Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Would Never Have Watched This If It Didn't Star Amy Acker

But since it does, I did, and I'm glad I did. It's a cool little film, a 2-minute short -- sort of the video equivalent of a short story, or maybe even a short-short. Amusingly weird. (Not at all NSFW, but there is a fair amount of screaming, so watch the volume.) Check it out:

File under "why the web is awesome", sub-category, "outlet for low-cost creativity that puts larger budgeted corporate glop to shame".*
(Via Whedonesque)

* Although come to think of it, that may be damning with faint praise.


Ricardo the Texan said...

Listen: each rational person has his own answer to this one; as I read through your blog, I came to the conclusion that you're somewhat rational, since you're aware ... since you realize that, yes, we the people; we members of civilization have a huge problem (which our President stubbornly refuses to mention, even, let alone address and/or tackle. If you don't mind, please explain what you think this problem is. This isn't a trick question. I'm not trying to stick you in a category (you're an agnostic, I gather; I'm willing to leave it at that); I'm just curious. Not in a hostile way, either. Please indulge me.

(By the way; in my (hardly humble) opinion, Nabokov was mediocre at best - in Russian. He was quite a writer in English, though, especially in Lolita (definitely a masterpiece, and his timing was perfect, too), much less so in Pale Fire and Pnin; AND he was a pretty lousy poet in either language. He had the skills; he lacked the gift. His translation of Eugine Onegin is beyond reproach if one's purpose is to know exactly what the author of the original had in mind when he wrote this or that phrase; the problem with his (Nabokov's) approach is that oftentimes one's talent is so much vaster than one's mind (or anyone's mind, if you will), that pinpointing every single shade of meaning and conveying it to the reader is impossible. Try to translate literally "Fare thee well, and if forever, still forever fare thee well" into any language you know other than English. You'll fail, or you'll need to come up with two dozen different versions and present them together: that way, you'll preserve the meaning (maybe), but lose the astounding compactness of the two lines; etc. etc. I digress.

Stephen said...

Ricardo, I'm finding this comment rather puzzling, but I guess I'll play along. As I've noted multiple times on this blog, I think that the biggest problem that human beings, collectively, have right now is climate change (and more generally environmental degradation); no other problem comes close in terms of both the dire effects and the urgency of dealing with it.

Why do you ask?

Ricardo the Texan said...

Oh. Okay.

***Why do you ask?***

Just out of curiosity. Like I said, it wasn't a trick question.

I've lived in New York for over 30 years, and I remember vividly (as opposed to most New Yorkers) that ours was once a SNOWY city. Also, our weather patterns used to be astoundingly stable. Each year, the last snow storm would hit towards the end of march, and then spring would hit; a major, very observable event. This ended in 1996. Anyone who wants proof that the world's climate is destabilized can take a look at a bunch of vintage photos from the beginning of the twentieth century, depicting horse-driven sleigh rental in Central Park (unthinkable today: not enough snow), public skating on the ponds (unthinkable: they hardly ever freeze over anymore); or just refer to the famous painting in which General Washington and his troops are crossing the Delaware. Ice? On the Delaware?!

Thus, up until maybe seven years ago, I, too, thought that climate change was our biggest problem.

Since then I've discovered that science and technology are byproducts of our use of fossil fuels, and not the other way around. The extensive use of coal (due to the deforestation in England, which occurred because the population was suddenly growing very rapidly, which became possible once the Plague had tapered off) made Newton and Watt's calculations applicable and profitable. Modernity, as it turns out, isn't the child of science; rather, science as we know it is the byproduct of our use of coal, oil, and natural gas.

The world's oil production plateaued in 2005 or 2006, and the results are before us. The inevitable contraction that seems to have already begun might put the breaks on climate change a lot quicker than any political measures would. I wonder whether mass agnosticism will cease to exist. I'm not sure I like the prospect: superstition isn't the best way to find God. It's impolite, it's in bad taste, it's counterproductive, it's insincere.

But, as I may have already mentioned, I was just curious. Thank you for answering.