Zombie night

The night was awful.  Nightmarish.  I didn’t attempt to sleep until close to midnight.  The sounds around me of old men in pain or discomfort were psychologically disturbing.

I could understand why.  I think some of my humanity was stripped away by my experience in the evening, when I insisted on taking a shower.  This meant being assisted into the shower, with nurse Breena holding my piss bag and tubes, while I wheeled the drip stand, holding two big three liter fluid bags that were constantly flushing my bladder.

There’s a strange kind of intimacy between a shattered man and any woman standing in for mother, helping him to peel off a blood-soaked hospital gown, paying no attention to his penis, sprouting the obscene catheter tube branching out into three–the input, the output, and the capped channel used to inflate and deflate the saline-filled balloon in the bladder that keeps the whole thing in place.

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Joyce: hypocrisy unbound

Barnaby Joyce can’t help himself: in his own words he convicts himself as an adulterer, liar, and hypocrite.  And still he has the nerve to ask people to ignore this chain of serious failings, and to continue to entrust him with the second-highest public service office in the country.

It is timely to remind all politicians that they are public servants, not divine right princes and princesses.  They have a duty to the nation, not merely to party politics and their own bank accounts.  They should be held to higher standards than Wayne and Cheryl Citizen.

Joyce is either an incredibly simple-minded man who believes his own lies, or he thinks of the public as simple-minded and gullible.  The third option is that he’s following a strategy of deceit designed by his co-conspirator in this matter: Vikki Campion.  She is trained in this sort of propagandizing, and she is certainly the only real friend Joyce has at the moment.

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THE VIETNAM WAR (2017) part 1 of 4

Notes on the overpowering documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

On Patrol

CONTENTS PART ONE: APERÇU | DIRECTORY | GESTALT: PROPAGANDA | GESTALT WELTANSCHAUUNG | GESTALT: EXCEPTIONALISM | GESTALT: CIVIL WAR
CONTENTS PART TWO: GESTALT: AUDIENCE | GESTALT: MULTIPLICITY | GESTALT: COMPARISONS | DIFFERENCES: TIẾNG VIỆT | DIFFERENCES: WOMEN | DIFFERENCES: CONFESSIONS
CONTENTS PART THREE: DIFFERENCES: BARBARITY | SPELLBOUND: FERRIZZI | SPELLBOUND: BEATLES | UNRESOLVED: McNAMARA | UNRESOLVED: KISSINGER | FRAMEWORK: SUBJECTIVITY | FRAMEWORK: MYTHIFICATION | DISPATCHES: BEZOS
CONTENTS PART FOUR: DISPATCHES: PARTISANS | VERDICT: CHỢ ĐEN | VERDICT: ABSOLUTION | VERDICT: ALIENS | VERDICT: VALEDICTION | SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

APERÇU

Nothing compares to this film in terms of that daily sense of obligation, of responsibility, coupled with the possibility for art and expression.

Ken Burns.

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THE VIETNAM WAR (2017) part 3 of 4

On Patrol

CONTENTS PART ONE: APERÇU | DIRECTORY | GESTALT: PROPAGANDA | GESTALT WELTANSCHAUUNG | GESTALT: EXCEPTIONALISM | GESTALT: CIVIL WAR
CONTENTS PART TWO: GESTALT: AUDIENCE | GESTALT: MULTIPLICITY | GESTALT: COMPARISONS | DIFFERENCES: TIẾNG VIỆT | DIFFERENCES: WOMEN | DIFFERENCES: CONFESSIONS
CONTENTS PART THREE: DIFFERENCES: BARBARITY | SPELLBOUND: FERRIZZI | SPELLBOUND: BEATLES | UNRESOLVED: McNAMARA | UNRESOLVED: KISSINGER | FRAMEWORK: SUBJECTIVITY | FRAMEWORK: MYTHIFICATION | DISPATCHES: BEZOS
CONTENTS PART FOUR: DISPATCHES: PARTISANS | VERDICT: CHỢ ĐEN | VERDICT: ABSOLUTION | VERDICT: ALIENS | VERDICT: VALEDICTION | SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

DIFFERENCES: BARBARITY

One of the things I learnt in the war is that we’re not the top species on the planet because we’re nice. We are a very aggressive species.  It is in us.  And people talk a lot about how, ‘well the military turns,’ you know, ‘kids into killing machines’ and stuff.  And I’ll always argue that it’s just finishing school.

What we do with civilization is that we learn to inhibit and rope in these aggressive tendencies.  And we have to recognise them.  I worry about a whole country that doesn’t recognise it.  ‘Cause you think of many times we get ourselves in scrapes as a nation because we’re always the good guys.

Sometimes I think if we thought that we weren’t always the good guys we might actually get in less wars.

– Karl Marlantes, former Marine, about 48 minutes into episode five.

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THE VIETNAM WAR (2017) part 4 of 4

On Patrol

CONTENTS PART ONE: APERÇU | DIRECTORY | GESTALT: PROPAGANDA | GESTALT WELTANSCHAUUNG | GESTALT: EXCEPTIONALISM | GESTALT: CIVIL WAR
CONTENTS PART TWO: GESTALT: AUDIENCE | GESTALT: MULTIPLICITY | GESTALT: COMPARISONS | DIFFERENCES: TIẾNG VIỆT | DIFFERENCES: WOMEN | DIFFERENCES: CONFESSIONS
CONTENTS PART THREE: DIFFERENCES: BARBARITY | SPELLBOUND: FERRIZZI | SPELLBOUND: BEATLES | UNRESOLVED: McNAMARA | UNRESOLVED: KISSINGER | FRAMEWORK: SUBJECTIVITY | FRAMEWORK: MYTHIFICATION | DISPATCHES: BEZOS
CONTENTS PART FOUR: DISPATCHES: PARTISANS | VERDICT: CHỢ ĐEN | VERDICT: ABSOLUTION | VERDICT: ALIENS | VERDICT: VALEDICTION | SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

DISPATCHES: PARTISANS

Of all the press treatment the film received, only a handful of writers had interesting things to say, both positive and negative.

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The Remains of the Day (1993)

A friend recently remarked to me how similar the British and Japanese are, for their rigid class systems, and stolid custom of surrendering personal indulgence and judgement to ritual obedience of customs that fix social and personal boundaries.

Today I re-visited the 1993 film The Remains of the Day.  An understated gem that makes my friend’s observation come to life.

How striking, still, after all these years, to see the privilege and tragedy of British aristocracy told quite so poignantly by Kazuo Ishiguro.  How odd, too, that he met with the approval of the British literary establishment, winning the 1989 Man Booker Prize for the novel.
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Thirty years tracking Hannibal Lecter

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Imagine a world in which Hannibal Lecter was unknown.  It existed until 1981, when Thomas Harris published the novel ‘Red Dragon’.  My own relationship with the Hannibal Lecter myth now spans three decades and takes in unimaginable changes in the world as well as in myself, which is to be expected in the span of almost half a life.  That relationship began when I was an undergraduate student, still naïve and inexperienced in the ways of the world with which I coincided.  That’s why I think of it as a personal experience.  A journey that has significance to me because of the way I experienced it, not as an impersonal series of film reviews.  A journey that did not come about as unaffected by changes in the real world, and the fictional ones I traversed.

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Otto’s loathsome brutopia

‘By undermining science’s claim of objectivity, these postmodernists have unwittingly laid the philosophical foundation for the new rise of authoritarianism.’

In making this indescribably anti-intellectual statement to oppose anti-intellectualism, Shawn Otto has tapped into everything that makes political rhetoric dishonest. In doing so where he did it, he suborned a de facto endorsement of Clinton by the Scientific American this month, and through that gambit, the apparent endorsement of American scientists as a whole.

What were the editors thinking? That Otto is a science rock star, is what. That science needs to be rescued from the forces of darkness that congregate in the grotesque confederation of Republican creatures whose sole mission it is to make people’s lives a misery … and to destroy the republic. Is what! That mercenary opportunists, reared on rôle models succeeding through crimes of greed, are bending old left ideas to new ‘me-all-the-time-now’ causes, is what. But mostly that science in the USA is pretty fucked if another Republican Neanderthal occupies the White House at the same time that his tribe controls Congress. Is what.

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The West Wing S01E13: Take Out the Trash Day

Season-1-Web-Banner

Although the news cycle frequently referred to in The West Wing, and on which many of CJ’s dilemmas are based, no longer exists in its 1990s form, the title of the episode is still topical. It refers to the practice of burying information no one wants to see too much of again on a day, and at a time, which ensures minimal press coverage. Friday afternoon is still a preferred time slot for this practice. As Josh Lyman explains to Donna Moss – and the audience – there are only so many column centimetres ‘above the fold’ of a broadsheet newspaper (meaning attention-grabbing headlines immediately on display). If important news is mixed in with potentially embarrassing or uncomfortable news, the bet is that no one will spend too much time investigating the discomforting items, and even if they do, ‘no one reads the papers on Saturday’.

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Shorten cannot win against Turnbull

How lack of political talent and the rise of hand-held online chatter levelled Australian politics, and exposes the Labor fraud under Shorten of presenting itself as a desirable alternative to the Coalition.

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