28 November 2011

300 is not about 300

“... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
~ William Shakespeare Hamlet 2.2.251

The movie 300, as well as the graphic novel upon which it was based, is not necessarily a historically accurate portrayal of the events they represent.  That is not the point.

The point is plain now that Frank Miller has been candid in a recent blog post300 is about the colonizer, the big government, the oppressor—fill in the blank with whatever strong-over-the-weak, rich-over-the-poor, or my-political-agenda-over-yours ideology that you want—gaining their objective.

Sadly, I think most people interpreted the movie, whether deliberately or unintentionally, as the fight of right against wrong, or good against evil (which is of course one way Miller meant it to be interpreted; his idea being that the Persians represent Islam and Islam is wrong, right?).  That’s how I initially read it (minus the Islam is the enemy idea): the small Spartan army of 300 men went bravely to stand against the massive army of the oppressor Xerxes.  Yeah, I know many did read it as being about America against the rise of, as Miller calls it, “Islamicism” (which I’m pretty sure isn’t even a word, but nevermind …).

In a previous post, Miller wrote, “We only complain about propaganda when we don’t agree with it.”  Of course.  Why would we complain about something that promotes our own agenda?  Why would be try to shoot down something that makes sense to our worldview?  So, anyway, we know that Miller is writing/drawing propaganda because he says he is.  Which is fine, because that is what many people are doing, in their own way.  Propaganda is closely linked with agenda: so the mainstream media who are owned and operated by large corporations; the marketing departments of the large corporations, and their advertising—it all is propaganda for each of their respective ideas or products--the things that will fulfill their agenda(s).

Now, we have occupiers who are using the latest and greatest technology, which is developed and sold by large corporations.  Some blatant examples: Apple, Facebook, Twitter.  I am not singling these corporations out from personal malice, they are simply the ones that come to mind, being used by people who I know are involved in OWS.  The occupiers are focusing on the banks and financial institutions.  Why?  Without their having bought the latest gadget, there would be no finance to worry about.  They are overlooking the objects in their hands; they are overlooking the clothes on their backs, the shoes on the their feet.  They want things to change, but they want things to stay the same.  It seems that they want to eat the cake they didn't bake.  They are at once using and condemning the very things they would not want to be without.  This is what confuses me about it.  It reminds me of the Russian revolution, when women who left their villages to work in the cities did not want to return to their villages without having purchased a particular type of coat, called a sak (a status symbol).1  Today, it is the latest iWhatever that is that coat....  This is contradictory and contrapurposive to the entire ideology being propagated by OWS, right?

It seems that OWS is calling for socialism, or maybe even its extreme form communism.  While many others want something closer to fascism.  I know the labels for these ideas are getting tossed around ad nauseam these days (along with Nazi), and that most who use them are not really solid on what they are saying.  Others are trying for anarchy.  Still others would have the US continue to focus huge amounts of resources into the war against terrorism—which is about as successful as the war on drugs, right?2

I’m not an anarchist, a communist, a socialist or a fascist.  Hell, I barely even register on a political ideological scale at all.  This ramble is not to promote one form of political idea over another; this ramble is my way of working through all this shit and trying to make some kind of sense of it.  I’m not jumping into any of these ideologies, because none of them make sense to me. 

Yes, equality would be nice.  But, are we willing to let the government have the power necessary to maintain that kind of equality?  Privacy would be nice, but are we willing to let those who mean us harm free and open access to us, so that they might then bring a new form of inequality and oppression?  I don't think we really know what we want, and until we do, our united-ness will continue to polarize until the US is no longer recognizable.  Wait!  That shit is already happening, isn't it?

I guess my thinking is swayed by Buddhist thought, i.e. looking for the middle path.  But, I’m not a Buddhist, either….

"Women saved because you could not live without a sak. Those who did not have a sak felt they were deprived of their full rights, not fully valued, on the slide. There were endless conversations among the women workers about buying a sak. And if they bought one, they wrote to the village at once, to tell everyone that teh long-desired sak had been purchased." Mikhail Isakovskii, quoted in S. A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History, 94.
MY NOTE: it seems that this, along with what I've written above speaks of a sense of entitlement which is prevalent in our time.


26 November 2011


Most adjectives are shapeless, gray, boring.  Those tired three serve as a twenty-four carat example.

A couple of my new favorite adjectives (though I will superhumanly fight against their overuse) are: sadicidal, or gloomicidal; words which describe the murder of sadness or gloom.  D’uh!

I’ve been giving some Herculean thought to sexceptional adjectives that I can use spice up my dishwater writing.  I have found that sometimes you just have to make that shit up, just like the rest of the fiction you’re slapping madly on the page.

For extra fresh reading pleasure, I suggest this blog post on Sin and Syntax.

A couple of books for you to check out on the subject:

22 November 2011

Finally, Through It

Well, I really got into studying the Bible for a while (I mean minutely).  I had always heard about contradictions, but had also heard that those could be explained away.  Well, I cannot see how they can be.  After going through a time of agnosticism, I eventually came to atheism.  I really believe that there is no god other than those made up by the human mind and changed to fit the current need of humans.  One of the first steps I came to, when I was looking at the Bible closely was: if "God is love", then he has a strange way of showing it. 

Then, I began to look at the world around me and think about it in terms of this god.  If he truly loves humans, then why does he let them suffer?  If he can do nothing about it, then he is not almighty, and so, not a god.  If he can do something and chooses to do nothing, then he is wicked.  So, either this god is 1) impotent rather than omnipotent or 2) a masochistic fiend worse than any devil in his Hell or 3) (and most likely) he is imaginary. 

I decided from what I saw and experienced that he was imaginary just like Zeus, Odin, Jupiter, et al.  And so came to atheism.  This is just my choice.  I’m not a zealous, militant atheist like some that are out there.  I simply made my choice and am living accordingly.  I don’t party, I don’t steal, or kill or any of those things that are called sin.  I simply live by a set of morals and ethics that I have inside of me naturally.  Partly, I observe the Golden Rule, which by the way, is much older than Christianity.  Because of this, I cannot and do not judge other people, nor do I let them judge me.  I have no guilt, because I am not a sinner, I am a human being.  And if I do “wrong”, it is my choice and my responsibility.  The responsibility does not fall on my parents, grandparents, a god, a demon, or anyone else.  It is mine.  If the wrong happens to be against the law, then I might have to pay by going to prison, but that is not something I think will happen, because I generally abide by the laws of the land.

During my agnostic phase, I thought a lot about human inability to prove that a god does or does not exist.  I cannot prove that he doesn't and someone that believes he does cannot prove that he does.  All the experiences are subjective, personal.  What I find interesting is that most religions have these same kinds of personal experiences to "prove" the existence of their deity/deities.  The similarities between the Bible and so many other mythologies is just icing on the cake, so to speak.  It was the Bible itself (along with what I could--and could not--see for myself in the world) that turned me away. 

I'm still interested in the myths (including the Judeo-Christian one), mostly because of their influence on literature.  And I use myth in its denotative meaning.  That is, according to Joseph Campbell, all myths are true in their contexts.  So, there are "truths" (though not absolute) that can be taken from all mythologies, and it is often these truths that are borrowed from one and passed on to another; or truths that are represented by the metaphors, symbols and themes in the myths.  Death, burial, and resurrection, for example, are simply references to nature and agriculture.  Jesus even is quoted as saying, "Unless a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die it beareth much fruit."  While this, of course refers to himself as a fertility god, it also refers to plant life.  Those themes only came into the mythologies once the people who believed them were agrarian.  Those themes do not work as well for hunter/gatherers.  They had a completely different set of myths based on a completely different set of truths, or ideologies.
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