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  • theaptPORTFOLIO

    theaptSHOWS

    January 14, 2013

    oped-new7

    for a while i have been looking for some just and eloquent way to express my disconcerted opinion about the tenuous relationship between violence in art and violence in life that some people are trying to make the argument for in the aftermath, and continuing disasters, that are senseless shootings of innocent people. turns out, stanley kubrick had already perfectly articulated such feelings in an interview with noted french critic michel ciment at the time of the release of “a clockwork orange.” because of course. you can read the full interview here but i excerpted the relevant passage for your convenience:

    “There has always been vio­lence in art. There is vio­lence in the Bible, vio­lence in Homer, vio­lence in Shake­speare, and many psy­chi­a­trists believe that it serves as a cathar­sis rather than a model. I think the ques­tion of whether there has been an increase in screen vio­lence and, if so, what effect this has had, is to a very great extent a media-defined issue. I know there are well-intentioned peo­ple who sin­cere­ly believe that films and TV con­tribute to vio­lence, but almost all of the offi­cial stud­ies of this ques­tion have con­clud­ed that there is no evi­dence to sup­port this view. At the same time, I think the media tend to exploit the issue because it allows them to dis­play and dis­cuss the so-called harm­ful things from a lofty posi­tion of moral supe­ri­or­i­ty.

    But the peo­ple who com­mit vio­lent crime are not ordi­nary peo­ple who are trans­formed into vicious thugs by the wrong diet of films or TV. Rather, it is a fact that vio­lent crime is invari­ably com­mit­ted by peo­ple with a long record of anti-social behav­iour, or by the unex­pect­ed blos­som­ing of a psy­chopath who is described after­ward as hav­ing been ‘…such a nice, quiet boy,’ but whose entire life, it is later real­ized, has been lead­ing him inex­orably to the ter­ri­ble moment, and who would have found the final osten­si­ble rea­son for his action if not in one thing then in anoth­er. In both instances immense­ly com­pli­cat­ed social, eco­nom­ic and psy­cho­log­i­cal forces are involved in the indi­vid­ual’s crim­i­nal behav­iour.

    The sim­plis­tic notion that films and TV can trans­form an oth­er­wise inno­cent and good per­son into a crim­i­nal has strong over­tones of the Salem witch tri­als. This notion is fur­ther encour­aged by the crim­i­nals and their lawyers who hope for mit­i­ga­tion through this excuse. I am also sur­prised at the extreme­ly illog­i­cal dis­tinc­tion that is so often drawn between harm­ful vio­lence and the so-called harm­less vio­lence of, say, “Tom and Jerry” car­toons or James Bond movies, where often sadis­tic vio­lence is pre­sent­ed as unadul­ter­at­ed fun. I has­ten to say, I don’t think that they con­tribute to vio­lence either. Films and TV are also con­ve­nient whip­ping boys for politi­cians because they allow them to look away from the social and eco­nom­ic caus­es of crime, about which they are either unwill­ing or unable to do anything.”

    that last point about the difference between “harm­ful vio­lence and the so-called harm­less vio­lence” is what gets me the most as the line seems to me as thin as carpaccio. so used are we to “everyday violence” that we wouldn’t dream of blaming it, would we? only the new and improved violence should be considered for censorship, that of gaspard noé (nsfw) or the used (nsfw) fitting the bill nicely when that of volkswagen or disney are too common to be anything but accepted and acceptable. shall we then eliminate it all? keep it all albeit overseen by a select few who guard the rest of us from exposure to “the hard stuff?” and if so, who?… there are no satisfying answers to these questions, only the study of the past and opinions of the students of that past. per mr. kubrick, i conclude what they do, that the argument is mere distraction.

    have as peaceful a week as possible.

    May 24, 2010

    oped-new7please don’t expect me to deal with anything of any depth today. last night was the lost finale and my head is still spinning from all the confusion… i won’t go into detail out of respect for those with the still-unplayed 2.5 dvr hours but i am still wrestling with the capping of a 6-year investment. i was really quite happy with the first 2 hours and 20 minutes, minus the incredible frequency of commercial time but then, out of nowhere, nothing. nothing, no explanation but a pseudo-religious version of surprise, it was all a dream! i think the problem, as usual, was not what did transpire, or didn’t, on the island and the real world but probably with our expectation of a grand metaphysical explanation of life itself. from the characters’ names to scribbled mythology peppered throughout the show and what seemed like a clear understanding of the many fickle theories of the universe, we thinkers all believed there to be an opportunity for the finale to have been a roadmap to assembling all these philosophical nuggets into a dramatized brief history of time. we, i, wanted it this way. this was to be the show for us smart people who would sigh impatiently at “the others” who couldn’t understand the socratic and egyptian references because they didn’t care to augment their education with some library time in favor of passing out drunk on golf courses. this was to be a clever-yet-populous payoff to the various hints dropped 6-seasons long about the manners with which we humans so poorly deal with the ideal of redemption, a weakness more than made up for by every movie and television show which simply ask us to believe in order to attain it. this should not have been the solution here, and it seems to have been. and we are let down. beautiful? yes. emotional? absolutely. meaningful? meh.

    still, this show provided my friends and i with the best excuse to get together and cook dinner every wednesday night for the past 6 years, give or take; a gift i cannot feel underwhelmed by or unthankful for. sure, call it whatever you like to take advantage of what ended up feeling like teen adventure stories to intensify friendship but it worked like a drink from stream. whereas it may have taken iCaling, phonecalls, babysitters and no-shows, a weekly date during which we often forgot to turn on the tv, was exactly the right prescription for those who, like us, turn to the family we choose, unlike that which was assigned to us, for comfort and love. perhaps the function of any tribal ritual, be it the beheading of chickens or charlie sheen comedies, is simply to assemble and not necessarily critique. simply, we provide our own opportunities not to feel alone and make up worlds in order to survive the apparent pointlessness. we create the stories of us that make the most sense based on our context, education, experience and enthusiasm. we fill the hours, years, decades with systems of our making which matter little in the end. we spend a lot of time wondering why when we should be asking who. our weekly diners were all who, no why.

    come to think of it, maybe this is what last night’s episode was about… maybe. on that note, let me wish you and yours a perfectly stable week!

    March 10, 2010

    i agree wholeheartedly with the pundit-born opinion that the daily show and colbert report do the job that most actual journalists do not perform anymore, question authority. when you engage in such risky behavior on either side of the political debate, you run the risk to, from time to time, run into someone you can’t outgiggle. this happened to jon stewart last night with his guest, marc thiessen. the above is what aired on the teevee and you can see the rest of the interview here for part 2 and here for part 3. the point is that, usually, it is rather easy for stewart to dismiss other’s ideas with calm logic peppered with humor because most people are his intellectual subordinates. he, much like those in his class, delight in using the simplest arguments because they are usually balanced. his example at the end of part 3 during which he states that just because one cause results in one consequence does not a standard make because the future is unforeseeable is correct. but the rebuttal from thiessen, “but it worked” (torture, that time) also seems reasonable. i think that what stewart never got to is the culture of fearmongering that makes a simple guy with an opinion like thiessen subtitle his book “how the cia kept america safe and how barack obama is inviting the next attack.” that’s uncalled for in my opinion! but that point never got made. and it is a pity because now, fox will welcome him as a martyr whom stewart tried, but couldn’t, skewer. and more meaningless words will be thrown in to debase one or the other which advances no conversation on torture, terrorism or the safety of the the american public. it happens…

    so unbelievably preponderant have green screen visual effects become that they have found their way into the most mundane of settings, like ugly betty! amazing that it would cost less to film someone coming out of a building and bumping into a bus stop in a virtual studio than on a new york street. well, as long as i don’t see it, and i don’t, why should i care…

    January 21, 2010

    michael-figurinemy 3 year-old daughter has become quite the naked performance artist when it comes to the hits of the king of pop. which makes for marvelous content to be unveiled at her 13th birthday party. so when i saw, in the same morning, this thriller figurine, complete with what seems to be pre-pubescent whiskers, and the fact that the grammies were going to air a mj tribute in 3D!, i thought “wow, we’re in for the long haul, better start trying to like beat it for realz now…”

    January 12, 2010

    lost-mapfast approaching, and thankfully not cock-blocked by some dude wanting to tell us how strong the state of his union is, the last season of lost. handily recapped in 8:15 and mapped out for our completist pleasure, this is sure to be the show that makes abc finally ask the musical question, where do we go from here?…

    October 23, 2009

    it’s so hard to talk about the power of storytelling in advertising, marketing or even product design these days. as much as it was an ear-catching novelty in the days when we started the apartment design store (a whole 10 years ago!) it has now become a joke for designers and their planners to repeat to all the clients who need to hear something meaningful. it’s even harder to convey the idea of story telling in a visual way, which is the trophy to win when actually able to fulfill that promise. like here for french cable channel canal+. beautiful and witty work.

    October 14, 2009

    gracefor as long as i can remember, people have been telling me to give battlestar galactica a shot, that’s it’s not sub-space soap opera stuff, that it actually is some of the best political commentary out there. sure. but can you really trust a show from the people who thought this was good idea? ok, maybe a temporary lapse in judgment. then i hear that these people populate the show with some robots of some kind. i’m willing to listen, i’m not an idiot…

    October 2, 2009

    i don’t have much to say about this other than the fact that it angers me that this soon will be about a boss sleeping with his assistant (shocker!) and not the very scary fact that this is the second time that dave has been threatened in this way. and this is a man for whom privacy was and is part of who he is. i think he handled this with as much class as can be mustered in such dreadful circumstances, as i assume he must have when he undoubtedly told his wife before bearing a son and getting married) and i wish he were right when saying that he will not be saying much more about this. go tmz! do your worst, as i guess you must… have a relaxing weekend.