Wednesday, July 30, 2014

On July 30th 1999, the Blair Witch Project Changed Media

Are you rural or urban? That question determines how you felt about the game changing phenomenon known as The Blair Witch Project. City kids did not understand the horror that lurks in the woods day or night. It is the unknown, which describes the storm that hit so well. The film was unknown in all regards, actors, director, idea, marketing and success. Fifteen years ago today, it was released to become one of the, if not the, most profitable films ever. It also changed mass media more than media critics give it credit.

The 1999 shoe string budget film used the Internet and a savvy "is it real" marketing campaign. Viral marketing, "Frankenstein" styled frame story using primary documents; in this case, found video cameras, and using video or low quality film within the Hollywood production all start here (sorry Sex Lies and Videotape, your try did not stick). My mom thought it was real right up to opening weekend. This was early in the reality media explosion, and pushed the boundaries for how reality could be used and done right. People crave the intangible idea of authenticity because everything in American society is so phony. Blair Witch was real or at least well done manufactured reality. Just two months later, people bought whole the use of digital home video "footage" in American Beauty without complaining. There is no Paranormal Activity without this, no Snow on Da Bluff, no Cloverfield, no backstory false document movie websites without the Blair Witch. Alright, it would happen but later.

Was it scary? I lived in the woods, it scared me and my friends on opening night. Were production qualities poor and the camera too shaky? Yes and at times it was nauseatingly jiggly. Was an evil force in those woods messing with humans for decades and got to them? Does the legend drive susceptible people crazy? Were the locals toying with the students in a ritualistic killing? Did Josh just go insane and kill his friends? I lean towards an evil force infecting local(s) to protect the legend and kill the students. The cairns were made by someone, hurting the Josh goes nuts theory. The trio was being watched as they snatched Josh first. With all the focus on the method of storytelling, it is forgotten that it was a great mystery story.

This was a perfect storm for mass success. Right time and right idea. Students with good enough home equipment investigate a local legend and in their efforts become a bit of an urban legend. The "found" camera film is cliche fifteen years later, but was exciting then. Viral marketing and blurring the edges of reality in Hollywood are features in most marketed productions now. Hollywood destroyed the possibility of reality horror in the woods with a terrible sequel of Blair Witch. Hollywood horror has gone down a gross out porn, remakes and zombies path, but the woods will always be waiting.

Countless children's tales have the protagonist go into the woods because the woods is dark and full of danger both known and unknown. To borrow from Rumsfeld, the unknown unknowns are far worse in the woods. We can build civilization but nature will always be waiting. Multiple times in the movie, the female lead jokes that they can't get lost in the woods in America. That is the statement of a cosmopolitan. It is also why the urban viewers did not grok The Blair Witch Project. Every rural teen who thinks they're big enough for that first trek alone will tell you that the first snap of a twig, the first "up close" surprise animal sighting and the first gust of wind all remind you that you are alone, small and the woods is large, dark and deep.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Planes of World War One

A few weekends ago, I had the pleasure of going to the Wright Air Force Museum. It is a pretty awesome place that is a free museum staffed by volunteers. It has replicas of planes and aircraft from basically the inception of aviation to today, including some spacecraft and missiles. I will admit that you see a drone, and you think, "Yeah, they need drones because they know they cannot trust their population for providing control". With the centennial of the Great War, I took my time with the planes of World War One.

Honestly, many of these planes looked like someone put bicycle wheels, a boat propeller and a car engine together and slapped some wings on them. The men who flew these planes had serious courage as some planes had higher fatality counts for testing than in actual combat. Open cockpits, wings that did not look like they could withstand a six shooter and speeds comparable to a NASCAR are what you get with these planes. The first picture is a Fokker. The rest I did not take notes, and these pictures are off my tablet. I am saving one for next week. It is a bit special, and has a special inventor. Enjoy. I'm on vacation next week, so no posts until August.

Model that the Red Baron flew

This one looked the sturdiest of the era.

Seriously, this looks like a speedboat with wings.

Very Snoopy.

bicycle tires. If it is an effect of the replicas, I feel dumb.

Another Snoopy worthy aircraft.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grantland SWPL Signals

Grantland sucks because you know it has the potential to be awesome but it is a circle jerk of progressive, SWPL status signaling. "Long form sports journalism skewed towards a younger crowd." That could be awesome. "Sports stories written for poseurs, SWPLs and people who hate sports." Not awesome. I like to criticize them and snipe at them on Twitter. It becomes comical how they respond, and the quick reaction to nut-job if you point out something obvious like "Hey, no one cares about the black secretary on Mad Men except you. Stop it SWPL." It might be a weekly contest as to who can out-SWPL who. They kicked it up a notch with "Best Sports Movie Villain of All Time".

Quickly in paragraph three, you get a snarky comment citing Hollywood's racism "tries to save the youths of black America by giving them pizza and letting them listen to rap while they play baseball because I guess black people aren’t any good at baseball unless they can listen to rap while they play it". It was probably to have rap music in the movie and on the soundtrack to appeal to black viewers since it was about a whitish guy helping black kids overcome inner-city struggles through sports (SWPL heaven). They have to signal they are on the right side of history. You already know where this is ending don't you.

Best line goes to Ivan Drago for "if he dies, he dies" or "I must break you". Amazing villain lines from an evil Commie boxer. We're doing OK. Best villain monologue somehow shoehorns a Lebowski mention. This is SWPL terrible. Best villain who could turn good is a discussion of Drago (again, how memorable!) and the guy from Mighty Ducks 2. Worst villain to possibly turn it around, I quote, "Racism in Remember the Titans. There’s no hope". They don't really mention another. Signal with claxon alarms. Was not the entire movie about overcoming racism through football? You mean there is no villain in any sports movie that they could discuss as horribly unredeemable? The bad guy in Karate Kid 3, Shelly Marcone in The Last Boy Scout, or any asshole in any sports film? Heinous Acts involves a Kickboxer film. Worst ideological beliefs mention the Nazis in Victory (easy) and.... the neo-nazis in Higher Learning. Wait, sports films. That was not a sports film. It was a college film or John Singleton masturbation sequence. Really SWPLs at Grantland? They finish things with best feud and best/worst looking villain where we get some homoeroticism thrown in and anti-Asian passage. Maybe Nic Cage is onto something.

Like all modern clickbait internet media, they get to "the list". It's Grantland. It's SWPL Sports. It's a "best" list. Of course number one is a non-sports character played by Tupac Shakur. Grantland is doing a good job of trying to push the idea that Tupac was a good actor. He plays a drug dealer. These closet cases call him "devastatingly handsome". Greatest villain no way associated with playing a sport in a sports movie would be "Milo" in The Last Boy Scout. This is about SWPL cred, which is the only kind of cred that matters. It's about selecting a non-athlete black character as the best villain in a movie genre about athletic competition. It's about signaling how goddamn progressive you are in every, single thing you do.

For the record...

5. The Warden from the original "The Longest Yard" - He nails the corrupt, Southern prison warden obsessed enough with football to threaten jail time to win big. Doesn't nail the accent, but you hate him.
4. Apollo Creed - Nice film version of Ali. Charismatic and condescending enough to get you behind the palooka underdog Rocky. His turn as a good guy makes his death in Rocky 4 so startling, well, to little kids who saw it in the theater.
3. Johnny Lawrence - I should have typed Cobra Kai, the dojo he trained in, which was run by an ex-Vietnam Vet from the special forces. Their slogan "no mercy" was once used by a Little League All Star team I played against. His minions were hysterical. Lawrence was the perfect '80s teen villain and even cheats at the end, making you hate him more.
2. Clubber Lang - He was Mike Tyson before there was a Mike Tyson. His lines, "Prediction? Pain", or "I'm gonna crucify him... real bad", and "hey woman hey woman...". He is an asshole to everyone. He kills Mickey. He trains in an old, dank looking gym. He was so memorable that they put Mr. T into the A-Team. He also was believable as a boxer.
1. Ivan Drago -  Sports movies are usually team sports movies so it is hard to have a villain as we want to build drama between two people: one good and one bad. Even in team movies, focus can slide to the coaches to mentally and emotionally duel. Ivan Drago in 1985 was a perfect phony villain from the USSR. He kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition. He has great lines. He is portrayed as a machine. A product of the science behind the Iron Curtain that we knew had been juicing athletes. It was the Cold War.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Remember Philip Chism?

Who is Philip Chism? Sounds like a gay porn performer name. Opposed to the continuous pushing of St. Trayvon, black teenager Chism has been hushed up. Chism is the teen who raped and murdered, sorry accused of, his teacher in Massachusetts. The police and media sat on the rape detail, only to release that well after the original shocking reports. Chism is back at it, attacking a woman in his institution.

With the original murder, which the police have video of him disposing the body in a trash can, the media wrote glowing reports of how he was a normal, happy mixed race kid. He came from a decent home. All pictures of him showed aa young boy smiling. It must have been something just weird that made him snap. Feel bad for the little boy. He played soccer!!! The Massachusetts media was probably afraid that residents they mocked for rioting over busing decades ago might be right about something. What am I thinking, those busing protestors were on the wrong aide of history. I'm sure the progressives of Massachusetts would all gladly send their kids to Boston city schools if only they spent more money on them and had good test scores.

Chism should never see the light of day, and in a sane world, would have been executed for his original crimes. Sure he was underage, but he was old enough to want to rape, murder and then manhandle and dispose an adult body by himself. He was old enough to know right from wrong. We will never know what happened in that classroom that made him rape and murder his teacher, but we should never consider him a victim of society. Seeing someone like Chism in the news is a form of counterprogramming of the steady Hollywood beat that all half black girls grow into Halle Berry ("Half black is God's Photoshop " - Happy Endings) and boys become men like our smart, docile president.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Guardian Thinks Thomas the Train is Hitler Training

How can one parody progressives? They are upset over microaggressions, make up privileges yet want to start World War Three over gays? Wait, is it to boost GDP Professor Krugman? They are now calling Thomas the Tank Engine subversive.

Tracy Van Slyke (man or woman, could be either with the faggy way Brits are with naming boys) takes the quitting of the lead voice actor as an opportunity to slam Thomas for sexism, classism, colonialism, racism and the banquet of progressive shibboleths. All those complaints are retarded yet easily anticipated if one reduces progs to cartoon characters themselves. This is a kids' show, but if you're reading into it this much how about you get some facts straight.

If you're paying attention, you'd not call Sir Toppam Hatt a "Monopoly Dictator" who orders them around regardless of the trains' plans. He OWNS THE RAILWAY. It is his business. He is the CEO. The trains are capital equipment that he owns and can use as he sees fit. They still have human conductors. The man has made a lot of capital investments on that island: search + rescue center, reopening the tunnel to Misty Island, the Steamworks refurbishing but nooooo Tracy sees a dictator. It's called being a long term thinking businessman. Not all of us can write idiotic articles for money from the Guardian. Didnt you pay attention that super parent? Too busy looking for gender stereotypes.

As far as colonialism elements, Sodor is a timeless place because the books were written decades ago and cover the period when steam locomotives were being replaced by diesels. Do you know history? Early 20th Century was when you Brits ran the world instead of being America's province for bad and/or gay guys in action films. Did you notice the plethora of black and Asian faces making up the citizens of Sodor? Nah, forget that anachronism. Diversity = good for fools like Tracy.

This type of writing is terrible. Not just for content but that someone writes it and is not embarrassed by it. Tracy should feel ashamed. Your brain was wasted on looking for the evil, subversive messages in a children's cartoon and THAT IS YOUR JOB. This blog is my fun release. The evil messages are teamwork, following orders, being productive and dependable, being normal and being a good friend. Let's scrap that for toddlers and just teach them to be unreliable selfish genderless fuckwits who don't listen to anyone. They'll be just the perfect type to take care of Tracy in a nursing home.

India the Weak BRIC Link, Worried for Modi

The BRICs have their development bank, and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says it can grow into a political alliance to reform the international monetary system. I do agree with that. If they expect it to grow beyond that into a new political order, there might be problems simply due to leading members. I have no doubt Russia and China could link and act as anchors regionally to pull in clients. I do doubt the others, including India. Modi has his hands full creating a bureaucracy that matches what he wants to do. I wish him luck but warn him that Nixon ran into civil service problems. India is the most cabal or prog infected of the BRIC leadership.

Worrying signs for anyone who wants to see Modi succeed have to be the fact that while Modi and his party campaigned on massaging the gold import duty, it is untouched in the new budget. Another worrying sign has to be the gold announcement. See, India is going to exchange "old, impure gold" for newer, better gold.
When the standardization operation was over, the new gold acquired will be delivered to its overseas custodian, the Bank of England. The entire exercise will take place through book entry and without any cash exchanging hands, sources said.

This would mean the Indians are going to entrust their gold to the same cronies that the Germans have been trying to get their gold from. The Austrians are nervous enough about their gold in England that they are going to audit their holdings. The Austrians want to verify that is exists, while the Indians are going to send their gold over there without worries. That gold is going to disappear.

Did Modi have any control over that? Probably not. That's the problem. India is the world's biggest democracy. No one ever says most efficient, best run or least corrupt. India has a civil service known for mountains of old files and magnificent golf handicaps. India is not China and it is not Russia, and therein lies the systemic problem. Modi has to worry about elections and parliamentary methods. He has to deal with a free press and NGOs. If the state or political machinery were more like Russia or China, I'd have more faith that Modi will reform, renew and move things rightward. The British communist Harold Laski did not spend years influencing the men who would build the Indian system to see it not be a tremendous and enduring piece of socialist machinery. Good luck Modi.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The BRICs Bank + Dollar Decline

Brick by brick the Russia-China axis is building their non-dollar financial system. The announcement of a neutral rating agency was one such brick. Two much larger bricks are the recent moves to set into motion the BRICS Development Bank starting with the $100 billion dollar reserve arrangement. These are direct competitors to the dollar system's infrastructure and are signs of the Russian-Chinese wooing of the rest of the world away from the USG leviathan.

The BDB will act similar to the World Bank, offering financing for development deals around the globe. The bank could end up as jackal infested as the World Bank, but at present, only has to act incorruptible early on to wound the USG. Deals for infrastructure, energy, minerals and actual production not aligned with Wall Street or DC is non-casino capitalism. No political strings attached if Xi's prior speeches about respecting the different government systems of different nations is correct. As proof, Xi and China are not forcing democracy and the progressive buffet on Africa. This BDB starts small but is expected to grow to $350 billion in a few years. Those dollar hoards will go to work in something other than ZIRP T-bills.

The contingent reserve arrangement is more like the IMF and seems to involve currency swaps. Those are important as the FED's currency swaps in 2008 are what kept Europe from imploding. Currently, Argentina is in a fight with vulture funds over debt. How appealing does this BRIC system appear right now? I left off the 'S' for South Africa because South Africa is in such poor shape that the Russians are helping with electrical projects and the Chinese are coming with money because of all of the wonderful natural resources they still need. Loans and development aid with no questions asked about domestic policies, just keep the natural resources flowing. Potential client states will still have a patron, but the patron will not be those damn yanquis!

In a well timed move with these financial infrastructure pieces, Putin and Xi are both traveling around Latin America. Putin wrote off billions in Cuban debt, and talked to Uruguay's president about construction of a deep water port. Xi visited Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, which covers the big players and oil producers for South America. This is in the Monroe Doctrine backyard of the US, not the Middle East or Southeast Asia. It is also a receptive audience. Playing off of Uncle Sam has always benefited South American politicians in their home countries. Peron did this a bit too forcefully for Argentina decades ago. That was when the US ruled the global system at the peak of Empire. There are new rules to the game now.

Sticking it to the USG with a financial switch would be an approved jab in the eye. With the Middle East and Ukraine in flames due to US and its aligned clients meddling, leaving the USG orbit has to appear the safer choice. Be warned Latin leaders, the Ukrainians thought they could sign one economic deal and not feel the wrath. Before switching your financial patron, be sure to kick out all NGOs, US state department employees and anyone who cashes checks from George Soros.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Frozen Isn't Pro-gay, It's Pro-love

Finally got conned into watching Frozen. It had been such a delay from release to seeing it that the societal jibber jabber massaged my expectations. I expected it to be super gay. I expected it to be super girl power. Frozen was popcorn fluff, but enjoyable. My son liked it in the theater with his grandparents, but that might have had more to do with the theater experience, candy and popcorn. He was not as into it at home. It is just a slightly more musical Disney cartoon movie that focuses on the triumph of familial love, choosing love over logical lists for relationships and loving yourself. All you need is love. Love is the answer. What the world needs now is love. It's a cartoon, let's relax people.

If the gays saw into this as a coming out tale or the big song "Let It Go" being about coming out, holy shit have the gays taken over from the blacks the title for most narcissistic group in America. It is a song for kids and tweens about growing up and being your own person. All people go through this, not just gays wrestling with their sexuality and coming out. Gays relax. Christians relax, too. You fall right into the media's trap. One idiot pastor states it is a secret gay film, and that allows the media to discuss it as that and mention that Christians are crazy. Christians, my advice to you is the next time you suspect this, wait for the gays to move first. Then perform verbal jiu jitsu on them. "What? You think this is about being gay? It's a kids' movie. It's about two sisters. It's about growing up. Not everything is about you, grow up a bit. What kind of creep thinks a kids movie is secretly about lesbianism?" That really is the sad thing about 21st century America. We have a movie that turns a fairy tale into a movie about the strength of sisterly love, and the sides of the cultural war have to draw battle lines. If a teen got in any trouble, my money is on their sibling and parents desperately going to find them. Not a prince on horseback or loner, "walk the earth" kung fu master. I also saw Elsa work her walk as she embraced her Snow Queen abilities; no lesbian walks that hip-swingingly sexy.

Another blogger,
Jim, provided an interesting take on it, but really my sympathies align with comments made by "Handle". Hey Jim, the reindeer did not talk. Jim strikes the alpha-beta split straight out of the manosphere book. In reality, the movie sends the message "pick love". Wait for the intangible, and do not let other people make decisions for you. There is a bit of class battles here as the handsome prince with the well proportioned nose, strength and smarts is to be shunned, while the rough around the edges but fixer upper lone wolf of the tundra is to be chosen because he is a romantic match. The little male personality contrast reminded me more of the love triangle of Kirstie Alley with Sam Malone and Robin the rich Brit. Robin was a handsome alpha in the hard qualities with actual wealth, social status and traditional sense of manners, intelligence and properness. Sammy was a soft, charismatic handsome alpha; a smooth talking, suave ladies man. This is a modern day kids film so of course the rich guy is the evil one. The rich guy in Frozen has his minions to help brutally solve a problem while the lone wolf ice seller has an animal he treats like a human friend and has to think on his feet to solve crises. Rich people are evil!

I'm pro-Frozen and if for only one reason: it portrays familial bonds in a positive light. Look at Hollywood mock the nuclear family, forever pushing blended families and mish-mash families as more real. The concept of your friends being your family is something that really gained steam with the show Friends. They all came from dysfunctional families and found comfort and surrogate family members in that friend circle. Frozen focuses on the two sisters. It also ends an act reviews do not fully discuss. Anna does not just turn to ice to block an attack on her sister. To save a sister that has ruined the kingdom in eternal winter and exhibited irrational behavior unleashing evil winter powers randomly, Anna kills herself, smartly using her confused slightly mean sister by turning into ice. Anna acts in a way that your life is so precious to me that I will give up mine for you. That is the love that you wish for everyone who has a family. It is sacrifice. In a narcissistic society like ours, that is a message I can applaud.