måndag 17 september 2012

The concept of Self

The more experience, years and continuation one endures, the more complex the Self becomes. I have no problem acknowledging the boundaries of visual perception. Question is whether it's the Real I'm experiencing, or if it's an imagination. Indiscipline by King Crimson depicts the relentless confusion that's always there. Sometime it's entertaining at a distance, sometimes horribly superficial.
All is Matter and how we perceive Matter is subjectively processed through layers of nerves, synapses and braincells in such mass that the quantitative knowledge would drive you insane. Understanding the Matter is impossible to be universalised; it's only Real to the Self. Same logic should apply to the paradox of human interaction: How can you be sure you're not the only living creature in this universe (which is a mental storage for Space, detached from the Self)? In essence, how can you be sure that this isn't an illusion? But if your Self is the only Real, how would that explain your interpretations of the Real? Doesn't the social environment and development give some clues? Could it all be explained as to a prolonged start-run for the Self to rid itself of the notion of a Collective? But then, how did it all begin? This is a mindfuck, if you stop to think about it. Humans are gifted with the most terrible thing in all of evolution: Self-awareness.

Marcus Aurelius said: "...nothing is so productive of elevation of mind as to be able to examine methodically and truly every object which is presented to thee in life, and always to look at things so as to see at the same time what kind of universe this is...", and in an earlier passage: "Thou must now at last perceive of what universe thou art a part, and of what administrator of the universe thy existence is an efflux". In essence, Aurelius was a true stoic, constantly promoting notions of duty, loyalty, truth and honour. But his universal objectivity is something I'm having a hard time coping with. This kind of positivism is eating away the very heart of exploration, bot inwards and outwards. One could argue that there's many different aspects of the Real, that it all depends on the spatial dimension and how its subjects creates interaction and interdependence with it. If the majority of the people embraced suicide as the only viable option to end life then the "anti-suicidists" would be considered crazy. And that's making the assumption that there's more than one conscious operating at the same time. Outside of it, this all becomes an imaginary picture of small figures, frozen in a sandbox of a god.

tisdag 21 augusti 2012

East and West

When reviewing Brev till Prinsen av Mogadonien a book critic at the Swedish public television made some remarks about the Western culture and the Eastern culture(s). According to her, We the westerners don't consider the cultural exchange we could get from reading Eastern authors and artists. We the westerners stubbornly stick to our own culture of art and literature. This book critic also claims that Arabic people are more interested in western literature and culture than westerners are about theirs. I wonder if she has ever actually met an Arabic person in her whole life.

I've lived with people from all over the world for many years - Buddhists, Christians, Hindu, Jews, Muslims, Sikh, some indigenous shamanistic religions and so forth. When communicating with people from all these different places it's a reasonable and courteous thing to really listen to them each separately, to give them their space and time of expression and to respect them for who they are and not what you think they are. Assumptions like "that one is an Israeli Jew, I guess he's a crazy Zionist" is not really helping anyone in international socialising. Another thing you might consider is not to talk about yourself constantly. It doesn't get you anywhere, it can be rude and it's really egoistic and self-centred.

One thing I have noticed is that all the monotheistic people love to talk about their own culture. If you mention anything that aren't related to their own culture they listen to you for about 3 minutes, then try to switch back to the subject at hand, their supreme and overwhelmingly flawless culture. I had to listen to a neighbour go on and on about his Zimbabwe and Mugabe, which was grossly misunderstood by foreigners and beloved by his own people, of course. He also pointed out, with brows raised, that the Zimbabwe people are good Christians. Okay, good to know...
Another time I asked a neighbour how things were in Tunis (before the Tunisian Revolution, tension was rising in the country) and over an hour he raged about what a great country Tunis was and what a proud Muslim past it had, and what a prick Ben Ali was. I only asked him out of concern for his family - I didn't want a fucking propaganda speech.
Another time I was asked if I remembered my Old Testament, which I didn't (and don't). That rendered me a long speech on how fulfilling, essential and strong the message of God is, if you read it in Hebrew. Imagine if I give jackshit about the fucking Bible-thumpers nowadays. He also talked long and hard about what a special place Israel is and how history seems to (?) circulate around it.

At the same time, every time I've asked these neighbours, strangers, exchange-students if they know anything about Swedish culture, about Swedish musicians, about any kind of Western authors no one knew shit. Conclusion: They were all self-centred, egoistic and isolated idiots from monotheistic backgrounds. And I couldn't care less what happens to them.

They don't care about my culture, I don't care about theirs. Fine by me.

So, miss latte-sipping book critic, don't pretend that people from example the Middle East, South-east Asia or East Africa really know anything about Sweden, about Swedish authors and artists, because they don't. And they don't want to know anything. Their way of speaking to you makes it really obvious.
These Abraham-followers from Middle East, North Africa asf. only care about their own culture, their own religion and their own society. I don't have any problems with status quo - at least they're honest about their indifference towards us.

måndag 6 augusti 2012

The puzzle of DSBM

The suffering artist, the boxed self-mutilator and, contradictory, the emulator of depression has found its way to many listeners over these last ten-fifteen years through a scene of degenerate hipsters who add influences accordingly to their free-for-all experimental soup. The notion that it's a scene consisting of former black metal artists is questionable, to say the least. Rather it's a mash-up of persons and constellations of eclectic backgrounds, which form this web of unholy matrimony in music. The quality of this music ranges from pure hacks to highly developed artistry, and the quantity of the scene is, or has, swelled considerably since its dawn.

But what concerns me is one of the core in the lyrical contents in DSBM. Thematically it's nothing new, the old influences from blues comes first to mind, also there's many others beyond that musical era. But the mere quest to express deepest depression, to somehow find its core and thrive on it in its most negative ways perplexes me. If you're really that down, so fucking bored with life, how come you have any will left to create songs and record them? Real suicidal depression is a terrible power. It can swallow you whole and cut all bonds you might have to this world before you even come to realize it's an emotional dead-end, eating away at you. I've seen people vanish completely from the face of the earth, to later appear on the news, washed up on the banks under a bridge or hanging from their own ceiling lights. Before their disappearance they hadn't the strength to do anything, not even get up out of bed and make food to survive. The only viable option to rid themselves of their plight was to end their life. That's real suicidal depression. To try and emulate this mental black hole is to ridicule those people that actually didn't make it, who didn't manage to escape it. They were in dire need of assistance and we failed to help them in their most crucial hour.

If it was just a matter of trying to trigger that emotional feeling without any thematically strings attached I wouldn't have any problems with it. Many bands have done so in the past without any plump motives like DSBM bands. Or if you're out to gain energy from negativity, like Abandon (RIP) did, then it's also another thing - trying to create positivity, to progress something productive out of a benighted state isn't an easy thing but a honourable task for any worthy artist and in which case I salute those efforts.

torsdag 7 juni 2012

Prometheus sucks bigtime

Some years ago I heard about the planned prequel to Alien (1979) and I thought it would be awesome if Ridley Scott would direct it and allow his idea of the Space Jockey to bear fruit on a cinema. Sadly this would not be the case. He tossed that idea (with the usual pushing from commercial production retards) and set forth to direct a spin-off, namely Prometheus, which would tangent some elements of the Alien universe but not have the Alien creature actually in the movie. The synopsis is pretty lazy and are common ideas from older sci-fi, that humanity has been created from alien intervention, and evidence of that thesis is found in ancient dig-sites on separate places on Earth, showing a starmap to a distant planet. Scientist is sent to this far-away location in space to discover if these aliens were the ones responsible for creating humanity, and if so, ask them what the purpose of human existence is.

The end result? Pretty bad.

The movie had a budget of 120 millions USD. From that money stack you’d at least expect some well-thought and well-analysed script, character development, environment process and universal brainstorming to be made. But no, that’s not the case. With the amount of time the film crew has spent on this, plus the big budget, the following mistakes, flaws, sloppy handwork and overall amateur-like storytelling is beyond my comprehension.

The characters are, in 9 out of 10, quite stereotypical and shallow. Everything is served on the Hollywood smorgasbord, from the geeky scientist with glasses (Millburn), the bad boy with a Mohawk haircut and tribal tattoos (Fifield), the black captain working as a comic-relief (Janek), the strict businesswoman who plots for corporate power (Wickers), the pretty boy scientist (Holloway), and the weak, emotional female (Shaw).

When entering the planet atmosphere, the crew immediately finds what they seek for - alien structures, resembling buildings. No orbital scanning or similar necessity in order to pinpoint the location needed?

When entering the alien structure, the crew scans the atmosphere on the grounds, concludes that it’s breathable air, and takes off their helmets, Did they ever stop to think about airborne viruses or bacteria?

Millburn has to pat an alien creature, because it’s sooo cute. Imagine if that was a mistake. Once again the fuzzy scientist, who relies in raw data and Darwinism, dies first. Reprise of an older movie scene, perhaps? Also, with Shaw, being the single “survivor” AND a true believer of higher purpose (God, anyone?), this moves towards the notion that the faithful will earn success while the disbelievers will fall. More Christian infiltration in the media?

At least one of the crew has to freak out at a minor accident (Fifield), when they are all supposed to be experienced and has a professional payroll from a multi-billionaire company. Sounds feasible, no? I don’t think NASA would hire these amateurs.

Fifield, who is supposed to be a geologist and is mapping the alien structure, has no clue where his instruments are leading him when they are stranded in the alien structure because of bad weather. At the same time, no one monitors their situation from the space ship. Sounds like a bunch of professionals?

Shaw gets impregnated with alien DNA. The schizoid android David therefore restrains Shaw and has set his mind to freeze Shaw into stasis to analyze her, but she lures him that a sedative is working on her, so David leaves her alone. Shaw then breaks free and gets the alien DNA inside of her, which is a squid-like creature, surgically removed herself, staples her stomach wound and runs away from the operation table. No one follows her. She unexpectedly meets up with the old Weyland, who funded the scientific space trip and secretly tagged along, along with his personal watch and David. No one comments on her wounds or trials. Is this some kind of joke on inconsistencies, plot holes or just bad script writing? Anyone? I’m still baffled on how illogical and extremely irrational everything gets from this point on, at the same time keeping in mind that this is fiction and not reality. But come on, some coherencies would be nice.  

When you see a space ship comes crashing down, falling towards a specific location, you would do well to try and move away from that location. In Prometheus you obviously don’t. Wickers get (assumingly) crushed when she tries to run a straight line, the same line the shadow of the falling ship is casting on the ground.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Many other important flaws have been pointed out on IMDB, but if I would point them all out it would be a novel in the end. It’s that bad.
The movie is over 2 hours, yet it fails to focus on the story itself. Once again Lindelof is set loose to fuck up a generally decent idea of story and go Frank Zappa on everything, too much mad-hat ideas that I barely understand how the fuck Ridley Scott would hire someone like Lindelof, let alone allow himself to divulge in these kind of confused, schizophrenia behaviour in the story. Dozens of ideas are created, but nothing is followed up. I know the script style of avoiding answering too many questions, to leave some scenes out to public speculation, but this is far beyond that. Not everything has to be explained, but to constantly create more questions than answers are just the poor work of an amateur. 

This movie had more style than substance. A poor balance of production, and once again proves that a big budget doesn’t mean shit if you have hacks that are allowed to run amok with the script.

So, there’s too much idiotic behaviour from an already flawed script. Shame on you, Lindelof, you are truly overrated! Refrain from doing any more scripts ever and stick to production only! Do not direct either, who knows what you would let slip pass the radar!

2/5 in review. It's not as bad as Avatar or Alien vs Predator at least, but not far from it.

tisdag 10 april 2012

The Christian infiltration of extreme metal

Don't get me wrong. The tag line might be problematic in its formulation, and I recognize its implications.

Christianity has never been a big supporter of folk music, jazz, blues, rock 'n' roll, and later on hard rock. But the shapers of these genres were often raised from Christian societies, and some of the cultural baggage were transferred into the music.

When extreme metal developed during the late 80's, it often adopted the stylistic approach of agitation, and many times lyrical ideas from Christian theology, such as the concept of Satan, Hell, demons, sin etcetera. Bands like Bathory, Mayhem, Morbid Angel, Slayer and Venom all used these kind of visual and lyrical concepts for provocation and resentment of modern society and also to explore the individual stand points.

For Black metal bands the anti-Christian themes were explicitly devoted to in a lyrical sense and in the imagery of the artists. It raised the religious question in extreme metal and took a stand against the Christian religion and its dominance over the morals and society.
It also showed great resentment against the latter development of Trash and Death metal, with the cleaner productions, more focus on technicality, commercialising the artists and the fading principals behind the Death metal, which was originally to be aggressive, with heavy sound, raw and antagonising. That was one of the key points as to why many Death metal bands started developing their musical ideas and lyrics into Black metal instead. The ones who merely jumped the band-wagon is not worth mentioning here.
Black metal has become a safe haven from Christian culture-infiltration. At the same time, without Christianity and the society it has created, Black metal would loose a lot of its reason to exist. The antagonism between these two cultures is at the center of Black Metal, just like Communism wouldn't exist without the historical serfdom of feudalism or the economic injustice of liberalism. So, one might say that this is an interdependent relation.
If Christian religion ceased to exist, or Black metal developed into something else, then their relation is altered. Black metal has always been about development, just like any extreme metal, and we've all ready seen some progress in this scene. But what will happen when the core of its existence is questioned?
Over the last fifteen years there's been several announcements of reborn Christians in other metal and hard rock scenes, artists which formerly didn't give a flying fuck about Christian norms, but now, all of a sudden, are father figures of high morals and family values. I mean, what the fuck? Where is it going to end?

In the 80's we had these hacks in Stryper and Mortification. But nowadays they're growing in bigger numbers.

As I Lie Dying, one of the most disgusting knuckle-dragging, tribal tattoo macho metal band ever to be seen, is Christian.

Norma Jean has infiltrated the hardcore scene with their religious filth.

In the pop punk scene Rise Against has established themselves a name. Well... the scene is worthless, even without the Christians it sucks donkey balls big time. Fucking fratboy crap.

In the post-hardcore scene you have talentless tools like Blindside, Callisto, trying to brainwash the hip teenagers.

In the Death metal scene you have The Devil Wears Prada. One of fucking worst band name ever to be conceived. To quote Thom Yorke: "When I am king, you will be first against the wall".

Creed, one of the most boring fucking attempts to be musically creative, is another of these powerless tools in the service of the Christian machine. The band started out just when the original grunge scene had faded, and copied some of that ideas into a Christian theme, at the same time doing videos appealing to teenage women.

Extol and King's X is another of these mediocre musicians with mediocre goals that infiltrate the progressive/experimental rock scene.

Nowadays it's widely accepted that Tom Araya is a Christian. So, obviously his journey of "officially debarking" from Christianity were no longer than the thin line of mere provocation (as with the rest of their "anti-Christian" themes).

Ralph Santolla claims he's a Catholic, and were allowed to play in Deicide for several years. What the fuck?

Dave Mustaine announced several years ago that he was a reborn Christian, and has since then become the biggest turd on the planet. His public appearance will do him no good however, and I seriously doubt his contribution to the Christian infiltration in metal scenes to be any productive. His views on ethnicity, the sexes and sexuality has summarised his diminishing intellect, so far.

And nowadays we have "Unblack metal" bands that explicitly incorporate Christian religion in the music. Bands like Antestor, Crimson Moonlight, Drottnar, Frost Like Ashes, Lengsel and Slechtvalk.

The question now is: Since Black metal was created as an alternative to Christianity, how will these new Christian bands affect the development of the BM scene? Will it be swallowed up in the culture of pure commercialism and mediocrity? Or have we all ready passed that bar?