, but just plain old superpowers is weird.
The pacing of the film is also just a bit off, there’s an extended sequence with only a few action scenes and even though that section of the film is well constructed and superbly well-acted (the best kid – hero interaction bar none) it just doesn’t fit with a big blockbuster action flick. It’s mature and intelligent comedy crossed with “dumb” action, almost every scene has at least some humor and some of that is ridiculously great. Ben Kingsley is awesome, Guy Pearce has incidental dialogue that is amazing, Robert Downey Jr. has the best “Troll” humor line maybe ever; but the design and character of the action doesn’t jive with it. As someone who can appreciate mature humor (it’s much less over the top humor as was in the previous Iron Man films) as well as dumb action movies I can’t say I desperately wanted both in the same picture.
Lastly the final battle sequence is a bit anti climatic in how it ends, the action itself is fine; above average CG combat with odd fighting game parallels; but it doesn’t have a Terminator 2 style ending equivalent scene to punctuate it. Not to say the action is as good as T2 in general but the villain(s) are basically terminators and you have to deal with them as such. This is a good action movie that will make you laugh, and for a lot of people that is really all they want out of the first week of May. I re-iterate: go see Oblivion, it’s a cross between 2001, The Truman Show, Tron Legacy, and Star Wars; what could be better?