Saturday, July 30, 2016
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Sunday, July 17, 2016
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Friday, July 8, 2016
Inside is one hell of a follow up to Limbo. It's less haunting and more horrifying. It's conclusion is really evocative, kind of made me sick, but I was impressed nevertheless.
The game is very much about embodying its themes, and it does so in awful, but powerful way. I've come to regard Limbo as a fairly important game, and with this second release, Playdead has made it clear that they take the art of video games seriously.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
I revisited the House on the Rock today. While wandering through its endlessly bizarre and fascinating collections and the original house itself, which contains Asian and Buddhist statuary alongside statues of European saints and stained glass, I couldn't help but be reminded of what an idiotic bugaboo the phrase "cultural appropriation" is.
"Cultural appropriation" is one of the foundational methodologies and principles of the arts, in which fusion, hybridity, revisioning, and re-envisioning the works of others (and even supposed Others) leads to innovation, fascinating experiments, and things of great beauty (Eliot's "The Wasteland" to name one example, or the works of Salman Rushdie, Kurosawa, and Kojima to name a few others). Most creative acts, be they in fashion, food, literature, poetry, painting, film, or video games, are made better for the heinous crime of appropriating other cultural ideas, styles, and tastes.
What does this have to do with this article? Not much. However, it is one in which I suggest a possible reason for the existence of a trope (the "haunted school" that seems to me to appear in a lot of Asian cinema and video games) in a culture that is not my own.
Am I right or am I wrong to think that horror tends to reveal fears that are inspired by specific cultural attitudes and ideas? Beats me. But I think the idea that I want to kick around a bit is interesting, and being interesting is more important to me than shackling myself to only points of view that I have supposedly rightfully inherited.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Monday, July 4, 2016
A student e-mailed me about Anton Chigurh, the villain of No Country for Old Men, earlier today. In response, I discussed flipping coins, determinism, philosophical materialism, nihilism, and the state of contemporary ethics in the context of Yeats's poem. I didn't discuss Judge Holden from Blood Meridian, who raises similar issues (perhaps in even more interesting, but less accessible ways), but that is a whole other can of worms.
McCarthy is brilliant, as was Yeats.
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.