I’m eagerly waiting for the book to arrive in the mail.
Other than that, if you haven’t bought it yet, buy here:
Last night The Husband and I watched Artificial Intelligence: AI, the movie Steven Spielberg released in 2001.
We watched on cable TV, and briefly discussed during the ad breaks.
I knew AI was a box office flop, but had no idea why. All I knew was that it was a story about a boy robot and his friend, a gigolo robot, or something to that effect.
Well, there was plenty of reason for that film to flop, as it turns out.
On the surface, this is a retelling of Pinocchio in a high-tech setting. You are wrong if you think this film is suitable for children: There are sexual situations, violence, cruelty, and the message of the film is thoroughly pessimistic.
The film is overloaded with symbolism, which at times is explicit, “In the world of Orga, blue is the color of melancholy,” and at a few rare times left for you to understand, but the sensory overload of special effects and audio has the effect of numbing you to whatever there is.
AI‘s high tech world is filled with gadgets and toys whose purpose is to ease the humans’ lives. The humans use these toys, including the robots, to not only do their work, but also to conveniently ease or avoid the pain of real human-to-human relationships. To that end, they have manufactured sentient toys, called “supertoys”, like a noxious-looking teddy bear that was thisclose to being a replica of an ewok, and also sentient, feeling, self-aware robots.
The humans refer to each other as “orgas” and to the robots as “mechas”.
“Orgas” are cruel, sadistic beings (and don’t tell me the scriptwriters had never heard of orcs, with whom they share several character flaws), who, rather than make the robots with an On/Off switch – something Mr. Data‘s maker had the presence of mind to do – dispose of the screaming, protesting robots in the most horrifying ways imaginable: Not only through a Roman Circus-like show which provides a truly disturbing sequence in the film, but by the human mother cruelly abandoning the loving (robot) child, David, in the woods.
David’s quest then becomes to find the blue fairy that will turn him into a real boy so his mom will love him.
“Mecha” love is never the same as “Orga” love, and Jude Law’s character, Gigolo Joe, has plenty of experience on that. In one of the more memorable scenes, Joe explains to David,
She loves what you do for her, as my customers love what it is I do for them. But she does not love you David, she cannot love you. You are neither flesh, nor blood. You are not a dog, a cat, or a canary. You were designed and built specific, like the rest of us. And you are alone now only because they tired of you, or replaced you with a younger model, or were displeased with something you said, or broke. They made us too smart, too quick, and too many. We are suffering for the mistakes they made because when the end comes, all that will be left is us. That’s why they hate us, and that is why you must stay here, with me.
Poor David lives his existence unable to go beyond what he was created to be. Unfortunately in this film this is a parable for the human condition.
The message of this relentlessly depressing movie is that chasing your dreams is a useless quest, and that, try as he may, man will never overcome the limitations of his nature.
The nihilists in The Big Lebowski had better attitudes than that.
To complete the obnoxiousness of it all, the Narrator also drones on about melting icecaps and greenhouse gases.
I would speculate that the effect of this morose film on someone who’s feeling sad or depressed would be equivalent to sitting down to listen to a stack of Billie Holiday CD with a bottle of booze immeditely after a break-up: it would increase your urge to defenestrate.
I have to thank the British taxpayers as my son was born on their bill. My wife is a British citizen and has her rights to the National Health Service. Never mind the incompetence that the midwives in the NHS hospital displayed in not helping open the passages my son passed through and which nearly suffocated him before his first breathe. The point is that while my wife and I waited for her cervix to open to the optimal metric width I watched a talk TV program on the BBC. The usual complaints about US military power in Iraq was discussed and when a retired member of the British Armed Forces called in to provide his opinion something approximating this exchange occurred.
Host: So what you are saying is the US did not go into Iraq simply because of WMD but because of sanctions against Iraq that were not being upheld by the UN?
Caller: That is correct.
Host: Well then why hasn’t the US gone in to enforce the sanctions against Israel?
Caller: Oh G-d, well Israel’s Army isn’t like Iraq’s Army was.
Host: So, what you are saying is that since the Israeli Army could protect itself against the Americans that is why the US is leaving them alone and even supporting them.
Caller: Uh yeah, I think that makes sense.
It’s this sort of misinformation that British Television should now be made famous for. I would have liked the host of this program to be reminded that there are no UN sanctions against Israel.
I am sorry I can’t remember the program’s name but it ran on February 16th 2006. I don’t recall which BBC channel either. I was focused on more meaningful issues in my family life.
Another interesting method used to install political agendas is typified by the following. I sat amazed as a documentary shown with footage taken from news, private cameras and security cameras told the story of Britain’s single largest traffic mishap. Traffic became backed up on the M-1 and M-5 and G-d knows how many other major expressways. An accident had caused the mother of all pileups and back-ups on these major arteries as well as the side roads leading to them. Due to the backup of traffic and lack of routes off the highway those scheduled to take over in the towers of one of London’s airports could not make it to work. Those who had been working the tower all night were forced to remain although exhausted. Passenger planes collided due to this, which further aggravated the state of transportation in the nation. People were stranded overnight on these transportation venues. I think they called this documentary “The Day Britain Stood Still”. It was something of the sort. Lawsuits and sackings ensued from this mess and even years later all involved were traumatized by the deaths in the air, the deaths on the road and the deaths of those who had been stuck over night on the highways in freezing weather. It wasn’t until the story went black that one was informed they had watched a mockumentary designed to teach the people of Britain what could happen if one or the other political party had its way in deciding how much money went to the Ministry of Transportation. It’s not the same as distorting the news or excluding relevant information but it is similar in its intent to express a bias as truth.
Thank you, E. B.
It doesn’t take much digging to find example after example of the BBC bias:
From just the last 24 hours:
Then there was the story they made up out of whole cloth about the Queen throwing a snit last week.
In other, habitual, ways the Beeb’s impartiality is nonexistent, for instance:
- The folks at the Beeb don’t bother remove anti-Semitic comments from its Noticeboards.
- The BBC uses “peace be upon him” when referring to the prophet Mohammed in its Islam page of its official Religions and Ethics website – shouldn’t they be referring to Jesus, then, as “Our Lord Jesus Christ” in its Christianity page?
All the while, the Beeb is playing with a huge budget of close to $7billion (£3.2bn) which from the most part comes from British taxpayers, who are supposed to take it all in, passively and receptively.
So it is with amusement that I read this article by Simon Jenkins, who believes that
The castigation of the corporation in the royal photo-shoot affair has lost all sense of proportion
It’s not just the “royal photo-shoot affair”, Simon.
Of course, having the tip of the iceberg finally surface does get people upset and asking them for zero tolerance, doesn’t it?
As I was saying…
Democrats on the House/Senate conference committee have dropped from the Homeland Security bill the provision that would protect “John Doe” citizens from lawsuits when they report suspicious behavior to the authorities.
This is a good example of how Congress really works. The “John Doe” measure passed the House on a 304-121 vote, which means that many Democrats didn’t want to go on record as opposing the measure. Instead, they killed it quietly in conference committee. So now Democrats in “swing” districts–those must be the ones where voters take seriously the risk of terrorist attack–can tell voters that they voted for the measure, and take no responsibility for the fact it never became law. This dodge is as old as the Republic.
It also shows the importance of party affiliation. If the Republicans still controlled Congress, a majority of conferees never would have voted to strip “John Doe” protection out of the bill
Michelle Malkin, who has the roll call: not one Republican voted against it.
Others blogging about it:
Captain’s Quarters, who wants to know how Democrats can posture as responsible guardians of national security while throwing citizen tipsters to the litigating wolves in his post at Heading Right
Center for Vigilant Freedom
Take Our Country Back
Let’s see if the Democrats are willing to vote publicly against such protections for American bystanders.
More links at Pajamas Media
The White House has posted on line for the first time the press briefing by Tony Snow, both the transcripts and the slide shows.
This is a welcome change, and as a blogger I’m very pleased to see it.