Saturday, August 15, 2020

Michael D. Benton: Listening for the Impossible

So many friends lost through time, through neglect and through conflict. So many dead, some institutionalized, and some just disappeared back into the void. “I will continue to begin again … and I’ll have to wander all alone in this long conversation that we were supposed to have together.” Spectral visitors stay my hand reminding me that there are no final answers, only questions that produce more questions.

Popular culture haunts my questions and mocks my unrest by co-opting it for entertainment: “I know why you hardly sleep. Why you live alone and why night after night you sit at your computer. … I know because I was once looking for the same thing. … It’s the question that drives us."

My spectral guides condemn those that have escaped into this cultural amnesia of recycled consumer pleasures. Yet, I wonder if we can truly blame these defectors for choosing the tender steak over the complex gruel? When were they offered an opportunity to believe otherwise: “Your soul is like an appendix! I don’t even use it!”

The ubiquitous screens encourage me to escape into their warm embrace and forget the outside world:
The television screen is the retina of the mind’s eye. Therefore the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore television is reality, and reality is less than television.
Rejecting the siren's lure, I turn everything off and find a quiet place far away from the competing voices. I am listening for the emergence of a being, another who escapes my comprehension, this listening requires a transition to a new dimension of understanding. I am listening to you: although I do not understand what you are saying, I am attentive to your silence amongst history’s mentions, I am attempting to understand and hear your intention.

Which does not mean: I comprehend you, or that I know you … No, I am listening to you as someone that I do not truly know … with you but not as you … I reside in a realm of absolute silence in order to hear what you have to say or what is left unsaid or what reverberates from the unknown. I quest for new words, for new meanings, for new modes of understandings that will bridge this river of silence … for an alliance of possibilities that will not reduce the Other to an item of property or a subject to be mastered. This unspeakable silence is a rift that shatters the boundaries of my life in order to produce a conflagration of meanings that sears the forest of my consciousness clearing the way for new growths. Perhaps, as the borders of my psyche that restrain my various selves breaks-up there will be the productive explosion of new life spreading across my interior landscape. Chaos enters my realm and produces … impossibilities.

“Perhaps the impossible is the only chance of something new, of some new philosophy of the new … Perhaps friendship, if there is such a thing, must honor ... what appears impossible here." Where are the friends that ask questions of the dominant and seek the impossible? I dream of relationships yet to come, writing as a politics of creative imagination that refuses to be silenced. I await a new politics, new friendships and new possibilities... in the meantime I'm not afraid to say I really don't know the answers, but I am still asking questions. For that I am thankful!

Patchwork Cast:
Jacques Derrida’s eulogy for Gilles Deleuze: “I’ll Have to Wander Alone.”
The character Trinity speaking to Neo in the movie The Matrix
Michael Kelso on That 70s Show
Brian O'Blivion in David Cronenberg's film Videodrome
Luce Irigaray's The Way of Love and To Be Two
Jacques Derrida's Politics of Friendship

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Quicksilver Dreams & Hidden Realities


Standing on the shore of Quiddity I cast my consciousness to catch quicksilver dreams that will supply me with glimpses of hidden realities.

Recognizing that there are other realities, other possibilities, other journeys, other methods, is the path of wisdom. Learning how to engage with them is the essence of Art in all its manifestations.

The possibility for true peace is only ever really realized when differences learn to co-exist. No need to assimilate, conquer, conform, or convert. Crusades are for the insecure; instead we will create an environment in which people will be encouraged to continuously become what they would be.

Peace and love

Michael D. Benton

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Citizenfour (Germany/USA: Laura Poitras, 2014)




Citizenfour (Germany/USA: Laura Poitras, 2014: 114 mins)

Alpert, Robert. "The Hurt Locker litigation: An adult’s story—part 2." Jump Cut #57 (Fall 2016)

Angwin, Julia, et al. "AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale." The New York Times (August 16, 2015)

Bamford, James and Caspar Bowden. "Legal Restrictions as Convenient Fictions (The Deep State's Consuming Passion for Big Data)." Unwelcome Guests #704 (January 10, 2015)

Browmwich, David. "The Question of Edward Snowden." The New York Review of Books (December 4, 2012)

Cheshire, Godfrey. "Citizenfour." Roger Ebert (Octiober 23, 2014)

Chomsky, Noam and Glenn Greenwald. "No Place to Hide." (Posted on Youtube: August 10, 2014)

Citizenfour (available online)

"Citizenfour producers sued for 'aiding' Edward Snowden." Vancouver Observer (December 23, 2014)

Crane, John and Mark Hertsgaard. "Meet the Pentagon Official Who Blew the Whistle on Mistreatment of Other Whistleblowers." Democracy Now (May 23, 2016)

Dirty Wars (USA/Afghanistan/Iraq/Kenya/Somalia/Yemen: Rick Rowley, 2013) Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Archive)

Doctorow, Cory. "Stability and Surveillance." Locus (March 2015)

Ellsberg, Daniel. "Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America." The Guardian (June 10, 2013) ["When lamenting the rise and reign of Trump try not to operate in an ahistorical vacuum that pretends that Trump came from nowhere and is an anomaly in the American government/system. I was reminded of this as I read Daniel Ellsberg's (leaker of the Pentago Papers) 2013 editorial on/about Edward Snowden (leaker of materials detailing the NSA's spying oncitizens at home and abroad). Who was president then and what was Secretary of State Clinton's response?"]

"From Selma to Snowden, Oscar Speeches Invoke Activism & Calls for Social Justice." Democracy Now (February 23, 2015)

Froomkin, Dan. "Chafee, Running for President, Calls for Snowden to be Allowed Home." The Intercept (June 3, 2015)

Froomkin, Dan and Jenna McLaughlin. "Vindication for Edward Snowden From a New Player in NSA Whistleblowing Saga." The Intercept (May 23, 2016)

Glennon, Michael J. National Security and Double Government. Oxford University Press, 2015.

Goodsell, Luke. "Citizenfour." Movie Mezzanine (October 23, 2014)

Gordon-Levitt, Joseph and Oliver Stone. "On Making New Film Snowden, Humanizing World's Most Wanted Man." Democracy Now (September 14, 2016) ["As the much-anticipated movie Snowden, about one of the most wanted men in the world, hits theaters, we spend the hour with its director, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, and the actor who played Snowden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and feature clips from the film that tells the story of how NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed massive surveillance programs by U.S. and British intelligence agencies. "Our goal was to humanize the man, to bring you … the feeling of his life," Stone says of Snowden, who he notes was originally politically conservative and tried to enlist in the military to serve in Iraq but joined the CIA instead."]

Greenwald, Glenn. "The John Oliver Interview and Political Disengagement of the American Public." The Intercept (April 6, 2015)

---. "Political Smears in U.S. Never Change: The NYT's 1967 Attack on MLK's Anti-War Speech." The Intercept (April 7, 2015)

"Laura Poitras." The Close Up #2 (October 2014)

Laura Poitras: Documentary Filmmaker and Producer Dialogic Cinephilia (Ongoing Online Archive)

Lee, Kevin B. "Laura Poitras, Lives on the Line (Video)." Keyframe (August 14, 2013)

McLaughlin, Jenna. "Court: We Can’t Rule on NSA Bulk Data Collection Because We Don’t Know Whose Data Was Collected." The Intercept (August 28, 2015)

Muižnieks, Nils. "'Everybody is a Suspect': European Rights Chief on Edward Snowden's Call for Global Privacy Treaty." Democracy Now (October 23, 2015) ["Last month, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald and other privacy activists launched a new campaign to establish global privacy standards. The proposed International Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers would require states to ban mass data collection and implement public oversight of national security programs. It would also require states to offer asylum to whistleblowers. It’s been dubbed the "Snowden Treaty." We discuss the state of mass surveillance with Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights."]

Poitras, Laura. "Citizenfour." The Treatment (October 22, 2014)

Poitras, Laura and Jeremy Scahill. "Citizenfour: Inside Story of NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Captured in New Film by Laura Poitras." Democracy Now (October 23, 2014)

Ratcliff, Travis Lee. "The Legacy of Paranoid Thrillers." (Posted on Vimeo: June 2017) ["Paranoid thrillers are constant in cinema's history, but at any given moment they reflect our specific anxieties back to us and reveal how we feel about our institutions. Here, I explore how paranoid thrillers crystalized as a genre in American cinema and examine the possibility of a contemporary renaissance in conspiracy fiction."]

Reitman, Rainey. "Snowden Reacts as Documentary about his Leaks wins Oscar." Informed Comment (February 23, 2015)

Rohde, Stephen. "Big Brother Is Watching You: Is America at Risk of Becoming Orwell’s Nightmare?" Los Angeles Review of Books (January 6, 2015)

Snowden, Edward. "Permanent Record: Why NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Risked His Life to Expose Surveillance State." Democracy Now (September 26, 2019) ["Six years ago, Edward Snowden leaked a trove of secret documents about how the United States had built a massive surveillance apparatus to spy on Americans and people across the globe. Snowden was then charged in the U.S. for violating the Espionage Act and other laws. As he attempted to flee to Latin America, Snowden became stranded in Russia after the U.S. revoked his passport. He has lived in Moscow ever since. Snowden just published his memoir, “Permanent Record,” in which he writes about what led him to risk his life to expose the U.S. government’s system of mass surveillance. From Moscow, he speaks to Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman and Juan González about his life before and after becoming an NSA whistleblower." Part 1: "'Financial Censorship Is Still Censorship': Edward Snowden Slams Justice Dept. Lawsuit Against Him." Part 2: "Edward Snowden Condemns Trump’s Mistreatment of Whistleblower Who Exposed Ukraine Scandal." ]

---. "Private Contractors Play Key Role in U.S. Intelligence’s 'Creeping Authoritarianism.'" Democracy Now (September 30, 2019) ["As a whistleblower complaint against President Trump rocks Washington, Democrats begin an impeachment inquiry and Trump threatens “big consequences” for the person who came forward, we continue our conversation with one of the world’s most famous whistleblowers: Edward Snowden, now in exile in Russia. Six years ago, he shocked the world when he leaked a trove of secret documents about how the United States had built a massive surveillance apparatus to collect every single phone call, text message and email, and pry into the private lives of every person on Earth. He has just published a memoir titled “Permanent Record.” In Part 2 of our interview, he talks about how the government initially attempted to say that he was just an outside contractor and not a key figure, but he describes the central role contractors play in the intelligence community." Part 2: "Snowden Reveals How He Secretly Exposed NSA Criminal Wrongdoing Without Getting Arrested." Part 3: "Whistleblower Edward Snowden on Trump, Obama & How He Ended Up in Russia to Avoid U.S. Extradition."]

Soutar, Liam. "Citizenfour: How Modern Surveillance Compares to Orwell's Big Brother." Cultured Vultures (April 7, 2015)

Stern, Marlow. "Laura Poitras Discusses Suing the U.S. Government, Hillary Clinton’s ‘Crazy’ Email Blunder." The Daily Beast (August 18, 2015)

Vasseur, Flore. "The Woman Who Hacked Hollywood." Backchannel (March 2015) ["Laura Poitras’ name was once on terror watch lists. Now it’s on an Oscar. Here’s her personal journey."]





















Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Dialogic Cinephilia - August 11, 2020

Applebaum, Anne, et al. "A Kind of Permanent Battle." On the Media (August 7, 2020) ["As we approach November’s contentious presidential election, what lessons can we learn from divided societies abroad? This week, On the Media travels to Poland, where conspiracy, xenophobia and the rise of illiberalism have the country in an existential fight for its future. On the Media producer Leah Feder reports in this 3 part episode: 1) Anne Applebaum on the conspiracy theories around a 2010 plane crash that redrew lines in Polish politics. 2) Pawel Machcewicz on the Law & Justice party's takeover of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk. Also featuring Anne Applebaum, Janine Holc, and Angieszka Syroka. 3) An exploration of left and right strategies in contemporary Poland, with Igor Stokfiszewski, Anne Applebaum, and Jaroslaw Kuisz."]

Dickey, Colin. "The Suburban Horror of the Indian Burial Ground." The New Republic (October 19, 2016) ["In the 1970s and 1980s, homeowners were terrified by the idea that they didn't own the land they'd just bought."]

Edwards, Kellee. "The Other Side of Fear." Women on the Road #100 (July 17, 2020) ["It feels more important than ever to re-think our role models. And adventure travel journalist, pilot, and deep water diver Kellee Edwards is someone who’s been paving a path on the road, in the air, and around the globe for years. It’s not just her passion to take herself to new heights that we’re inspired by though-- it’s the way she wants to bring everyone else with her."]

Evans, Richard and Bryan Stevenson. "How Germany Can Help America Remember." On the Media (July 3, 2020) ["It’s often said the North won the Civil War, but the South won the narrative. That’s why the battle still rages, and still takes casualties, every single day. To chronicle the opening of a new front in the war over the Civil War, Brooke and OTM producer Alana Casanova Burgess went to Montgomery, the first capital of the Confederacy, to speak with public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson about his new civil rights museum and memorial. When it comes to honoring and learning from our historical ills, Stevenson says America should look to another conflicted capital city, Berlin, Germany. In this piece, Brooke also speaks with historian Sir Richard Evans, author of The Third Reich in History and Memory, about how vestiges of the Nazi regime have been carefully curated to remember the victims of the Holocaust without reverence for their oppressors."]

Hancock, James and Victor Rodriguez. "Top Ten Lovecraft Adaptations." Wrong Reel #489 (December 2019)

Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra. "Andrzej Żuławski and the powerlessness of language." Overland (February 25, 2016)

Yong, Ed. "How the Pandemic Defeated America: Ed Yong on How COVID-19 Humiliated Planet’s Most Powerful Nation." Democracy Now (August 11, 2020) ["As the world passes a grim milestone of 20 million coronavirus cases, we look at how the pandemic humbled and humiliated the world’s most powerful country. Over a quarter of the confirmed infections and deaths have been in the United States, which has less than 5% of the world’s population. Ed Yong, a science writer at The Atlantic who has been covering the pandemic extensively since March, says existing gaps in the U.S. social safety net and the Trump administration’s “devastatingly inept response” made for a deadly combination."]








This Video Essay Was Not Built on an Ancient Burial Ground from Offscreen on Vimeo.



Sunday, August 9, 2020

James C. Scott: Agrarian Studies/Anarchism/Anthropology/Political Economy/Political Science/

Carson, Kevin A. "Legibility & Control: Themes in the Work of James C. Scott." Center for a Stateless Society #12 (Winter/Spring 2012)

Cummings, Mike. "James C. Scott honored for cross-disciplinary contributions." Yale News (July 1, 2020)

Ferron, Benjamin. "‘When the revolution becomes the State it becomes my enemy again’: An interview with James C. Scott." The Conversation (June 20, 2018)

Plender, Celia and Harry G. West. "An Interview with James C. Scott." Gastronomica (Fall 2015)

Schuessler, Jennifer. "Professor Who Learns From Peasants." The New York Times (December 4, 2015)

Scott, James C. Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. Yale University Press, 2017.

---. "Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States." New Books in Political Science (June 3, 2020) ["We are schooled to believe that states formed more or less synchronously with settlement and agriculture. In Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States (Yale University Press, 2017), James C. Scott asks us to question this belief. The evidence, he says, is simply not on the side of states. Stratified, taxing, walled towns did not inevitably appear in the wake of crop domestication and sedentary settlement. Only around 3100 BCE, some four millennia after the earliest farming and settling down, did they begin making their presence felt. What happened in these four millennia is the subject of this book: a deep history by “a card-carrying political scientist and an anthropologist and environmentalist by courtesy”, which aims to put the earliest states in their place. James Scott joins us ... to talk about state fragility and state persistence from Mesopotamia to Southeast Asia, the politics of cereal crops, domestication and reproduction, why it was once good to be a barbarian, the art of provocation, the views of critics, and, human and animal species relations and zoonoses in our epidemiological past and pandemic present."]

---. "Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States." Slavery and Its Legacies (April 13, 2017) ["James Scott is the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and is Director of the Agrarian Studies Program. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has held grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science, Science, Technology and Society Program at M.I.T., and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. His research concerns political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism. He is currently teaching Agrarian Studies and Rebellion, Resistance and Repression. Recent publications include Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale University Press, 1997; “Geographies of Trust: Geographies of Hierarchy,” in Democracy and Trust, 1998; “State Simplifications and Practical Knowledge,” in People’s Economy, People’s Ecology, 1998; and The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (Yale Press, 2009)."]

---. Domination and the Arts of Resistance. Yale University Press, 1990.

---. "Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance." Libcom (January 24, 2012) ["'Everyday resistance' is the most common form of opposition to oppression. It consists of footdragging, non-compliance, pilfering, desertion, feigned ignorance, slander, arson, sabotage, flight etc... James C. Scott's article is the classic statement on 'everyday resistance.'"]

---. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press, 1998.

---. Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play. Princeton University Press, 2012.

Scott, James C., et al. "The Trouble with the View From Above." Cato Unbound (September 8, 2010) ["In his lead essay, James C. Scott reviews some of the key concepts from his seminal book Seeing Like a State. For a state to exercise its power across a large population, it must simplify, codify, and and regularize local practices. This process of flattening, or of making local practice “legible,” is not without costs. In the past, states have quite literally missed the forest — with many different valuable products, including food, shelter, medicines, and clothing — for the trees, or timber, that they contain. And that is not the least of states’ errors in this regard; even in the twentieth century, high modern building practices and management techniques have neglected local variation and local knowledge, often to the detriment of state and non-state actors alike. These faults are regular, predictable, and worthy of further study. Provocatively, Scott closes his essay with a warning: Large actors in a market will often find themselves seeing like a state, too." - followed by a series of invited essay responses to the essay.]

Wade, Francis. "Most Resistance Does Not Speak Its Name: An Interview with James C. Scott." Los Angeles Review of Books (January 22, 2018)

















Dialogic Cinephilia - August 10, 2020

Engley, Ryan and Todd McGowan. "Blade Runner 2049." Why Theory (October 23, 2017) ["In this episode, Todd and Ryan discuss Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049. The conversation centers around how the film depicts ideology and what we mean when we say "ideology"; how the film conceives of desire ensuring subjectivity; and how the relationship between police and capital in the film exposes a link to how the two function in everyday life."]

Ford, Phil and J.F. Martel. "Weird Music, Part One." Weird Studies #27 (September 26, 2018) ["In this first of two episodes devoted to the music of the weird, Phil and JF discuss two works that have bowled them over: the second movement of Ligeti's Musica Ricercata, used to powerful effect in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, and the opening music to Cronenberg's film Naked Lunch, composed by Howard Shore and featuring the inimitable stylings of Ornette Coleman. After teasing out the intrinsic weirdness of music in general, the dialogue soars over a strange country rife with shadows, mad geniuses, and skittering insects. And to top it all off, Phil breaks out the grand piano."]

Gessen, Masha, Gary Hart and Martha Minnow. "American Autocracy." Open Source (August 6, 2020) ["What we know about our presidential race 90 days from the finish, perhaps all anyone knows, is that a wounded Donald Trump will not go quietly, if he goes at all, if he does not invoke emergency powers to cancel the election. The thought this hour was—and still is—to draw out the astute Russian-and-American diagnostician Masha Gessen, a resistance figure in two countries and author of a new book titled Surviving Autocracy. But then the plot thickened, particularly around the mayhem in Oregon after federal shock-troops had landed, over the objections of state governor, city mayor, and a militant wall of moms. A grave but lonely warning turned up in a New York Times guest-opinion piece. It was written by the sometime Colorado senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart, who joined this week’s conversation from his cabin a few mountains away from Denver."]

Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra. "Furious and Furiosa." Overland (May 15, 2019)

Lennard, Natasha. "Ted Cruz’s Hearing on Anarchist Protest Violence Was a Total Farce." The Intercept (August 5, 2020) ["Cruz kept mentioning Democrats’ failure to condemn a murder that was actually carried out by the far right — and refused to be corrected."]

Liu, Rebecca. "A Hellish Commons: Bong Joon-Ho's Parasite." Another Gaze (February 13, 2020)

Scott, James. "Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States." Slavery and Its Legacies (April 13, 2017) ["James Scott is the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and is Director of the Agrarian Studies Program. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has held grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science, Science, Technology and Society Program at M.I.T., and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. His research concerns political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism. He is currently teaching Agrarian Studies and Rebellion, Resistance and Repression. Recent publications include Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale University Press, 1997; “Geographies of Trust: Geographies of Hierarchy,” in Democracy and Trust, 1998; “State Simplifications and Practical Knowledge,” in People’s Economy, People’s Ecology, 1998; and The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (Yale Press, 2009)."]

Zoller, Matt. "Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy." World in Time (November 22, 2019) ["'There are many arguments for what is at the root cause of our current social dysfunction,' journalist Matt Stoller writes at the beginning of his book Goliath: The 100-Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy. 'Various explanations include the prevalence of racism, automation, the rise of China, inadequate education or training, the spread of the internet, Donald Trump, the collapse of political norms, or globalization. Many of these explanations have merit. But there’s another much simpler explanation of what is going on. Our systems are operating the way that they were designed to. In the 1970s, we decided as a society that it would be a good idea to allow private financiers and monopolists to organize our world. As a result, what is around us is a matrix of monopolies, controlling our lives and manipulating our communities and our politics. This is not just happenstance. It was created. The constructs shaping our world were formed as ideas, put into law, and now they are our economic and social reality. Our reality is formed not just of monopolized supply chains and brands, but an entire language that precludes us from even noticing, from discussing the concentrated power all around us.'"]







Friday, August 7, 2020

Naked Lunch (Canada/UK/Japan: David Cronenberg, 1991)




Naked Lunch (Canada/UK/Japan: David Cronenberg, 1991: 115 mins)

"David Cronenberg." Moving Image Source (January 11, 1992) ["The Canadian director David Cronenberg has redefined the notion of what a horror film can be. While horror and science-fiction films traditionally have been about threats from the outside—monsters or alien forces—Cronenberg's films (including The Brood and The Fly) have been about threats that come from inside our own bodies, and our psyches. It was fitting, then, that Cronenberg should be the director to adapt William S. Burroughs's novel Naked Lunch, with its grotesque and comical mix of the organic, the chemical, and the hallucinatory."]

"Explore the Making of ‘Cosmopolis,’ ‘Naked Lunch,’ ‘Spider,’ ‘Eastern Promises,’ and More." The Film Stage (January 13, 2016)

Flores, Steven. "The Auteurs: David Cronenberg (Part 1)." Cinema Axis (October 28, 2013)

---. "The Auteurs: David Cronenberg (Part 2)." Cinema Axis (October 30, 2013)

Ford, Phil and J.F. Martel. "David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch." Weird Studies #25 (September 12, 2018) ["JF and Phil head for Interzone in an attempt to solve the enigma of Naked Lunch, David Cronenberg's 1991 screen adaptation of William S. Burroughs' infamous 1959 novel. A treatise on addiction, a diagnosis of modern ills, a lucid portrait of the artist as cosmic transgressor, and like the book, "a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork," Naked Lunch is here framed in the light Cronenberg's recent speech making the case for the crime of art."]

---. "Weird Music, Part One." Weird Studies #27 (September 26, 2018) ["In this first of two episodes devoted to the music of the weird, Phil and JF discuss two works that have bowled them over: the second movement of Ligeti's Musica Ricercata, used to powerful effect in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, and the opening music to Cronenberg's film Naked Lunch, composed by Howard Shore and featuring the inimitable stylings of Ornette Coleman. After teasing out the intrinsic weirdness of music in general, the dialogue soars over a strange country rife with shadows, mad geniuses, and skittering insects. And to top it all off, Phil breaks out the grand piano."]

Hampton, Howard. "Double Extremity: Judy Davis in Naked Lunch." Current (February 5, 2020)

Indiana, Gary. "Naked Lunch: Burroughs." The Current (April 9, 2013)

Kuersten, Erich. "CinemArchetype #4: The Hanged Man." Acidemic  (February 12, 2012)

---. "Quilty Makes This World: 12 Tricksters (CinemArchetype #1)." Acidemic (January 23, 2012)

Land, Joshua. "Migrating Forms: David Cronenberg and the challenge of the impossible adaptation." Moving Image Source (February 3, 2012)

Lattimer, James. "Evolving Mantras and Restricted Vocabularies." The Notebook (February 23, 2015)

Maslin, Janet. "Naked Lunch: Drifting in and Out of a Kafkaesque Reality." Current (April 9, 2013)

Newman, Nick. "Explore the Making of ‘Cosmopolis,’ ‘Naked Lunch,’ ‘Spider,’ ‘Eastern Promises,’ and More." The Film Stage (January 13, 2016)

Rich, Jamie S. "Naked Lunch." Criterion Confessions #220 (March 23, 2008)

Rodley, Chris. "Naked Lunch: So Deep in My Heart That You’re Really a Part of Me." The Current (April 9, 2013)

Rucker, Rudy. "Cronenberg’s NAKED LUNCH as Transreal SF." Rudy's Blog (January 25, 2011)

---. "Power Chords, Thought Experiments, Transrealism and Monomyths." (Talk at Readercon, July 12, 2003)

"Today's Word: Mugwump." Logophilius (June 17, 2009)


























Thursday, August 6, 2020

Dialogic Cinephilia - August 6, 2020

Breznican, Anthony. "Black Storytellers Are Using Horror to Battle Hate." Vanity Fair (August 3, 2020) ["After Get Out, movies such as Antebellum, the upcoming Candyman retelling, and other tales of terror and the macabre are part of a cultural exorcism centuries in the making."]

Devine, Tom. "Frank Serpico Has Seen This All Before." On the Media (July 31, 2020) ["In recent months, we've been able to witness police misconduct from anywhere in the nation, via smartphone video captured by civilians and activists on the ground. More often than not, though, the only witnesses to police misconduct are the victims of it, as well as any other cops on the scene. But history shows that overwhelmingly cops seldom inform on one another — partly because of an omertà-like honor code, the so-called "blue wall of silence," and partly due to fear of retaliation from their colleagues. Which is why, according to Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), police reforms are all but useless without protection for those courageous and honorable enough to blow the whistle. Bob spoke with Tom about GAP's efforts to embed protections for police whistleblowers into law enforcement reform legislation. The most famous American cop-whistleblower is Frank Serpico, who in the late 1960s reported widespread corruption and brutality in New York City’s police department. His complaints led to a New York Times expose, an official commission exploring police corruption and, in 1973, the movie Serpico, which dramatized his struggle and the price he paid for his honesty. When he was shot in the face during a 1971 drug enforcement operation, his fellow officers refused to summon help and left him for dead. He lives, and so does his half-century-long struggle for accountability. He told Bob that change in police departments is possible, but that it would require overhauling the cultural traditions many police officers cherish."]

Ford, Phil and J.F. Martel. "David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch." Weird Studies #25 (September 12, 2018) ["JF and Phil head for Interzone in an attempt to solve the enigma of Naked Lunch, David Cronenberg's 1991 screen adaptation of William S. Burroughs' infamous 1959 novel. A treatise on addiction, a diagnosis of modern ills, a lucid portrait of the artist as cosmic transgressor, and like the book, "a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork," Naked Lunch is here framed in the light Cronenberg's recent speech making the case for the crime of art."]

---. "Does Consciousness Exist, Part One." and "Does Consciousness Exist, Part Two." Weird Studies #17 & #18 (June 6 & June 13, 2018) ["In this first part of their discussion of William James' classic essay in radical empiricism, "Does 'Consciousness' Exist?", Phil and JF talk about the various ways we use the slippery C-word in contemporary culture. The episode touches on the political charge of the concept of consciousness, the unholy marriage of materialism and idealism ("Kant is the ultimate hipster"), the role of consciousness in the workings of the weird -- basically, anything but the essay in question. That will come in part two." & "JF and Phil finally get down to brass tacks with William James's essay 'Does Consciousness Exist?' At the heart of this essay is the concept of what James calls 'pure experience,' the basic stuff of everything, only it isn't a stuff, but an irreducible multiplicity of everything that exists -- thoughts as well as things. We're used to thinking that thoughts and things belong to fundamentally different orders of being, but what if thoughts are things, too? For one thing, psychical phenomena (a great interest of James's) suddenly become a good deal more plausible. And the imaginal realm, where art and magic make their home, becomes a sovereign domain."]

Robin, Corey. "The Supreme Court Justice with the Most to Say." On the Media (July 31, 2020) ["Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is hardly the quietest member of the bench. In hundreds of opinions authored during his tenure — longer than any of his present colleagues' — Thomas has elaborated upon a vision first instilled in him by a stern, business-minded grandfather and later cemented during a turbulent undergraduate education, spent protesting racial injustice, debating Black nationalist principles, and memorizing passages of Malcolm X. And despite a deliberate post-college turn toward capitalism and political futilitarianism, his original comprehensive view of America persists: our national government is incapable of bettering the lives of Black Americans, just as white Americans are forever incapable of dismantling their own racism. Still, Thomas remains baffling to some — an enigma, as some senators put it during his confirmation hearings more than twenty years ago. An analysis of Thomas's biography and jurisprudence by author and political scientist Corey Robin, The Enigma of Clarence Thomas, leaves no room for confusion. In this segment, originally aired last November, Brooke speaks with Robin about Thomas's views on criminal justice, affirmative action, capitalism, racial equality, and ultimately the fate of the nation."]

Umansky, Eric. "A Fight Over Cop Misconduct Records Continues." On the Media (July 31, 2020) ["Among the concrete victories for the Black Lives Matter movement this year was the repeal of the decades-old New York State statute 50-a, opening to public scrutiny thousands of records of citizen complaints against the police. Earlier this month, New York City’s police unions joined a suit to block the wholesale release of such data — in particular, a trove of 81,000 records that had been quickly obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union. On the theory that a data dump would ring a bell that could never be un-rung, a federal judge overseeing the matter ordered NYCLU to keep the data secret for the time being. But several days later, the digital news outlet ProPublica began ringing that un-un-ringable bell. This past Sunday they released a database which describes, in limited detail, thousands of allegations made against thousands of New York Police Department officers. ProPublica described the database as “an unprecedented picture of civilians complaints of abuse by NYPD officers as well as the limits of the current system that is supposed to hold officers accountable.” Bob and ProPublica deputy managing editor Eric Umansky discuss the database, the police union lawsuit, and where we are in the struggle for police accountability. "]

Wilkerson, Isabel. "It's More Than Racism: Isabel Wilkerson Explains America's 'Caste' System." Fresh Air (August 4, 2020)