Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Wallywood

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  • Ian Dalziel,

    1980s Archie comics are as good as Maus.

    funny you should say that, here's an excerpt from an interview with Art Spiegelman & Francoise Mouly about their Toon Treasury of Classic Children's Comics:

    AS: I'm sure we'll get heat from a fan of one kind of comic or another for our choices.
    The one example that was interesting to me was Archie. We thought there should be an Archie story in it, but then we thought, what are we aiming at? It was really for that core moment of childhood. Archie was useful, because it was the one comic kids are likely to have seen at the supermarket. Going from that to saying, “Well, maybe these are the comics you get interested in when your first pubic hair is about to sprout, because that's when you get interested in the whole notion of dating and other stuff.” And maybe we should veer backward towards Little Archie. And then it's, what story is not so treacly or conventionally clichéd that it would be worth showing? My appreciation isn't as developed as some of the others on that Treasury Board. It was a lot of back and forth before we ended up with the story we used, which turned out to be a misattributed story.

    Who was it misattributed to?

    AS: To Bob Bolling, because he was the artist associated with Little Archie. But that particular story didn't have a signature, and it turns out it's by Dexter Taylor.

    sounds like fun...
    ya may enjoy this piece too.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    See, we can't directly communicate. Only emote. Ah, the delicious irony!

    :x ]:)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    See, we can't directly communicate. Only emote. Ah, the delicious irony!
    :x ]:)

    Get a room!
    Actually, guess you don't need one :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Like Archie, but better than Archie.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    and there was me expecting this guy
    by the same Furshlinger Gang of Idiots
    - ta Joe

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I enjoyed Danyl's classy risposte. Wait, did I write "classy"? I meant "dickish"

    Only just catching up with this. Even if you feel mocked, there's really no need to get huffy about it. At least be witty or something.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I honestly thought in the context of the etiquette of an Internet forum, it was fairly outrageous. Not wasting wit on that.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Just to lighten the tone a bit, should right-wingers be expressing enthusiasm for getting a mob together to commit trespass and destroy private property?

    Apparently so.

    You know, I'm beginning to warm to the damn thing...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    You know, I'm beginning to warm to the damn thing...

    I think the writing on the sign should be the very first thing decided by the glorious leader of the supercity. My petition to him will be "All your city are belong to US"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Jerome Kerviel,

    But at some point, you have to accept that some things actually *are* artistically 'better' than other things

    So which is better artistically Hamlet or Lear? Tolstoy or Dumas?

    I guess I'm reiterating your point another way Danielle. That is that only analysis and criticism can provide a satisfactory answer to this question.

    I really like going to films and analysing them and also watching things just for the pure bubble-gum-for-the-brain joy of it. It is possible to enjoy a film at a number of levels. What's so bad about people expressing their enjoyment of film (or not) in an analytical way as opposed to " This film is fucking ORRRRsome!" and "This movie was so gey!" ? (aka the I like it/don't like it application)

    And getting back to the sign, eh, Mosgiel did it already. it was funnier there, in a sad way. This is just plain sad. For a while NZ was hot when the British and Americans found out how cheap it was to make films in NZ, now they realise that Fiji is cheaper, or wherever it is next. Jacksonand Weta is a weird hangover from that period and the sign itself is a last ditch attempt to resuscitate a dying economic era.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Meanwhile, Weta is at it again, taking its approach to public sculpture - the least possible amount of imagination on the largest possible scale - to our waterfront. Apparently it's going to be a "lasting legacy".

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Hopefully the Len Lye down the road will rise up during the night and destroy it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Anyone read 'zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance'?

    One of those books that everyone knows but no-one has read. I'm halfway through a library copy.

    The author delves quite deeply into what he calls the metaphysics of quality:

    "Quality," or "value," as described by Pirsig, cannot be defined because it empirically precedes any intellectual construction of it. Quality is the "knife-edge" of experience, known to all. "What distinguishes good and bad writing? Do we need to ask this question of Lysias or anyone else who ever did write anything?" (Plato's Phaedrus, 258d). Pirsig postulates that Quality is the fundamental force in the universe stimulating everything from atoms to animals to evolve and incorporate ever greater levels of Quality. According to the MOQ, everything (including the mind, ideas, and matter) is a product and a result of Quality.

    Make of that what you will. He's losing me a little because I tend to think that quality is entirely contextual, something he has only mentioned in passing so far.

    If I want to switch my brain off and be childishly delighted by large explosions for a couple of hours, then I'll watch Avatar, or Terminator 2, or 300.

    If I want to watch a film that really, y'know tell me something about the human condition (or to impress a chick), I'll go and watch a French film that includes a 15 minute sequence of a guy cycling up a hill, with nothing on the soundtrack except his tortured breathing.

    Similarly, I'll read Camus, or Pablo Neruda if I want something 'heavy', or I'll read something with embossed gold writing on the cover if I just want to relax and turn my brain off for a few hours.

    Whether something is 'good', or 'bad' seems to be entirely dependent on the context of how the question is asked, to me.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    Wow, Giovanni. That's ... deeply ... something. Now I know what would've been at the bottom of Mussolini's garden if he'd been a Hurricanes fan.

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    That's ... deeply ... something.

    Am I the only person who thinks it looks like a sea of rugby-supporting undead?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Am I the only person who thinks it looks like a sea of rugby-supporting undead?

    Yeah, that's what I thought, too.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    If I want to watch a film that really, y'know tell me something about the human condition (or to impress a chick), I'll go and watch a French film that includes a 15 minute sequence of a guy cycling up a hill, with nothing on the soundtrack except his tortured breathing.

    But isn't that marketing? It's marketing that tells you that the correct response to an arthouse film is reflection, whereas the correct response to a blockbuster is oohs and aaahs and fleeting enjoyment. And there's nothing wrong with that, per se, there may well be some truth in it. If you take 2012, for instance, that's what the film is overtly about, it stops just short of making the characters wear t-shirts that say "this film is stupid, don't bother analysing it". Avatar is different, though, it tries to be deep and meaningful; so does The Matrix. Both Cameron and the Wachowskis have made explicit claims in this regard. Cameron even spoke Na'vi at an award ceremony for heaven's sake. So on the one hand it's the films themselves that claim to be about big ideas and Truth and not just the spectacle. But then if you do try to examine those big ideas, you get shot down pretty much right away. People take actual offense. And that's really the extent of my objection to Avatar and the Matrix - not that they're bad films, but that they're bad films that narrowly define how you're allowed to feel about them. I think that from a cultural point of view this is not harmless but actually quite unhealthy.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    Am I the only person who thinks it looks like a sea of rugby-supporting undead?

    Gordon MacLauchlan ftw!

    London SE16 • Since Mar 2008 • 482 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I think that from a cultural point of view this is not harmless but actually quite unhealthy.

    Extremely well put. Gio. That is why I do what I do, by trying to avoid the twin perils of over-estimating or under-estimating the cultural impact of media. Also pointing out the fearful contradictions of contemporary culture eg those folk who champion Avatar as an anti-corporate, anti-imperialist film, when all the profits are flowing to Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation, for cripes sake!

    I'll go and watch a French film that includes a 15 minute sequence of a guy cycling up a hill, with nothing on the soundtrack except his tortured breathing.

    I should loan you my DVD copy of the Welsh documentary sleep furiously,(2008) which features a 10 minute long, static shot of sheep meandering across a North Wales mountainside. Some may think it tedious; I think it generates a long moment of quiet reflection which is dream-like.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    Also pointing out the fearful contradictions of contemporary culture eg those folk who champion Avatar as an anti-corporate, anti-imperialist film, when all the profits are flowing to Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation, for cripes sake!

    When this was being debated at Giovanni's blog, there was a comment from someone identified only as EM. It rang true for me:

    "I would defend Cameron's film at the level of the Idea: it is better to make a statement against colonialism and imperialism (yes, even on behalf of the Other if you mean it) even within (since where is there authentically an outside?) cultural productions of capitalism than not."

    Where is there authentically an outside?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I'll go and watch a French film that includes a 15 minute sequence of a guy cycling up a hill, with nothing on the soundtrack except his tortured breathing.

    my choice would be Tarkovsky, that drive into the city at the start of Solaris is mesmeric... as are many of the transcendent scenes later that may (or may not) be on the planet and Stalker, of course...
    will put you firmly in the Zone!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And that's really the extent of my objection to Avatar and the Matrix - not that they're bad films, but that they're bad films that narrowly define how you're allowed to feel about them. I think that from a cultural point of view this is not harmless but actually quite unhealthy.

    Oh, okay. That makes some sense. Although I didn't and don't feel the pressure you're talking about. And I'm really not sure that most people have.

    It's worth noting that Lucas seemed to have fairly elevated ideas about his godawful Star Wars prequels too.

    My main problem with Avatar is really its length. A space western has no business being longer than 90 minutes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Oh, okay. That makes some sense. Although I didn't and don't feel the pressure you're talking about. And I'm really not sure that most people have.

    Did you read the reactions to Peter Calder's review on the Herald? But that point - analysing the film is an incorrect response - has come up time and again on PAS as well. And we've had a reprise of it regarding Caleb, Tolkien and race. It's not that he's wrong, see, he's that he uses big words and that he analyses things that are meant to be just enjoyed.

    (Although to be fair Ben responded to Caleb's specific argument - I'm thinking of Danyl's jibe.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    my choice would be Tarkovsky, that drive into the city at the start of Solaris is mesmeric... as are many of the transcendent scenes later that may (or may not) be on the planet and Stalker, of course...
    will put you firmly in the Zone!

    I'd recommend some Bela Tarr too: Werckmeister Harmonies, Satantango. Tarr jokes that the 11 minute roll of film is a form of censorship.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Rich, I have read it, and there have been some discussions on it. Search will find them.

    I thought he drew some interesting parallels between Zen and some western philosophy (which most of the book was about). I guess his "Quality" is meant to be "The Zen", although my gut feeling is that anyone versed in Zen would probably disagree about Zen as a Platonic Form. It seems almost to entirely miss the point of Zen to spend so long constructing an argument for it, when the bulk of the teachings by Zen masters seem to be about giving away the desire to understand it in those terms.

    Which is not to say they are right, but it did suggest that the book was a bit of a gyp in its grandiose title.

    After getting over that, I thought some interesting points were made, particularly about the ways we can connect with the artifacts around us. His case study is the motorbike, and he suggest that the different ways people interact with their bike hint at the way they interact with the world in general. Those inclined to treat the bike as a black box will be frustrated by it when it breaks, which (if it is an American bike) it will do all the time. Those who choose to understand how it works will feel deeply connected to it, not only when they are fixing it, but also when they are riding it, feeling the failures before they become catastrophic, nurturing it along.

    There's some truth to this - I was reading this book whilst learning about hardware and network maintenance, something that had always previously been Somebody Else's Problem. I did notice a deeper feeling of connection to computers arising from it.

    But it wore off. The level of connection can only go so deep without becoming a full-time job (which it was already), and even then it must stop at parts which are beyond any practicality of being fixed, like CPUs, drives, etc. Continual frustration is still to be found dealing with subsystems, and there's really only so much time to immerse yourself into every device you work with. Treating things as black boxes is the modern way, it's the only way you can create the gigantic edifices we work with, on, around, every day.

    In immersing myself in technology, for instance, I neglect deeper immersion in other things. Like literary or film analysis, for instance.

    Which comes back to this discussion about Avatar. Surely, it is deeply satisfying to some people to analyze certain things about the movie, and if they find it lacking in those dimensions, then they'll think it poor quality. They might also think it rather poor of other people not to rate those factors quite so highly. For myself, I found the technical side of the film extremely rich and deep and felt that simply dismissing those things as if they are a given these days, rather than the brilliant work of hundreds of people working over years on something really, really hard, and pulling it off, as similarly poor. To me, it scarcely mattered that the story was simple, a children's story, perhaps.

    So to that end, I guess ultimately, if Gio wants to keep hacking away at how shit it is, that's fine. From his point of view, those who enjoyed it are like the motorbike riders who just wanted to ride the bike, and enjoyed the fact that it had lots of new mod-cons, without really noticing that the engine putters in a way suggestive of a tendency to overheat. They miss something, which to him is important. And that's fair enough. From other points of view, he may simply not have appreciated the mod-cons so much, not rating them as a valuable part of the biking experience at all. The new features meant nothing to him. Those points of view will think he missed something, that he failed to connect too.

    So, to be fair to Gio and the other Avatar skeptics, I must conclude that continuing to analyze the poorer parts of Avatar is all in good fun in the end. It is flawed in any number of dimensions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

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