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David Thompson
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February 21, 2014




Ubiquitous, I expect, but do they go to eleven?


“The hippo’s testes . . . .

. . . . but zookeepers don’t always have someplace to store a new two-ton animal.

"But what about up on top of that bookshelf?

Oh, no, that's kitty's favorite perching spot, she'll just bat that poor hippo to the ground, and then we'll never hear the end of it!"

Simen Thoresen

...and in carbon-dating news, FGTHs seminal 'Relax' is 30 years old now (blogger JWZ told me).

How old does your carbon feel these days?


Eye of the Tiger, the dot matrix printer remix.

What's scary is I had to listen right to the end.


You see, Close Encounters is in fact “a fascist film, capitalist propaganda.”

Thirty five years later another generation of wankers is still churning out exactly the same bollocks. They're so ahead of the curve.


They’re so ahead of the curve.

Well, Marxoid thinking does tend to appeal to some very conservative and reactionary inclinations. Not to mention vanity, sadism and spite. And yes, it’s funny how these “critical thinkers” don’t seem able to escape their own received conceits. It’s so desperately pretentious and monomaniacal, as these things generally are. Writing about the film is basically a pretext for a dogmatic, question-begging declaration of faith. Apparently, “we” simply are “alienated” by capitalism – all of us, allegedly – alienated “from each other and from the state.” It’s a “spiritual void” that the state will grow to fill, benignly and lovingly. Imagine that. However, the all-solving communism that the authors seem so fond of, at least in theory - no-one could possibly be alienated by that. No spiritual void there.

What made me laugh, though, were the accusations of the film’s “fascist” “elitism,” sitting alongside fawning references to the Marxist ‘theorist’ Theodor Adorno, a man who wanted to tell other people what kind of music they must listen to – his own, naturally - while they remade the world, coercively, according to his own self-flattering preferences. There ain’t no modesty like Marxoid modesty.


"The picture ... echoes prominent Nazi themes. Most important is the notion that people in charge of things are corrupt and unresponsive, and the proper response to them is suspicion."

OK, where do I go to pick up jack boots?

Adam d

Sugar cubes!

Look at that, art that is genuinely interesting, aesthetically pleasing, community engaged (like properly not the type where you freak out unsuspecting strangers) and using kick starter for funds (no taxpayer).

I have to conclude that this is not real art, it fails all the test,
Should be funded by unsuspecting taxpayers not commercial interest or private interest
Should involve a usually concealed body part or at least some sort of bodily excrement
Should challenge the social norms and have some deeper meaning that only a handful of people would think sane


Can’t-be-arsed pizza delivery.

That’s quality service. Though I can’t help wondering if the toppings survived.


A simplified alternative to your most excellent Saturn V cutaway:


Close Encounters

It's odd that socialists can't see the disjunction between small government types and "everything is in the state" fascism. I mean take the following quote:

finding a central message in the film that ties in with the nascent neoconservatism of the era: ‘Don’t expect much from government — and don’t worry about it because others will arrange things for you’.

Fascists, by definition, expect everything from the state.



Fascists, by definition, expect everything from the state.

There are some really unpleasant assumptions in that essay, to say nothing of the projection and misuse of basic terms – none of which is uncommon in Marxoid theorising. And it’s often obtuse too. There’s a perverse and dogmatic construal of key moments in the film. For instance, the “first day of school” scene with the escalating musical dialogue is framed as “fascistic” because the form of communication isn’t sufficiently prosaic or intelligible. They seem to object to the sense of wonderment.

That a simple musical phrase that rapidly accelerates and becomes incomprehensibly complex might be a suggestive device, a way to imply something structured but unfamiliar, isn’t considered. And the fact that this scene was intended to be a quite giddying cinematic experience, one that could be grasped and enjoyed by a general audience, is somehow disregarded. As if the aesthetic and emotional pleasure of the thing were neither here nor there. Apparently everything in life, even an escapist blockbuster about aliens, must affirm The Correct Kind Of Politics™ before doing anything else. Which doesn’t sound like a recipe for great cinema, or even a watchable film.


Damn you, David. I actually read that CETK review. So many words, so little information.

Incredible that there isn't a single piece of evidence in the entire thing. F***ing nuts.



Yes, it’s laughably awful, but - as we’ve seen - fairly typical.

Kevin B

Well Nanny and the kids seem to be having fun, but Billy doesn't seem that enthusiastic. Maybe he's paying for the thing.

Peter H

Why can't modern 'liberals' come to grips with the basic historical fact that fascism was a type of Italian socialism and as such fiercely anti-capitalist? The American version was called progressivism and its first President was Woodrow Wilson, complete with secret police, restrictions on free speech, persecution of dissenters etc.etc. and was the father of modern American liberalism. Present day liberals are the political descendants of fascism.


"Writing about the film is basically a pretext for a dogmatic, question-begging declaration of faith"

It's classics like that line that keep me coming back


The tendentious nature of the review is undermined by the basic actions of the films government protagonists. (actually world government protagonists since they were UN operatives) They may be the world's lamest fascists. When François Truffaut's character Lacombe sees that Richard Dreyfuss's Roy Neary has successfully escaped and eluded re-capture he, does not have him shot on site for penetrating the landing site, but tells him he envies him and ensures that he is part of the team to board the alien ship. How very Gestapo of him!

Rich Rostrom

I lost it in that bit of "wafty, tendentious bollocks".

The author favorably quotes a Spielberg "biographer" telling obvious lies about Raiders of the Lost Ark. He asserts that Indy Jones "slaughters the natives", but those whom Jones kills or causes to die are all Nazis, except the sword-wielding assassin, a Nazi hireling.

Apparently facts cannot be allowed to interfere with the narrative.

So I skipped the CE3K item.



There is, though, a dim flickering of awareness in the interview, albeit briefly:

A great deal of the academic writing in the 1970s on film was just appalling… Film studies became a field populated by people who were not particularly interested in films; they were interested in something else, a fact that was not especially healthy for film studies. Many of the film theorists in the 1970s identified themselves as Marxists...

And hence academics who seem to have barely glanced at the film they’re writing about and instead bang on at length, baldly and without evidence, about how free market societies must always result in a “spiritual void” and “alienation of individuals from each other and from the state,” while implying, quite firmly, that the obvious balm for all human ills is Communism, Baby!


"There are some really unpleasant assumptions in that essay, to say nothing of the projection and misuse of basic terms – none of which is uncommon in Marxoid theorising."

Leftists: Beaten up too much in school, or not enough?


If the Saturn V diagram is too complicated, there's always XKCD's version:


If there's one message from fascism it's ‘Don’t expect much from government — and don’t worry about it because others will arrange things for you’.

and there I was naively thinking fascism was about "Everything inside the state nothing outside the state" Mussolini (who is obviously now an anti-fascist).


In America…whose children are they?

New York state Sen. Ruben Diaz Jr. introduced a bill that would require parents of elementary school children to attend a minimum of four parent support classes. If parents don’t go, 6th graders won’t move onto 7th grade.


Just for the record, hippo testes are a matter of complete indifference to me.


In America…whose children are they?

Ooohhhh, hipsters had to come from somewhere . . . Followed by a correcting reaction . . .


Not quite from this current collection, but as the subject has come up several times, here's an excellent explanation for graffiti.

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