A rat's asshole, or how to know you've been sold something for nothing
Tomorrow is the first day of December, otherwise known as Avatar Month, and in the face of Cameron’s grand reinvention of the cinema, I am aware of two things:
1. I can’t wait to see this movie,
2. I don’t want to see it in 3-D.
This runs against the intention. The film was designed for 3-D: the 3-D is the “reinvention.” I recently saw the first two Toy Story films in 3-D, however, and I observed two things:
3. 3-D (in this case, RealD) has overcome the colour distortion and visual shimmer that has plagued 3-D through all of its various incarnations over the past century,
4. And therefore, 3-D is now useless.
As anyone with any functional understanding of cinema is already aware, a “2-D” cinematic image already delivers the perception of three dimensions to the human brain.
A “3-D” stereoscopic image actively works against this perception by separating the focal plane into a series of flat cutouts which are perceived to exist at varying distances between the viewer and the film plane. When done inefffectively, this presents a worse experience of dimensionality than traditional “2-D.”
In the Toy Story example, the “3-D-ness” of the image became irrelevant quickly. Without any of the image loss traditionally associated with 3-D, there was no noticeable difference between the 3-D experience and the “2-D” experience.
Large corporations exist to invent demand. The blue ocean strategy literally involves making a customer want something they never needed, and selling it to them at a premium. An IMAX 3-D Avatar ticket will cost an average of 50% more than a regular movie ticket. Something for nothing: a cinematic experience you never needed, sold to you at a premium.
This, incidentally, is the fulcrum of the consumerist machine that is bringing an end to our (current) civilization, but more on that later.
This morning one of my colleagues asked me to describe (in email) what 2001: A Space Odyssey is about. I couldn’t do that nor could I answer “no,” so I put the question to the social network. Here is the consensus:
Erin B.: The dangers of relying too heavily on technology?
Richard B.: I’d say it’s about the dangerous potential of new technology. Once you’ve reached a pinnacle, what happens to get you to the next one…something to that effect. That’s a hard one to put to words.
Matthew F.: Wikipedia has a good description summing up the film: "The film deals with thematic elements of human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life, and is notable for its scientific realism, pioneering special effects, ambiguous and often surreal imagery, sound in place of traditional narrative techniques, and minimal use of dialogue."
Mellissa L.: it is a Kubrick film. It defies synopsis.
Unsurprisingly, the best response comes from my friend and podcasting partner Matthew Price:
2001 is about the past and future of giant leaps forward in the evolution of humanity. And whether those would need to be caused by something greater than ourselves.
Don't trust slim hardcover books in white jackets.
I’ve read two faintly terrible books in the last 2 days, both of which were slender tomes published under white dust covers and likely written in about six minutes.
Ignore Everybody was a loaner from a friend, a series of artmaking tips. There were perhaps 2 good distinctions buried under the poor writing and thin veil of misogyny. These had to do with “sex and cash” - having the thing in your life that you love doing (“the sex”), and the thing in your life that you can count on for money (“the cash”), and balancing between the two rather than depending on either individually. Not a new idea, but well restated.
What the CEO Wants You To Know was a gift from the leadership program I’m currently enrolled in, and was as unintentionally incisive a look at why the capitalist economy will bring about the end of the world as I’ve ever read. Think of our economy like a perpetual motion machine: the entire capitalist mainframe is built on “growth.” Growth is unsustainable as an engine for income, because nothing - absolutely nothing in all creation - grows forever. The book in question has no understanding of this, of course, and so continues the long march into oblivion in which we are all, unfortunately, taking part.
One should choose wisely in selecting “the cash,” then.
I am returned from Germany, and have answered “how was Germany” enough times in the past week to have boiled the multi-paragraph response down to a single sound byte:
"It was good."
I have lost the preceding week to continued illness, computer failure, and general listlessness, and am concerned that if I don’t Get It Together soon, I may have to retreat to the continent and make a new life there, where the living is easy and the pretzels are mit salt.
and Avatar, which finally looks like what I wanted all along: vintage, tub-thumping Iron Jim boycandy.
These are all big-screen experiences and don’t quite compare on embedded internet video. Based on the eye rolls from my companion, I presume the coming months at the movies are gonna be great for the guys, possibly less so for girls.
I continue to find Megan Fox fascinating for all the wrong reasons. (The right reasons for a man to be fascinated by Fox are, in order, her Empire Magazine cover, that 2 minute makeout scene in Jennifer’s Body, and that shot of her leaning over the hood of the car in Transformers 1.)
It can’t figure out - nor can we, nor can I - whether Fox is a product, a victim, an icon, or a moron. I can’t get over the degree to which everything she says and does, however, somewhat exposes the lie at the heart of America’s relationship with women. Consciously or no, Megan Fox is becoming an artifact.