TV

Charlie Jane Anders: The Essential Difference Between Star Wars and Star Trek – io9

The later Star Trek series are frequently concerned with the wisdom of command—Picard, in particular, obsesses about choosing the wise path and being a responsible leader. Deep Space Nine and Voyager try to take away some of Starfleet’s awesome power

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Only a Zombie Walks in L.A.

BBQ, bad booze, and worse TV on the agenda: Or a typical Sunday evening out here at Dunvegan West. New on the TV schedule, however, replacing HUMANS, is, of course, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD. Moving the TWD setting to L.A.

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The things the body cries out for…

In the totalitarian totality of entertainment for entertainment’s sake and no other sake, THE AMERICANS is therefore condemned to a dark corner of television Siberia. Its inhabitants, including its fans as fellow inmates, are left to seek the peculiar victories achievable only there.

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Buy this TV now, or some books – thanks!

Amazing TV. I only give it 4 stars because they didn’t mention the importance of securing it to the wall. My dog was running through the house and bumped the stand causing the device to fall over. Luckily the dog

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Comment and Tweets on the True Detective Season 1 Finale…

(Comment at Crooked Timber, “Wonders of the Invisible World,” by Henry Farrell) Nicely done, though I think the critique of the ending is in its own way as too-neat as the ending itself, or simply recapitulates or re-extends the, of

Posted in notes, TV

2014.02.18 – Unhappy Consciousness and True Detective (Title Sequence)

Perhaps disappointingly, perhaps necessarily, TRUE DETECTIVE will likely end up having to mean something, and not stand merely as an assertion of the impossibility or pointlessness of assertion – the kind of statement nearly credible, because comical, coming from a character in a Thomas Bernhard novel or in the theater of the absurd: the never believable claim, because destructive of any belief, that it would be better on balance for our hero, for the story’s tortured victims, and for us, never to have lived at all.

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On Breaking Bad 3 – Post-Finale

Breaking Bad has often exploited this reversal from meaningless to most meaningful, whether for an incidental ironic laugh or for the sake of overarching awe, and always both at once to some greater or lesser extent, but such devices, when over-used, will turn around again. Rather than being converted by the naturalism of scene, dialogue, character, and logic into an image of “fate,” the next incredible plot plot, or one or a few too many, can subvert them under the sign of “fake” – a danger all but the most naive viewers understand instinctively. The over-accumulation of improbabilities risks falsification of the whole, threatening to turn the self-sufficient fictive world into a mere artifact, a collapsed assemblage of meaningless gestures. Put simply, too much contrivance refers us to TV writers on deadlines, not to anything that could possibly matter more.

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On Breaking Bad (2 – Present Absence of Religion)

The very title of the show announces a morality tale, an investigation of “good” and “bad,” with an implicit come-on to enjoy the thrill of “breaking” the rules, before finally being delivered up to the proper message- at which point rather than “breaking to or into the bad,” the show will, one presumes with some confidence, finish “breaking the bad”: Hallelujah! The key challenge for the writers has always been, perhaps until now or next Sunday, preserving the thrill but ensuring the wholesome delivery in a way the morally depraved can accept, for their own good, despite themselves. Medieval morality tales almost certainly worked the same way, but Gilligan and company (probably?) cannot rely on horned demons dragging Walt down to painted flames of Hell – or on a chorus of the dead appealing for his salvation.

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On Breaking Bad

He didn’t and couldn’t anticipate the consequences of his actions, which is the main theme of the show, that seemingly rational or “scientific” solutions to immediate problems turn into their opposites due to the complex interwovenness of real life or society: i.e., Crime Doesn’t Pay. Even when it seems to pay, it turns you into an unhappy monster, or someone who has “earned” millions of dollars for his family but is unable to put it to use for them in any way. He can’t even find a way to get a fraction of it to them. They don’t even want it.

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A Global Force for Goods

What the commercials want to tell or remind us is this: The US Navy is the US global-historical role and purpose objectified, American ideology concretely, defined by a presumption that the two meanings of “for good” become the same meaning over time, are always approaching each other via that arc “bending toward justice” that the President likes to recall in his seemingly most heartfelt speeches.

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Ridiculously Obscene

In what kind of society would it be possible to separate identical twins at birth, but have them retain the same last names, and bring them together at some later date just to see how they react to each other? In what kind of society, or social system, would it be possible for such a long-term experiment on two human beings to be carried out?

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comment at ‘The Walking Dead’ Open Thread: We’re The Greater Good

founding the sacrificial state and the incipient civil religion, a system of mutual obligations justifying living, as well as killing and dying,

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The Better Part of “Bravery”

Those looking for a reason to condemn the ad presume, for no good reason it seems to me, that the young woman was simply accosted by a stranger or near-stranger. That might indeed be rather rapey – just not very likely based on common sense about High School classes, about what we are given to assume about the young man (he is presented as a sensitive and self-conscious kid), and most of all what we see in the young woman’s lovestruck and very highly cooperative reaction. She may not have signed a notarizable contract, but it seems that our hero must have correctly interpreted signals prior to as well as in the moment, and that there will be no charges filed. By the end of the ad, we and our hero may safely anticipate the most delightful sequel known to human beings on Earth.

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Rooting for the Zombies

The zombie is a perhaps only slightly exaggerated version of the slave or other member of the lower orders from the perspective of the privileged. Like the hungry poor, the zombies confront the responsible citizen as insatiably ravenous mouths to feed, the “unreasoning mob” itself, human as less than human, pure destructive appetite. At the same time, the terrifying joy of the zombie movie, like the terrifying joy both of other apocalyptic genres and of the slave revolt, lies in the destruction of one form of inhumanity by the other that it has produced, or is produced from it. We witness or continually re-experience the liberating annihilation of the whole constricted, compromised, and evil world, all of its inequities, and all of its false values.

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The Brady Bunch Annihilated

What could better capture the nihilistic impetus of philosophical liberalism – individualized instrumental reason – than its discovery of the moral impossibility of human reproduction itself?

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More on Breaking Bad: Setting up S5 and vs. House

Looking forward to Breaking Bad Season 5, I realize that one main reason to be a bigger fan of BB than of the well-regarded House is if, like me, you know you’re a loser – which means “in the wrong from the perspective of a wrong world.”

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You act like you never saw a severed human head on a tortoise before

…been catching up on all the Seasons 2 – 3 Breaking Bad I missed. Doing a whole season this way has a lot to recommend it over sitting through a season episode by episode, week by week.

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Chris Hayes and American Heroism

The word “hero” in contemporary usage is an unambiguously affirmative, but anodyne, secular-sounding term for the conversion of the “fallen” from tragic victims into celebrated martyrs within a long tradition, indeed within a trans-generational chain of sacrifices all the way back to the founding of the nation in revolutionary war. To deny access to this form of transcendence, as Hayes and many like him seem to want to do – are in a sense ideologically compelled to do – is to reduce whatever act of war into killing and mayhem merely, the conduct of a state possibly unworthy of allegiance at all, much less of even one individual’s life, liberty, and happiness. It is to convert the martyr symbolically into the pitiful dupe at best, the murderer or war criminal at worst.

Posted in Featured, Internet, Philosophy, Politics, TV, War Tagged with: , , , ,

Ghost Machine

self(-)consumption

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BIG: New KB24 Commercial

…why we still kind of like commercials… and basketball… and Kobe… pretty much no matter what.

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Noted & Quoted

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President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics.

The allegations, if true, would appear to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics, even as US-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million (£8 million) annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP.

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The texts, posted on a darknet website run by a hacktivist collective, appear to show Manafort’s family fretting about the ethics, safety and consequences of his work for Yanukovych. And they reveal that Manafort’s two daughters regarded their father’s emergence as a key player on Trump’s presidential campaign with a mixture of pride and embarrassment.

In one exchange, daughter Jessica Manafort writes “Im not a trump supporter but i am still proud of dad tho. He is the best at what he does.” Her sister Andrea Manafort responded by referring to their father’s relationship with Trump as “The most dangerous friendship in America,” while in another exchange she called them “a perfect pair” of “power-hungry egomaniacs,” and asserted “the only reason my dad is doing this campaign is for sport. He likes the challenge. It's like an egomaniac's chess game. There's no money motivation.”

By contrast, the Manafort daughters and their mother seemed much more unsettled about Paul Manafort’s work as a political consultant for Yanukovych’s Russia-backed Party of Regions, which is a subject of renewed interest among investigators probing possible links between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

In one March 2015 exchange that appears to be between the two sisters, Andrea Manafort seems to suggest that their father bore some responsibility for the deaths of protesters at the hands of police loyal to Yanukovych during a monthslong uprising that started in late 2013.

“Don't fool yourself,” Andrea Manafort wrote. “That money we have is blood money.”

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If there's anything mitigating the bad news for the White House here, it is that Comey may have also sent subtle signals that the matters under investigation are not principally about the personal conduct of Trump himself. While this is speculation, I do not believe that if Comey had, say, validated large swaths of the Steele dossier or found significant Trump-Russia financial entanglements of a compromising variety, he would have said even as much as he said today. I also don't think he would have announced the scope of the investigation as about the relationship "between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government" or "coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts"; these words suggest one step of removal from investigating the President himself. If the latter were the case, I suspect Comey wouldn't have used words suggestive of the Flynn-Manafort-Page cabal.

But that's reading a lot into a relatively small number of tea leaves. What is clear is that this was a very bad day for the President. In it, we learned that there is an open-ended Russia investigation with no timetable for completion, one that's going hang over Trump's head for a long time, and one to which the FBI director is entirely committed.

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@CK_MacLeod

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bob
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+ Yeah, I read C's comments as trying to do a variety of things at the same time, having the effect of making interpretation more difficult. Any [. . .]
Benjamin Wittes: How to Read What Comey Said Today – Lawfare
bob
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+ Sure, so why do they have "work Phones" they take home? Even if they don't have fate of the world responsibilities, who they work [. . .]
Isenstadt and Vogel: Paranoia seizes Trump’s White House – POLITICO

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