sexual battery as shock comedy, blue skies ferris wheel wallpaper, “Kissing Taste” by Lo-Fi-Fnk

On Rape as a Device in Pop Culture (Trigger Warning) by Gwen Sharp

The other day I came upon a post by Margaret Lyons at Vulture pointing out the frequent use of rape jokes in sitcoms this season. A number of sitcoms, especially Two Broke Girls, Whitney, and Work It included scenes where rape served as a punchline. Lyons explains what particularly bothers her about this is that references to rape are being used simply as a “shorthand for outrageousness,” a way to cue the audience that they’re watching a show that is bold and daring, that will say anything!

Sharp may or may not be too broad in her condemnation. part of that depends on one’s personal senibilites and also on how much artistic license that comedy writers should have. I would tend toward letting them have too much rather than too little sense my on/off switch and channel selector works great. She points to this essay with a similar theme about the abundance of rape in movies as a plot device - The Bigger Picture: What happens when we find ‘The Line’ as viewers?

This is something that’s been bothering me for a while, and I think it’s a bigger problem than the film community would like to admit.  It seems to me that somewhere along the way, it was decided that the easiest way to make an audience uncomfortable was to have someone rape a character onscreen.  I must see 30 films a year where somebody needs to have “something bad” happen, and the go-to impulse in almost every case is rape.  It is guaranteed to cause a visceral reaction, even when the scenes are badly staged and lazy, which most of them are.

What scares me most about it is that the vast majority of the scenes are directed so poorly that they become, in essence, titillation, and there is something immeasurably sick about including a scene in your film that involves rape just so you can sneak a little nudity into the movie.

I’m not a big fan of Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” and one of the things that has bothered me about it since I read the first book is the rape of Lisbeth Salander, as well as her eventual revenge of the guy who did it.  There is certainly an element of wish fulfillment to what she does to the guy, and in every version of the story, whether it’s the book or the Swedish film or Fincher’s version, it’s played as a “You go, girl!” moment when she turns the tables.  Larsson’s original title for his book was, famously, “Men Who Hate Women,” and that certainly puts a blunt thematic point on what Larsson intended to say with his story.

While I agree in general that rape seems to have become part of the zeitgeist of popular writers and film makers I am a little torn about Dragoon Tattoo as an example. I have personal aversion to scenes of rape, sexual humiliation and torture. So I come to those scenes with a built in prejudice against them. I wish they would stop at a dramatic point and leave the rest for the viewer’s imagination to fill in. Yet artists are going to make and live with their judgments – good or bad, or in between. That essayist writes, “There’s no larger statement the sequence makes.  There’s no throughline in the rest of the series about Lisbeth and her sexual history.  There’s nothing that connects those two scenes, the set-up and pay-off, to anything else in the story.” That is the problem. I had to write a couple papers in school in which I had to take opposing sides on an issue and be as fair as possible. I think you can make a case for and against that scene in Dragon. It did add to the collection of hardships which made the character who she is. Though there is a possible middle ground. That she be physically humiliated. That the scene be less graphic, cutting away at the point where viewers clearly see where things are headed, fade out. Then a fade in to Lisbeth bruised and bloodied. It does seem time for the dramatists zeitgeist to move on. Most everyone is familiar with the horrors of such attacks, if not from personal experience from knowing someone who has been through one. Sexual assaults are far too commonplace.

Moxyland  is a new science fiction novel by Lauren Beukes. There are some reviews here - Moxyland

““Moxyland” does lots of things, masterfully, that lots of sf
never even guesses that it could be doing.” – William Gibson

You think you know who’s really in power?

You have No. F*cking. Idea.

Moxyland is an ultra-smart thriller about technological progress, and the freedoms it removes.

In the near future, four hip young things live in a world where your online identity is at least as important as your physical one. Getting disconnected is a punishment worse than imprisonment, but someone’s got to stand up to government inc., whatever the cost.

The pay off is that at the same link you can download a nine page preview/excerpt.

blue skies ferris wheel wallpaper

Meet The World’s Most Expensive Photo

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, color coupler print, executed in 1981 Cindy Sherman/Courtesy of Christie's

The 1981 self-portrait taken by celebrated photographer Cindy Sherman was sold at a Christie’s auction Wednesday. The sale surpassed Christie’s estimates of $1.5-2 million ringing in at a final price of $3,890,500. That’s not only a record for the photographer, but also the “highest price ever realized for a photograph,” says Daniel Kunitz, editor in chief of Modern Painters.

I have a book of Cindy Sherman photos. Likely the only way I will ever be able to afford having her work.

Share Traders More Reckless Than Psychopaths, Study Shows

According to a new study at the University of St. Gallen seen by SPIEGEL, one contributing factor may be that stockbrokers’ behavior is more reckless and manipulative than that of psychopaths. Researchers at the Swiss research university measured the readiness to cooperate and the egotism of 28 professional traders who took part in computer simulations and intelligence tests. The results, compared with the behavior of psychopaths, exceeded the expectations of the study’s co-authors, forensic expert Pascal Scherrer, and Thomas Noll, a lead administrator at the Pöschwies prison north of Zürich.

Appetite for Destruction

“Naturally one can’t characterize the traders as deranged,” Noll told SPIEGEL. “But for example, they behaved more egotistically and were more willing to take risks than a group of psychopaths who took the same test.”

Particularly shocking for Noll was the fact that the bankers weren’t aiming for higher winnings than their comparison group. Instead they were more interested in achieving a competitive advantage.

In other words bankers around the world are big on pissing contests no matter who is hurt. But remember any attempt to regulate this behavior is the slippery slope to Marxist hell.

Seeing that a new movie is coming out based on one of his books -this class essay – Hats off to Dr. Seuss. The prankster, polemicist and master of heartwarming verse is more popular than ever.

“People have this vision of children’s literature as sweet and full of bunnies,” says Nel. “But a lot of people would say ‘Yertle the Turtle’ was the most famous anti-fascism poem ever written.”

At times kindly old Dr. Seuss so upset his targets that they struck back in anger. The Seuss book “The Lorax,” a cautionary tale about conservation and greed, seems harmless enough.

“Even the Bush administration, which is not necessarily seen as environmentally conscious,” says Nel, “would probably say that they would agree with the message of the Lorax and recognize it as a good thing.”

But the book so outraged the lumber industry that the Wood Flooring Manufacturing Association wrote and released “The Truax.”

Again, any attempt to regulate, to preserve our natural heritage for future generation in the case of “Turax” is seen as radical infringement on crony capitalism that only sees tomorrow’s profits.

  Lo-Fi-Fnk – Kissing Taste

Lo-Fi-Fnk – Kissing Taste from LO-FI-FNK on Vimeo.

Official video for the song “Kissing Taste” by Lo-Fi-Fnk.
Taken from the album “The Last Summer”.

Directed by Magnus Härdner.

Remixes by Main Attrakionz, The Touch, Lemaitre, kru?H? and Bobby Bell.

Release date: 27th February 2012
iTunes store: goo.gl/7ewmL

power clouds ability to make good decisions, darger’s room preserved, wonder

Power and overconfident decision-making (pdf file)

Does power cloud one’s ability to make good decisions?
Study highlights common pitfalls of leadership decision-making

Grave consequences can result from bad decisions made by people in leadership positions. Case in point: the 2009 Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster. British Petroleum (BP) executives had downplayed potential risks associated with their oil well, claiming that it was virtually impossible that a major accident would ever occur.

That same oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and causing a massive oil spill that’s costing BP an estimated $100 billion.

For USC Marshall professor Nathanael Fast and his co-authors, the BP case represents only one example that illustrates a fundamental truth the world of business: unconstrained power can hinder decision-making.

Fast’s recent study, “Power and Overconfident Decision-making” co-authored with Niro Sivanathan of London Business School, Nicole D. Mayer of the University of Illinois, Chicago, and Adam Galinsky of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, currently in press at Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, helps explain how power can fuel overconfidence, which negatively impacts decision-making.

“The aim of this research was to help power holders become conscious of one of the pitfalls leaders often fall prey to,” said Fast, an assistant professor of management and organization.

The overall sense of control that comes with power tends to make people feel overconfident in their ability to make good decisions,” Fast said.

A logical fallacy has become woven into the psyche of the highly paid elite. I got here so I must be right more often than most people, thus I’ll just keep doing what I have been doing . Alistair Smith once divided people up into the knowers – the executives at BP or the bankers on Wall Street – and the learners. The future should be owned by the learners, the people who evaluate events, see the real causes ( those who feel Freddie Mac and the working poor caused the financial collapse of 2007 would be knowers, not learners) and do not repeat the same mistakes over and over. How ironic that between the people who will not learn, the people who are knowers, those with memories that last about two weeks and those just too wrapped up in trying to survive.The knowers were rewarded in 2010 and might be again in 2012. Welcome to rinse and repeat nation.

Henry Darger might be the most famous outsider artist in the world. He may have had some kind autism Asperger’s syndrome perhaps. Which would explain both his obsessive collection of newspaper and magazine clippings, his self-imposed solitude and yet his high functional skills in graphic design and imitative writing. I was reminded of him today when I came across this link – Henry Darger Room. Where the room where he lived for most of his life has been recreated with much of his original furnishings.

Henry Darger room at the Intuit at the Intuit Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art

I was looking for some video about Darger since posting any of his work is problematic in terms of copyright. There was a documentary done on him – the trailer for In the Realms of the Unreal here. Though I like this short experimental title sequence that was done for a digital media film class. Henry Darger Film Title Project

Just to make things more confusing this is from the synopsis for the documentary:

Henry Darger was born in Chicago in 1892 and spent much of his childhood in a home for feeble-minded children. As an adult, he lived a solitary life, supporting himself as a janitor, living in a single room. Upon his death in 1973, hundreds of paintings, many of which were over 10 feet long and double-sided, a 15,145 page single-spaced novel, an autobiography, and thousands of pages from journals were discovered in his humble room. No one except Darger himself, had known this work existed.

Darger’s monumental novel of illustrations and words, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion is a rich and complex imaginary world. The novel tells the story of seven sisters who are princesses of the Christian nation of Abbieannia who lead a child slave revolt against the evil Glandelinians.

Natalie Merchant wrote a song inspired by Darby’s work ( as have several music groups) called Motherland. While I like that song I like Wonder – an homage to women of which I think Darger would approve, even more. Drunk on the power of being the publisher and managing editor of this blog it is my possibly poor decision to go with this video instead – Natalie Merchant  – Wonder

Seven Famous Photographers Who Used Polaroids - For artists such as Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams, the Polaroid SX-70 was the digital camera of its day

David Hockney, Imogen + Hermiane Pembroke Studios, London 30th July 1982

British pop artist David Hockney’s beautiful composite of 63 Polaroid SX-70 images sold for $194,500 at the 2010 Sotheby’s auction of the Polaroid Collection.

The other photographers are at the link. As usual Andy Warhol’s are the most derivative and boring.’