I Won’t Be Happy Unless It All Ends In Tragedy.

I mean Tragedy in the sense of not an Epic or a Comedy.  Tragedies tend to be meditations on death, loss and suffering but without any final redemption, whereas Epics, though they touch on the same subjects, end with the protagonist learning an essential truth, becoming stronger for it, and experiencing some form of redemption.
Forgive me if I’m offering you a pre-sucked egg here.

Tragedies can be difficult to sit through and, forgive me for saying this, often seem to be taking themselves far more seriously than necessary.  To quote an esteemed colleague, movies that are hard-going for hard-going’s sake just seem to defeat the purpose…much the same [as] “earnest” movies.
Bill Murray, as one example, has an amazing knack for taking serious, “earnest”, complex roles and injecting both humanity and humour, allowing the viewer to watch and enjoy (because let’s be plain here, we’re not talking about documentaries, we’re talking about work that is designed, marketed and consumed primarily as entertainment) the movie, but which also serves the process of the art much better in that it communicates the human experience involved, adds extra levels of communication between actors and audience and forms connections, bonds, between actors and audience granting those unspoken dimensions a presence onscreen.

As another example I think Deer Hunter was more in the “hard-going for the sake of it” camp, although perhaps it was intended/received as a necessary catharsis for Americans from the Vietnam era, ‘cos heaven knows such a thing was necessary given what the vets experienced both in service and on their return home.

This is in stark contrast with another war movie, Apocalypse Now, which is one of my favourite movies (especially the 45 min longer Redux cut), and, y’know, it barely seems like a war movie at all to me.  I’m a bit of a Joseph Conrad fan, and I really really like the exploration & exposition of personality that his storytelling deals with, and I think Coppola reflected this brilliantly.  The war aspect was just a distracting device through which to explore the otherness of white guys going crackers in the jungle (amongst slightly more weighty topics ;> ).
Better than Romancing the Stone, anyway.

But here, if you fancy some luscious cinematography, find a Russian movie called The Return.  so good.  Also an Epic.  Or its successor, The Banishment, a Tragedy.

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I Won’t Be Happy Unless It All Ends In Tragedy.

I mean Tragedy in the sense of not an Epic or a Comedy.  Tragedies tend to be meditations on death, loss and suffering but without any final redemption, whereas Epics, though they touch on the same subjects, end with the protagonist learning an essential truth, becoming stronger for it, and experiencing some form of redemption.
Forgive me if I’m offering you a pre-sucked egg here.

Tragedies can be difficult to sit through and, forgive me for saying this, often seem to be taking themselves far more seriously than necessary.  To quote an esteemed colleague, movies that are hard-going for hard-going’s sake just seem to defeat the purpose…much the same [as] “earnest” movies.
Bill Murray, as one example, has an amazing knack for taking serious, “earnest”, complex roles and injecting both humanity and humour, allowing the viewer to watch and enjoy (because let’s be plain here, we’re not talking about documentaries, we’re talking about work that is designed, marketed and consumed primarily as entertainment) the movie, but which also serves the process of the art much better in that it communicates the human experience involved, adds extra levels of communication between actors and audience and forms connections, bonds, between actors and audience granting those unspoken dimensions a presence onscreen.

As another example I think Deer Hunter was more in the “hard-going for the sake of it” camp, although perhaps it was intended/received as a necessary catharsis for Americans from the Vietnam era, ‘cos heaven knows such a thing was necessary given what the vets experienced both in service and on their return home.

This is in stark contrast with another war movie, Apocalypse Now, which is one of my favourite movies (especially the 45 min longer Redux cut), and, y’know, it barely seems like a war movie at all to me.  I’m a bit of a Joseph Conrad fan, and I really really like the exploration & exposition of personality that his storytelling deals with, and I think Coppola reflected this brilliantly.  The war aspect was just a distracting device through which to explore the otherness of white guys going crackers in the jungle (amongst slightly more weighty topics ;> ).
Better than Romancing the Stone, anyway.

But here, if you fancy some luscious cinematography, find a Russian movie called The Return.  so good.  Also an Epic.  Or its successor, The Banishment, a Tragedy.

Teens charged over racist attacks

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Teens charged over racist attacks.

Combat 18 slogans chanted, extracts from Mein Kampf shoved through letterboxes, CCTV and news footage showing incidents as they happen, entire families forced out of their homes in fear of their lives and this is all the police can manage? Two barely pubescent teenagers?

PSNI, you’re joking, right? Right?

BBC| Northern Ireland | MP submitted claim for £300 pen

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | MP submitted claim for £300 pen: “In 2006, Mrs Robinson submitted a receipt for £352 – the printed receipt showed a £300 Montblanc pen, a £6 bottle of ink and £46 for perfume.”

Don’t you just love this happy couple? The staged photo is brilliant – she extravagantly laughs, while still holding hubby’s arm, he looks nervously towards the door…
I’m keen to know how this lovely Mont Blanc has served us in Northern Ireland, it clearly has had very important work to do…

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The Sports Car: Anacronism?

When were sports cars last used for competitive sports?

Surely not since the early seventies? Le Mans and Grand Prix cars have evolved way beyond the possibility for production road versions, and as the 70’s progressed Rally cars also moved away from the sports car model into its current guise of the souped-up and heavily modified saloon car.
Similarly televised motorsport is dominated by the British Touring Car championships, and in States they have Nascar, again using souped-up and heavily modified saloon cars.

Is the sports car, long a classic icon of wealth, elegance and performance, an anacronism? Is it now just a dead-end and flat-out statement of disposable income with little or no redeeming aesthetic or social meaning?

secret societies

Skull & Bones New!

The murky realm of secret societies has long been a hot topic in both Ivy League and conspiracy circles. The most infamous of these is Yale’s Skull & Bones, a society that has remained ‘secret’ for almost 200 years now.

While its old boy network, mysterious headquarters (affectionately called the Tomb) and curious traditions make it similar to many fraternal organizations that seek to keep its practices secret, Skull & Bones’ prestigious list of members distinguishes it from your average frat. After all, how many fraternities can offer members access to a network that includes Supreme Court Chief Justices, high-ranking CIA officials, business tycoons and Presidents of the United States – most notably George Bush 1 and 2.

With the return of the Bush political dynasty, the 2000 release of the motion picture The Skulls, and now a book called Secrets of the Tomb, by Yale grad, Alexandra Robbins, Skull & Bones has seen a wave of publicity that has led to heightened scrutiny around the club and the influence of its members.

GNN recently paid a visit to the Yale campus to meet with Ms. Robbins as she passed through New Haven on her promotional tour. Not only did we stake out the Tomb to discover that the current Skull & Bones class looks more like a UN meeting than a KKK rally, but we also explored the possibility of the first Bones vs. Bones presidential race in 2004 with incumbent George W. Bush (Bones ’68) squaring off against former Senator John Kerry (Bones ’66). Conspiracy or coincidence?

Read on to get the full skinny here