Archive for the ‘Not comics’ Category

This post is flawed because it doesn’t contain several paragraphs on Norbert Weiner

December 19, 2011

So the great psychologist, and “Nobel” laureate, Daniel Kahneman has written a pop science book summing up his prodigious life of research — good for him. If he’d started his research career thirty years later, he would have written a dozen such books by now; so much of his research lends itself to the genre of  “Title/Subtitle: How One Half-Baked Idea Based on Other People’s Research Can Sell a Million Books”…except that Kahneman himself did all the research (with collaborators, of course), and his ideas are so very, very far from half-baked. We can only be grateful that we have the one pop book that he’s given us now. I hope he sells a zillion books.

Anyway, Freeman Dyson has a review of Kahneman’s book in the New York Review of Books, and his big criticism is…Kahneman never mentions Freud!

Not even in the footnotes!!!!!!

Shit, man, what about Skinner??? Does Kahneman have nothing to say about the humoral theory? Where my Robert Burton at, homeboy? I thought A Brief History of Time should have had at least two chapters on Ptolemy; The Selfish Gene, two on Georges Cuvier.

On the other hand, Dyson’s review doesn’t name-drop Malcolm Gladwell or David fucking Brooks, so there is that. (Speaking of “Title/Subtitle”…)

PS: Bonus points for Dyson for repeating the furphy that William James and Sigmund Freud were not scientists. Just because a lot of their theories were false, doesn’t mean they weren’t scientists — they were just unlucky!


How’d it get burned?! How’d it get burned?!

July 30, 2009

So I watched the Neil LaBute/Nicholas Cage remake of The Wicker Man last night. The final reel is indeed as crazy as its reputation suggests, what with the bicycle-stealing, bear suit and what have you. Shame the rest of the film doesn’t quite live up to this camp delirium.

An even greater shame is that it’s the most misogynistic film I’ve ever seen, particularly with its nasty little coda. Seriously, it’s like Dave Sim wrote and directed it. If you ever wanted to see the Cirinists on film, this is the one for you.

What’s missing from the film is what was so effective in the original: that rationalist Anglican fear of paganism. That’s what makes the original so creepy. In its place we get Nicholas Cage punching various women in the face, which is not the same thing at all.

Still, it might be unfair to label LaBute a misogynist as such. In his first film, In the Company of Men, he showed that he hated men too. I guess he’s an equal opportunity hater: he just hates everyone.

Spoilers for the series finale of The Wire

March 9, 2008
  • McNulty, Greggs and Bunk have a hawt three-way
  • Bunk keeps smoking his cigar while he’s getting his cigar smoked, if you know what I mean
  • Although that’s probably not a spoiler; I mean, everyone already thought the Bunk did that anyway, right?
  • All these years, the real kingpin of the whole Baltimore drug trade has been Bubbles
  • Herc becomes a real police
  • Fuzzy Dunlop is a skrull
  • The wire itself is a ghost; why, no one’s lived in the old Major Crimes Unit place for years
  • Wallace killed Edena Watson


Bizarrely Inappropriate Trailer Dept.

November 30, 2007

Not comics, as Mr Spurgeon would say.

So I start the disc for Guy Maddin’s avant-garde film The Saddest Music in the World. As is not unusual these days, the DVD plays a few trailers at the start.

The second trailer was for Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes; fair enough, it’s highly likely that anyone hiring this moving will also dig Jarmusch.

But what trailer do you think played first? Which film do you suppose that MGM thinks will interest viewers of a film that A.O. Scott called “a beguiling and hallucinatory black-and-white musical”, starring Isabella Rossellini and adapted from a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro?

Why, the remake of Walking Tall, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Johnny Knoxville. Of course!


As for the film itself, I couldn’t make it past half an hour. The conceit of the film is that it’s an old black-and-white film, made during the thirties. I could get into the concept, but the execution kept taking me out of it. The shots looked great in medium-frame, but showed themselves to be modern whenever the camera got any closer. And that sound was just terrible, sounding nothing like the thirties. A film like The Saddest Music depends on getting every detail just right, and too many just weren’t.


Now I’m off to watch Walking Tall.