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Mugger crocodiles in India and alligators in the USA have both been observed to lie, partially submerged, beneath egret and heron colonies with sticks balanced across their snouts. Birds approach to collect the sticks for use in nest building and… well, let’s just say that it doesn’t end well for the birds.
Peaceful protests could be outlawed on the sole grounds that they might annoy nearby residents under contentious new powers being granted to councils, campaign groups warn.
The “shockingly open-ended” orders could also be used to ban youngsters from skateboarding, forbid teenagers from using local parks and prevent demonstrators from gathering outside council offices.
Children Of Men is a Piece of Garbage
Alright, I’m gonna bite. The movie Children of Men is terrible. It has no depth, no point, no plot to speak of, the characters are undefined and flat. It’s pretty much violence/snuff porn for intellectuals. Spoiler warning - not that there would be anything to spoiler because the plot has no twists or surprises at all. Do yourself a favor and watch Equilibrium instead.
In contrast to that, the setting is actually promising. On the one hand, mankind has become infertile 18 years ago and there are no children anymore. On the other hand, the whole world has gone to shit with poverty and dread and Great Britain is the only country where people still got their act together. A fascist government is trying to keep the waves of illegal immigrants out of the country. Now this would normally make for a nice groundwork for your run-off-the-mill dystopian story (take Soilent Green, for example). However, this time, it doesn’t matter - because nothing matters in this movie. Nobody gives a shit about anything.
So we have this interesting setting and the first thing the movie would have to do is to try and explain how a dwindling population count increases poverty to a point of massive immigration waves. Because, for example, if ~2/3 of the population in developing countries would simply be gone, everybody there would have three times as much of land and resources. We don’t care. Why does Britain keep the fugitives in their own city or whatever it is, instead of just deporting them to the continent? No care. How does the government react to the infertility phenomenon? Do they try to protect the lifes of their legal citizens? Nah… they give out suicide kits for free (wait what? I thought the problem was with people not getting born, not staying alive forever). So that must mean that the government is interested in reducing population count? Nah… they don’t care if people use the kits or don’t… nobody seems to be keeping track of the suicides, so there’ll probably be a whole bunch of dead people rotting away in their posh countryside homes while people are trampling over each other in the cities. The whole assisted suicide thing sounds like it was stolen from Soilent Green without understanding the rationale behind it in the first place.
Before we carry on, here’s the plot: Guy from the city gets recruited into an operation of the terrorist/resistance/People’s Front of Judea who are trying to smuggle a pregnant immigrant girl off to a mystery place where everything is fine. While they’re on the run, the second-in-command resistance guy gets their leader killed in a trap, so he can be number 1 and they can keep the girl to prove that immigrants rule ok and have dignity. Cityguy and pregnant girl flee into the immigrant camp where she gives birth. Resistance and cityguy get shot, the girl gets away with the baby to the mystery place. I’m not going to bother with names and detailed descriptions because they don’t matter.
The movie is pretty much over once the cityguy and the girl decide to flee from the resistance, the rest of it is just people being shot and endless repetitions of immigrants crying in their poor conditions. There’s no subtility here, we even get a scene where old people are shoved through gates, dressed to look like jews being deported from the Warsaw ghetto, and one of the fascist policemen stealing their watches and stuff. Obviously the immigrants also try to bum food and cigarettes from the protagonist, because, hey, that’s just how poor people roll. This is just disgusting, blatant misery porn, repeated ad nauseam and specifically designed so that our contemporary middle class audience can gape at it and pat themselves on the back for being well-off.
One scene is particularily obvious for its emotional exploitation. Guy and girl are smuggled into the home of an old couple who live in the fugitive camp. The whole thing is decorated in pre-war aesthetics, with grammophone music playing and tons of black-and-white photographs, something highly implausible considering the plot taking place in the year 2027. The old couple goes nuts over the baby and feed her oranges. If the whole world has gone down the crapper, how can there be oranges in Britain, let alone in that sealed-off fugitive camp? How did the old couple get their stuff into there? Why is it peaceful and quiet in there when there’s constant gunfire going on outside? We don’t care. All that’s important is to evoke the warm, fluffy memories of the audience of being pampered by their grandparents.
While we’re talking about plotholes: There’s the “big” turning point in the movie where the terrorists are killed and Guy/Girl are in a building, surrounded by military who are taking the place under cannon fire. Guy is being accused of being a terrorist himself and being part of the group who killed two policemen. So what happens next? Guygirl walk down the stairs, everybody gets to ogle the baby and cry a bit, then they carry on shooting each other. Do they get questioned by the military? Nah. Do they get escorted out of the warzone and brought into a government lab so they can check on the baby and examinate the mother, especially since she’s the only one on the whole planet who’s able to have children and save the human race? Of course not! Nobody gives a shit. I’m not even going to comment on why pretty much everybody in a sealed-off, military-controlled fugitive camp has an automatic weapon and why the military would go in there with an assault tank instead of maybe bulldozers, but hey, it makes for cool drawn-out sequences of shit exploding and people getting shot. In the end, the whole place is carpet-bombed by warplanes because why not. Let’s pretend it’s actually a zombie movie and they couldn’t be arsed to put makeup on people.
All this would make for a generic disaster porn movie if there weren’t so many hints of a great subplot sprinkled all over the place. As discussed before, what’s the fascist government’s position on people suddenly being able to plop out babies again? Where did the infertility come from in the first place? Could it have been a conspiracy to stop population growth and guarantee a sufficient standard of living for the rest of the population? Maybe the devilish plot of baby-boomers gone mad and trying to protect their assets? Could the whole “mystery place” actually be a set-up to lure fertile people into the arms of a secret organization to keep them under control? It’s even hinted at in the movie, when Guy asks how they know about the mystery place and gets the reply that they never actually met the people behind it and it’s all been just a game of telephone. Nnnnope, nothing.
As the credits roll, there’s children’s laughter and Bob Dylan singing. Because the 60s were alright, the future is creepy, the government is fascist and children are our only hope. And then there’s the scene where Cityguy asks his rich relative why he’s keeping his posh game going if there’s nothing for him in the future. The answer? “I just don’t think about it” - and that’s the essence of the movie. Just let it lull you in and don’t question it, otherwise it will fall apart with nothing left but tearjerking and pompous pseudo-intellect.
By the way, the rich relative does have a son - who’s autistic and constantly playing video games. Can’t build a future with those.
Mother Jones: Somebody Stole 7 Milliseconds From the Federal Reserve
Last Wednesday, the Fed announced that it would not be tapering its bond buying program. It takes 7 milliseconds for this information to get to Chicago. However, several huge orders that were based on the Fed’s decision were placed on Chicago exchanges 2-3 milliseconds after 2 pm. How did this happen?