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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:49 pm 
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This passage from review Jf Martel tweeted me today, confirms Vachaud's reading

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[In EWS Grace is] also grooming her daughter Helena (named after the most beautiful woman in history) to become a high-ticket item like herself. During the montage of their day at home, we see Helena alongside her mother in almost every shot, holding the brush while her mother gathers her hair into a ponytail, brushing her teeth at the mirror, learning to groom herself. When we overhear her doing word problems with her mother, she's learning how to calculate which boy has more money than the other. We hear her reading a bedtime story aloud, reciting the line, "...before me when I jump into my bed." In this film, a line about "jumping into bed" can't be innocent. Her mother silently mouths it along with her, echoing and coaching her. At Bill's office, we see a photo of Helena in a purple dress, like the one worn by the girl her father paid for sex the night before.

http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0096.html

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:49 pm 
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[Slightly edited letter response.]

Ok, I have found time to read 'Confessions of a Sick Mind: Stanley Kubrik's Atrocity Exhibition'. And it is making me smile. And laugh. And, as it came to pass, think. I reacted to your paper as I was reading, responding to it without having read the whole thing first.
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Even so, we continue to think and act as if we could; so how can I reconcile myself to living in a world in which Eyes Wide Shut is talked about, by seemingly intelligent, sane people, as “Stanley Kubrick’s Last Masterpiece”? How?
This is no small dilemma. This is the crux of the existential nightmare I am living in.
Yes. Nightmare indeed. And conundrum all rolled into one. LOL! I have pretty much the same reaction to the praises heaped on the singing of Ethel Merman. Now, with Merman, I have rationalized that that 'honest' praise was a side effect or unexpected outcome of a kind of joke. My speculation is that in the beginning her praises began as a kind of practical joke in that the critics pretended that she could sing, because obviously! her singing was so bad that everyone would have known it was a joke. But the real joke is that everyone was afraid to look stupid by being honest, and in time (probably a quite short time) the orthodoxy becomes OMG! Isn't Ethel an amazing singer? And then everyone looks around at their peers for affirmation and confirmation of their state of mind. And so everyone by the same process nods their awe and so (we?) are deluded. This reminds me of the PoW who figured that the way to escape the PoW camp Colditz was to feign insanity. By the time he had convinced the guards he was insane he had in fact become insane. And I go back to Shakespeare's opening and closing of The Taming of the Shrew, in which the drunk may or may not know, by his mind, which reality he lived was real.

How well this argument applies to Kubrick, I do not know. Was Clockwork his first film? (That is how ignorant I am!) But didn't it provoke the ire of the social guardians, whom I'll call the 'social orthodoxy'? And that reaction in turn created a knee jerk reaction from those tilting at that orthodoxy, what I will call the 'intellectualized artistic orthodoxy'. My argument is that since it is hated by those who stand above us, then it must be inherently not just good art, but great art. And then once the art is great, regardless how horrible. Is it horrible? I've never watched it, except a bit here and there, and I found it uninteresting and unwatchable because it was boring, not for any 'message' it may or may not have conveyed. But I get bored, every time, by almost all forms of horror or ghost stories. Sorry. I digressed. So, once this horrible work was elevated to great art because it shook the orthodoxy, then each subsequent film by this 'artist' had to be likewise art because they were horrible too but now no one could admit to their being monstrous. But by now, not just because of the orthodoxy, but because once the monstrous has become beautiful there is no way for a mind limited by rational thinking to be able to distinguish meaningfully between degrees of badness. One's natural instinct has been overturned, and so the mind, that easily tricked thing, is forced to make a distinction that bypasses the truth of the heart. And so crap becomes art.

Before I go back to your paper, I am reminded of the elevation of John Dryden, in his time, to being a great writer. Have you read his highly praised dreck, All For Love? (Doesn't that sound like a title that could be found on our TV dial?) It was so bad that I began to write a term paper in rhyming couplets satirizing and mocking his writing. The professor refused to accept it because it was too unorthodox!

Now to go back and continue reading. brb.

Back;
Quote:
Why serious-minded researchers like Kentroversy and Adam Gorightly take the movie seriously at that level can only be explained by one fact: it is made by Kubrick, and Kubrick must have known something, because, after all, he was Kubrick.
LOL! Yes. That's it. I know it sounds simplistic, but I think that that is the essential point. Once the praise is begun, it is hard to stop. Take a look at Bill Cosby's recent fall from grace. And it is not implausible. The fairy tale of the naked emperor was based on real life, after all!

But what if the premise, he was trying to communicate something, is itself wrong? Which I think it is, as I think about it. What if he was just bored and the only thing he was able to think of doing was to get a bunch of sycophants together that he would be able to boss around and get to strip naked at his bidding, like a king-voyeur, who could then go and jerk off after a scene was shot? What if what tied his hands was that his exploration of the abuse of power in Clockwork had become with EWS his own abuse of the power given to him because he lacked the centre (soul?) that was capable of using that power to create anything but masturbation? What if the purpose of the film was not communication, but masturbation! OMG! I think that that explains a lot. Hmmm. Now I might have to try watching it again to see if that premise fits. Shit! The last thing I want to do is watch EWS to see if it is just an obsessive compulsive's masturbatory fantasy. Sigh.

[Sorry. Your paper is getting me thinking about this, even as I am in awe of you having seen it four time! I bow to your ability and endurance, because my three or four attempted viewings have all been wasted dimes.]

LOL! I called him a 'king' before reading you making the same claim. I would agree that he was both king and pawn, but that would be to his own unintegrated self.
Quote:
The movie is like a dream but in the worst possible sense: incoherent, rambling, banal, utterly implausible, and faintly embarrassing once it is over—something we don’t want to talk about and would rather forget.
Yes, but substitute 'masturbatory fantasy' for 'dream' and you have better fit for the unfocused incoherence of it. And your description here has the clear feeling of an unwilling initiate into a fraternity's endorsed rape or orgy. Ostensibly a necessary something that needed to be done and then best forgotten.
Quote:
Perhaps this is Stanley Kubrick’s final triumph, the old devil’s last laugh, and he has proven that art is more important than life; or rather, that to believe that art is more important than life is to be incapable of living—or of making art.
I think you are giving too much credit here, in giving Kubrick the rubric 'artist' in the same way that the person who put dead rats and garbage piles on display can be oohed as an artist. Yes organized rats and garbage in a display may well 'say' something about our society. But the creation itself says a lot about the person who, out of the infinity of possible ways of humanly expressing human creativity, has chosen to sexualize banality without being able to elevate sexuality beyond turgid banality.

Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed your argument a lot, and it got me thinking. And into me making all sorts of bold assertions, without having watched, ever, even one Kubrick film in it's entirety*. So, there you go, the blind leading the blind, in a world where the illusion of being hoodwinked by Kubrick can be seen as self-discovery of the meaninglessness of consciousness. LOL!


Addendum:
*I became aware that Strangelove was a Kubrick film after I wrote that. (Okay, I had known that once, but forgot.) Anyway, there is a funny link between my argument about EWS and Strangelove. The third world war began because of a perception by a senior officer that sex was a communist conspiracy. I am now arguing that EWS was a ruse used by Kubrick to jerk off! This makes me laugh.

**And I wasn't aware that there was a murdered female as part of the subtext in the movie, because, of course, I haven't had the stomach to watch the entire film. Oddly enough, that aspect may align with my observation about the initiate's ritual orgy (killing?) into an elite group (fraternity or whatever). Curious. And now further motive to watch that movie. I will struggle to resist that. Well, maybe not struggle, as my body has begun rejecting watching TV and movies. Simply can't do it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:02 am 
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Guy wrote:
'Confessions of a Sick Mind: Stanley Kubrik's Atrocity Exhibition'.

Most people active at the forum have read this, tho it's not online anywhere; if you haven't and want to see a pdf PM me or email me and I will consider it. o*o

Guy wrote:
But didn't it provoke the ire of the social guardians, whom I'll call the 'social orthodoxy', which in turn created a knee jerk reaction from those tilting at that orthodoxy, the so-called artistic orthodoxy? The argument is that since it is hated by those who stand above us, then it must be inherently not just good art, but great art.

This is a very tangly argument. One of the social orthodoxy whose ire it provoked, or at least an imitation of ire, was the notorious pedophile necrophiliac predator and procurer Jimmy Savile, who publicly took (book’s author) Anthony Burgess to task when the film was released (because Kubrick didn’t do any publicity, for this or any other film).

To step back from the tangle a bit, it’s a dilemma for me, who have always prided myself on “aiming above morality” (in the words of Ruth Gordon/Harold and Maude), to find that one of my objections to Orange, and to Kubrick in general, could easily be taken for a moral one. Bleh. We become that which we most abhor.

Just so you know, the discussion as to what makes art and whether Kubrick’s films qualify is a bit of a red herring so far as the purpose of this site. The purpose of this site was, is, to explore the possibility that Kubrick's films are not art but something else, some sort of social experiment which depends on creating the consensus that they are art.

I explored the idea that 2001 was propaganda over at the other thread, but even that wasn’t getting all the way to the meat n’ marrow of it.

Guy wrote:
But by now, not just because of the orthodoxy, but because once the monstrous has become beautiful there is no way for a mind limited by rational thinking to be able to distinguish meaningfully between degrees of badness. One's natural instinct has been overturned, and so the mind, that easily tricked thing, is forced to make a distinction that bypasses the truth of the heart. And so crap becomes art.

For me EWS is definitely crap that has been turned into art. And one can see a concerted effort on the part of the intelligentsia to do so, writing elaborate analyses of the film which could easily be mistaken for apologias.

If a movie needs to be explained (decoded) to be appreciated, then what? The Kubrick-advocates will say this is because a) people’s expectations prevented them from understanding what Kubrick was actually doing; b) Kubrick's “art” (like James Joyce’s) is far ahead of most people’s ability to appreciate, so we/they need these self-appointed interpreters (including other filmmakers, Lynch loved the movie) to champion it and raise it up to the status it deserves.

I have done something similar with movies that I felt were misunderstood and unfairly dismissed (The Counselor, most recently). But although some of these elaborate readings/apologias for EWS make the film seem more interesting as an artifact, they so far have not allowed me to see it through new eyes. They do not cause me to feel like I have misread the film or failed to understand it, only to recognize how far the finished film is from what Kubrick was, or may have been, attempting to do with it. These revisionists, it seems to me, want us to recognize the film based on Kubrick’s intentions, not on what he actually achieved.

Guy wrote:
The fairy tale of the naked emperor was based on real life, after all!

It was?

Guy wrote:
What if he was just bored and the only thing he was able to think of doing was to get a bunch of sycophants together that he would be able to boss around and get to strip naked at his bidding, like a king-voyeur, who could then go and jerk off after a scene was shot?

I've considered it but as I said somewhere already, it seems unlikely Kubrick would not have other, more umm, plentiful ways of getting his jollies ~ such as the sort of parties shown in the movie.

Guy wrote:
What if what tied his hands was that his exploration of the abuse of power in Clockwork had become with EWS his own abuse of the power given to him because he lacked the centre (soul?) that was capable of using that power to create anything but masturbation?

There may be something in this

Guy wrote:
Now I might have to try watching it again to see if that premise fits. Shit! The last thing I want to do is watch EWS to see if it is just an obsessive compulsive's masturbatory fantasy. Sigh.

So now you are beginning to glimpse the terrible truth of the Kubrickon! ?+&G The very “badness” of some of these films calls us back to them; they cast a spell. Cognitive dissonance, a desire to fathom a mystery. The brain has a hard time forgetting about an experience which it cannot categorize.

Guy wrote:
And your description here has the clear feeling of an unwilling initiate into a fraternity's endorsed rape or orgy. Something done and best forgotten.

That’s a very striking analogy.

Guy wrote:
I think you are giving too much credit here

Trying to be balanced

Guy wrote:
in giving Kubrick the rubric 'artist' in the same way that the person who put dead rats and garbage piles on display can be oohed as an artist.

Not sure it’s comparable; whatever else you can say about Kubrick’s films, and however grotesque they may be, he put an insane amount of sheer effort and attention into them, to the point of torturing his actors and crew. It's not quite like collecting some dead rats and garbage.

Guy wrote:
has chosen to sexualize banality without being able to elevate sexuality beyond turgid banality.

The defenders say this is one of the points Kubrick was trying to make. And I think it is true to the extent that he wasn't trying to make an erotic film.

One thing I was hoping to explore at this thread (but that will require research) is the idea (LuHo suggested it some time ago) that for Kubrick the making of the film (or films in general) was a kind of power struggle, maybe not only in the psychological sense (having control over A-list movie stars, etc.), but in a real, social, political sense. For example, as long as he was making the film, in control of what got filmed, he would have some bargaining power with other agencies, such as Scientology who had taken possession of his daughter.

Maybe this is partly why the filming went on so long (longest shooting schedule in history), because Kubrick wasn’t willing to give up that bargaining power, that “reality control.”

Maybe he also knew, at some level, he would “die” once it was finished?

Guy wrote:
my body has begun rejecting watching TV and movies. Simply can't do it.

:shock:

I don't know whether to feel sorry for you or envy you. =+*@

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:19 am 
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Wow! Quick and fascinating response. I'll consider and comment later. :-)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:52 pm 
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Guy wrote:
[Slightly edited letter response.]
Quote:
This is no small dilemma. This is the crux of the existential nightmare I am living in.
Yes. Nightmare indeed. And conundrum all rolled into one. LOL! I have pretty much the same reaction to the praises heaped on the singing of Ethel Merman. Now, with Merman, I have rationalized that that 'honest' praise was a side effect or unexpected outcome of a kind of joke. My speculation is that in the beginning her praises began as a kind of practical joke in that the critics pretended that she could sing, because obviously! her singing was so bad that everyone would have known it was a joke. But the real joke is that everyone was afraid to look stupid by being honest, and in time (probably a quite short time) the orthodoxy becomes OMG! Isn't Ethel an amazing singer? And then everyone looks around at their peers for affirmation and confirmation of their state of mind. And so everyone by the same process nods their awe and so (we?) are deluded.

I think Ethel Merman sings fine.. I checked it out to see what you were talking about.



She may have started before the Microphone so her "belting out" the tune was considered a "feat?"


Last edited by liberty on Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:31 pm 
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!~>>

_-+?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:41 am 
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In reading through about a third of this discussion I began feeling that all of the participants may benefit greatly by learning and using English Prime.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:34 pm 
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NKB wrote:
In reading through about a third of this discussion I began feeling that all of the participants may benefit greatly by learning and using English Prime.


hmm maybe that would help; I'll try


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:37 pm 
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NKB wrote:
In reading through about a third of this discussion I began feeling that all of the participants may benefit greatly by learning and using English Prime.

"Learning" ~ takes all of 2 minutes.

Using is another matter; Good idea though.

Quote:
For example, the sentence "the film was good" could not be expressed under the rules of E-Prime, and the speaker might instead say "I liked the film" or "the film made me laugh".

:winggleman:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:51 am 
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throwing good, great, genius... out the window makes a lot of sense


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