Jodo’s Dune, Hollywood’s Franchisosaurus

gallery2I finally saw Jodorowsky’s Dune, the documentary that describes Alejandro Jodorowsky’s project to make a film of Dune.  One comes away awed by the relentless passion of Jodorowsky.  He is one of those people who strive to make art happen on a grand scale through sheer force of faith and will.  You cannot help but find him inspiring.

Three things are striking about this documentary.  First, it illustrates the difficulty of making something daring under the funding mechanisms of the Hollywood model.  I was reminded that Orson Welles (who would have played Baron von Harkonen) had more projects canceled by funding problems than Andrei Tarkovsky (working under Soviet censors) ever had cancelled for any reason.  This is not censorship; but it is a kind of very powerful and very effective compression of the imagination.  Capital chases banality.  Second, Jodorowsky had a healthy independence with respect to the text of Dune.  He was going to change the plot left and right, to make the movie he envisioned.  The result would have been a fantasy inspired by Dune, but it would have been his own movie.  This is a good thing.  Dune the novel will always be there; a free adaptation can do no harm to the original text.  The textual puritanism that has much influence in fan culture today is reactionary.  Artists should ignore it.  Third, one wonders what speculative film would be like if Jodoworsky had succeeded in making his movie with an original Pink Floyd soundtrack, with Orson Welles and Mick Jagger and Salvador Dali and David Carradine acting, with Giger and Moebius and Foss art.  It may have created a whole different perception of the possibility and potential of speculative film.

Hence one comes to Jurassic World.

The dinosaurs are beautiful; but all (literally all) of the creativity of the film is in the special effects.  And, oh, how the camera strives to get the grill of a Mercedes into every damn shot.

It is a common claim that most of what comes out of Hollywood is leftist. This is not true; most of what comes out of Hollywood is neoliberal.  (For example, the criticisms of corporate greed that form a staple of thrillers, and make some kind of vague subplot in this movie, are always safely abstract and unrealistic, and completely removed from real corruption and greed.  The result is that these apparent criticisms are both smug and misdirection.)

If we can find a message in this latest installment of the Jurassic-franchise product placement vehicles, it is this:  science is bad when it is daring, when it attempts bold dreams.  Science is only good when it is producing consumer products of a familiar kind, for familiar brands.  Another world is not possible.

Let us imagine an alternative film:  Jodoworsky’s Jurassic Planets.  In it, the dinosaurs escape their consumerist nightmare park and they breed, covering the world.  Humanity develops radical new technologies (force fields, powerful stun weapons, etc.) to enable people to live in safety and in harmony with the dinosaurs.  The velociraptors learn to read and adopt our technology; they form an anarcho-syndicalist collective with sympathetic humans, and decide, first, to bring back all the organisms that humanity pushed into extinction and, second, to spread all of Earth’s life into the universe.  The long closing shot is an exterior of a terraformed Mars.  Not a single Mercedes rolls over the red planet, not a single Coca Cola is drunk there.  Instead, passenger pigeons fill the sky over a crimson savannah where woolly mammoths roam.

From poetic technologies to bureaucratic technologies

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David Graeber has the most interesting take I have read on why you don’t have your flying car:

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit

Graeber’s hypothesis is that our economic system is run with a preference for fostering bureaucracy over creation, and this stifles innovations that do not themselves result in more bureaucracy.

I find his thesis provocative and plausible.  For example, it is consistent with my experience of what is happening to academe in the United States.

Free reading of B-19, February 21st at 7:00 p.m. at Writers & Books

Writer’s & Books is going to do a reading of my play B-19.  The play is based on a true story of an experiment meant to “cure” homosexuality by sinking wires into the pleasure centers of one man’s brain to directly cause positive associations with heterosexuality.  It’s a story of forgotten history and unexpected consequences.

nq4WUgyhQitp1uYZTAZEBWcmY0rXn6EeTzZEbL86IQMRX_bDjdSPCT8N4QMYcfLOXHpbeWmnh2Smum90wRpBBXUq403Pt1nrdg2zVBvFGLh-DLk=s0-d-e1-ftSAVE THE DATE

Writers & Books presents

B – 19 by Craig DeLancey

Directed by Jean Gordon Ryon

Writers & Books

cordially invites you to attend

A Staged Reading of a New Work

Please join us for a staged reading of a new play by Craig DeLancey directed by Jean Gordon Ryon. Actors will perform the play with books in hand, and the playwright will be present for discussion and questions.

When
Saturday February 21, 2015
7p.m.

FREE

Where
Writers & Books
740 University Ave.
14607

http://www.wab.org/events/new-play-reading-by-craig-delancey/

Predator Space Chronicles 3 available now!

The third installment of the Predator Space Chronicles is up.

Amir Tarkos is one of the only humans in the Predator Corp, the most feared and respected military force in the Galaxy. With his partner Bria, a bear-like carnivore, Tarkos is on a dangerous and difficult mission to fight the Ulltrians, a race that once extinguished much of the life in the Galaxy.

War has begun, but Bria has been accused of murder and treason and Tarkos is suspected to be an accomplice. Only they can save the Alliance, but first they must escape from prison, raise an army of artificial intelligences, and seize control of the most dangerous weapon the Alliance ever created.

PSC3.v1