Monday, June 30, 2014

Coraline (2009) Othering, and Narcissism

Caroline is a girl who is unhappy with her parents. They aren't paying attention to her. Looking out from her beady eyes, Caroline sees a world populated by adults lost in the projects who push off play time into the future. Impatient Caroline wishes for more caring parents that give into her narcissistic only child dreams. Caroline wants to be the center of everyone's universe, and cannot feel normal without the constant self-affirming gaze that verifies her importance. Coraline finds a door which opens to a brick wall. Her mother reason's that the wall was build when the building was split into three apartments. But as Caroline notices this does not sufficiently explain the wall. “Why is the door small then?” Or, why would they build a wall to separate apartments when the apartments were separated vertically rather than horizontally. What's with the door and what is the its purpose? Is a justified question due to illogical architecture.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Interrogating: F-you (Sex Addiction.. It's Not What You Think)

F-you (sex addiction... it's not what you think) is a pretty provocative title for a book about sex addiction (the title might not have been the best choice), you'd think the author would have went for something with more empathy and less punch. Nonetheless, I went into this book with just the information on the cover and my interest to learn more about sex addiction. One of the key incites into what this book is about is located on the copyright page where it is stated that the book is a work of fiction, but there are no lies in it. Had I not noticed this line I may not have been keyed into fictional basis for the following 40 vignettes. 

F-you begins with a brief introduction about the concept of sex addiction then jumps into a series of 40 vignettes. Each vignette is titled with a male or female name which and followed by the statement, “Hello, my name is X and I am a sex addict.” Jumping from the first person perspective to the story is told about a fictional character's struggle with one or another variety of sex addition. The journey that Nick Saint Clair takes us on deeply covers a vast gauntlet of human tragedy and sexual compulsion. The vignettes are written well and step outside the cardboard cutout characters that were part of many of the endless stream of vignettes that were part of my education. Clair also handles several difficult topics by providing clear incite into the internal struggles and psychology of sex addiction.

Interrogating: dr.a.g.

I'm not gonna lie. I am not entirely sure how to write a book review of a book that is mostly pictures. Lets see how this goes. dr.ag is a coffee table style book that includes a several pictures of dudes dressed in drag. Maybe, I'm a little out of tune to the lingo, but the first thing I learned is that dr.a.g. is an acronym for Dressed As Girl. (I know, Duh...)

The book begins with a brief explanation of the concept of Drag, and then jumps right into a set of photos organized by model. Some model segments in the book begin with small bios of the model. Others have no introduction other than their name. I would have found it helpful if there was written substance to the book. Ditching explanations and jumping right into photos assumes that the reader is in the know. Although, I believe that the intended goal (provide a book with photos of people dressed in drag) was clearly reached. Nonetheless, after flipping through he book I don't feel that I was left with any lasting impressions. Yes, these dudes are shining examples of drag, but credit goes to the models not this text for collecting the images and binding them together. One of the problems that this might be calling our attention to is that drag is a primarily a performance art, and what gets lost in images of those in drag is a whole spectrum of body language, voice and the spectacle of the stage.

Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, Tofu All Up In The Face and Organizing For Vengeance

What is vengeance? Reparation or ego? When a wrong is committed and individual is harmed most bring their problems to the legal system in order to seek reimbursement and/or justice. The court’s ruling is enough for the average person. After the hammer falls justice is hashed out. The parties involved may feel slighted, yet they shake hands and go about their lives. What kind of crimes or slights against the social contract opens up the field for DIY justice? Vengeance in this sense is akin to the justice one may receive through the courts, but is rooted in the righteous declaration that the individual righteousness to judge and deal out justice. What gives an individual the right to create justice?

Let’s take a step back and saw off a different chunk. What justifies the authority of a judge in a courtroom? While the judge’s seat might provide her the highest point from which to look into the courtroom, there is nothing intrinsic about this perspective that authenticates that a judge’s justice is closer to the truth than anyone else. At base is a series of documents that support and discipline a system in which defined what is and is not just I.E. Laws. What about these laws give them the right to dictate justice? Laws come out of the need in a community or group of people to establish social contracts that regulate order. The order laws create and discipline comes out of the written desires (policies) which are brought to the community of voters to be signed into the law. The ratification of a law gives enforcers of a law the jurisdiction and rights to enforce a community's desires.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grotesque (2009) And Supposing Truth Was A Man In Love - What then?

Philosophers have struggled with love. Nietzsche ominously began Beyond Good and Evil with the line, "Supposing truth is a woman - what then?" In what follows Nietzsche describes the flaying attempts of previous philosophers to seduce truth. What then must woman be if she is something to be seduced? A center of mystery devoid of easily rationality? The presupposition involved in the seduce-ability of femininity and/or truth lies in the idea that there is a hard kernel of truth to be discovered like a toy in a cereal box. Nietzsche grievance here is with the dogmatism involved in assuming the existence of transcendental truths creates a style of philosophizing that bars assess to idea that behind truth and/or femininity that only a dark void filled out with our own fictionalizations exists.

Grotesque is a film that captures this void where truths are created in order to avoid the unbearable idea that behind the surface of meaning there is no guarantee. We are introduced to Kazuo and Aki as they are leaving their first date and being stalked by a man in a white van. The man approached the couple, knocks them unconscious and takes them to his torture chamber, where he ties Kazuo and Aki to separate horizontal slabs. The man describes to the couple that he gets his kicks when people show their desire to survive, and that if he is sufficiently pleased with their effort he will let them go.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Chainsaw Exorcism With C. Che Bhalin and Professor B.T. Meinoré Authors Of Zombie Killing Stoners Episode 1: Rescuing the Samoan Princess

Tell me about yourself and your writing?

I am a 47 year old pilates teacher and my co-author husband is a 59-year-old former chef from a military family. We both love zombie fiction and we both love NYC. He reads more current independent zombie fiction then I do, so he typically starts the story, and then I edit and embellish. We write under pseudonyms because we want our zombie fiction lives separate from the rest.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Interrogating: How I Stopped Being A Jew by Shlomo Sand

I'm not gonna lie. I'm a sucker for a provocative title. When I saw the cover I asked a pretty obvious question; how does one stop being a Jew?  What does it mean to be a Jew? What is the relationship between Jewishness and Israel? How does patriotism shape national subjectivies? What does the contested over Palestinian land have to say about Jewishness? Is the holocaust being used to justify crimes? What is Zionism and what does it mean for the Palestinian? In How I stopped being a Jew, Shlomo Sand seeks to take us on a journey through his personal exudes from Judaism.

I have only begun studying the history of the relationship between Israel and Palestine, and found myself periodically unable to access the quality of the information in this text. The difficulty for me reading this book is two-fold; I don't know enough information about the history of Israel and Palestine to know how serious I should be taking Sand's accounts, and narrative of the text lacked references to support his claims. In order to read this text one has to assume that because Sand is a professional historian and was a resident on both sides of the wall, that the information he is providing is accurate. Personally, I need a more thoroughly historical account which supports historical claims with sources.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Philosophizing The Walking Dead S3E2 Sick, Totalitarianism, and Deserving Survivors

Welcome to our journey into the guts of The Walking Dead. What kind of journey? A philosophical, psychoanalytical and political kind. What I would like to do over the next couple months is dig thought the Walking Dead episode by episode to see what it can teach us. Thank you for following me on this journey. I look forward to reading your comments. Be forewarned: There are spoilers everywhere. Don’t forget to check out my previous article in the Philosophizing TWD series: Philosophizing The Walking Dead S3E1 Seed, Keeping Up Appearances of Dignity and Bad Faith

Early social workers were mostly church ladies who desired to help the poor and downtrodden. It's important to remember that these were not radically altruistic values that sought to alleviate the suffering of all poor. One had to be poor and deserving of help. What does this mean to be deserving of help? A poor person needed to also be a Christian or potential Christian who was not a moral outlaw. Early social workers did not consider people with other religious preferences (and at times other Christian perspectives), non-whites, prostitutes, or mentally ill to be deserving of help. At bottom, the ideological layer beneath the service of the proposition that splits the poor into deserving and undeserving is the theological notion proposed in Galatians 3:23-29

Oldboy (2003), Rebels of Causality, and The Horror of Being-For-Others


What moves you? What gets in your gut and propels you into the world? Many have no great cause. The opening of Oldboy Reminds me of Rebel With Out A Cause, where after a display of public drunkenness Jim (James Dean) is brought into a police station and dumped in a chair where he mocking yells along with the siren of a police car. The first scene in Oldboy that keys us into the temperament of Dae-su (Min-sik Choi) is of a similar nature. Dae-su is drunk and sitting in a police station acting a fool. First arguing, with the police, then later attempting to urinate on a potted plant. Eventually, he is handcuffed to a bench and wedged between two more hardened looking felons. The framing of the scene contrasts Dae-su's childish antics against the sobering crimes and the criminals with grimaced faces that commit them. What is Dae-su cause?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chainsaw Exorcism With Miguel Muller Director Of The Navajo Horror Flick The Before Time

Could you tell me about yourself and The Before Time?

My name is Miguel Muller and I am originally from Brazil, I have been in Los Angeles for 5 years now. I came here to take classes at UCLA film school and while I was attending UCLA I shot a gothic horror short film called Yolanda, where I met Peter Paul Basler, with whom I started a production company called Supernova Films Inc. Our first feature film under the banner was a sci-fi creature feature called The Vortex, and it was directed by Peter Paul. The Before Time is our second film and the genre is found footage horror, and it is about two rival television crews that head into the desert to shoot a reality show based on a buried Navajo treasure, they end up discovering that truth is not only stranger than fiction; it’s more dangerous. Something wants to prevent them from digging deeper and from escaping the desert alive.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Confessions (2010) Corrupt Youth Corrupting Youth, and Children Are Killing The Future

I give two strains of advice to my friends who are parents dealing with unruly children. First, you are so much smarter than them you can trick them. As long as you keep focused on how stupid your kids are, the easier it is to out maneuver them, don't let those little idiots outsmart you! Second, (and this depends on what the kid is doing) I suggest their child might be developing a political persona. If your kid is playing with her food or throwing crayons at their teacher, then it’s important for a parent to realize their child's gift; anarchism! Confessions is a slick film about a teacher who has become fed up with her students after kids in her class kill her daughter.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance, Poverty, Anarchism, And Becoming What You Already Are


Characters in horror movies make a lot of choices. Many of those choices are stupid. In a horror movie, when confronted with running upstairs or running into the basement a not-so-final-girl may restructure her choices strictly to what she sees. Even if the masked man with the chainsaw is about to chop off her thighs for dinner, her perception of choice is restricted to her perception of opportunity. Fear may be part of the rationale behind limiting a character's choice between two bad options, but it is also a way for the director to show you that a character in a film isn't particularly creative. Nonetheless, the choices characters make in the context of their situation define who they are and sometimes who they already are in the face of their freedom.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Eye (2002), The Ontology of the Gaze, and Ghosts

We use our eyes to look. To gaze out into the world from our faces. The gaze correlates space between our body and the objects in the world. To gaze is always to gaze into the world at something. Objects call upon the vision to be distinguished from other objects. A chair sprouts up among other objects such as a table or a rug as something to seen to be used for sitting. As we set our gaze lowers downward and we gaze from the new reference point. As we mobilized our body through the world the position of our gaze shifts, and we gaze with movement. The image of the thing gazed at enters our face and becomes conceptualized in relation to its symbolic reality. The chair shifts from an ambiguous object and is assigned the properties of a chair. Something to sit on. A tool for sitting. Yet, if we took our chainsaw to the chair and buzzed it to pieces. The chair becomes symbolic and physically disintegrated, yet haunted by its previous meaning. The parts, chunks of wood and fabric, become individualized as we look down upon our destruction. There is a sense in which, being alongside a complete chair hides the meaning of the components of a chair.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Neighbor No. Thirteen (2005), Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bullying

There are only a few paths out of childhood trauma, and responses tend to fall along the fight or flight line. A child may shut down and shift away from others and close off emotionally or become suicidal. On the other hand, a child may fight back verbally or physically against traumatic causal agents. Bullying is complex and systemic. Bully's use everything in their means to control their target from stealing their lunch money to ongoing sexualized verbal abuse. Bullying is genderized, in that boys, usually, tend to bully boys and girls tend to bully girls. The way in which boys and girls bully across same sex lines different (I'm going to focus on boy to boy bullying, for girl to girl bullying go: Here.) Boy's primarily use shame and humiliation in order to affirm their status while lowering another. Status is a hierarchical social relationship that requires an audience. The audience is a set of bystanders who bear witness to the bullying event. For the target, these ads, add another level of humiliation to the bullying events. Boy's present a unique problem to the social body. Deeply embedded in the cultural status quo is normality of a boy’s aggression and anti-normality of a target's humiliation response. Society says tells boys to "suck it up" when they lose a fight or "walk it off" if they experience a sport's injury. The ideological message here a boy's masculinity is carved out of endurance of pain or trauma. Boys are supposed to experience pain silently.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Paprika (2006) Dream Psychosis, And Leaping Into Existentialism

I have lived most of my life without remembering the majority of my dreams. Although, I do not remember my dreams I know that I am telling stories to myself at night. From the evolutionary perspective dreams fulfill the function of keeping us asleep in order to recuperate or rather 'reset' before meeting a new day. Freud argued that our dreams are elaborate narratives where we seek to fulfill our wishes. Sometimes our wishes are fulfilled in a direct manner. So, for example, just before my alarm clock when off this morning I had a dream where I was walking upstairs to find a cabinet jam packed with cereal boxes. I have been out of cereal for about a week and materialized via dream a conscious wish. Or it can be like a dream I had about zombies over taking the ship I was in during the navy. Dreams use complex stories to displace meaning in order to hide from the dream that a dream has been fulfilled. In Paprika, a machine has been invented that lets you consciously access your dreams and record them in order to work through their meanings.

Chainsaw Exorcism With G. Wright MD And The Book on Killing Zombies: The Complete How-To Guide by a Medical Doctor

Could you tell me about yourself and The Book on Killing Zombies: The Complete How-To Guide by a Medical Doctor?

I’m a physician who typically lives in the Southwest when I’m not traveling to do locum tennens work. The book is a work that I put together over several months. I think like most anyone who … I have my moments of neurotic bursts of ideas

Why do you write?

Oddly enough, I write to relieve frustration. I learned a long time ago that I’m not a great writer of fiction, but I like to educate and instruct – especially in areas that involve science and facts. I can’t write a romance novel, but I could write a piece that can instruct a medical student how to do an endotracheal intubation or place a thoracotomy chest tube. That’s because I can’t develop fictional characters, but I can identify a problem, make an analysis, and give instruction on how to correct the problem. The bigger the problem, the more I seem to enjoy solving or correcting it.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Interrogating: Playing The Whore: The Work of Sex Work By Melissa Gira Grant

If you want to aim for justice and aim your political critiques towards the likable jobs and away from the less morally clear jobs you are acting like a social worker who a lots help to the deserving poor rather than the poor in a general sense. Melissa Grant's text Playing The Whore: The Work of Sex work seeks to suture the gap in leftist critique for the traditionally unmentionable; whores, prostitutes, strippers, and so on. By tackling the sex trade, Gran seeks to deconstruct the lines of oppression and ideological mystification.

Playing the whole is organized topically across several perspectives and professions and their relation to the sex trade. Grant begins promptly with police for and historical creation of the illegality of prostitution. Grant sufficiently presents an overview and appears to hit all the right stops. What was missing for me was the depth in the study of sex work. I would have liked to see a deeper look into each of the fields of study covered in the text. I can say that Grant has sufficiently sparked my interest in sex work studies, and I may be pursuing some of the references she mentioned in the Playing The Whore.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Battle Royale (2000), Game Show Deontology, Nihilistic Youth, and Hunger Games

In the future (but before Hunger Games) children are off the chain. So, the government passes a Battle Royale law that randomly chooses one classroom of kids to fight to the death on an abandoned island. And that is where the fun begins. The kids are grouped into a dilapidated classroom where their teacher breaks down the rules of the game. Each child is strapped with an explosive collar, and given a bag of goodies which includes survival gear and a random weapon; ranging from pots and pans to Uzis. And off they are let loose on the island until there is only one left.

Philosophizing The Walking Dead S3E1 Seed, Keeping Up Appearances of Dignity and Bad Faith

Welcome to our journey into the guts of The Walking Dead. What kind of journey? A philosophical, psychoanalytical and political kind. What I would like to do over the next couple months is dig thought the Walking Dead episode by episode to see what it can teach us. Thank you for following me on this journey. I look forward to reading your comments. Be forewarned: There are spoilers everywhere. Don’t forget to check out my previous article in the Philosophizing TWD series: Philosophizing The Walking Dead S2E13 Besides The Dying Fire or Why Are Daryl and Merle in the TV Show But Not The Comic?

Season 3 of The Walking Dead reintroduces us to the group of survivors who have been weathered by around nine months of scavenging. They have learned new tricks of the trade and have become more disciplined survivalists. Upon reaching a home, they quietly move through the building like a swat team using hand signals and face gestures until the area is clear. Then move to rifle through the home looking for goods. The Episode also introduces us to a rougher Carl, who finds a couple cans of dog food which he presents to the group as mid-afternoon snack. Disgusted, Rick takes the can and tosses it.mid-afternoon snack. Disgusted, Rick takes the can and tosses it.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Rinne (2005), Negative Reincarnation and Exorcism By Ghost

I had a strange thought while I was watching Rinne (aka Reincarnation). I wonder how The Exorcist impacted folks in Japan when it hit their borders. I forget the source, but I remember reading that when the first Christian missionaries arrived in Japan and began spreading the world, one of the first responses was, "Why did you take 2000 years to let us know?" These are pre-globalization problems. Now, that the capitalist lines of production have swarmed upon every major city in the world; information flows. Yet, it only works one way in America. We export rabid self-destructive individualism coated in Christianity out of the country, but what is imported get an American glazing first. I'm thinking about REC, which was not released on video until the remake (Quarantine) was out of theaters and on DVD. It's as if in order to prepare the American market for foreign goods, first we need to re-narrate foreign ideas.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Off The Shelf: For They Know Not What They Do, Razor-Wire Dogma, and The Interrogators

For They Know Not What They Do by Slavoj Zizek

Slavoj Zizek's books are difficult to summarize. They usually started in a specifically place, like analyzing political ideology for what people get out of it, then wander around stringing up elaborate comparison's to Hitchcock movies. What I find through re-reading this text, and other Zizek books, is that there is a string that collects the dots through the arguments that isn't explicitly laid out for the reader. For The Know Not What They Do, circled around one of the oldest philosophical arguments the relation between the subject and object. Zizek's method is to articulate the space between the two in order to render an ideological analysis of how the real impacts the political enjoyment that structures our understanding of the world. I'd suggest getting a newer copy of this text because a 50+ forward has been added that rocks.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chainsaw Exorcism With The Directors of All Cheerleaders Die

The cheerleading/facechewing flick All Cheerleaders Die hit VOD on demand earlier this month, and it is an explosion of fun. The film was like sharing a teenager's head space as they shot along a roller coaster during puberty. Exciting stuff! I had the opportunity to interview the directing duo Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson about unloading this truck full of zombified pom-poms to our doors. Check out My Analysis of All Cheerleaders Die: HERE.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Ring (2002), Psychotic Baby Dreams, And The Intersubjective

Where does knowledge begin, and how does it become rooted and foundation for perceiving reality. We are born as a sack of cells wrapped in a stranger’s womb. Cells divide. Bones, sinew, and skin seem to appear from nowhere. On the outside, we become labeled as that "it", a parasite growing in the gut of a stranger. Tossing off of the host’s hormonal and dietary balance. Destroying ability to participate in society, and acting as a new cause for sympathy. One of the questions I remember asking in my Into to Philosophy course regarding the rationalist vs. empiricist debate that plagued early philosophers was: Ok, so as far as this punk is concerned the stuff which makes up our dreams is rooted in our experiences, what do babies dream of?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Chainsaw Exorcism With Lee Markham and His Supernatural Novel The Knife

Tell me about yourself and your writing?

I’m basically your run-of-the-mill happily married Anglo-Irish reformed addict, with the bare rudiments of a classical education and too many children.

But to qualify that:

Born in Ireland to an Irish mum and English father. Raised in England. Always felt a greater affinity to the Irish side – a certain hoodlumism is integral to those guys, whereas team England tend to play with a straighter bat.

But having said that, as a child I worked hard, did well, and alongside all the usual Maths/English/Science gubbins, also studied French, Latin, Greek and Classic Civilizations at private school – developed my storytelling tools there – before financial bankruptcy at home saw me turfed out of privilege in my late teens, whereupon in my infinite teenage wisdom I figured hard work was a fool’s errand, and that ingestion of vast quantities of psychedelics (and the rest) would be a far better use of my time.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed (2004), Trauma, Resiliency and Feces

Bridgette is on the run from Suburbia and chased by a werewolf that wants to bump dirties with her. Isolated, she has taken to living between hotels as she tries to keep her inner wolf from busting through her skin. She has taken to bloodletting and regular injections of wolfsbane to keep her inner animal down. Full of paranoia she is excludes herself from social interaction. On one level it appears that Bridgette is doing everything she can in order to protect herself from herself, on the other hand, her psychology and behavior fits the patterns of a Self-Harmer. Dusty Miller states in Woman Who Hurt Themselves: A Book of Hope and Understanding:

Philosophizing The Walking Dead S2E13 Besides The Dying Fire or Why Are Daryl and Merle in the TV Show But Not The Comic?

Welcome to our journey into the guts of The Walking Dead. What kind of journey? A philosophical, psychoanalytical and political kind. What I would like to do over the next couple months is dig thought the Walking Dead episode by episode to see what it can teach us. Thank you for following me on this journey. I look forward to reading your comments. Be forewarned: There are spoilers everywhere. Don’t forget to check out my previous article in the Philosophizing TWD series:  Philosophizing The Walking Dead S2E12 Better Angels, Neo-Liberalism, and Ding-Dong Dale Is Dead.

The zombies are coming to eat your tasty face? Where are you going to hide? Rick and company have been victims of circumstance for the first two seasons of walking dead. Following whimsy and haphazardly vomited plans of fools. First, we are introduced to the campsite outside Atlanta, Georgia. Cities, of course, being the worst possible places to hang out when the zombies are eating faces! Second, the crew heads along the highway to a punk and almost gets trapped in a suicide attempt. Thirdly, they take a break in order to get supplies and loose Sophia, and hopelessly try to hunt her down for half a season. Finally, coming across a farm with puny barb wire dense, they kill the barn of walkers that was camouflaging them from the herds, only to kill the zombies in a fit of passion, in order to eventually be overrun.