Wednesday, December 5, 2018

from "'Clueless' Was Amy Heckerling's Masterpiece: Is She Done With It? As If" by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

"The positivity and shine of a Cher was such anathema to her [Heckerling]. She’d been miserable in school. She’s a pessimist, she said, 'the opposite' of Cher. She wanted some relief; she wanted to spend time occupying the head space of an optimist who thought everything might work out, who wasn’t plagued with self-doubt, who seemed confident and self-assured. She thought maybe if she spent time with that kind of character, it would take — like an organ transplant or something."  --Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Friday, November 30, 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

From "Onscreen, Women Are Giving the Patriarchy the Pink Slip" by Candice Frederick

"These characters tackle systems of oppression in their own homes, at work and on the streets, and underscore how fundamentally capable and deserving they are without men setting the terms. They’re moving outside the limits put in place by patriarchs, and occupying spaces from which they’ve been dismissed. As a result, they’re taking back what has always been rightfully theirs: the voices that were stripped from them and the power they’ve now clenched. It’s about time."  --Candice Frederick

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Generation Wealth, Consumerism, and the Decline of Civilization

Lauren Greenfield's Generation Wealth compiles all of the director/writer/photographer's work of the past 20 years into one extended meditation on the evil effects of our consumerist/materialist culture, and I found the movie compelling when I wasn't pleasantly bothered by its bleak implications.

Greenfield likes to explore the story arcs of the lives of rappers, moguls, porn stars, Wall Street broker types, plastic surgery enthusiasts, and high level Las Vegas hostesses when she doesn't return to her roots in the Los Angeles culture that produced The Bling Ring and Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero. Bret himself shows up to ask "At what price" do we worship at the feet of the goddess of financial success and conspicuous consumption?  Greenfield also likes to examine the ruinous landscapes of defunct luxury hotels in Dubai, abandoned malls, and obscenely large mansions now gone to seed after the economic downturn of 2007. She doesn't spare herself in her examinations either, since her sons like to point out that she tends to overwork at their expense. Later in the documentary, Greenfield slightly over-emphasizes the importance of family and parenting as a way to get away from self-destructive greed and our willingness to exploit ourselves as consumer objects, which leads to some sentimental scenes. Otherwise, the movie depicts a culture in decline quite convincingly. Here's my favorite quote:

"At the end of a decayed culture, we retreat into our own comforting illusions. We build walls to help with the reality around us. People have a hard time separating reality from entertainment, because there is a line. It's a thick line. Corporate capitalism pushes people in this constant search for the next adrenaline rush. People seek that momentary ecstasy to escape from a darker and darker reality. The population is diverted . . . We are dying in the same way that other empires have died throughout history. The difference is that this time, when we go down, the whole planet is going to go with us."

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

from "Tech C.E.O.s Are in Love With Their Principal Doomsayer" by Nellie Bowles

“If humans are hackable animals, and if our choices and opinions don’t reflect our free will, what should the point of politics be?” he wrote. “How do you live when you realize … that your heart might be a government agent, that your amygdala might be working for Putin, and that the next thought that emerges in your mind might well be the result of some algorithm that knows you better than you know yourself? These are the most interesting questions humanity now faces.” --Yuval Noah Harari