Think of the last time a London department store got bombed.

Last week? Last month? Last year?

These bombings were pretty common in the 1980s. The rebels in Northern Ireland were responsible. They were attacking the British Empire at its heart, with the hope that the bombings could turn the British public against the lingering Imperial occupation of Ireland.

In the 1990s, after the intransigent Thatcher government was voted out, the British Empire entered into more relaxed negotiations with the rebels (aided by President Clinton's government here, which acted in some ways as intermediary). Though the Empire still occupies Northern Ireland, power-sharing has reached that part of Ireland, and the bombings have stopped.

Now consider the price the American people have been paying for supporting the American Empire -- massive, debt-funded warfare and global imperial war bases, mass domestic spying and surveillance, being groped and x-rayed at places of mass transport, the militarization of their police forces ... not to mention the occasional bombing and attempted bombing perpetrated by global rebels against our empire.

These are the price we must pay, we are told ... but, pay for what?

  • For security. For peace. For world domination?

Most Americans would recoil at this last. We little like to think of ourselves as aggressors, as conquerors, as occupiers, as the Evil Empire George Lucas and President Reagan warned us against. But if you look at the facts, objectively, what do you see?

The price for liberty is high, our leaders tell us. In fact, they tell us, the price for liberty is nothing less than liberty itself!

Wow. Nothing less than the total collapse of education in America (and a truly massive government campaign of propaganda) could get most of the people'' believing thatmost of the time.''

The answer to terrorism is simple. And as a bonus, it costs are negative -- it will in fact save the Americans money.

End the empire. Give over plans at world domination. Close the global war bases. End the wars that are more than even the Secretary of Defense Panetta can count.

Leave them alone and, just as the British Empire found out 20 years ago, they will then leave us alone.

08/13/13; 11:48:59 AM

Apple Corporation (formerly `Apple Computer Corporation') has struggled with the cloud in various endeavors such as MobileMe and iCloud, but it seems to me that Apple would do better to return to their original effort in the area of the iDisk.

Give everyone with an Apple device and iTunes ID webspace and a web page. Then Apple could offer HTML apps that would work across every platform and on every device. Provide a basic API that would allow Mac apps and iOS apps to save to and draw from the same storage pool the web page does. Provide a free level of storage and least out more storage as the user wants.

Don't try to be Facebook, don't try to be Twitter. But a Dropbox Apple could be.

08/13/13; 08:03:06 AM

On 11 Aug 2013, I wrote up a `working definition' of Film Noir:

  • the world is darker than you think

There are implications in the word `darker' here.

    1. darker means you are moving out of a lighter place
    2. there is a limit to how dark `dark' can get
    3. people get uncomfortable feeling uncomfortable feelings -- such as fear, anxiety, doubt, loathing
    4. when you get as dark as dark can get, you can only stay there or begin to go back toward the light
    5. when you are sated with fear, anxiety, doubt, loathing et. al., you move naturally, even without willing to, back toward more comfortable feelings such as security, safety, confidence, love
    6. when you are sick of sharing depravity, you willingly seek out goodness and health

Three unique things came to American popular culture, and through it to Hollywood commercial movies, in this time period:

    1. Freudian psychoanalysis
    2. the World War and what American military men (and perhaps especially teenaged men) saw and did during the years of combat
    3. the disruption to society as the government took almost the entire male workforce into the military and replaced them with women

Basically, Americans lost their innocence as they confronted questions such as basic identity (wife or welder? man or murderer? provider or provided-for?), saw their world and its assumptions turned on its head, and were asked to ponder ideas they never had before about motivation, morals, and mental `illness.'

So, film noir both soothed and aggravated these deep anxieties.

Film noir sprang from this loss of innocence. It cannot occur to a generation that was never innocent to begin with. The modern (post-1970) dark films, the neo-noirs, are more homage to past styles and tribute to and partial send-up of the attitudes that underlay the noir years of the 1940s and 1950s.

Adding to this is the whole subject of technology and style. Hollywood moved from black and white film stocks to color, and the film grains shrank and stock grew faster, capable of registering images in less and less light. All these technical changes made the rich, stark chiaroscuro possible to a 1946 black and white film very difficult, even out of the question to a 1963 color film. Though it might be possible in a digital age to recreate the characteristics of 1940 polychromatic black and white film, doing so would be merely an exercise in style, a deliberate affectation, rather than working with the tools available to explore the problems of the day.

08/13/13; 08:02:42 AM

Last built: Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 9:41 AM

By SWP Pond, Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 8:02 AM.