Cognitive Dissonance and Musical Dissonance

How am I going to connect this to film?

A:  I don’t have to

However, it will always come back there.

Even more so, it will always come back to music.

My first love.

My first degree.

Dissonance is set in opposition to consonance.

Play two notes which are very close to one another and you get dissonance.

More precisely.

Press two keys of a piano which are side by side (for instance, C and Db…in this case, one white and one black) and you have struck what is arguably the most dissonant interval in Western music:  a minor 2nd.

In equal temperament (the tuning system which prevails in Western countries), no two pitches can be closer together (in terms of hertz…vibrations per second) than those pitches which constitute a minor 2nd interval.

Even a major 2nd is usually considered less dissonant than a minor 2nd.

And all that has changed is that the two pitches are a little farther apart in a major 2nd interval.

This trend continues.

Minor 3rd (more consonant that a m2 or M2 interval).

Major 3rd (quite consonant indeed…at least in comparison to m2, M2, and m3).

Perfect 4th.

Ahhh…we come to a truly consonant interval.

Finally.

But before we can arrive at another, we are foiled by the dreaded b5/#4:

the tritone.

Indeed, nothing quite so piques the Western ear (aside from the minor 2nd) as the tritone.

It was called the “Devil’s interval” long ago.

And though that superstition has largely passed (at least in its literal sense), a tritone is likely to make a Western listener uneasy.

Now, I could keep going with this tour of intervals.

[which doubles back on itself until a true “repeat in history” is achieved at the octave]

But I sense that your attention is fleeting (unless you are a muso…picking apart my imprecise music theory).

So I will get to a point.

Q:  What is cognitive dissonance?

Is that like believing p and not p at the same time?

For instance, Salman Abedi bombed the Ariana Grande concert…and Salman Abedi did not bomb the Ariana Grande concert.

Is that cognitive dissonance?

I’m being parably (not parabolically) coy here.  Fey.

Obtuse.

Abstruse.

Let’s go back to that formula (in symbolic logic).

p&¬p

Is that cognitive dissonance?

If we formulate it ¬(p&¬p), then (conditional) we’ve successfully ideated the law of non-contradiction.

So important to Leibniz.

From Aristotle.

And thus, we are well on our way to disavowing both “fuzzy logic” and “quantum logic”.

Let’s get fuzzy first.

As a prelude, we will clarify another bedrock law of classical logic:  the law of the excluded middle.

[both this and the previous (non-contradiction) law are expansive ways of saying “one or the other”]

pv¬p

In English, p or not p.

There is no middle.

There is no in-between.

There is no nuance.

It is either one, or the other.

Either Salman Abedi bombed the Ariana Grande concert, or he did not bomb the Ariana Grande concert.

There can be no other option.

[in classical logic]

But if subatomic particles do not behave according to classical logic (and they don’t), then why should we assume that classical logic will best explain the events of our world (which is made up of subatomic particles)?

A:  we shouldn’t

We shouldn’t assume such.

Though it tease the mind, we should entertain shades of meaning…and thereby get the REAL truth.

In fuzzy logic, if the phrase “Salman Abedi bombed the Ariana Grande concert” is 51% true, then it is true (though it is 49% false).

Conversely, if the phrase “Salman Abedi bombed the Ariana Grande concert” is 51% false,  then it is false (though it be 49% true).

[at least that’s my interpretation of fuzzy logic]

Like musical dissonance, fuzzy logic can be represented by points on a continuum.

51% true is (all things considered) NOT VERY TRUE 🙂

But if the statement changes (assuming the account is accurate) to “Salman Abedi really did bomb the Ariana Grande concert”, perhaps a numerical equivalent would be that the statement is now 52% true (or even, say, 75% true).

This train of thought continues upon the same track.

If we were to encounter (and it were to be borne out be evidence) “Salman Abedi really fucking did indeed bomb the Ariana Grande concert”, then our point on the continuum would plot closer to certainty (or pure truth…if there is such a thing).

Thus, the last statement would be 53% true (or, God forbid, 100% true).

If we reach the end of the continuum (either end), then we are not dealing anymore with fuzzy logic…but rather, we are back to classical logic.

One or the other.

¬(p&¬)

and

pv¬p

But I wonder if we could describe cognitive dissonance (not fully appreciating the contradiction of beliefs held in one mind) as the root of confirmation bias?

Such that confirmation bias could be called “applied cognitive dissonance”.

The word “applied” (at the beginning of a phrase) has such an august pomp about it.

But if it puts a bad out in the world (as opposed to a good…singular of goods…in an economic sense) in its appliance, all manner of absurd situations can be assumed to follow.

What about “applied schizophrenia”?

Is that possible?

Or even the more mundane:  applied anxiety (hmmm…could be an asset…depending).

Applied depression.  That might be harder.

But it could be thought of as a weaponization.

Weaponized depression.

A person so glum that they destroy the morale of an entire enemy battalion.

So how would we get such a clinically depressed soldier…out of bed…and into the other side’s army?

Backing up to confirmation bias.

Even the contradicting evidence supports our case.

That’s confirmation bias.

That U.K. authorities have stated that 22-year-old Salman Abedi killed 22 people on May 22nd by means of a bomb may actually (and it does) further convince me (and provide proof of something afoot) that NOBODY DIED IN MANCHESTER.

If I follow that path, I am engaging in confirmation bias.

Or, as we said, applied cognitive dissonance.

I’m taking in new information (which contradicts my Ur-theory), but I’m merely incorporating the new information into a more and more twisted tree of mosaic logic.

Perhaps only the Sorities paradox can explain what happens as we dwindle down from the heaping certainty of 100% true to 51% true.

Indeed, in fuzzy logic, there is no excluded middle.

So 50% true would also be 50% false.

A statement with those truth values would be both true and false (equally) and neither true nor false (each being equally negated).

[like the liar’s paradox, it is an infinite (infuriating) loop]

As for quantum logic, perhaps only one film I know of can represent it and that is Mulholland Drive.

Then again, the films of Stan Brakhage might equally symbolize this realm of alternate reasoning.

When we watch films, we see through the director’s eyes.

Yet none of us with see the exact same thing…because our minds (and all our memories) are engaged in the viewing process…giving everyone (truly everyone) a unique viewing experience.

I would add that art operates by its own logic(s).

Then the question is this:  do we intend to play our brains like pianos?

Do we intend to apply our cognitive dissonances?

First we must visualize the keyboard.

Locate our peculiar, clashing beliefs.

But can we than “apply” them by way of confirmation bias?

Well, of course.

But learning the scales will be the toughest.

For that will take a very thorough mindfulness which, I reckon, not many of us possess.

Film.

Cinema.

Movies.

Art.

Operation according to their own myriad logics.

And the logic of each auteur structures the world(s) he or she brings us in film.

And how important PLAY and FREE ASSOCIATION become in the mixed up soup of art.

Even to get the right pigments.

Might have to throw your shoe into the vat.

Bulk quantities of paint.

To paint the waterlilies a million times.

Every day.

And the crows in the field.

And back to the church stones glowing at different times of day.

Shades of light.  Degrees of day.  Heat.

One word must weave into the next.

Know that we should never stop dreaming.

Never stop learning.

Never stop questioning.

And have the bravery which Plato counted as truly a virtue.

 

-PD

Movies take time

But they also give it back.

And, not least, they preserve it.

A very stilted intro.

Too precise, for my taste.

My writing facility depends upon off-the-cuff meeting the solid immediacy of memory.

A fluid motion.

Deepest thought.  As no thinking whatsoever.

I liken it to music.

In music…you don’t have TIME to think about it.  Sometimes.

Especially in improvisation.

You must immediately choose.

And such decision theory would be well-served to focus on practice.

The importance of practice.

Muscle memory.

The battle being won (or lost) before one ever gets to the battlefield.

Movies take time.

We would all (probably) like to sit around watching movies all day.

I am luckier than most.  Perhaps.

But I still cannot find TIME to watch movies.  Sometimes.

Which makes me a pretty dubious film critic.

Yet film criticism is not dependent upon an ever-replenishing hopper of movies.

Perhaps I avoid writing about the same film twice (I do…avoid that), but there is a time TO PUT IT ALL TOGETHER.

Which is why, for me, Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma is not only HIS greatest film, but (in my opinion, of course) the greatest film of all time.

In his magnum opus, Godard succeeds in saying everything and saying nothing.

More or less.  Sort of.

And TIME has a large part to do with that.

At 266 minutes (4 1/2 hours…you’re welcome), it’s not a flick to throw on lightly.

Especially after you see the subject matter.

Cinema.

To be sure.

But EVERYTHING ELSE…TOO!

Such that film could not progress…down (or up) through TIME…without dragging with it the “great” moments in history.

[the exception being the Holocaust…which, as Godard repeatedly points out, was (for one reason or another) never documented…as it went on…as far as we know]

For Godard, the liberation of the camps was not good enough.

Film, he seems to argue, FAILED the Jews (and, indeed, the world) by not BEING THERE.

[which is ironic…considering the many Jewish founders of Hollywood]

And so Hollywood has tried to make up for lost time.

Spielberg.

Schindler’s List.

But it cannot be done.

That rupture in film history can never be fixed.

Unless, in some state archive, there exists Nazi films which would give a face to the horror about which we can only read.

But I did not intend this to be about Histoire(s) (or even about Godard).

I, as I so often do, just started writing.

Because I needed to write.

And I need my readers.

I care if you listen 🙂

[Milton Babbitt be damned!]

Films take time.

Watching a movie.

That’s a big chunk of day (or night).

And we often cannot squeeze that in.

Perhaps we could.

But we would feel guilty, somehow.

For we would be neglecting other…priorities.

In all of this, I am just thankful to have the time I have.

Thankful for health (though it be relative).

Thankful for prayers answered.

Thankful for the peace we enjoy here and there.

I’m thankful for my fellow men and women.

Those who have high aspirations.

Those who have achieved.

Those who give so much of themselves to the betterment of our planet.

I thank God.

Without God, I would be lost.

But in my hardships, I can feel the presence of a loving spirit.

I thank you, my readers.

Some of you have read me for a long time.

And you have been my friends.

No matter how weird I am 🙂

[and I am weird!]

I would leave you with on pithy story.

That of Phineas Gage.

In 1848, a meter-long steel rod was shot through his head.

But he did not die.

It is, most certainly, a hard story to stomach.

But Mr. Gage (it is said) retrieved some of his personality…later in life…while living in Chile…and driving a stagecoach.

It is significant…that his improvement…correlated to structure.

Having a daily structure.

This seemed to help his mind.

Well, friends…

I will leave it there.

As the clock is always ticking.

It is now 10 minutes into the new day.

Be well.  Good luck.  Expect good things 🙂

 

-PD

End of cinema?

No.

God willing.

But the beginning of health.

What things do we need for health?

Sleep.

Food.

Water.

Love?

Yes, love.

Hope.

Mental well-being.

Sanity 🙂

So, dear friends, as a critic…I must criticize myself.

And I do.

I know.

I have patterns.

And I am fine with some of them.

  1.  I am a skeptic

If there is a bombing in Ankara, I say, “Was there REALLY a bombing?”

If China lands on the moon, I say, “Did they REALLY land on the moon?”

You get the picture.

But sometimes (often) in my skepticism I lose perspective.

And I usually regain it the next day.

[more or less]

I think it can be best explained like this.

9/11 traumatized me like nothing before or since.

I’m sure many people share this reaction.

But 9/11 changed me very much.

All of a sudden, I wanted to know about the CIA.

I wanted to know about the NSA.

MI6.

Raven Rock Mountain.

Etc. etc. etc.

Indeed, that there is a peculiar sort of blowback.

A truly savvy “deep state” would have let sleeping dogs lie.

But 9/11 woke many from their trances.

Some rallied round the flag.

I was late in doing that.

I was mainly wracked with empathy.

Verily, I can imagine few more horrifying deaths than those experienced by the victims in the World Trade Center.

And so I rallied for their sake.

I didn’t wanna go kill someone.

I didn’t join the Army.

[maybe I should have]

I gradually wanted to know one thing about 9/11:  the truth.

And we get exposed to new ideas in such passing caroms of conversation.

A snippet here.  A remembered word.

I’ll be honest:  I’m not a fighter.

And, shame on me, I’m not sufficiently loving either.

For when there is love in the heart, a person can do no harm.

But I let my more petty instincts get the better of me.

I insult.

I rail.

I denigrate.

Truly, it is not very big of me.

[not to be confused with bigamy…]

Continuing…

It’s not very “responsible” of me to mouth off about something like the incident in Manchester last night.

Because truly I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.

I may have a few snatches of truth…but my logic is bad.

I acknowledge that.

I am no lawyer.

Maybe some day.

But probably not 🙂

And yet, the best thing we can do is say we’re sorry…when we fuck up.

I don’t know shit about shit.

I’m not an expert.

I’m certainly not an expert in terrorism.

But I have devoted a large part of my life to educating myself.

About the things they don’t teach you in school.

But I say this most honestly:  I have no ill will towards anyone.

And so to the good men and women in the UK and other countries who are fighting terrorism, I salute you.

You have an unenviable task.

And we thank you for keeping us safe.

If anyone died last night in Manchester…in a bombing…I am truly sorry.

Indeed, I find the whole thing hard to fathom.

Which probably explains my aversion to “the news”.

If I try to imagine some of the injuries and death blows about which I have heard, my mind is filled with the saddest images imaginable.

But let’s do something productive.

Here.

What am I supposed to feel?

Anger?

Am I supposed to be angry at Salman Abedi (now purportedly dead)?

Or am I supposed to be angry at his religion?

Am I supposed to be angry at the migration policies of the European Union?

It really is a can of worms.

And that is assuming you can believe everything which comes out your tele 🙂

But truly, even one life ending prematurely…in such insane, violent, randomness…it shakes you furiously.

And it puts on notice that everywhere (EVERYWHERE) is a potential war zone.

I don’t know if anything I’ve said makes any difference.

But I just wanted to express my thanks to God.

For showing me a more righteous path.

I may stumble.

But if I hear my conscience (JLG), then I must adjust.

I want great peace for the world.

New beginnings.

I want opportunity for my friends and neighbors.

For my countrymen.

And of course I want the best for every country on Earth.

So I must stay humble.

Be humble.

I must listen to God.

I am but a novice, but I trust that God will care for me.

And then enters no fear.

Above and beyond a medication.

But a blessing.

If there really were little girls killed in Manchester, then we are heartbroken with the families.

And humbled at their loss.

I am just as weak as the next bloke.

Human.

Not a superman.

Merely a skunk crawling back in to apologize.

E pur si muove

-PD

Film is truth (24 times per day)

To be a film critic, you have to study film.

No…correction.

To be a film critic, you must have an opinion.

Yes.

Because you have grasped that the valuation of all art is subjective.

The End.

–PD

We all have dreams.

Some guiding us, some latent.

Deferred (to quote Hansberry…who was quoting Hughes).

Whatever we say we are, that’s our frame.

As at a museum.

Or salon.

Autumn…

–PD

Write like you mean it.

Like your life depends on it.

Because, maybe, your soul does.

Remembering the gnostic Gospel of Thomas.

–PD

–PD

We learned from the master.

The best Earthly craftsman.

But we do not deny God.

Quite the contrary, we worship God.

The royal we.

Me.

–PD

Google thinks I’m a musician.

How quaint.

I’m honored.

–PD

I was a musician.

And you can never stop being.

A musician.

Like Picasso.

3hree.

I still have the chords in my hands.

And the secret in my ear.

–PD

Getting to the meat.

That Donald Trump made an excellent speech today in Saudi Arabia.

A lecture.

The bravest fucking speech ever made by an infidel in the Arabian peninsula.

Which is why we love Donald Trump.

“Ok, ok…  These Arabs.  I love ’em, but they’ve gotta get a handle on the fucking terrorism.”

Yes, I like to IMAGINE Donald Trump quotes.

Kinda like “fake Sean Spicer”.

Do you know this guy?

Perhaps wittiest account on Twitter.

Right up there with Shayrat Air Base HR 🙂

But we’re not saying everything is hunky dory.

HOWEVER…

The Liberal PUSH in America is currently devoid of all substance.

The Liberals (I almost feel sorry for them) had the rug pulled out from them on November 7th of last year.

It was “Dewey Defeats Truman” TO THE NTH DEGREE!!!

And they will never get over that.

But.  But.  But.

Nate Silver told us Hillary was gonna win.  Sure thing.

And he’s a statis-ma-tician.

–PD

There are some things you can’t teach.

Dumb will always be dumb.

In certain cases.

And genius will always be genius.

I am, in some respects, dumb.

Alternately, I am (in some respects) genius.

Denying either would be disingenuous.

I have been on this Earth 40 years.

I am not an expert in British history.

Not an expert in the Napoleonic Wars.

I am not an expert in poetry.

I am…well.

I do not count myself among that number…

Because I don’t give a fuck what the canon is.

I like who I like.

Poets.

James Joyce.

Poet.

Finnegans Wake.

A long poem.

But I am dumb.

Sometimes.

I am so unobservant.

And the rest of the time, I can pick motes (pickmote) out of the air.

I can categorize dust particles.

24 hours a day.

As they dance in the light of the projector.

–PD

I have my moments.

So, this is not a review of a Trump speech.

I caught…just bits and pieces.

But it was bold.

Classic.

Timeless.

And it was the right thing for the President of the United States to say…at this time.

There are innumerable conspiracies.

JFK.

Ones we hardly talk about anymore.

[remember the Maine?]

Well, Cuba remembers.

Right?

Havana Harbor?

You know…

–PD

It’s interesting that I finally got some attention from China on here.

Looking at my stats.

The “Great Firewall”.

What, you might ask, got the PRC’s attention?

It’s easy.

Basketball.

But not just basketball IN GENERAL.

No no.

The Houston Rockets.

And why?

Yao Ming.

THERE we go.

If you have special access.

And you are protecting the Middle Kingdom from imperialists, then you will do OSINT research into…no, fuck it:  you’ll read about why your Houston Rockets lost.

Houston.

A very diverse city (of which I was recently reminded).

And North Korea is only a step away.

PING PONG DIPLOMACY, you fucking morons.

Give me Pieczenik and Rodman and we could have Kim Jong-un whistling “Dixie” out of his ass by sundown.

Maybe.

–PD

Bukowski was a great writer.  Who chose horrible subjects.

Because writing is dancing like a (floating) butterfly, being like a bee.  Stinging.

From Ali.

And so I’d like to thank my few consistent readers for sticking with me.

Sincerely!

I’m guessing tomorrow night will be the last basketball game.

For awhile.

Looks like.

The Spurs are mailing it in.

And I’m none too impressed.

But we’ll see.

What they do.

With the opportunity.

–PD

Not done.

You’ll know.

–PD

But it’s kinda subtle.

Art.

Brushstrokes.

Ahhh…

Truly, the master.

No more, will we wonder what is fake.

F.

Not a grade, but a designation.

A category.

Like MI6.

__PD

It’s such a blessing to have a roof.

Shelter.

A home.

An apartment.

Any feeling of stability whatsoever.

And we look to God in the sky.

God in our hearts.

God in misty clouds.

God who sees all.

Our journey has been long and arduous.

And God exists to tell the full masterpiece of our lives.

Every dot.  Every p and q.

[p&q]

¬PD

“Trained in formal logic”…

Just another way of saying lawyer (almost).

Almost-lawyer.

But I am trained in informal logic.

And, dear friends, I must confide…logic is always pink.

I think.

I have one more email.

Never caught up.

Never, up to date.

But we praise God for the opportunity to study.

To study strategy.  To study war.

No more.

To study leadership.  And psychology.

To study law.  Forensics.  Criminalistics.

Most of all, we pray for help.

To overcome obstacles.

And we pray this so that we might help people.

Those close to us, and those far away.

We see a President creating value.

God bless him.

A President with the full armor of God.

Each called at his or her appointed time.

To serve.

Our praise is thanks.

Humble thanks.

Thank you.

And we share our prayers not to be ostentatious.

But for the fellowship of man.

Where two or more are joined together.

Wherever.

God defying time and space.

In every nook and cranny of telecommunications.

Film is truth.

Film criticism is film.

If it’s true.

Which it so seldom is.

But may we be pleasing in the sight of the Lord.

At the rate of 24 times per second.

And may God watch over us 24 hours a day.

In waking and sleep.

-PD

James Bond vs. Jacques Clouseau

This will be, God willing, a very long piece of film criticism.

Which retains only the smallest, tenuous grasp on cinema whatsoever.

Because we are living in interesting times.

And we must PROJECT forwards.

Like a motion picture.

From the back of the hall.

This will have little to do with James Bond.

And perhaps even less to do with Jacques Clouseau.

It will primarily involve President Donald Trump (may he be praised).

And Jim Comey.

& Gregg Popovich.

Let’s attempt a start…

Is Donald Trump more like James Bond or Jacques Clouseau?

[And Geraldo Rivera.

And Twitter.]

In many ways, it would seem an easy choice.

Trump.

A man of class.

A man in a dark-blue blazer.

A business type.

A man who probably owns several sets of cufflinks (and the shirts to match).

A man who probably has his preferred barber (not unlike Chaplin in The Great Dictator).

So we seem to be veering towards Bond.

Sophisticated.

High finance.

Shrewd.

Skilled.

But part of Trump can be taken as Jacques Clouseau.

And this may be my favorite aspect of the President.

Contrary to Geraldo Rivera’s opinion (which so many seem to share), Donald Trump DOES NOT need a “Twitter editor”.

And Sean Hannity has thoroughly worn out the “tinfoil hat conspiracy” meme.

Calling the Left conspiracy theorists is about as lazy as it gets.

I know Sean is frustrated.

So am I.

But we can destroy the Left (the duplicitous, vampire Left) with much better weapons.

Donald Trump must never change his Jacques Clouseau inclinations.

He is the Shakespeare of Twitter.

The Basho of this medium.

140 characters.

No person, living or dead, has used this means of communication to such effect.

He has roused!

He has enraged!

And he does it effortlessly.

Because he was born to communicate.

The pithy zinger is more radioactive than any nuke he could ever deploy.

And we love Trump.

[me and a few other people]

Because he misspells stuff.

“chidlren”

“tapp [sic] my phones”

Fuck it!

Trump does not say oops.

He doesn’t delete a Tweet to correct one fucking letter.

He leaves it.

Like a sloppy Machiavelli.

And he is so much more the polymath for it.

So I would offer Mr. Trump the opposite advice.

Fox News, God bless them, need to take their heads out of their asses.

Trump is the last person on Earth who should even entertain an idea like “messaging discipline”.

Fuck that!

That’s like telling Beethoven:

“Hey Ludwig.  Symphony 3 was a little long.  And Symphony 5…you can’t use trombones.  And what’s this programmatic shit in Symphony 6?  Oh, and Symphony 5…also, you can’t start with a rest.  And Symphony 9 is, again, WAY TOO LONG.”

Yes, that music critic or “friend” of the late composer should have been summarily executed.

Because Ludwig van Beethoven was all personality.

Exceptional skill.

But above all, balls!

[I’d really like to check out Third Wave feminism, but I haven’t seen waves One and Two yet.]

Even 20 years ago, I was being subjected to academic propaganda.

I needed to learn to appreciate “feminist music criticism”.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Let me give you an idea of how feminist music criticism approaches Beethoven.

First of all, he was a straight man.  Strike one.

Had he been in any way effeminate (like Chopin), he would have gotten a pass.

Next, feminist music criticism manages to equate Beethovenian cadences (harmonic resolutions) with male orgasm.

Isn’t that great?

As Stravinsky said (and I paraphrase), “They are just notes on a page.”

So with the exception of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, the listener is never told (nor guided) how to experience the music.

Yes, the sonata-allegro from does have a psychological element.

It is, to be fair, a musical trick.

The second theme (not in the key of the work) will eventually be transposed into the key of the work…at the end…at the recapitulation…to give a satisfying feeling of finality.

Beethoven did not invent that.

Far from it.

But let’s get back to Trump.

Trump is certainly a dick.

An asshole.

But he’s OUR asshole.

?

[something like that]

Which brings us to a pizzagate (pedogate) update.

I’ll be quite blunt.

Apparently Jim Comey likes to fuck little boys who are dressed as Howdy Doody.

Sound farfetched?

Did J. Edgar wear a dress?

[Does the Pope wear a funny hat?]

I’m gonna say.

The Howdy Doody thing is FAR-OUT.

But anything is fucking possible these days.

The Russians must like me.

Google finds me as “Последни туитове на”.

Interesting.

Indeed, I have been completely removed from Google searches (my Twitter account) except in Russian.

Actually, I stand corrected.

I must be huge in Bulgaria 🙂

Bulging, as it were…

Ok, well…that’s a little disconcerting.

But we’ll press on.

I have been made invisible on Google.

I must have been labeled “fake news”.

And so I don’t exist.

Only traces of me remain.

A sort of outline of a persona.

So I guess the American government is ashamed of me.

Or Google is ashamed of me.

So I have been curtailed.

But I press on.

Here is the video of Comey and Howdy Doody (well, not THE video):

I don’t know if I buy it.

I’ve never heard of the source.

David Zublick.

Well-spoken guy.

Seems to be broadcasting from his home (a 1970s suburban job).

Very articulate, methodical presentation.

About 20 minutes long.

I will say this:  it’s plausible.

It’s possible.

I have my reasons to doubt Comey’s Howdy Doody fetish, but I also have reason to believe it.

Which brings up a very important question:

“What the fuck does any of this have to do with anything?”

Well, I’m glad you asked.

As you may or may not know, James Comey was fired from his job as head of the FBI last week by Donald Trump.

May 9th.

Six days ago.

Why?

If you believe the Democrat tripe, Russia “hacked” our election.  Trump “colluded” with the Russians.  Russia “interfered” in our elections.

This little drama plays out like Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author.

Except in the case of the Democrats, it’s Six Plots in Need of an Authorial Decision.

Give the Democrats credit.

If their “novel” or “drama” is supposed to be pure chaos (like Pynchon’s wildest moments…or Finnegans Wake), then they have succeeded.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that their magnum opus of bullshit is really “reaching” the people.

It is piped through every channel imaginable, but the people aren’t ready to receive such a concocted amalgam of poppycock.

And so I give Jim Comey the benefit of the doubt.

For now.

Guilty until…excuse me, innocent until proven guilty.

THERE we go.

Because there is one inconvenient detail about the Comey story.

One unfortunate (perhaps made-up) aspect of the pizzagate epic.

Donald Trump did (in some capacity) know Jeffrey Epstein.

There are some commentators (like Wayne Madsen) who claim that Trump himself is a child rapist.

This would be the Epstein “Wexner mansion” story.

Ostensibly to have occurred in 1994.

Link here.

I don’t know, but to me…the story sounds made up.

[“And you believe the Howdy Doody yarn?”]

It’s a little too perfect.

The suit brought by “Katie Johnson” on April 26 of last year.

“Johnson”, who claims that Trump raped her when she was 13, cancelled her press conference (at which she was to reveal her true identity) on November 4 of last year:  THREE DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION!

[She then also dropped the case.  Hmmm…  Perhaps the most telling aspect of her stunt.  Had there been any truth to what she was saying, couldn’t the well-oiled Democrat shitshow propagandize and leverage her tale?  No one is as nasty and vile as the “tolerant, peace-loving” Democrats.  No.  I don’t buy it.  Her story stinks.]

I personally believe Ms. “Johnson’s” story to have been a political hoax…to smear Trump.

But it didn’t work.

And the “grab ’em by the pussy” tape didn’t work either.

[Hillary can thank husband Bill for lowering the standards of the Presidency such that the winner could utter that phrase and still get elected]

Plain and simple, I think America saw through the coordinated attacks on Donald Trump.

James O’Keefe exposed some of these attacks with his Project Veritas.

Once we learned of the “bird-dogging” in Chicago, all bets were off.

This is the same tactic which has been used AGAINST liberal protestors (such as at the G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy [summer of 2001]).

Using paid provocateurs, the Democratic Party (through several layers of surrogates) appears to have incited violence at Trump’s Chicago rally (and elsewhere) during the campaign.

And so the Democrats want to talk about the “timing” of Comey’s firing.

Blah blah blah…”timing…timing…timing”.

But it is possible that Jim Comey was unable to do the right thing in regards to Hillary Clinton because he himself was compromised.

And it is always possible that the President himself is compromised.

But I don’t think so.

Anyway…there is the fair story.

You can make up your mind.

If you can unravel the sweater, then you win the Trump-bashing, piñata prize.

But if you stick to Alinsky (as purely instructive), it appears the liberal pedophiles in the United States have gotten caught with their hand in the criminal cookie jar…and are pointing the finger at their younger brother:

the upstart who is innocent of their crimes

–>  Donald Trump.

-PD

the Vertigo of love

I have been ruminating on this piece.

Rewatching the film.

Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

And it occurs to me that Bernard Herrmann’s music was truly indispensable.

That late-romantic palette…Mahler…Richard Strauss…Wagner…early Schoenberg.

Herrmann’s musical materials are largely drawn from the death of tonal music.

The “common practice period” in Europe was pulling apart.

At the end of the 19th century.

And the beginning of the 20th.

The famous “Tristan chord”…that half-diminished 7th…indeed, the piece which heralded modernity’s birth:  Tristan und Isolde.

Bernard Herrmann is able to evoke the longing of love with his music for Vertigo.

Falling, wistful motifs.

These practices date back at least to J.S. Bach.

Text painting (or word painting).

But now it’s shot painting (or movement painting).

And yet the dialogue is still a part of this gumbo.

It’s just not sung (as it would be in a Bach cantata).

But Tristan und Isolde seems to be the main touchstone for Herrmann’s soundtrack.

The Wagnerian brass is evident from the opening titles.

But let’s switch gears slightly.

To Olivier Messiaen.

Messiaen once said (and I paraphrase), “Love is like a feeling of dizziness.”

That quote sums up Vertigo more than anything I know.

And Messiaen elaborated on this by composing his Turangalîla-Symphonie (considered by some to be his masterpiece).

Turangalila’s translation (from Sanskrit) is roughly, “love song and hymn of joy, time, movement, rhythm, life, and death.”

That very much describes the bizarre adventure which Jimmy Stewart has in Hitchcock’s film.

Dizzy.  Weightless.

The Lissajous curves in the opening titles.

Spinning.  Approaching.

Kim Novak’s eyeballs like planets…with spinning hurricanes clouding her vision.

Or a direct view into her soul.

But let’s get one thing straight:  it is Stewart who suffers for love.

In the quack house.

The shock.

Mute.  Unable to speak.

Catatonic.

Unresponsive even to close friends.

A heavy depression.

Love heavily, hurt heavily.

I been there.

But the process…it started with Stewart tailing Madeleine (on her husband’s orders).

A private eye job.

And something about those hills of San Francisco.

And Bernard Herrmann’s impressionistic music.

It could even be Pelléas et Mélisande.

We get the feeling from the music that he is falling…deeper and deeper into something dangerous…and dark.

But he is drawn.

The die has been cast.

He is no longer in control.

Like a magnet pulled by another of its kind.

And so we look to Vertigo for answers.

Of all the Hitchcock films, none has this haze of mystery about it.

A bit metaphysical.  A metaphysical false-flag.

But always that music which lulls you over the next hill…or into the bay.

And then there is the flute.  And those martial rhythms which evoke Spanish Colonialism.

As the forensic detective tries to make sense of what appears to be a woman possessed.

And time is always ticking on Stewart’s good Samaritan act.

As the echoes of paso dobles are ever insistent upon FATE.

Which brings us finally to Beethoven.

And the quest for perfection.

For this, we must bring our auteur (Alfred Hitchcock) to center stage.

I would maintain that Hitchcock’s “trilogy” (his three best films) should contain the films Rear Window, Vertigo, and North by Northwest.

The first is perfect.  Though it does not necessarily lend itself to multiple viewings.

The second is overlong.  Yet it is a masterpiece all the same.

The third is the most enjoyable.  And the film I come back to the most (of these three).

1954, 1958, 1959.  These three years are the high points for me…regarding Hitchcock.

Beethoven.

It might be said that Beethoven’s symphonies are the most “Hollywood” of all the forms in which he composed.

His string quartets, for instance, would be more akin to art films.

But let’s look at the early symphonies.

And just three.

Symphony 1 in C Major.  It starts with ingenuity, but it is largely a ripoff of Mozart and Haydn.  UNTIL THE FOURTH MOVEMENT.  So Beethoven was showing signs of greatness (though they were faint).  It’s possible to think of his first symphony as Vertigo (though 7 or 9 would probably be more representative).

In any case, Symphony 2 was in D Major.  One whole step higher.  Again, it is mostly an aping of Mozart and Haydn.  EXCEPT THE LAST MOVEMENT.  The final movement begins with a shriek which should shortly pull all this together.  And so his second symphony could be thought of as North by Northwest (though I think 5 would fit better).

And then Beethoven sells his soul to the Devil.

Or he puts it all together.

But his Symphony 3, in Eb Major (again up a step, but only a half step this time), is like a completely new composer.  It’s shocking.  Liberating.  It is as close to rock and roll as could be heard in 1805.  And it fits the next film in Hitchcock’s oeuvre (if only in the spirit of boldness)…a film which I have yet to review on this site:  Psycho.

Funny enough, there is probably no Beethoven symphony which matches Psycho better than the 3rd (except, perhaps, for the 5th) [or the 7th].

But I have hardly talked about love.

And I wish that I could.

But I’m like that catatonic Stewart.

I’m making little strides every day.

Mozart.

Beethoven (obviously).

Once upon a time, a friend and I listened to all nine Beethoven symphonies in one day.

It takes most of the day.

And you end up questioning your sanity after such an exercise.

It’s a bit like “hanging out” with a person all day…sightseeing…while playing an odd theoretical version of “the quiet game”.

That is also really a mind fuck!

But now I am like little Jimmy Stewart (if not Little Jimmy Dickens).

I’m just waiting on love to come down my road.

And I’ll gladly go out to meet it.

But every day, just planting and tilling.

In the weatherless brain.

Every day with my nose to the grindstone.

Turning corn into cornflower.

And making the tortillas of knowledge.

Every day walking to school…uphill both ways.

And carrying the water from the pump.

Milking the books and lugging the buckets.

Every night hoping, looking in the mirror, that my time hasn’t passed.

And simultaneously thanking God for all the blessings which have filled my long life so far.

Good morning or good evening, wherever you are, my friends 🙂

-PD

The Big Sleep as geopolitics

It is a tall order.

To take the serpentine plot of Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep and apply it to world events.

But that’s what I do with every film review, right?

Yes.

And I have tried to just as often give credit to the man who inspired me:  Jean-Luc Godard.

Godard’s middle-period films (those just after Week-end) were all very political.

And this era of his filmmaking lasted for the next 12 years or so (1968-1980).

Godard was a Marxist.

A Marxist-Leninist.

Indeed, one might be accurate in describing him even as a Maoist.

I have talked about these aspects of Godard before.

But I’m not here to debate his political philosophy.

What I admire about Godard was that he was ENGAGED.

I don’t necessarily agree with his stance.

I’m not a Marxist.  I’m not a socialist.

I’m a capitalist.

But I’m not a one-sided coin.

If America could learn this lesson, then the country would be much the better for it.

Some of my best friends are socialists.

And those who are respectful of my views, I am proud to call friends.

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

[as the old saying goes]

Socialism comes at the problem (let’s say) from the left.

Capitalism comes at the problem (therefore) from the right.

Whether this left/right paradigm stems from the French Revolution is not important really.

What’s important is to see that sometimes socialism does the job better (truly), and sometimes capitalism does the job better.

And it is the Chinese who, perhaps, have seen this the most.

The USA is currently in a period of capitalist revival (among other revivals).

China needed capitalism (economically speaking).

But let’s get around to calling this what it is.

In geopolitics, it is realpolitik.

And no one is, arguably, more associated with this idea than Henry Kissinger.

I do not like Henry Kissinger.

His name is akin to fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

But maybe I’m wrong?

When Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize (1973), the award lost all meaning.

But little were we to know that the award could hit an even lower level.

Perhaps it’s because we experienced it firsthand, but Barack Obama’s win of the same award in 2009 veritably turned the world on its head.

Talk about premature…

So the Nobel Peace Prize is now a joke.

If you are awarded the prize, then you likely run Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, etc.

I have nothing against those companies.

But it is mixing oil and water to bestow upon them laurels and daisies of philosophic admiration.

So.

The Big Sleep.

1946.

An earlier version shown to U.S. troops (!) in 1945.

Earlier version not shown again commercially until 1997.

1997.

The Grand Chessboard.

If you want to know what the U.S. has been doing these past 18 years, then look no further than Zbigniew Brzezinski’s incredibly cynical, naked plan for world domination.

Those PNAC boys (Project for a New American Century) must all have copies of this on their bedside nightstands.

Like a bible.

I read Brzezinski’s book long ago.

It is revolting.

And yet, it is the work of a great intellect.

We have examined the phenomenon of the serial killer before on this site.

And I would liken such aspirations as Brzezinski’s to those of a Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer.

I’ve seen Brzezinski speak.

To the Mujahideen.

Zbig (as he is known) is like a circus ringmaster.

Like Peter Ustinov in Lola Montès.

Brzezinski was transparently manipulating the Mujahideen to fight the Soviets.

Because he thought the Mujahideen were stupid.

And though they were not the organizational geniuses which 9/11 portrayed them as, they were not stupid.

There really is “blowback”.

But we’re not stupid either.

And 9/11 was no blowback.

And so we move on to CODE.

I hope to be able to bring you my thoughts at some point on perhaps the greatest coded work of the 21st century so far (King of the Jews by Nick Tosches).

Don’t be alarmed.

It’s not about Jesus.

It’s not Holocaust denial.

No.

It’s simply a book (on the surface) about Jewish gangster Arnold Rothstein.

But what is it really about?

It’s about 9/11.  The World Trade Center.  About the Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co.

[now known as Zim Integrated Shipping Services]

Tosches mentions none of this.

But he doesn’t have to.

Because he’s a master.

He knows his Ezra Pound.

And I’m guessing, even more importantly, he knows his James Joyce.

[particularly the longest code piece {not to be confused with codpiece} ever written:  Finnegans Wake]

Finnegans Wake.  1939.

The Big Sleep.  1939.

The NOVEL.

Raymond Chandler.

Joyce, though serialized, published compiled on May 4 of that year.

But Chandler is just pulp, right?

He’s not “sui generis” like Joyce.

Therefore we just know the year.

1939.

[Maybe someone can fill in this gap of imprecision?]

We know how Joyce started…the infamous Heraclitus run-on:

“riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.”

That first word.

Starting a 628-page novel with a lower-case letter 🙂

[sic]

And needing a comma…after one word!

Letting Eve precede Adam.

And some off-the-cuff Latin.

But mainly Dublin.

Howth.

And what about Raymond Chandler?

Same year.

[with the exception that Joyce had been dribbling out the “chapters” of FW since 1922…as writers were wont to do in those days]

“It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.”

That’s Chandler.

A typical noir crime pulp beginning.

“It was a cold, dark night…”

But Chandler is too lie-down-cool to use commas.

Which makes Joyce seems uptight (in retrospect).

Notice…”hard wet rain”.

That’s it.

No commas.

Just keep truckin’.

Cigarette hanging from side of mouth.

Underwood typewriter clacking.

Cup of coffee steaming.

No time for commas.

Raymond Chandler.

A master.

And Joyce.

The master.

But each, a craftsman of superb ingenuity.

So what did Chandler’s story say about the world in 1939?

And what does it say about our world in 2017?

Is it really about people named Joe Brody and Eddie Mars…etc. etc. etc. ?

Or is there a DEEPER story?

Like Tosches’ King of the Jews…or Joyce’s Finnegans.

And Brzezinski…

Did he just trust that no one would take his plan and run?

Because the neocons very much took it.  And ran.

And started World War III.

18 years ago.

On 9/11.

September 1, 1939.  Germany invades Poland.

By way of a false flag at the Gleiwitz radio station.  Two days prior.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleiwitz_incident

September 11, 2001.  Two airplanes crash into World Trade Center in New York City.

By way of remote control.

You will have to do some of your own research here.

Missile [sic] hits Pentagon.

Flight 93 is shot down.

WTC buildings 1, 2, and 7 (47-storeys) all collapse due to controlled demolition.

[again, this requires your participation]

1 vs. 11.

Same month.

Both were false flags.

The second being a “false-flag stand-down”.

But none of this tells us where we are at now.

A leader needs a map.

Brzezinski is now old hat.

fait accompli.

But we are still left with these characters:

-Philip Marlowe

-Vivian (!) Sternwood Rutledge

-Eddie Mars

-Bernie Ohls

-General Sternwood

-Norris (the Sternwood butler)

-Lash (!) Canino (the hitman)

-Harry Jones (the little man…who dies for love)

-Joe Brody

-Agnes Lowzier

But Wikipedia leaves out some important personages.

Like:

-Carmen Sternwood

-Owen Taylor (never seen in the movie)

-Arthur Gwynn Geiger (very important!)

-Sean Regan (also never seen, but also very important)

It’s like a game.

Everyone wants to be the hero.

The USA wants to be Philip Marlowe.

Naturally.

But just like this upstart Antifa, we may have actually become Eddie Mars (thanks to jerks like Kissinger).

For the Democratic Party in the U.S., Eddie Mars is Russia.

Russia this.  Russia that.

But that’s not quite right.

I’m gonna have to give Philip Marlowe to a couple of people.

Alex Jones and Steve Pieczenik.

To start.

And many others who are fighting the good fight.

Ok, so we have one mystery solved.

Perhaps Mrs. Rutledge (Lauren Bacall) is the CIA.

Perhaps that’s being too kind to the Agency.

[or to cruel to the memory of Bacall]

Perhaps “Eddie Mars” is always shifting?

But Eddie Mars is a big force.

For the U.S., China or Russia could be thought of as Eddie Mars…but that would be very simplistic.

For Russia or China, the USA could very easily be Eddie Mars.

Villain.

Villainy.

Bernie Ohls is most certainly the FBI.

Straight-shooters.

In theory.

The 1993 WTC bombing should tell you everything you need to know about the FBI (unfortunately).

General Sternwood.

Ok, maybe we make a change here.

In fact, definitely!

General Sternwood is Steve Pieczenik.

Philip Marlowe is Alex Jones.

Solved!

And Pieczenik has daughters…

Rutledge (military intelligence) and Carmen (CIA).

Yikes.

That’s really cruel.

Doesn’t really do the Agency justice.

But this is a rough game 🙂

Or, Rutledge (intelligence community) and Carmen (rogue portion of CIA).

That sounds about right.

Rutledge is a good egg.  With a checkered past.

Carmen is just fucked up.

Probably dates back to when Gen. Donovan wanted to put incendiaries on bats (to attack the Japanese).  🙂

Carmen needs to go away for awhile.  Get treatment.

She’s a cold warrior who’s nearly froze to death.

Poor thing.

We don’t hate her.

For God’s sake…

But she’s a wreck.

Compromised.

In too deep.

And though it’s too easy, I’m going to give Arthur Gwynn Geiger to Israel.

Come back tomorrow.

You mean EARLY tomorrow?

Because it looks like you’re moving TODAY!

And so Joe Brody is shifting, but actually (on second thought) Joe Brody is Israel.

And Mr. Geiger is all of the awesome, good Jews in this world.

Owen Taylor, then, would be al-Qaeda.

Which is to say, George Kaplan.

So the most cynical (and inept) is Joe Brody.

But the “stand-down” is Eddie Mars.

Meaning, we are Eddie Mars.

We are our own villain.

As Paul Craig Roberts has accurately insisted on so many occasions (and I paraphrase), “19 guys with boxcutters foiled our 16 intelligence agencies.”

Right.

And as Thierry Meyssan so aptly put it (in reference to the Pentagon “airplane” story), that is “strictly impossible”.

Exactly.

Deduction.

U.S. defense budget per year?  Approx. $611 billion.

Which equals the defense budgets of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany COMBINED.

That’s right.

Over half-a-trillion a year on defense and we couldn’t prevent 9/11.

Because it emanated from within our own borders.

“Self-inflicted wound”…is the best description.

[a phrase Brzezinski used in his 1997 work]

Much more pithy than “inside job”.

So there you have it, friends.

I left out North Korea.

I left out Turkey.

I left out Iran.

I left out France (except for their defense budget).

I left out Canada.

I left out Ireland.

I left out Syria.

I left out Sweden.

I didn’t assign the -stans, as Brzezinski would have.

Finally, let’s ruminate on a brief Zbig quote for a moment…not as telegraphed as PNAC’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”, but potent enough for our purposes:

“The public supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”

Someone took that and ran.

Namely, the neocons.

[emphasis mine]

-PD

The grey suit in NXNW [1959/2017)

Maybe.

After many long years.

I finally got a decent suit.

But the pinnacle is still Cary Grant in North by Northwest.

Perhaps more important than Dorothy’s slippers.

The grey suit.

Gray?  Grey.

Because Archibald Leach (Grant’s real name) was from Bristol.

Now.

The debate rages on.

Was it Norton & Sons (Savile Row) or Quintino (Beverly Hills)?

And this is a very important matter.

Basis in fact.

Innocent lives are at stake here.

Vanity Fair (at least they employed Tosches for a time) contends it was a British suit.

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2008/03/behindthescenes200803

But The Independent counters that it was an American (Beverly Hills) tailor.

My first thought is always The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (novel 1955, film 1956).

1959.

Something in the air.

Advertising.

Madison.

Shopping.

5th.

Whatever you do, don’t buy a property at 666 5th Avenue.

Mr. Kushner made that mistake.

Can you change an address?

Can we inch the building over a bit?

666 1/2?

But finally, that eternal quote of Mike Ruppert:

“The CIA is Wall Street.  Wall Street is the CIA.”

What could all this mean?

What could ANY of this mean?

It’s well-known.

But the real danger is Finnegans Wake.

Is it unpredictability?

The real danger is changing stripes.

Spots.

Markings.

Camouflage.

A mask.

My daily trousers are sweatpants.

And then we must bring in Erik Satie.

As dangerous (harmless) a man as ever lived.

The “Velvet Gentleman”.

Seven gray velvet suits.  All identical.  One for each day of the week.

A revolution in simplicity.

But there are many, many hours of piano music to wade through.

Through which.

It’s not just the Gymnopédies.

Or even the Gnossiennes.

SS.

It’s a veritable Voynich manuscript of eccentricity.

Quixotic.

Mercurial.

Bizarre!

But with Magritte we got the grey bowler.

And Max Ernst:  “The hat makes the man.”

But did he say it in English?

Not bloody likely!

And so rail-thin Cary Grant, almost certainly homosexual, looks stunning…dapper…a paragon of class in North by Northwest.

And it is a rare time where I (and many other men) say:  “Wow…I want that business suit!”

Because I didn’t grow up rich.

And it took me till age 40 to get a passable sack.

Brooks Brothers was expensive.

Still is.

I’m low-rent.

High-brow.

A conundrum.

I don’t want to sell oil.

I’m a city boy.

They won’t take me on the farm.

So what am I?

Do I ride around on a horse?

Do I spit tobacco into a cuspidor?

[not anymore]

We must go away.  To come back.  And see for the first time.

What was Jia Zhangke talking about?

Or from?

The I Ching?

Or some Zen text?

Advertising.

Memetics.

Messaging.

COMMUNICATIONS

We are drawn to the suit.

The breezy ease with which Cary Grant negotiates New York sidewalk traffic.

Every remark quick.

Never at a loss for words.

And the characters all pay attention.

From Martin Landau to Eva Marie Saint:  menswear.

Three buttons.

[a detail I missed…too late]

Buttons on cuffs.

Cufflinks.

Two-piece.

The most remarkable aspect, though, might be the “grey suit with grey tie” effect.

I mean, “what the fuck”?!?

It is slightly “off”.

Not the color-matching.

That’s fine.

But the concept.

Or this hypothetical exchange:

“What’s your favorite color?”

“Gray.”

“Gray?”

“Yeah, I don’t know…I just like gray.”

“What about it do you like?”

“I don’t know…it’s sorta mysterious?”

“Ok…but, I mean, it seems sorta drab, don’t you think?”

“Well, I’m not in the market for a gray bikini…”

Ah!

There’s the gender.

Men.

Do men fancy grey?

Is it one of the colors they’ve been “given”?

And women.

Do they really fancy pink?

I suppose some diabolical seamstress has plotted the complementary colors of all the world’s hetero couples.

Grey and pink.

Pink and green.

Orange and blue.

Red and green.

Purple and yellow.

Ad absurdum.

All I can say is this.

I feel spectacular in my new gray suit.

I’m a little closer to Daniel Craig, though mostly in the Cary Grant body type.

Or, put differently, I’m an extremely-poor-man’s Daniel Craig 🙂

I, too, would look scrawny next to James Bond.

Which segues nicely into the 007 franchise.

Suits…again.

Whether in Jamaica or parts unknown.

The sartorial fastidiousness would play a major role in framing Bond as “not just another guy”.

Taste.

An eye for detail.

Quality.

And personality, though understated.

The grey suit.

It the biggest weapon in my fashion arsenal (as of today).

And thus we turn towards commerce.

Another run, perhaps, of job searching.

Selling myself.

But at a certain point you just gotta say, “Fuck it!”

I’m a cool person.

I ain’t out to hurt nobody.

I read books.

Big fucking books.

About math and shit like that.

I’m a nerd to the nth power.

I know that.

And I’m fine with that.

Because I see the value in that.

So now I may have to bludgeon the HR receptors with a whole new level of qualifications.

Can I do it?

Can I be a lawyer?

Can I be a PhD?

[notably, perhaps, in advertising]

And beyond.

Because life has led me to this impasse.

We worry about bread on the table.

And some milk to stay healthy.

Heat in the winter.

Cooling in the summer.

Most of all…in all this mess of writing…I am thankful.

Thankful for a chance.  A chance to do the right things.

And thankful for family.  Thankful for time.

Thankful for intuition.

And thankful for failure.

Have your cake.  Or eat it.

Thank you, my friends…for your support.

I am happy today.  Hard day, as always.

And I pray the good happenings for each of you…in your lives…

-PD

Jia Zhangke, a Guy from Fenyang [2014)

I bet you thought I stopped writing about film, right?

🙂

Me too.

Sometimes.

I think…

“Am I still a film critic?”

With all this Trump this and Trump that.

With these tableaux.

This lazy poetry.

But I am back with an actual film.

And it is a masterpiece.

But I don’t know what to call it!!!

It’s a Chinese film.

Sort of.

But not really.

Because it’s by a Brazilian film director.

But not just any Brazilian film director.

Someday I will get around to reviewing one of the best exemplars of naïveté ever made.

Yes, one of the best FILMS ever made.

Central do Brasil.

Central Station.

A formative episode in my filmic life.

But back to this Chinese film directed by a Brazilian.

I didn’t even get to his name yet 🙂

Walter Salles!

Yes…two masterpieces are enough to make an auteur!!

But we can’t use the Chinese title here.

For the film.

Under consideration.

Because that would be disingenuous (and we will get to Trump).

[Or we will try.]

{so much…stuff…in the world}

Let’s paint the picture…

Three Gorges…no.

We must wait.

Central Station was a fiction film.

A beautiful masterpiece which stretches even up into the sertão.

But Jia Zhangke, a Guy from Fenyang is a documentary…about a guy from Fenyang…named Jia Zhangke.

Messrs. Baggini and Fosl (Julian and Peter) would call that a “spectacularly uninformative sentence”.

And Kant, the less-colorful–less-candid “analytic proposition”.

But we hit an impasse.

The film I am reviewing is so little-known (apparently) that it doesn’t have a Wikipedia page.

Worse, it has a strange, butchered title on iMDB.

There it is called Jia Zhang-ke by Walter Salles.

Hmmm…

I must admit:  it appears some people in marketing over at Kino Lorber are dicking around.

But we press on…

Just who the fuck is Jia Zhangke?  And why should you care about him?

Well, first:  he’s a film director.

And second:  he’s as good as Jean-Luc Godard.

Did I just say that???

Yes.

I just put someone on an equal level with my favorite director of all time.

What’s more, a Chinese guy you’ve probably never heard of.

Of whom.

And what about this Fenyang business?

Well, let’s get out our maps.

First, we must find Shaanxi Province.

Northern China.

The capital is Xi’an.

But we must get to the more obscure.

Fenyang.

Home of our subject auteur:  Jia Zhangke.

So we don’t exactly know the title…here to there…from this platform to the next.

But we will say this.

If you are in the U.S., this film is currently streaming on Netflix under the title Jia Zhangke, a Guy from Fenyang.

Or something like that.

This is the confusion of a lack of standardization.

Where’s ISO when you need them…or Zamenhof!

Ok…so why should you watch a 105 minute documentary about a filmmaker of whom you have likely never heard?

Because Walter Salles compels you.

He says, “Watch my story…  Pay attention to this little self-deprecating Chinese man.  He’s a cinematic genius.”

Wouldn’t it be great if all artisans and artists helped each other out in such a way?

A filmmaker, age 57, decides to make a film about another filmmaker, age 46.

Actually, that is quite an honor.

That an older filmmaker would help in the career of the younger one.

So we heartily praise Salles for his mise-en-scène as well as his morals.

But then we hit another impasse.

Because words cannot express the brilliance of Jia Zhangke’s grasp on cinematic language.

And so, why should you watch this film?  I ask again.

Because it gives you an introduction (not dumbed down in any way) to the works of a contemporary film artist who is leading the cinematic medium into this new century.

Likewise, it gives you an introduction to Chinese film at the same time.

These aren’t kung fu flicks (for the most part).

These are art films.

Similar to Breathless

Born of the French New Wave.

But also born of Raj Kapoor.

Indeed, as a young boy…Jia Zhangke remembered an early film which extolled thieves.  And it was this Indian film shown in China.  And the Chinese kids remembered the melismatic melodies for decades…to rip off a shred and a few threads of a melody which bound them as enfants terribles.

Jia Zhangke, a Guy from Fenyang is a bit like Cinema Paradiso.

The big director returns home.

And there’s a sadness.

Maybe you can see your childhood home.

And hit the wall one more time.

You can imagine the family bed and the father’s desk was there.

And the books on shelves along here.

So many books.

That there is a sadness of being from Fenyang.

I feel it being from San Antonio.

And Jia Zhangke, all throughout this film, ideates thoughts which have now and then wisped in and out of my dreams.

Jia is very calm.  Thoughtful.  Serene.

A true artist.

And as he talks about the process of creation, I find him to be an exceptionally dedicated artist.

We hear about Xiao Wu (1997).

Pickpocket.  Starring Wang Hongwei.

I mean, this bloke…Wang…  His clothes hang on him in almost a magical way.

He’s a good-for-nothing bum in the Chaplin mold, but still puffing away like Belmondo in Breathless.

But Jia was right.

It’s the gait.

The way Wang Hongwei walks.

Body language.

Brilliant!

And the shots we see of Platform are really moving.

It’s like being from a place like Kiruna, Sweden.

Gotta get there by train.

Up past the Arctic Circle.

And the kids…they don’t have a lot of entertainment.

Maybe even the sight of a train.

But in China…………….far more vast.

These remote places.

Like the Three Gorges area where Jia made Dong and also Still Life.

But the joke’s on me.

Because the whole world knows Jia Zhangke.

The whole world of cinema.

And me, with my insular approach, not so much.

Because Jia won the Palme d’Or in both…wait.

We have the wrong envelope.

Ok…so maybe he’s not that well know.

His films have been screened in competition at Cannes, but no hardware yet.

With the exception of his Golden Lion from Venice.

But none of that matters.

What matters is that he’s making great films.

What matters is that he has the potential to best us all.

This was a very moving film for me.

Because it speaks to the obstacles of life.

Of the unhappiness.

Of the solitude which must be for creations to ferment properly.

To mix metaphors, we need the darkness in which to screen our masterpieces of light.

We cannot screen them in a glass house…at 2:30 p.m.

Finally, this film will give you invaluable insights into the recent history and current state of China.

All the people on Weibo (like Twitter).

The market system which has been kicking ass since the 1990s.

And crucial periods such as 1976-1989.

The restructuring period right after the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

WE NOW JOIN PAULY DEATHWISH NEWS NETWORK…IN PROGRESS: “…

Xi Jinping.  His father purged in 1963.  His father jailed in 1968.  Xi was sent without his father to work in Shaanxi Province in 1969.  [The remote province from which film director Jia Zhangke hails.]

This was a time of immense violence in China.  Being purged.  Being jailed.  Being sent to the countryside to work and be re-educated.  All of this was suffused with violence.

So when President Xi got the message from President Trump himself that the U.S. had just launched 60 Tomahawk missiles into Syria minutes earlier, President Xi was met with the shock of surrealism…a perfect steak…beautiful ladies…the glitz and glamour of Mar-a-Lago…and the throat punch of an actual tiger.  No paper.

“Get North Korea in line, and fast!”  Would have been the message.

So that, in these times, to truly appreciate that which is unfolding around us, we need directors like Jia Zhangke.

These are our new philosophers.  Our new poets.

Thinking about social media.

Fooling around with it.

Inventing new artistic forms.

And finding new types of loneliness.

And desperation.

Jia came from a very poor area.

He loved his family very much.

The Chinese don’t like violence.

We Americans don’t like violence.

See this film.

Then get back to me on Dereliction of Duty 🙂

-PD

Trump missile strike, April 6 [2017)

I’m gonna skip any niceties.

Dear Mr. Trump, you fucking moron, you complete dickhead…what the fuck were you thinking bombing Syria?!?!?

Words cannot express my rage of betrayal.

This is what we voted AGAINST!

We voted AGAINST the globalist agenda of Hillary Clinton.

We voted AGAINST interventionist military misadventures.

We voted AGAINST this insanity.

I can’t tell you how sad it makes me that such a transparent, flimsy false-flag was seemingly bought by our new President.

Hey Donald…shithead…it was a fake Rolex!

Or, put differently, it was at least a HOT Rolex…

Yeah.

Cui bono?

Learn at least one line of Latin in your life, Donald.

Assad had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO GAIN by using chemical weapons against his own people at this particularly sensitive juncture.

Kudos to Ron Paul for pointing this out (though the same had already occurred independently to me last night).

But kudos most to Paul Joseph Watson for calling out Trump on Twitter all through the night.

Yes, let’s get some perspective here.

For any newbies.

I supported Trump.

Big league!

I “campaigned” for him…in my own way.

Here, on my site, and on Twitter.

I thought the “war” was won.

We had defeated Hillary.

But then I saw the constant attacks on Trump by the media.

So I remobilized.

[I should never have demobilized in the first place, I thought.]

Fuck this media machine that slanders our great President!

I went on the offensive…or defensive…or whatever.

I went back.

On the Twitter battlefield.

“Stop fucking with my President!”

That was my essential message.

But then The Donald goes and does something like this…

Fucking pathetic.

So I want to thank the first brave soul to break the groupthink.

Dr. Steve Pieczenik.

I didn’t want to hear it at first.

Pieczenik “wasn’t impressed”.

Ok…

But then it started to sink in.

Being a Trump supporter has been an unenviable position.

I’ve lost friends.

Been insulted.

Been discriminated against.

So what!

Fuck it!

I was standing up…doing the right thing!

[so I thought]

And I haven’t abandoned Mr. Trump entirely.

But I will say this, if he continues in this direction, then he can fuck right the fuck off!

It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who gave the world the words I live by:

““Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.”

I don’t have enough “hard words” to strongly condemn what President Trump did last night.

“Strongly condemn”…no.

That’s what shitheads like Mike Pence say.

We say the real stuff.

There was NO REASON to launch ANOTHER “disproportionate riposte” (Thierry Meyssan) against a sovereign country.

Even if it was a genuine, Syrian gas attack (and it was not), this was not the right tactical move.

And the strategy sucks.

So we are left to wait.

What a let-down.

Not what I voted for.

Not what Trump campaigned on.

And really weak in every possible way.

Is war cinema?

When it comes to us like this, yes.

BDA.  Battlefield damage assessment.

And even the signals from the Tomahawks themselves, perhaps.

But who cares?

There ain’t gonna be any movies any more if this shit keeps up.

I didn’t live through the Cuban Missile Crisis, but this will suffice.

So that, the only way we’ll know it’s World War III is when we’re not here to read the news anymore.

Gotta retain a sense of humor.

But I ask, with deference, PLEASE Mr. President change this disastrous trend which you have started.

Get rid of all (ALL!) the neocons in your government.

Drain the goddamned swamp, motherfucker!

Live up to your word!!

Rein in Tillerson.

That fucking bozo might need to go back to Exxon.

Because he’s been a seriously daft Secretary of State so far.

PLEASE, stop fucking around, Mr. President.

I’m eager to support you again.

But I cannot support these stupid, STUPID actions which could have come from any of your woeful predecessors (even the moronic Bill Clinton and his Afghan missile launch of 1998).

We learned from Godard to be involved.

And Godard learned from Sartre.

Geopolitics usurps our attention that we would give to cinema.

Reckless move, Mr. President.

-PD