Friday, February 29, 2008


Fellini earned his reputation of excellence over his years of fame. Movies such as Roma, La Dolce Vita, Casanova and 8 1/2 were not only brilliant films, but in fact changed the very face of cinema.

Clowns, I, is a much lesser known film of his stunning oeuvre. Nevertheless, it is a good portrayal of his fascination with the circus and with entertainment in the broader sense. This 'shorty' is funny, smart and allows insights in the dreamworld of its makers. Moreover, the score is wonderful.

Plot: A sentimental journey shot in France and Italy, searching the trace of the great clowns of yesterday, by one of the few filmmakers that showed his love for these performers in his own films, an affection that dates from a childhood experience in his hometown Rimini, which is lovingly recreated in the dream-like opening scene. Made for Italian television, the film shows Fellini meeting a few survivors, talking to clowns' relatives and friends, visiting white clowns, and recreating the style of the old art, as the funeral of a famous clown, that closes the documentary. He even finds and films Anita Ekberg, the star of his 1960 masterpiece, "La dolce vita" (I always thought he saw her a bit as a joke); but what I find curious is that his film crew seems to be integrated by a clownish crowd without make-up. Nino Rota contributed one of his most cheerful scores. (IMDB)

Note: Language is Italian and subtitles are French (hope that is not a problem, good way to catch up with your languages ;))

*with the courtesy of

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jailhouse rock

I want to quickly mention a report that came out in the New York Times, which reads:

"For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars... Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails... Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars... One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34...."

When reading such figures, many things come into mind. First, one wonders why the US is trying so hard to pursue even more 'criminals' outside its borders. Second, the prison business (food, housing among other things) must be a million (billion?) Dollar producing-machine. Third, the US is losing economic power from this potentially massive labour force, which they rather see inside than outside.

Sure you could argue that these people also work, through mechanisms of privatisation, in mines or in manufacturing assembly lines. But as US unions and entrepreneurs are well aware, China is increasingly becoming the only economically viable production hub. Privatised prisons are thus forced to exploit labour to a maximum in order to compete with the cheap labour from China. Moreover, the more people are in prison, the less 'brain' there is to compete economically with the rest of the world. The US industry relies on its technological know-how and superiour flows of information. However, what happens when more and more people are forced into prisons?

Well, besides the fact that society slows in its developments, you create enormous (income, racial, gender, etc) inequalities. In especially the latter, but also the former, one could thus expect social uproar or other forms of class struggles that emerge from the ashes of a self-fulfilling social division in US society.

Bottom line, having one on every hundred citizens is not good for social cohesion, political stability, economic development or external/ foreign relations. Finally, a question that comes into mind:

"are US citizens really that criminal in nature or is there something more fundamentally wrong in its society"?

* courtesy of NYT

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

God is thedt (and will stay daet)

I received a reply from an anonymous person yesterday on my overly short overview of some of the paradoxes in the Bible. When reading his comments, I felt the strong urge to reject his totalizing simplicity in his line of argumentation, which comes down to the fact that God is above and we have to live and suffer under His rule. Mind the supreme monopolization of the Male in the 'He' and 'Him' form. Why is God never a Woman? And why is he always portrayed as a white long haired hippie? Why is he not a short haired black woman with curls? Why are almost all the figures in the Bible blond and white? Is it because whites are superior in teleological terms? Screw that, really!

Anyways some of his arguments and some of my counter arguments you will find below. The latter are by far not limited to this heavily reduced list of arguments that serve the purpose of equalizing Biblical reading to post-modern reading and stressing the multitude of paradoxes embedded in the Bible.

Anonymous: "The Bible isn't post-modern because it hardly meets the creditability to be a fictional book. It hardly even describes each character and is hardly exciting to read. For example: Numbers."

Me: Postmodern is not fiction, post-modernists would argue that it is the ultimate reality. Simply because it is subjectively personalized. Post-modernists would argue therefore simularly that 'it hardly meets the creditability to be a fictional'. It probably has more legitimacy than a holy mono scripture that has ever been written/ adjusted/ updated/ translated by so many people as the Bible.

Paradoxical proposed Theses I:

GE 1:3-5 On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness.
GE 1:14-19 The sun (which separates night and day) wasn't created until the fourth day.

Anonymous: The Bible doesn't contradict it self, for example, the Gospels, which in parallel they all tell the same story. Here's why the examples that are presented don't contradict each other:

God created light which "separated" darkness. This "light" wasn't the sun but some other light. The sun doesn't separate darkness but it fades it out. Sometimes the sun is blacked out during an eclipse. This light is also described in John 1:5, where the light shines through the darkness, and the darkness never prevails over it. Therefore, this light isn't the sun because the sun can stop shining during an eclipse.

Me: You try to pursue a scientific approach, but I think you fail in this alternative biblical interpretation. You are suggesting that God started his work in the middle of an eclipse? A three day period of global (!) eclipse seems somewhat difficult to believe. The argument of having multiple lights (one being natural and one being spiritual) is more interesting and to be taken more seriously than the observation of a mere eclipse explanation. However, this is not elaborated and left up open for interpretation in the Bible. This is a postmodern experience under the definition as mentioned above (i.e. subjective interpretation) . However, this is contradictory as God is the monopolizing totality and the very anthesis of a subjectively lived experience of, in this case, the experience of 'light'. The problem with two lights and the occurrence of postmodernist interpretation lies in the definition of 'light' as being two, rather than one.

Paradoxical proposed Theses II:

GE 1:11-12, 26-27 Trees were created before man was created.
GE 2:4-9 Man was created before trees were created.

Anonymous: "In chapter one, God created the earth, and notice that it says it was wasted and void? Well, we find, as interpretators, that God created all things first. Then, in chapter two, God "formed" all things so they wouldn't be wasted and void."

Me: this is again a retroductive reaction. How can you say that he created waste/ void when our experience of these terms is socially constructed and embedded in history? Lets look at threes as in the example. First He/ SHE (!) created supposed trees of waste (whatever those might look like) to replace them with 'unwastefull' trees? How does he ascertain that certain trees/ or other subject or objects can be considered as 'waste' and why did he make them then in the very first place?

Paradoxical proposed Theses III:
MT 7:1-2 Do not judge.
MT 7:15-20 Instructions for judging a false prophet.

Anonymous: In Mt 7 where Jesus says "Do not judge." Jesus didn't say that judging was wrong but it was wrong to judge while you're sinning. Notice what it says in verses 4 and 5, "And why behold thou the mote that is in your brother's eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me cast out the mote out of your eye; and look, the beam is in my own eye?" Notice Jesus clearly means that we shouldn't judge our associates when we have sin within (the beam), and try and cast out the mote out of them while being sinful.

Me: This is a relatively easy to rebuff theme. The very definition on 'sinning' is constructed on judging of what is good and bad. If there was not a judging of what was supposedly wrong and good, there would be no sinning in the first place.

Paradoxical proposed Theses IV:

MT 10:10 Do not take sandals (shoes) or staves.
MK 6:8-9 Take sandals (shoes) and staves.

Anonymous: In Matthew 10:10, Jesus is just ordering His disciples not to take anything from anyone for themselves. Mark 6:8-9, Jesus tells His disciples not to take any of their personal items on their journey.

Me: - again this is a retroductive interpretation. In such a manner, we could reinterpret all 'Holy' (and other ethic) books and make them as ultimate truths. Moreover, I think the whole issue about 'property' can be widely contested on the principal that they do not own anything for themselves since they are not accepted to have anything for themselves (except their bodies and minds) in the first place.

Paradoxical proposed Theses V:

MT 12:39, MK 8:12, LK 11:29 Jesus says that he will give no "sign."
JN 3:2, 20:30, AC 2:22 Jesus proceeds to give many such "signs."

Anonymous: Mt 12:39, Mk 8:12, and Lk 11:29 describe the same occurrence. It clearly says what happened in Mk 8:11, "And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, testing him." Jesus didn't give them a sign because they were testing Him, to see if He was the Christ (Messiah). Matthew 4:7 states, “Jesus said unto him, Again it is written, Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.” Therefore, Jesus was acknowledging Himself as God.

In John 20:30, it clearly says that Jesus did miracles signs in front of His disciples. Therefore, Jesus didn't do it for the Pharisees because they were testing Him all the time.

Me: again you are speculating on the meaning of 'signs' and their significance for the apparently flawed contradiction. (Signs, which is by the way one of the core pillar of post-modernism theory and culture). Why the need in the Bible to call them 'signs' and not, like you did, 'miracles' are those not in teleological terms always signs (de facto)!? Why talk of signs when clearly there are not supposed to prove the existence of God in front of the Pharaoh. Signs are named so because they signal something, if they are performed they create affirmation of the existence (in this context) of something teleological, when they are not they prove the opposite (a falsity). They are never voluntarily conducted in the example of teleology becauseJesus has to show his superior existence and rely and receive affirmation through the use of empirical evidence, i.e. the suggested miracles.

Paradoxical proposed Theses VI:

IS 44:24 God created heaven and earth alone.
JN 1:1-3 Jesus took part in creation.

Anonymous: It says in Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace." This prophecy clearly states that the Messiah is God. Their child was born and a Son was given. Otherwise, who is this “son” it's stating?

Me: God/ Jesus: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given...shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace" - This comes from a Judism: "For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called Pele - joez - el- gibbor -Abi -ad -sar - shalom"The Christian verse is a cheap reproduction of a much older book, which calls the son differently. Again, a major contradiction that only worsens when you go deeper into it


Anonymous: "If God is nonexistent then what’s the reason for suffering?"

Me: Well to be honest I dont suffer and people that rely on a milder form of Christianity do not suffer either. Instead, they enjoy life as it is, colorful, melancholic, shining, easthetic, etc. Only fundamental religious theorist restrain themselves from enjoying life as it is meant to be, an object of love. If Nietzsche is what it takes, yes than I believe in the power of the individual and wish for the deaht of (a transcendent) God.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Soon I hope to see Wilder's movie (what!? - read the papers, buddy) and be amazed about the coming violent uproars and 'civilizational clashes' between 'Muslims' and well, 'those proud nationalists' that think the world actually cares about their xenophobic opinions.

I am not even surprised with the decade long fear over the Islamic 'Other', I would rather see it as a continuation of the Jewish struggle for a place in Western societies. I am not saying that it is better in China, where some don't even know about the existence of black people, let alone of the a Holy book which has the 'Absolute Truth' *imaging the reaction of one of the 500 million farmers in China*. Neither am I cynically arguing that that the 'West is the best' (Jim Morrison). I am just saying that it is rather pathetic to think that people exclude others because of a the different way they received their indoctrination. Yes, religion. Although, of course it is not all religion, it never is just 'all religion'. However, it is always a good excuse....

One of the great things about the Bible is that it is post-modern. Why? Well, it shares the same need for contradictions. Some examples.

GE 1:3-5 On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness.
GE 1:14-19 The sun (which separates night and day) wasn't created until the fourth day.

GE 1:11-12, 26-27 Trees were created before man was created.
GE 2:4-9 Man was created before trees were created.

MT 7:1-2 Do not judge.
MT 7:15-20 Instructions for judging a false prophet.

MT 10:10 Do not take sandals (shoes) or staves.
MK 6:8-9 Take sandals (shoes) and staves.

MT 12:39, MK 8:12, LK 11:29 Jesus says that he will give no "sign."
JN 3:2, 20:30, AC 2:22 Jesus proceeds to give many such "signs."

IS 44:24 God created heaven and earth alone.
JN 1:1-3 Jesus took part in creation.


The nicest thing about the Bible (and other Holy books) however is its obsession with incest, violence and other 'bizarrities'.

Eating human feces
"And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. And the LORD said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them."

NU 31:31-40 "32,000 virgins are taken by the Israelites as booty of which thirty-two are set aside as a tribute for the Lord." (the muslims have to do it with 'only' 99)

SA 13:1-14 King David's son, Amnon, rapes his half-sister, Tamar.

Muerder and humiliation
EZ 23:10 "They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword."

Why even bother fighting the Koran when we got the Bible to deal with first? Instead let us all be capitalists, unit and destruct this world the 'money way'.

*thanks to

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Goodbye Fidel

Dear compatriots:

Last Friday, February 15, I promised you that in my next reflection I would deal with an issue of interest to many compatriots. Thus, this now is rather a message.

The moment has come to nominate and elect the State Council, its President, its Vice-Presidents and Secretary.

For many years I have occupied the honorable position of President. On February 15, 1976 the Socialist Constitution was approved with the free, direct and secret vote of over 95% of the people with the right to cast a vote. The first National Assembly was established on December 2nd that same year; this elected the State Council and its presidency. Before that, I had been a Prime Minister for almost 18 years. I always had the necessary prerogatives to carry forward the revolutionary work with the support of the overwhelming majority of the people.


The path will always be difficult and require from everyone’s intelligent effort. I distrust the seemingly easy path of apologetics or its antithesis the self-flagellation. We should always be prepared for the worst variable. The principle of being as prudent in success as steady in adversity cannot be forgotten. The adversary to be defeated is extremely strong; however, we have been able to keep it at bay for half a century.

This is not my farewell to you. My only wish is to fight as a soldier in the battle of ideas. I shall continue to write under the heading of ‘Reflections by comrade Fidel.’ It will be just another weapon you can count on. Perhaps my voice will be heard. I shall be careful.


Fidel Castro Ruz

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Man from Earth

Don't forget to post your comments on my research abstract, which I posted yesterday! Anyways, today, another movie since I am too busy for writing a constructive meaningful post.

Ever heard of "The Man from Earth"? Its a pretty decent movie, directed by Richard Schenkman, about intellectual discourse...

Plot: An impromptu goodbye party for Professor John Oldman becomes a mysterious interrogation after the retiring scholar reveals to his colleagues he is an immortal who has walked the earth for 14,000 years (IMDB).

Enjoy, but do not expect something easy, albeit worthwhile.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Research abstract

Today not a movie, but my updated research abstract! Please dont be shy and comment when you dissagree or when you think that something is not clear (enough). I intend to provide this (probably with some ammendments) to compete for a scholarship at my uni.

Thanks a lot for any comments!


My interest in analysing China’s post-modernity (through a progressive political-economic framework) is the logical consequence of the position I fulfilled as an urban planner in Changzhou (Jiangsu province). During my employment for the Chinese and German government I became aware of the intrinsic relation between China’s changing landscape and its paradoxical political-economic apparatus. This area of study has however been largely neglected by both economic sociologists and anthropological political-economists. I believe that an in-depth and progressive study on the functioning of capitalism and the effects it has on China’s modernisation project could allow for a greater understanding of its impact on the country’s urban society.


China’s contemporary development towards a stage of modernity is in this research considered to be taking place under a dynamic, yet contradictory synthesis of a deceased communist ideology and a political apparatus which increasingly relies on a capitalist logic. A paradoxical situation, described as an ‘authoritarian state capitalism’, which compels the country to increasingly transition into spaces of modernity and post-modernity. These historical stages, which are understood to be temporal transitions within the expansive rationale of capitalism, have provided an environment for both an increasing commodification of the natural word and a cognitive instrumentalisation of human perceptions and aesthetics.


The discussion on the country’s long and still ongoing twentieth century, characterised by its questioning of how to modernise, will serve as the key to an unlocking of the hypothesis that China’s integration in the world economy (and its concomitant embrace of the capitalist logic for the purpose of political stability) fundamentally alters the landscape of China into layers of a reproductive post-modernity. The validity and nature of this presupposition will be tested empirically on the basis of the increasing influence of European architecture on China’s urban landscape. The simulacrum of ‘Europeanness’ into an ever growing number of Chinese cities marks the growing estrangement of inhabitants from their local habitat and underpins the growing influence of capitalist Reason into the consciousness of China’s population.


The epistemological approach of this research finds its origin in the historical transcendence of the dialectic which is central to the Hegelian-Marxist interpretation of capitalism and its instrumental reasoning. This historical narrative finds its support in a robust theoretical framework, which from the very onset of this research will conceptualise both the dialectics of capitalism and its role in the path to modernisation and post-modernity. Evidently, this causes the necessity to revaluate Marxism along lines which would enable it to come to terms with
China’s internal contradictions in a world which is said to be increasingly ‘globalised’. The intended makeover, which will find its support in the works of progressive and philosophical Marxian theory, is not a rejection of Marxism, but rather a recognition and acceptance of its validity over the deterministic economic base that is increasingly intertwined with its super-structure.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Funny Games

No Funny Games here, Michael.

This movie is brilliant and so is its director, Michael Hanneke. Caché, one of his others, is still high among my all-time favorites, but so is "Funny Games", well if you can cope with the unpredictable and inhuman (?) violence in the movie. It feels like the Clockwork Orange and breathes Freud.



Dario Argento is a legend, a hero and now also an internationally renowned figure. Doing cult when Tarantino was not even born. Inferno is a must see, cos its a true masterpiece. Screw the plot, lets go postmodern and purify cinema as a proper form of art.

Terror that's hotter than hell!

Plot:Young poetess Rose Elliot buys a book from a local antique dealer, a diary in Latin of an architect, E. Varelli. She learns of the Three Mothers, and believes her apartment building is one of their houses. She pleads her brother Mark, who is studying musicology in Rome, to come, because she is afraid. Mark's friend Sara reads her letter, which he left behind in class, and discovers the school is run by the Mater Lacrimarum, and is kiilled for this knowledge. The house of Mater Suspiriorum has already been destroyed, and by the time Mark arrives in New York City, he is investigating his sister's muerder. (IMDB)


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines!