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Margaret Atwood’s work illustrates our need to enjoy other people’s pain

A well-crafted worldwide publicity campaign is raising expectations for The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to her Handmaid’s Tale. This, perhaps, is the right moment to take a deeper look into the reasons of our fascination with the dark world of the Republic of Gilead.

Since Gilead is run by Christian fundamentalists, the best way to begin is with theology.

In his Summa Theologica, philosopher Thomas Aquinas concludes that the blessed in the kingdom of heaven will see the punishments of the damned in order that their bliss be more delightful for them. Aquinas, of course, takes care to avoid the obscene implication that good souls in heaven can find pleasure in observing the terrible suffering of other souls, because good Christians should feel pity when they see suffering. So, will the blessed in heaven also feel pity for the torments of the damned? Aquinas’s answer is no: not because they directly enjoy seeing suffering, but because they enjoy the exercise of divine justice.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale-testaments-human-rights-slavoj-zizek-a9105151.html

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones, in its eighth and final season, is as big as television gets these days. More than 17 million people watched the season’s opening. Judging by the fan and critic reaction though, it seems that a substantial portion of those millions are loathing the season. Indeed, most of the reviews and fan discussions seem to be pondering where the acclaimed series went wrong, with many theories on exactly why it went downhill.

The show did indeed take a turn for the worse, but the reasons for that downturn go way deeper than the usual suspects that have been identified (new and inferior writers, shortened season, too many plot holes). It’s not that these are incorrect, but they’re just superficial shifts. In fact, the souring of Game of Thrones exposes a fundamental shortcoming of our storytelling culture in general: we don’t really know how to tell sociological stories.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-real-reason-fans-hate-the-last-season-of-game-of-thrones/

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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You Need to Watch ‘Legion,’ the Weirdest Show on TV

Over the last few weeks, leading up to Tuesday night’s season two finale, I binged both seasons of Legion, the superhero drama on FX helmed by Noah Hawley. (He’s also the dude behind Fargo, which is an excellent show that everyone ought to watch.)

Legion is definitely the weirdest thing on TV right now. And after speeding through the first two seasons (FX recently renewed it for a third) I’m still not entirely sure I understand it. But that’s OK. It might even be the point.

https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/nekk8d/you-need-to-watch-legion-the-weirdest-show-on-tv

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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With “Black Mirror,” Our Dystopia Gets the Television Show It Deserves

A fourth season of “Black Mirror” crept onto Netflix in late December and began to squirm through viewers’ heads already dizzy with the exhaust fumes of the outgoing year. The six roomy new episodes of Charlie Brooker’s anthology series play like a Rod Serling snack pack of dreadful speculation. The season tells tales of love in the age of asexual reproduction, about lives patterned by artificial intelligence, and about consciousness as a carceral state.

From 2011, when the first season of “Black Mirror” aired on Britain’s Channel 4, the show has figured media culture as a site of thorough depravity. In the conceptually perfect début, a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is obliged, by kidnappers holding a princess hostage, to fornicate with a pig on film. The man behind the monstrosity turns out to be an artist bent on illustrating the evil of screen-culture circuses. In the following episode, Daniel Kaluuya plays a prole who, like all members of a teeming class that unavoidably consumes omnipresent junk culture, works a daily shift to earn his keep by pedalling a stationary bicycle to generate power. The character spends his nest egg to pay the fee for a pretty girl with a lovely voice to enter a reality show. On air, she is systematically diverted from this “American Idol” fantasy into captivity as a sex-film starlet; he, striving to avenge her subjugation by getting time on the show and speaking truth to power, is likewise led to commercialize his outrage, as if Howard Beale in “Network” signed a long-term contract hosting kitchen-gizmo infomercials. Elsewhere, in a second-season episode titled “White Bear,” the narrative line emerges from a blur of cleverly withheld context, and we see that we have watched the torture of a woman who, convicted as an accomplice to a gruesome murder, spends her days in a state of forced amnesia, running for her life from armed assailants while unaware that the hunt is a popular spectator sport.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/on-television/with-black-mirror-our-dystopia-gets-the-television-show-it-deserves

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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“Black Mirror” Reveals Our Fear of Robots and Algorithms We Can’t Control

There’s no real plot in the “Metalhead” episode in the new season of “Black Mirror.” The star of the episode is a small, uncommunicative black robot that walks on all fours and is armed with a pistol stored in its front leg. Who controls the robot, if anyone, is never divulged. The four-legged mechanical creature operates seemingly on its own and for its own purposes. Over the course of the 40-minute episode, it hunts down a woman desperately fleeing through a forest, as she tries in vain to evade its sensors.

For those unfamiliar with the show, “Black Mirror” is a science fiction series on Netflix about a near-future in which new technologies reap terrible unintended consequences on our lives; they strip away personal independence, undermining our societal values and sometimes letting loose uncontrollable violence. As terrifying as they are, the technologies depicted in the show are not outlandish. Like the autonomous robot in “Metalhead,” they reflect easily conceivable, near-term advances upon currently existing technologies, such as drones.

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/07/black-mirror-season-4-netflix-metalhead/

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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This Season, ‘Game of Thrones’ Cut Deep

As Season 7 of Game of Thrones comes to a close, beware of spoilers and undead dragons and consider Daenerys Targaryen. (If you haven’t followed the show, you can go read something else now.) Here is a woman of high moral purpose and great gifts, who has had to overcome many obstacles in her quest to rule the war-torn and poverty-stricken land of Westeros as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. For years, she has been preparing. She had to free herself from psychological submission to her worthless brother. She had to transform her forced marriage to the savage Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo into a loving, respectful partnership, learning his language and adopting his culture, and after his death and that of her baby she had to win the loyalty of his incredibly sexist and violent followers, who wanted to follow the usual custom and stick her in a hut for the rest of her life with the other widows of big men.

https://www.thenation.com/article/this-season-game-of-thrones-cut-deep/

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Don’t Give HBO’s ‘Confederate’ the Benefit of the Doubt

HBO’s prospective series Confederate will offer an alternative history of post-Civil War America. It will ask the question, according to co-creator David Benioff, “What would the world have looked like … if the South had won?” A swirl of virtual protests and op-eds have greeted this proposed premise. In response, HBO has expressed “great respect” for its critics but also said it hopes that they will “reserve judgment until there is something to see.”This request sounds sensible at first pass. Should one not “reserve judgment” of a thing until after it has been seen? But HBO does not actually want the public to reserve judgment so much as it wants the public to make a positive judgment. A major entertainment company does not announce a big new show in hopes of garnering dispassionate nods of acknowledgement. HBO executives themselves judged Confederate before they’d seen it—they had to, as no television script actually exists. HBO hoped to communicate that approval to its audience through the announcement. And had that communication been successful, had Confederate been greeted with rapturous anticipation, it is hard to imagine the network asking its audience to tamp down and wait.

Source: Don’t Give HBO’s ‘Confederate’ the Benefit of the Doubt – The Atlantic

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in North America

 

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‘Big Little Lies’ Was Really About Victims of Abuse, Not Murder

Sunday evening saw the conclusion of Big Little Lies, HBO’s wonderful seven-episode limited series that wasted no time sweeping up scores of captivated viewers. What could have been a tiresome outing—a group of affluent, caterwauling helicopter moms grappling with scandal in the ranks—proved to be a deeply felt, expertly paced puzzle that only grew more compelling with each hour-long installment. Last night, the show ended with a degree of feminist catharsis that feels uncommon in an era defined by political drudgery.

Source: ‘Big Little Lies’ Was Really About Victims of Abuse, Not Murder – Vice

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Robots Are Winning on ‘Westworld’

For all of Westworld’s blazing gun battles and violent misdeeds, it’s been easy to think that none of it matters. For most of the show, the human characters have only inched slowly forward in their conspiracies or quests, while the life-altering experiences have happened to robots who simply get rebooted in the morning. But after this episode, Westworld‘s plot is kicking into gear and the stakes are rising. Not only do we get the death of someone without a reset button, but the other mysteries are starting to come into focus.

This week’s bloody episode is titled “Trompe L’Oeil,” French for “deceive the eye” and a term used in visual art for creating optical illusions that a painting seem three dimensional. The entire park of Westworld is a trompe l’oeil, deceiving its rich guests into believing an amusement park filled with robots is a living place. But the guests aren’t the only ones being tricked in Westworld, and the viewers are finally learning what’s real and what—or who—isn’t.

Source: The Robots Are Winning on ‘Westworld’ | VICE | Canada

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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‘The Adversary’ Was the Most Beautiful and Deadly Episode of ‘Westworld’ Yet

Westworld is a show that keeps hinting at mysteries and secrets, but has, so far, saved the big reveals for later. With so much shrouded in mystery, it’s no surprise that fans are scouring the show for clues as thoroughly as the Man in Black searches the park for his maze. This week’s episode, “The Adversary,” continues the biblical title trend from last week, employing a classic name for Satan.Biblical references are seemingly scattered throughout the characters’ names here: Bad guy bandit Hector Escaton’s (Rodrigo Santoro) may refer to “eschaton” a.k.a. the end of the world. Good guy gunslinger Teddy Flood’s (James Marsden) last name calls to mind the biblical flood. Dolores’s (Evan Rachel Wood) name comes from the Spanish term for Our Lady of Sorrows a.k.a. the Virgin Mary.Of course, plenty of other names reference non-biblical things. Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) may reference Henry Ford, the pioneer of mass production. Arnold calls to mind the famous traitor Benedict Arnold. What do all these references mean? Well, we don’t know yet. But Westworld is certainly keeping us guessing as they build up to what promises to be an escalating series of reveals in the final episodes.

Source: ‘The Adversary’ Was the Most Beautiful and Deadly Episode of ‘Westworld’ Yet | VICE | United States

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2016 in Reportages

 

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