“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”
I have tried to keep political discussion and commentary out of my blogposts, but there are times that demand commentary. Since World War Two, the U.S. Military has lead the way in integration, and today was a step backwards. Bigotry is justified by a fear of change, and such thinking must be challenged.
(https://commons.wikimedia.org Karel Joseph Raabe artist)
A while ago, I gave a brief post about The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman, and I said I would do another post when I finished the book. I had completed it a while ago, but I simply forgot to do this post. So, without further introduction, this is a wonderful read, and I recommend it highly!
Gaiman’s book is a collections of short pieces he has written for a variety of reasons, including people, films, books, writing, and life. If you love his books, then you should enjoy his book.
Here are a few quotations from this wonderful book:
“What speculative fiction is really good at is not the future, but the present. Taking an aspect of it that troubles or is dangerous, and extending or extrapolating that aspect into something that allows the people of that time to see what they are doing from a different angle and a different place. It’s cautionary.” (178)
“Ideas, written ideas are special. They are the way we transmit our stories and our ideas from one generation to the next. If we lose them, we lose our shared history. We lose much of what makes us human. And fiction gives us empathy: it puts us inside the minds of other people, gives us the gift of seeing the world through their eyes. Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over. ” (181-182)
“And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.” (459)
I give this book five stars out of five!
Gaiman, Neil. The View from the Cheap Seats. HarperCollins. 2017.
(https://en.wikipedia.org George Romney — Artist)
Metropolis is a brilliant science-fiction film (1927) directed by Fritz Lang. This movie, recently restored to its entirety, is a disturbing look at the world of the future through the eyes of visionaries in the 1920s. It is based on the novel of the same name by Thea von Harbou (1925). The book deals with a city created on the backs of exploited workers and run by the capitalist upper-class. It is also a love story, and it is set in the year 2026.
Metropolis offers a powerful and damning social commentary on the effects of the ruling class, the capitalist industrialists who rule the world by using and crushing the ordinary people who build and fuel their wonderland. While the workers live underground in squalor and destitution, the upper-class live literally in palaces high above the ground. There they explore and indulge in numerous amusements including those sexual and athletic. This film is not a simple polemic but drives its message through a compelling story that shows the love between the Master of Metropolis’ son Freder and Maria, who lives in the underworld and serves as a kind of saint to the oppressed.
Frankenstein, 1931, owes a cinematic debt to the mad scientist in Metropolis, Rotwang, and his equipment. There he creates a robot woman, using the life force of Maria. Clearly the novelist, Mary Shelley and her book, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, first influenced this movie.
Lang’s cinematic vision is exquisite and deeply influential to filmmakers who followed him in exploring the idea of future cites. His soaring towers and buildings, high bridges with fast cars, and aircraft flying near the buildings are based on the designs of the modernists and futurists, and this concept is a clear model for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Certainly an argument can be made that Metropolis is a foundation for many other science-fiction movies.
This film is extraordinary, and the full version is now available on DVD. It is an important piece of cinematic history, and I give it my highest recommendation.
"The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good." -Stanley Kubrick
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