Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
We’re having some mixed results with A Better Queue. Overall it is a very worthy resource, and I admire the way an innovative new service is added, useful to so many, by means of a simple database cross-referencing operation. And when the rubber hits the road, it’s a big improvement. Without it, the Lord of the Manor (me) just plugs up the Netflix instant queue with “creature features.” Variety suffers. Even more than you might initially expect, variety suffers. A young couple will go out to the lake/river/ocean and start fornicating, the creature will immediately take care of the fella, there will be some long tortured scene where the female fornicator thrashes around trying to save herself, to no avail, the credits will roll, another woman will emerge and say something to show how tough she is, there will be another guy who’s a big jerk, and then the star of the film will emerge and show how likable and tough he is…there will be a mad scientist who’s responsible for having made the creature with some kind of brain implant, hormone or cross-breeding…the Colonel or General with a full head of hair, who doesn’t look like he’s been in the military for a single hour his whole life, who has secretly commissioned the mad scientist to make this beast for the military…jerk will get killed…mad scientist will get killed…then there will be some long drawn-out scene full of “swimmers” serving themselves up as hors d’oeuvres for the beast, then the tough dude and tough girl will break out some kind of explosive device…
Well, anyway. We get better variety with A Better Queue. It lives up to its name.
But there is an interesting side effect: When we make use of the service, we are more likely to watch older movies. And, this leads to some inspired thinking taking place when we see scenes that could not be put into movies now. These scenes all have something in common, which is more than a little bit disconcerting: They would clearly be bad things to put in movies if, and only if, one proceeds from the assumption that movie scenes will be acted out in real life.
Now, I personally find the “Porky’s” type of scene where a cute funny guy peeks into the girl’s showers to be stupid and annoying. To say nothing of, for the era, way overdone. It isn’t funny unless you’re high on some kind of a drug, and that’s what was going on in the early eighties. Kids were going to movies baked. Yes it’s a good thing they stopped doing that, in no small part because in real life, the guy peeking in the girl’s shower would surely be caught and then he’d have to spend the next several years of his life being required to register in every new neighborhood. That all by itself makes it unfunny. But, at the same time, let’s be real: Movies didn’t stop having this scene because it’s unfunny, or in bad taste, they stopped putting it in because the wall between fiction & reality was torn down.
“Don’t put X in the movie, because when people see it they’ll start doing it.”
That’s why there’s no smoking in movies now. Liquor is next; imbibing it on-screen is discouraged.
With the Peeping Tom thing, the whole point of the joke, as I understood it, was that teenage boys are hormone-crazed pervs. Which they are. So there’s actually a lot more going on here than “Don’t put it in the movie because then people will really start doing it”; the message that accompanies it is, “teenage boys don’t want to see a naked girl anyway, and if they do want to, they shouldn’t.”
We have here, locally, two stories in the past year, of some “gentlemen” uh, bringing-themselves-out in public places. It is as if heterosexuality is being repressed and driven underground. And perhaps that is exactly what is happening: Our society has lost the middle ground on good manners. For the boys and the men, there is whacking off in the middle of a coffee shop without a care in the world and spying on naked teenage girls in their bathrooms, then there is keeping it a complete secret from the world at large that you have any romantic leanings in the world whatsoever — other than the fact that you might have a wife. Nothing in between those two extremes.
We see it in the legendary intergenerational movie icon, James Bond. Let’s see, what was the first Bond movie in which, when we see England’s super-spy for the very first time in the film, he is intertwined or in some other way associated with a pretty girl. Well, that would be the very first one, Dr. No. And this was a staple Bond-introduction method through On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, when his wife got killed…leading to Sean Connery’s return in Diamonds Are Forever, in which he kicked off the film interrogating a bunch of bad guys to find out where Blofeld is. Okay, so there was a disruption, after what…seven Bond films over nine years. (And, for what it’s worth, Connery’s spy character threatened to strangle a woman with her own bikini top, so maybe this isn’t even a disruption.) Then in the second installment of the Roger Moore era, something funny happened: It was the bad guy who was introduced with a half-naked pretty girl sharing his opening scene. Bond, on the other hand, was introduced with the standard banter with Moneypenny outside M’s office.
Didn’t seem like much of a change at the time.
Nor does it seem noticeable that, since Tomorrow Never Dies, you have to wait a good long time before James Bond has anything to do with pretty girls in skimpy clothes. Seems like just yesterday, but actually that was fourteen years ago. The villain, on the other hand, is surrounded with them. It’s just the natural order of things; the man-to-woman sex drive is associated with evil, and not alluring “James Dean bad-boy” type of evil, but genuine, toxic undesirability. No, we’re not coaching growing young boys to turn into homosexuals. But we’re doing all we can to keep them from being straight. Is it still alright to approach a young lady and tell her she’s pretty? I dunno. Probably not. Kids certainly aren’t going to be sure. They won’t ask older male authority figures, like me; if they did, I wouldn’t know what to tell ‘em; if I did, it probably wouldn’t be okay for me to comment one way or the other.
How about non-threatening, innocent small talk? Sure, just as soon as she takes off her headphones! Yikes. Glad I’m not on the singles market nowadays.
So let’s see what we’ve got here. There are things you absolutely cannot put in movies and then there are things that are highly discouraged and probably are not going to be green-lit by the producers. Spying on naked girls is no longer cute — that’s good — if it were, it would still be a no-go because it is presumed, irrationally, that people in real life will start emulating what they see in movies — that’s bad. We haven’t talked yet about ethnicities of bad guys; we see from this undervalued Cameron/Schwarzenegger entry that it used to be alright to have actual Arab-descent terrorists trying to blow things up and kill people. Bizarrely, it would seem this stopped being okay the day it actually happened. Smoking is prohibited, alcohol consumption is discouraged. The good guy cannot be conspicuously associated with pretty girls but the bad guy can. Gay is fashionable, straight is not, and heterosexual urges in all forms are to be severely muted down, unless they’re urges from the female toward the male. But we mostly see that in “romantic comedies” full of drama about: How can she get him to notice her, or some such thing…
This is all something we tend to overlook, because we don’t like thinking about how society is morphing when we spend money on entertainment. But, as Pericles said, just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you…and the people who make the movies, it becomes evident from time to time, are concerned about this constantly. They’ve allowed this dividing-barrier between fiction and reality to break down, which means we all have, and there’s this feeling in the air like we’re going in the right direction because there is a value system in our movies. That feeling is wrong, because this is a value system that has a powerful and lasting effect within our kids, and it isn’t inspected much. The old-school James Bond, who saved the world from Hugo Drax’s necklace of death satellites that would’ve wiped out the entire world’s population with the deadly Orchid nerve gas, would now be a pedophile and a stalker and a perv, licensed to kill but nevertheless required to register in his London locale as a sex offender. But it’s alright to cheat on your wife, or rob a “money train,” or a bank if the bad guy has kidnapped your daughter and is forcing you to.
We’re supposed to be so concerned when we find out about these stories in which witnesses to horrifying crimes and accidents clearly see something is wrong, and yet do nothing. It seems silly to suppose that society is moving in any particular direction, for are people not essentially static? But if we accept there is some rapid deterioration in effect, it seems even sillier to go looking at our entertainment media as a possible cause. Might I suggest that neither one of these are silly, perhaps both suppositions make perfectly good sense.
The good-guy chancing to notice something amiss, following a trail of leads, figuring out the bad guy was involved in some plan to blow up the world and then using his ingenuity and resourcefulness to stop it, saving the lives of thousands or millions of strangers — that used to be a staple. Now, it is a rarity. In fact it seems to be something approaching contraband.
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