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Comments by Scott Miller

On “On Breaking Bad 3 – Post-Finale

Great piece, CK. My favorite sentence:
"Put simply, too much contrivance refers us to TV writers at work, and their revealed presence “breaks the fourth wall” or all the walls, cracks the flat screen."
LOL. A very intelligent, but commonly distracted writer friend of mine thought he had watched the finale when, in fact, he had watched the second to last episode thinking it was the finale. He saw when Walt watches the Blacks with Charlie Rose etc, and thought, "Good for them for just ending it like that--with nothing 'tied up.'"
I explained to him that he had not actually seen the finale and we laughed. My writer friend had been a fan of BB in the early days and lost interest. I told him not to bother with the real finale and regretted having set him straight on the point.

On “The Abuse of Counterfactual History (10 Years After, Cont’d)

The last line is particularly good, even for CK. I also like the Alt-world run-down. That's the way I used to sound in Sliders meetings. The other writers would always think I was "over-thinking" things, but if you are going to think about Alt-worlds at all, you might as well really think about it.

On “Foundations of the Founding (Legitimizing Legitimacy 2)

I actually loved Skyfall. I was really surprised. Better to go into it not expecting more than a Bond thing, but it is more in respect to the archetypal play of mother-father issues. A perfect thread here, actually.


Yes. That's why some of the best times in India's history happened when a good king was reigning. A great king is a great thing. Unfortunately, when bad kings reign there's nothing worse for the people.


I did have a sense that you weren't just picking on some hapless sort. You did make that clear. So it's okay. Something cool did happen anyway, which is that I did (on purpose sort of--at least as on purpose as an ADDman can be purposeful with these kinds of things) what I was accusing you of. First, I wrote "No one understands." That's true from an Ultimate perspective because Ultimately all ideology fails. But then I used that split to open up the ideological channel for my accusation that I stated just to make myself feel good. And since the Lakers just won I can assume your mind is soothed to the point of this point not being a kick em while they're down kind of thing.


I did miss that she claimed it to be the "first," and that in making that error she was dismissing all the previous points. She shouldn't have done that and you're points are well taken in connection with that. I think she would probably concede that point. Given the strong language of your post, I was expecting a stronger objection and looked over the one you did substantiate. I get it now, but what I was looking for was a reason why her belief that it was important was "embarrassing." She might be right other than the "first" claim, but I guess you do make that point too. So, okay, I get your point. It was just stated so strongly I was looking for more and missed the less altogether. Sorry.


None of us understand at all. And where in the post do you make the point that the Founders were on the late show? If you made that point, you're right, I missed it. But I was really looking. I made it a point to look for the point. Admittedly, I said to myself, "he's not going to explain why her point is 'embarrassingly illiterate.'" How is it embarrassingly illiterate? Being late to the party doesn't make what the Founders did in that one way any less important. And even if what she says is embarrassingly illiterate in your opinion, you don't substantiate that in the post.


Also, CK put the father issue thing on the table with his posting of his father's recording. So its fair game now.


Also,there was humor about the "father issues" considering that we are addressing founding father issues here.


I don't see any legitimate argument in CK's argument that counters Slaughter's statement. Agreeing with B-psycho, the problem was with the question, not her answer. In fact, she gave the only acceptable answer because the fact that what the Founders wrote continues to have one significant positive effect is about all we can say from a pluralistic (Sliders) perspective. Over and over, people have tried to deny minority group human rights, and eventually all those efforts have failed on a political level. It is the only positive effect that can be legitimately credited to the Founders and it was probably luck. I use the word legitimate over and over here to annoy CK in the way that he continues to annoy me with his "splitting." Over and over, I have tried to explain to him how splitting does not serve him in the Hegelian way that he supposes it does (even though he thinks of it as something else). Over and over, he ignores how he argues a legitimate point away successfully in direct refutation of common sense only because he wants another illegitimate point to survive his scrutiny. The point that could change his thinking is argued away according to Ultimate perspectives that can't be argued no matter what, and then once that point is argued away he is free to think another thought that he wants to think only because it happens to soothe his troubled mind. I want his troubled mind to be soothed but it is painful to watch the splitting, ala George Bush, because it is so Bush and has so much to do with father issues. Sorry, CK. I hope you at least think what I've written here is funny somehow. Legitimate, legitimate, legitimate. You could be soothed in a way that connects with B-psycho is saying. "We do one thing and another thing happens." B-psycho tries to be psycho and another thing happens. You would do well to see his points.

On “A Diffuse and Ever-Variable Enemy (It’s the War, Intellectuals #2)

Well, as I've pointed out before, my pov is only "radical" compared to what one hears on TV. I know lots of people with a similar pov. They're professors, librarians, lawyers, and doctors. They hold regular jobs, etc. But I do understand why it makes little sense to question why a country engaged in immoral acts would feel compelled to treat anyone in a just manner. Right, then, there is no reasonable reason to expect a murderous country not to murder anyone without a trial. But maybe I was unconsciously expecting them to have some sort of reverse "we have to kill cop killers first because cop killers are the biggest threat to society" kind of idea. "We have to give American citizens a fair trial because if we don't then we're lost in a world where no one gets a trial." Nope. The government, especially not the President, has no such idea.


I heard a particularly damning report today on how many Americans living abroad have been killed by order of the White House. I didn't even know the President could just have someone killed. The main story was about this young sixteen year living in Yemin. He was an American citizen and Obama had him killed. No trial. They reporters said that in 2011 Obama had three Americans living abroad killed without a trial. The young sixteen year-old was sitting at a dinner table, eating, when FBI agents (I think it was) burst into the house and shot him dead. Of course, all these targeted people are "suspected terrorists." But they don't get a trial. I knew that was the case with OBL, of course, but I thought the President had gotten some specially worked out legal dispensation for that one. Call me naive, but I had no idea that this was just generally legal. Apparently, it's questionably legal, but no one tries to nail down the legal specifics. That was what the reporters were questioning. Why don't people question it? They said Obama has killed far more "terrorists" like this than anyone else, including Bush.

On “Voegelin’s Gnosis, Part 2: Crossing

That actually does clarify some things, thanks. The other way to explore that is to question our Western idea that truth is at all separable from experience. Easterners emphasize "realization" first. Realize an unconditioned state or non-state and then get back to me. Speaking or not speaking from a conditioned state, no matter what words are used or not used, is never the same as what is expressed from an unconditioned state and never will be the same. The same words or non-words won't even be the same.


It's worth noting that East Indians see the Western consciousness as being more inclined to define itself with reference to the issues of time and history. I do that too out of continued western style habituation. What's wrong with it is that it "conditions" the human being. Eastern consciousness is committed in general to an "unconditioned awareness." So it's the opposite of believing (or not believing) that man is only what history has made him because any other choice would be an escape at the expense of what is real.

On “placeholder for a 0D30 post

I'll take your word for it on a level of clarity, but keep in mind that you have been speaking Miggs on a regular basis for many years now. Positively or negatively, or both, it might just have affected your mind.


I love how a totally head-shaking comment like mine there could be followed so effortlessly by the real master of the comment head-shaker's comment. Although I do think that miggs' comment right there includes the least number of names he's ever used in a comment.


Typical of me and my ADD, I forgot the point of my last comment. I had written earlier that movies like Trainspotting still make heroine addicts want to do heroine. My point was that Dj didn't make me want to go out and pierce my ear again.


Having just seen Django I'm going to let it rip here. in coming back the blog, I was hoping that this comment stream had died out more so no one would read it and I would just be ranting into the void. The arrogance is going to flow. Don't read this if it bugs you. But here goes anyway. FIrst, props to CK for instinctual sussing out some important Hollywood commodifications. He didn't see Dj or 0D30 (me either) but he knew something was up. There is something up. Dj is a great movie. It is blacksploitation done so incredibly well I can't believe what I just saw. And I know I'm being objective because I know where he got the feel and structure of the scenes: the Sister's Brothers. That's a book that has nothing to do with slavery but trust me, from my days of being ripped off in Hollywood, combined with energetic sensitivity I know what material comes from what material if I'm at all familiar with the ripped off material and Mr. T ripped off Sister's Brothers. in fact, he couldn't help but out himself with a few riffs off brother names in Dj. But I don't care. The movie is still great. It's lucky I went because I don't think slavery should be turned into commodified entertainment. So I wasn't going to go see Dj. Then a close friend who I always agree with about movies told me it was "great." The fact that she's half African-American was important in this case. Given my feelings about Schindler's List I was expecting to have issues with making slavery entertaining. But I also knew that the humor would make a difference. It did. Wicked humor trumps everything else. It can't be critiqued. It can't really "collude with commodifying experience" the way drama does. Really smart humor is impossible to critique, which is why really smart critics hate it. And I don't know how, but Mr. T has gotten a whole lot smarter since R-dogs. He has climbed a ladder like the structure of Unforgiven. Italian Mr, T started out with the stupid racism of Italians, made his way up to Jewish racism, and finally made it to the top of the mountain (think Dr. King's mountain in a humorous way) where the good and evil wrench the wrenching of dealing with human empathy beyond anything anyone, including CK, will ever find fitting words for or about, and that is especially true in respect to the director's intensions. But I am not a critic, and I did get lucky here and understand Mr. T's intensions. Bigelow's intensions may come from trained conceptual art schooling, but Mr. T's are, I am sure, much more potent. It's simple. No critique will have the balls to state it, but Mr. T is so successfully black enough that he does the blackest thing I know that strong black men consistently do to each other: he presents a challenge with wicked humor. With this movie, he challenges people of African decent to stop fighting each other for sport--for entertainment. He challenges everyone not to be entertained by torture but by real intelligence and strength. And just in case you have your doubts (hopefully no one is reading this anyway) I will draw your imaginary attention to a scene so subtly art historical that my draw dropped. It was not by accident because Mr. T had already well established the German Romanticism aspect of the story and film. Dj's love interest is named "Broomhilda," and a German character tells the story of her romance. So I was impressed when Mr. T shot the dream scene between them ripping off a German Romantic named Freiderick or something. Icy and foggy and white just like his landscape paintings.
But the real genius in the movie goes beyond any critique or anything else even CK could think about it. Again, the humor trumps critique. That's what Schindler's List didn't have at all. Plus, the "torturifc" scenes that CK warned me about made me go personal. I won't use my personal torture story the way other folks besides CK on this blog use personal stories (to justify or condemn on a supposedly connected big issue) but I will go personal. When Dj is going to have his "nuts snipped" with a hot knife I couldn't help but go back to a surgery that was performed on me called a "testicular biopsy." Torturific. It was especially torturific because I was awake. The surgeon was exploring that it was that big a deal, but maybe someone will read this. So, I will downgrade to the minor torture that took place during the movie. An overweight old white guy burping throughout the movie. Bad. Not as bad though as when I had my ear pierced in the most tender spot on the ear. Why would I do that? Because I wanted to prove something. The doctor who cut my nuts open had gotten me to do the surgery (which resulted in no new info) by telling me that it would be like an ear piercing. So I later did the most painful ear-piercing you can do just to prove a stupid point only to myself. Didn't change anything. Didn't change that right before the doctor snipped my nuts open (even though he had given me a local) had said, "You can scream all you want, just don't reach down here." And imagine what it would have felt like without the local. I couldn't walk for 4 days. He said I'd be fine in one. That was a long time ago but I still think about going back to LA and finding that doctor, especially since I have learned that testicular biopsies are never done with just a local. But he's probably dead. Anyway, seriously, I am teasing CK with all this. It's all true but it's meant to make things so twisted that CK can't enjoy the fact that I went to a snuff movie and enjoyed it. Mr. T got me. He probably knows he has to get it while the getting's good because as great as this movie is, it won't hold a candle to the movies people of African decent will make some day soon. Mr. T made a hugely challenging movie but he is like Pat Boone. He also did the right thing and pointed out that the ability to really love the way Dj does in the movie is the real reason African slaves may have appeared "submissive," but he's still just Pat Boone and I bet he knows it. Otherwise he couldn't be so funny (like the house n played by Samual Jackson) as ge rips off the genius floating off of black culture to do things that entertain us now, but someday, in a time that people look back and see even Spike Lee as a I can't say that..horrible and unfair...there will be real movies made because the humor will be filled with real love, not just the Pat Boone kind.


I do remember. I also remember how well it went over at the high-holiday family table when I told Sid that I didn't think the holocaust was fit subject matter for entertainment. My ex-mother-in-law gave the book Schindler's List to Sid's wife and she gave it to SS and the rest is history--at least Hollywood's version.
I meant to beat you to the punch with the "every movie is a snuff movie" point but my ADD tripped me up.
The thing that had me shaking my head most about Jurassic Park was the scene with the grandfather eating ice cream as his grandchildren were somewhere being eaten by the Nazis. SS had and has a major father-complex and since he has no sense of it at all, there's all these super creepy father moments in his movies where the emotional intent behind the scene is more obscure than Bigelow's in 0D30. Really, I just wanted to write 0D30 myself.


The problem with making political statements--even supposedly non-political non-statement statements-- with movies is that the voyeur aspect can turn even the biggest turn off into at minimum an accidental turn on. Trainspotting had ex-heroine addicts running back to their needles despite the toilet bowl scenes. Schindler's List had to work as entertainment (and was being finished at the same time SS was making The Flinestones) and that is a grotesquery in and of itself. So if the movie shows a whole lot of torture, it may not matter what the director thinks she's doing. It's still a torture movie, which is to say it's a snuff movie. So if a potential viewer like me doesn't want to support snuff movies then I can't buy a ticket.

On “Prophet of the Nones (disbelief in disbelief 3)

When I owned a very large yoga studio, I hung up this big picture of Ma with this glowing halo effect added in to make it obvious that she was a saint. What I didn't realize was that people thought Ma looked so much like my wife that they thought the picture was Laura with a halo. I was always amazed that people who thought I had put up a saint picture of my own wife on the alter wall would ever come back to the studio. I know I wouldn't have if I was them. Silly yogels.

On “Dying Declarations (disbelief in disbelief 2)

I read it in a hippie book that's probably out of print, but I'll show it to you some day. She's very famous and all so I bet you can find another source given your research capabilities. Of course, with me, I probably spelled her name differently than everyone else. And that's part of my new belief system: I don't misspell words or names, I just spell them differently.


Yes, that's exactly right. My first teachers (ex-total-hippies who unwittingly found patriarchically conservative teachers in India to replace their conservative fathers) used to tell us to "get this yoga while the getting is good" because anything that feels this good will be illegal soon. And yes, you're right about the religious points as well, and the evolution is so perfectly suited to Colinized perspectives because what they thing will happen from it ends up being reversed.
The greatest of all Nones, Anandamayama, used to ask people who asked her what her religion was "What religion do you want me to be?" And she would be that.


It also just hit me that your ideas on belief here are relatable to the evolution of yoga. You may have even been unconsciously influenced by what we wrote together in WIHY. Yoga started out connected to something almost no one recognized as a unification interest: The Absolute. Obviously, if almost no one recognizes The Absolute (Om), then almost no one believes in it. The Rishis (first yogis--the seers), then, were like the reverse of the "Nones," and being the reverse they were something of the same. But yoga evolved in the opposite way that you describe the rest of humanity evolving because it evolved from the Nones to the Everyones. There were a increasing number of yogis after the Rishis because the unification interests of yoga were increasingly believable, or increasingly accessible in relation to belief. So after The Absolute form of yogic belief, more people believed in God (the bhakti yoga unification interest), then more people believed in Knowledge (the jnana yoga unification interest, then almost everyone could believe in Presence (the karma yoga unification interest), and now everyone believes in Energy (the hatha yoga unification interest).

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