Category Archives: postmodernism

Narratorial Unreliability

Christian Mihai discusses his ideas on unreliable narrators, something he likes to see writers use, and a technique he says he uses himself. Still, he misses a fundamental point – all narrators, storytellers, dramatists, poets, are unreliable. From Homer, Shakespeare to Sartre, no writer tells, gets close to ‘the truth’, even if he or she is prepared to die in the process of collecting all the observable details of a factually based fiction.

Catherine Lacey

Do we trust Tolstoy’s account of Napoleon in War and Peace? Perhaps… if we are Russian.

Narrator unreliability doesn’t have to be a first person account, though the most obvious modernist exploitations of narrator unreliability in fiction use that form. The best approach – for this writer at least – is when the writer sets out to deceive us, and by convincing us that he or she has told the truth, transfers any doubt on narratorial reliability to a reader’s interpretation of the tale.

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Experiment, what experiment?

..handheld shaky cam, found footage, ultra-violence, meta-storylines, etc., all becoming part of the broad pop cultural landscape and assimilated into the commercial marketplace. This translates across all cultural lines – music, art, technology, etc. as the outsiders and untouchables of yesteryear are today’s TV spokesmen and tastemakers..

…experimental film seems to represent more fully the true potential and magic of cinema

…for brief moments in history, think the ‘beats’, the real ground-shakers, the true risk-takers, manage to do something that is life and culture affecting, their minds drafting the future…

Cannes and Experimental Film

From one of cinema’s earliest experimental films, Luis Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou (1929), to Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), winner in 1947 of  Cannes’ Grand Prix Internationale for 16mm experimental film, on to the films of Cocteau, Godard, Tati, Fellini, Lynch, Cronenberg and others, the notion of the film experiment inspires admiration, distaste, love and hatred in film audiences. Commercial movies (frantic pacing, hackneyed surprise, worn-out tropes, special effects barages), with their hero and quest driven narratives, seem diametrically opposed to the whimsical, subjective, interior, asymmetric, disjointed, dream-state inspired plotless, timeless, amoral, and often carelessly created worlds of the film experiment. Yet most if not all conventional cinema depends entirely on the concept and nature of experimental film. It’s axiomatic: without the experiment there is no convention. Experiment lies at the heart of cinema not only because early cine-cameramen experimented with moving images and celluloid film created art (even if art wasn’t the intention); experiment is the fundamental ancestor of all cinema.

A film that succeeds at the box office will often be remembered for a sequence that cites, borrows from film experimentation.

Commercial filmmakers often reconfigure ideas and approaches from earlier films, all art in fact, but they owe their largest debt to the spirit of film experiment in all its disguises.

Cannes encourages filmmakers to exhibit their experimental works in Un Certain Regard. 2012’s lineup includes sons of the famous in twenty chosen films. The route of an art film to the festival’s screens is not simple, with the spirit of today’s Deren or Buñuel struggling to shine in the annual failed attempts of filmmakers with ‘unexhibitable’ projects we never see, but without which we would know little of the true scope of cinematic experimentation.

where is “Bukowski” by Swimanog listed on Google

  1. fiction | Swimanog

    swimanog.wordpress.com/category/fiction/

    11 Mar 2012 – His first book was a translation of Charles Bukowski’s The Days Run Away ….. “[I] found the order (or found the copy on Google Book Search 🙂

    You’ve visited this page 2 times. Last visit: 15/04/12 (did I? My memory must be playing tricks…)
  2. politics | Swimanog

    swimanog.wordpress.com/category/politics/

    19 Feb 2012 – I am writing to point out Google’s association – inadvertent association, http://swimanog.wordpress.com I put the post up on 18th May, 2009. (was it worth it?)

  3. postmodernism | Swimanog

    swimanog.wordpress.com/category/postmodernism/

    11 Mar 2012 – “[I] found the order (or found the copy on Google Book Search 🙂 …. and artists listed in the book’s acknowledgements starting with ABBA!). (Why not begin with ABBA?)

  4. Blogroll | Swimanog | Page 2

    swimanog.wordpress.com/category/blogroll/page/2/

    17 Aug 2010 – It was Bukowski’s birthday (16th August) – the LA Times alerted me. …. “[I] found the order (or found the copy on Google Book Search 🙂 …. hundred authors and artists listed in the book’s acknowledgements starting with ABBA! (ditto)

  5. Louisiana Alba (Author of Uncorrected Proof)

     Rating: 4 – 3 votes

    28 Jun 2009 – My blog – posts on Bukowski, Fellini, GFC and many more. Http://swimanog.wordpress.com read more » · 0 comments …. A good overview, that puts Google in perspective, answering many questions if not all. Dec 07, 2011 … (now putting Google in perspective…?)

  6. LiteraryMinded – Part 45

    blogs.crikey.com.au/literaryminded/page/45/

    26 Sep 2008 – internet multinationals, such as Yahoo, Google, Cisco and Microsoft, ….. Roald Dahl and moved on to Charles Bukowski—go figure—so they … (yes, so they..)

  7. Bret Easton Ellis in Australia | LiteraryMinded

    literaryminded.wordpress.com/tag/bret-easton-ellis-in-australia/

    20 Aug 2010 – as akin to an LA literary tradition, with people like Fante and Bukowski…. RT @nztaylor: On blog: Google Ebooks launches in Australia with

  8. Top Pictures – bukowski

    en.topictures.com/bukowski

    5+ items – Top Pictures: bukowski, Image search results giving you the top

    Charles Bukowski – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia jpg – 220×190 Charles
    Bukowski | Swimanog jpg – 300×517 Bukowski
  9. სურათები – bukowski

    ka.bestpicturesof.com/bukowski

    5+ items – სურათები : bukowskiGoogle გამოსახულებებიდან, bing-იდან

    Don’t blame Bukowski for bad poetry | Books | guardian jpg – 460×300
    Bukowski | Swimanog jpg – 300×517
    I began a search on Google to see whether all the people (listed as hits) actually did see my post on Bukowski and after going through 17 Google pages and not arriving at my post I gave up…I thought I could be in a capsule hurtling out somewhere further into the outer universe saying hello, hello.? Now, self-referencing has some sense, maybe not much sense, but some at least, more sense than ending up on page 107 on Google…Watching Damien Hirst talk about himself brought it all home. We endlessly auto-reference. Click on the links for ‘Damien Hirst’ and then on ‘himself’ a few seconds, maybe a minute later and play them simulacrously but starting at different points. Somehow to hear Hirst in disjointed stereo makes more sense (at least to me) 
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/video/2012/apr/16/damien-hirst-tate-modern-exhibition-tour-video
    The need to reinvent everything endlessly…
      

One Writer’s Journey

I grew up watching Superman, The Cisco Kid, O.S.S., hearing war stories, chasing down moth-eaten army uniforms back when milk arrived in a horse and cart marvelling at the colour style of actual coca leaf sugarpop in Coke bottles blinking at motor cycles Dick Van Dyke falling over a couch cowboy films shot in daylight B/W then coloured nights of my father’s home-grown vegetables, born with words in my mouth – ‘gimme-that’ , ‘how-dare-you’,  ‘what-the-fuck’ –

– ideas as fixed and eternal as the motives for every war, growing into Kidnapped bicycles desert boots Seventy Seven Sunset Strip Disney Land Rear Window Psycho Lawrence of Arabia, the annual anxiety of packing the car at holiday time, each and every moment stilled in memory of the forever mysterious parodies of life or art even if parodies weren’t even an option back then. I knew the Beatles before the Monkees, Bogart before Belmondo, but I can’t say I recall the idea behind the Summer of ’42 before it was a film conjured into a Mad magazine parody or whether it co-existed in the smash crash and kill dinky toy mind of George W. Bush. I believe I’m not alone, even growing more bewildered year on year by the incoherence of images and texts surrounding me from birth arresting my natural river environment in the far southern climes the commercial and cultural ink-blotting over my childhood my natural world a parody of some story my mother told me, those seconds on a baked sidewalk hearing JFK was dead, pink socks on the rock ‘n rollers, moments things events sounds sent to make life even more dangerous curious frightening, a direct result of the industrial military complex, Elvis Presley Chuck Berry even, the jack shit political influences beaten into the worrying shame of death in the world, prejudice, organically connected and woven into a general valueness held dear by so many years on from that day when morality was gunned down in broad daylight.

The Frankfurt School Revisited

The objective of  the culture industries – in a critique developed in the 1930s, written and published in the 1940s by Frankfurt School members Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer under the title The Culture Industry – was to keep ordinary folk as docile and manageable as possible… ‘happy’, uncritical, coralled consumers of a ‘capital’ controlled culture.

The idea was: the tranquilized poor, the culturally deceived, the ‘creatively dociled’ buy, watch, listen to and read what they are told to watch, listen to, read. The discourse on culture, being ideologically-fed by capital on steroids, makes phase 2 so easy, the accounts driven bottom-line. This pay-up and now driven discourse leads its proponents still to say –  See! It is what ‘they’ want (the great unwashed unconsidered)  otherwise they wouldn’t buy or want it.

Reminds me of Jack Crabb’s (Dustin Hoffman’s) encounter with General Custer just before the ‘great general’ got whipped at Little Big Horn. “General, you go down there,” Crabb says, when Custer asks him what to do. Thinking Crabb, a pathetic muleskinner, spineless, with not-even guts enough to shoot Custer in the back,  a git who could only lie to him, Custer reasons (aloud, of course) that if Crabb wants Him to go down to the Little Big Horn it’s only because Crabb really doesn’t want Custer to go down there  – Crabb could only lie to achieve a goal. So, Custer does go down there – much to relief of the world, history and the native American.

Little Big Man (1970) was the sort of film American filmmakers made after the film studios lost control in the late 1960s. In that rare moment, spanning a few years only, cultural complexity was synonymous with creativity – the audience and creators were so close they could have been one and the same.

Back to the genealogically disturbed present. No cultural outbreaks, no individual voices, no “surprises” for those in charge right now, no matter how many camp in Wall Street or outside St. Paul’s.  Society, dare I say it, Capital, is under control. No matter what the postmodernists, Foucault, Castells et al want, did and do tell us, culture is still controlled, top down –  never more than in the 21st century (thanks to Lessig {Free Culture, 2004, p12} for reminding us).

So a nod to the voices that seem so still and silent today – to Theodor, Max, Walter and Herbert: We need to hear from you again.

“The web of domination has become the web of Reason itself, and this society is fatally entangled in it.” Herbert Marcuse

What is Facebook really up to?

Initially this post was about Facebook dismantling its groups. The issue then: Many people spent an enormous amount of time developing them and asking people to join. Because of widespread concern and protest by Facebook members FB resolved this and groups could keep their members. At the time I wrote: “Facebook is fast acting like a corporation acting in concert with other corporate or shady political interests – not a borrowed idea from a dorm at Harvard existing only because a lot of people use it. If Facebook is about anything it is about each and every one of its members – Facebook is nothing without the people who bother to use its pages.”

Now Facebook wants, it seems, to use stored data of its members and make it public. This has been true for sometime of course. FB data-mines its users. But is the ante being upped with new moves? Does this breach the privacy terms implied in the original terms of use?

Facebookers should be informed of what this new FB policy is and what it means and then they should be asked whether they agree to the use of data that was once ‘private’ between FB members.

Facebook should reflect the members that make it up. Facebookers are not a resource to be exploited for profit in this way by Facebook’s founders (this was not the original ‘pitch’ or purpose of Facebook). If use of private data does happen, at the very least it should be only with prior full agreement of Facebook users.

If Facebook wants to charge for the service then they can and people can opt out of the FB site if they so wish – taking their data with them, not leaving it behind for commercial use.

If I buy a house I get the house and grounds, not the furniture and fittings inside and outside, unless it is in the contract of sale. Facebook do not own the data, (though I am sure their lawyers would say they do). They have already profited hugely from having such a huge number of users, but they don’t own Facebookers or their private and personal data.