Tuesday, February 28, 2006

On Plagiarism 

A delightful bit of a morality tale.

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On the Moral Bankrupcy of many Western Cultural Elites 

What you'd expect this article to say, really, but in an especially well-written and detailed form.

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Keep this thought in mind: 

A little philosophy is often far, far worse than no philosophy at all.

Oh, and read this book. Carefully.

UPDATE: If you want to read something very, very funny, read this.

Now, I'm going to imprudently say what I really think: most people don't really get that article at all.

And that's because most people are rubes. Not that there's anything unnatural or wrong with that. It's just the clear, evident, exoteric truth.

If you didn't laugh a lot when reading that article, go read it again. If you still don't laugh, I can only recommend one thing: read. Well, let me modify that: read, and think.

Well, let me modify that too: read, think, and keep in mind that a little philosophy is very bad. It just makes you a dangerous rube.

Another UPDATE: You might find this article useful in understanding why the above is funny. But only if you have it in you to laugh. Also, this should help.

Liberal education, is the counterpoison to mass culture, to the corroding effects of mass culture, to its inherent tendency to produce nothing but 'specialists without spirit or vision and voluptuaries without heart.'… Liberal education is the necessary endeavour to found an aristocracy within democratic mass society. Liberal education reminds those members of a mass democracy who have ears to hear, of human greatness.
If the reader can allow me to be imprudent again, let me say that I think the great advantage 'conservatives' have over 'liberals' in American politics today would be that they are cultivating those with the 'ears to hear'.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Pizza is the real kicker 

Ten signs we're about to bomb someone.

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Ding Ding Ding! 

We have a winner (of an argument):
Granted that Reason is prior to matter [as it is in the traditional Judeo-Christian conception of the word], I can understand how men should come, by observation and inference, to know a lot about the universe they live in. If, on the other hand…minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry…on the meaningless flux of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

What Broke Brokeback? 

It is with a certain measure of trepidation that I even admit to having seen Brokeback Mountain at all, let alone pass on a few thoughts. More shocking, even, is that I didn't hate it as much as I expected. The scenery alone redeemed the aesthetics of the film, since even the most heinous of films cannot mask the majestic, larger than life, beauty of the American West. Heath Ledger is stoic to a fault as Ennis Del Mar, skillfully painting a picture of a man who has never come to grips with his own emotions and demon, and doing it in a most convincing fashion. Jake Gyllenhaal was sufficiently angst ridden, although at times he came off as contrived. I found Michelle Williams(Alma, Ledger's wife) by far the most sympathetic of the characters, if only for consistency of her emotional pull on the audience, while Anne Hathaway was frankly uninteresting. The plot revolves around Ledger and Gyllenhaal, who meet one summer while tending sheep on a mountain in Wyoming, and throughout their life cannot escape the pull they hold on each other, to the detriment of their jobs, marriages, and lives. Overall, it was an intriguing story, with well cast actors and a breathtaking background on which to create a masterful film. So why did I leave the theater feeling disappointed and somehow unfulfilled?

I'm sure I'm not the first one to point out that the concept of male bonding in the wilderness is not new to Brokeback. From my own scouting days, I can vividly recall the feeling of camaraderie and closeness that grows between those who share in a certain circumstance, a shared experience so personal and defining, that trying to describe it later to those who weren't there produces only stuttering and half-hearted accounts. What's more, we've seen in recent years the way love between men can be portrayed, powerfully and successfully, in films like The Lord of The Rings. And that's why the single most frustrating aspect of Brokeback wasn't that they were gay: it was that they didn't have to be. It felt as if every time I began to identify and feel for the characters, there was a graphic reminder that this wasn't just love between two men, it was love between two gay men. And so often, it seemed like the characters themselves felt a certain remorse that the powerful, fraternal bond they shared was somehow "tainted." The film is indeed riveting at times, and emotionally gripping, but those are the times when the characters are the least overt about their sometimes-homosexuality. And that doesn't say much. It became increasingly clear that the motive of the film was not to portray the relationship itself, which was in many ways fascinating and easily sympathized with, but with portraying this relationship as a gay one. The politics of the film were not so covert as one would hope, with multiple scenes of bigotry and assault, and ignorant "intolerance." But contrary to the perceived motives of the film, it actually strengthened the sad stereotypes that pervade our society as it is: that such closeness among men, once a staple of great heroes and legends of old that mused of oaths of fealty and brotherhood, is in fact something inherently homosexual, and that the two are someone inseparable. That, I think, is the most tragic ending of all.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

I love this movie 

Groundhog Day

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