Monday, April 25, 2011

Geek Time Activate!

:D I am in a good mood, it is my day off, I had a productive morning... well productive if you count getting stuff done in minecraft. Minecraft is a good time. I had to start playing single player because there is something enticing about the Nether and being able to turn the monsters off whenever you want is nice. I mean if I am just building something and night falls I go to sleep and they go away. So I turn them off and can work through the night without having to worry about dropping what I am doing so I can hop in my bed. That stuff is annoying. Also creepers suck. No seriously. I like my landscape the way it is and having stuff I just built keeps getting blown up which is annoying as hell. I don't like creepers. I also turned monsters on for a bit and then spent half of the night running from 5 creepers which all attacked me at the same time which was shit.

Fortunatly I managed to get one to kill two of the other ones then I killed the last one and then later on I died because I forgot where the hole they made was and I fell in...there was also a skelton was in that hole. So I turned that shit off. I am currenly just getting materials together to build my house. Once I get all that done then I will be able to start really focusing on my house. I need my sky island to be a little bit bigger and then once that happens I will be able to make some stuff happen. THEN I will be able to start building something in the Neather. I like the the Neather it is relaxing to me. I am not sure what I am going to do there but it will be something. Originally I just wanted it to be a free and pleantiful source of magma but now it I want to make a home there. I like homes.

Moving on there is heroclix. Heroclix has been calling my name pretty viciously. I am not sure if it is the new street fighter figures, the new giant sized happy things, the improved sculpts, or the fact that I've always really loved the game. I like BattleTech but I am pretty much done spending money on it. I got my book, my map set, pleanty of figgures, all I really need is to get some stuff printed at kinkos which I might do tonight, a King Crab, and a Hatchet Man. I might someday buy another boxed set to get another pile of plastic miniatures or some other stuff. However, for the most part I think I am good with Battletech I might pick up the lakes and rivers hex maps set.

So back to heroclix. There is the blind buying thing and my god does that ever burn my. I mean why WHY do the blind buying thing. I hate that so much. However, the game itself almost makes it worth it. Also if I grab a couple of booster for across some of the newer sets and a few singles I'll be more or less set. I mean it isn't like I will be playing in tournaments or things like that it will be just at anime club. I also love the switch to a more flexible card system than the rather static powers and ability sheets. It is just a matter of getting some figures together. There is also the other matter that the only people who sell it in town is some place called bobe's hobby house. Nice people, and a GREAT selection of stuff from all over. It is mostly a matter of getting some figgures together. There are tons and tons and tons of lots of ebay but they are all for the older figures which is irritating as hell. I don't know why I am so fixated on the newer sets actually maybe I should relax and just snag 400 figgures for 30 bucks and call it a day. However the biggest advantage of the newer sets is that the figures are just so much better designed. I rea;y want the Blackest Night Starter and possibly the fantastic 4 starter then a couple of the the new x-men starters and I would be good to go.

You know what is weird? VTES prices haven't dropped. I love me some VTES and the fucking game is out of print and yet the prices haven't dropped they haven't dropped at all in fact in a couple of cases the prices have gone up. I really want to play it some more and I think I will push it next club, that and ON THE EDGE cause that game is pretty snazzy super excellent and I like the decks I made. I seem to have lots of games I wanna play and not a whole lot of time to play them. I also want to play the Call of Cthullu game LCG more but I would like to gather up some more cards and put together some decks. Ultimatly I regret not getting Warhammer instead. I was afraid that if I got the warhammer card game people would freak out. I don't think this is the case and you know what? I like the call of the cthullu lcg I should get some more cards for it.

Ugh it is like 5 and I am hungry but there is that horrifying traffic that I just don't feel like dealing with it.

Cultural Imperialism and Universal Human Rights

There is something called the All Souls College examinations which are given every year to recent graduates of Oxford. The stake? A 7 year fellowship which is a really big deal. No more than three fellowships are ever awarded a year and some years none are awarded. Harper’s had a list of questions asked for the general essay portion of the exam. I’ve decided to take a swing at answering some of them. It is amazing what you will find in Harpers eh? I will be answering these questions not in a formal essay style but rather my more relaxed fun to read blog style.

Are Universal Human Rights A Form of Cultural Imperialism

Oh sure sure. I could hem and haw, and try to weedle around the subject and do this fancy little dance. However, the answer to this question is yep. Absolutely. No real doubt about it.
Yeah a new paragraph already. See the only real argument against this idea that I can readily see is that if the human rights are universal than they are transcultural and therefore it is something that all cultures should inherently respect as they are built in. However, this edges onto a different and more troubling discussion of just how much of “culture” is hardwired into human behaviour and how much of it is an artificial contractual construction in order to make life less burtish and short. Truth be told is that human beings can all get along fairly well without a good deal of their human rights respected. Heck when you look at regiems like North Korea, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, or Stalinist Russia and people will keep on truckin without food and you need that to live. There is something to be said about the chicken and the egg, ie it is hard to care about universal human rights when you are starving to death. But then there is the issue of the American south where we are willing to believe that human rights are not universal because their skin are a different color. Or for an even more vicious example that human rights are not important because these people are employees in my coal mine and they certainly don’t need things like sleep, to breath, or other things that are most definetly human rights. See lets move the human rights things out of the realm of governments and we look at what businesses feel comfortable doing in the name of profit and we start to see that the idea of universal human rights is indeed an artificial construction born not out of an entire culture, but rather out of a select group of one culture’s elite intelectuals.
Universal Human Rights is every bit a cultural construction and just as they were manifested out of the air. They are granted to us in the exact same way that the “kindly” slave owner tried to make his slaves into humans in Tony Morrison’s book Beloved. It might be a different Tony Morrison book I’ve read a bunch. I am pretty sure it is beloved though. I am in a book store I suppose I could go check, but it is the sort of thing that requires its own essay to explain because it comes out of left field. I should find a better example and not one that shows off how fucking awesome I am. Wait no this whole thing just needs to be explained better. I don’t believe in back space so we are gonna try this again in the NEXT PARAGRAPH we are doing this shit LIVE and unrehearsed ladies and gentlemen.
Universal Human Rights is every bit a cultural construction and just as they were manifested out of the air. They are granted to us by the cultures intelectual base so that we all have a universal way to treat each other. The problem is that if these human rights were universal then there would be no need to stand up and say well these are universal human rights. And considering the fact that there are pleanty of people who feel justified in killing each other over the silliest things, and the right to kill each other is not within the realm universal human rights then we are going to have to say that there is something “not quite universally culturally sound” about the idea of universal human rights.
I am going to come at the same thing from a different angle just to make sure I got all my based covered. The Idea of Universal Human Rights is a manufactured one. To help hide the fact that it is manufactured we come up with some low impact easy to swallow universal human rights. To do this I am going to point out something I hope you noticed already. I haven’t defined universal human rights. I won’t because I don’t believe they excist. But lets throw out some sample human rights to see if we can’t make this work. We all have the right to not be murdered or to be forced into situations that will cause us grievous harm…like war or working in a coal mine. We should never HAVE to do these things, and if we do then we need to be adequately compensated. Of course how the hell are you going to compensate someone for the loss of their life? Well countries provide services in such quanity that you should feel obligated to lay down your life. However, you should never HAVE to lay down your life so even within our culturally imperialistic confines we already are having some significant conflicts. We should never be forced to put our bodies in harms way or to do things with our bodies that we don’t want to. This covers things like rape or when your boss asks you to handle dangerous materials without the proper equipment. Or when you have an unwanted pregnancy…of course what about the right to life. You can debate with me all you want about the potentiality of a zygote to become a baby and when a zygote cell cluster becomes life. I am pro choice. So whateva. It is important that over the course of the argument you would be having with me about the difinition of life similar arguments happened over whether or not black folks were humans or not, of whether women should be treated equally to men, or whether employees deserve rights that would ordinarly be protected by the government. The zygote/life argument is just a chapter in a much larger narrative that shows that there is very little that is universal about universal human rights.
The civil war makes for an excellent parable over the idea of cultural rights verus universal rights. Many people who discuss the civil war discuss it in terms of states fighting for their right to define the laws within their own boarders even to the point where it can define classes of individuals. So blacks are a non whole men. Whereas the north, believing that the blacks were whole people and deserving of a whole suite of rights and freedoms, decided that the universal rights came before the rights of the states and thus the war was fought. However, the north had to define these rights, hand them to the blacks, and to beat the south until they were willing to fall into line with them. A nice clear cut example of cultural imperialism within one countries own boarders. Isn’t that cool?
Now despite the fact that I believe that Universal Human Rights is a cultural construction and that enforcing them is a form of cultural imperialism that doesn’t mean I think they are a bad idea. In fact I think they are a wonderful idea. The idea of universal human rights not the standard definition of the things that I’ve been capitalizing for most of this essay but that actual idea, the improper loosly defined noun is a magnificent accomplishment. Culture is the thing that helps us rise up from the brute. It gives us a set of ideas and structures that keeps us from commiting acts of unspeakable barbarism. Looking at things like the wild west, pre invasion Afghanistan, and lots and lots of Africa we as a race are capable of living in unspeakable conditions underneath some of the harshest oppression. However, in these conditions we do not flourish. We survive. But we do not become better. The idea of culture, its foundations, and the its advancement is the thing that keeps us from raping and killing each other. We may say that we would never rape or kill anyone should our culture collapse, or never of excisted in the first place and that is a comforting thought. It also means that you will be one of the raped or killed. This all sounds like a rather grim view of humanity but it isn’t. I am sitting here in a books a million bookstore typing this essay for fun on a lap top that is smaller and lighter than all of my hardcover roleplaying books. Sure we as a race do some bad things. I would also say that we really do need some form and structure in order to keep us from doing things that are… regrettable in terms of the advancment of the species. I don’t believe that culture is a panacea. It is a tool that we may choose to engage in to varying degrees to help us make descisions which will enrich our lives and the lives of everyone around us. I mean we still have crime and we still do terrible things both to each other and to other cultures. Like when we wiped out the Indians and then spent the entire history of our country dicking them over. But we try.
Coming back around. Yes universal human rights are a form of cultural imperialism. This is especially true when they become Universal Human Rights, all codified and specific. It is definitely a form of cultural imperialism when we impose the capitalized version of the word on a culture that doesn’t want it or maybe a culture who isn’t ready for them. However, the lower case version of the word. The more flexible one is a noble endevour. One that is worth being spread and protected. It is something that lies within the shadow of the upper case version of the word. SO. While it is cultural imperialism who is to say that cultural imperialism is all bad? It has its bad sides to be sure. In many of the ways it has been spread over the course of our human history it has been very bad. Yet the idea that there is a certain minimum amount of freedoms that everyone should have. I can get behind that. I can also get behind not resting until everyone has these rights. What we need to learn is to not drag all the bad, vicious parts of cultural imperialism along for the ride. This is much harder. It might even be impossible because to many people are far to willing to comprimise the universal rights of others and when that happens that’s when problems crop up. Still it is something we can offer to the world. Oh well I am done now.

Battle Tech

Battle Tech Getting a Campaign going and What to Do Once We Get There

So we are apparently going to be doing a battletech league game this summer. I like the game enough to do this for sure. After this, when traffic has calmed down, I’ll be spending money at Kinko’s and printing out some maps and tokens for use with Btech. From somewhere I will be ordering another map set. I already have the 25th anniversary boxed set, and a copy of total warfare on the way which has all sorts of additional rules for our fine fun little game. I think we are all going to be playing unusually well armed periphery powers in the year 3039 just before the clan invations. What this means is that we will be limited in, mech design options and weaponry. This is something I am okay with. The other thing is that most of my players don’t have access to the game background like I do. If they did everyone would want to play a clan, and I am seriously down with running a clan leauge sometime in the future. But all the houses, the star league, and other stuff well I am having a hard time keeping it all straight and just telling my players to pick a house and off we go just isn’t going to work. So we are going to be periphery powers fighting over the resources in this certain very useful solar system. What I think will happen is that we will all either pick or design a flagship mech which is what our personal charecters will drive (mine is the king crab!) and then we will determine the rest of the forces randomly as per the rules in total warefare.

That is the thing about this game. It doesn’t do balance. It tries, it may pretend. But it really doesn’t. Like if you were to put up a Banshee against an Atlas the Banshee is going to pretty much gaurnteed loose. And yet they are in the same wieght class and they are near each other in build point values. In the random force organization rules these could be pitted against each other and that means you are just going to have to hope for some miricles. In this way the game is pretty much a direct throwback to an earlier time when games weren’t all clinical and about “fairness”. When someone was explaining Battletech to me over a forum it was explained that it simulateds a war. This is as in an actual for real war. This means that a single lucky shot can eliminate one of your mechs, or that you will be pitted against overwhelming forces, or that things will shake out in such a way that isn’t entirely fair. These things all happen in the game and it is more about playing the game rather than putting two equal forces across from each other and moving them around until one side or the other is dead. I gotta say that I approve of this message. I’ve played a lot of minature games, including the MechWarrior clix varient put out by wiz kids games and none of them have managed to capture the actual feel of battletech. Your mechs are able to take incredible amounts of damage before being finally put down and while sometimes cover is vital, other times you can just freely stalk out into the open and let they try and take you down. Even the mighty assaultmechs require a turn or two of concentrated fire before they are able to bring down a lowly medium mech. Sure it may be demoralizing coloring in 20 circles because an atlas just slugged you with an auto cannon hit but then when you realize that your mech is still standing and ready to fight? It is a pretty awesome feeling. The clix game failed at trying to capture this feeling. It tried very hard both as it tried to replicate the invincibility of superman and in its MechWarrior clix line and it didn’t suceed. Watching an Atlas just wade through medium mechs, or an Awesome still kicking even after both of its arms have been blown off is an impressive sight.

The lack of blanance is part of the game’s charm. Although getting a campaign set up becomes a bit of a chore. In a normal game like Gorkamorka or Bloodbowl we just agree on a team size get some figures and start fighting, keeping track of our wins and losses as we go. Knowing where and how to start in Battletech is a little bit different though. Fortunatly, the incoming total warfare book will help out with this as I will be able to ascertain what our force totals will be, what sort of mechs we have, and what sort of support we can expect.

The lack of balance leads to another interesting part of the game. Some mechs just suck. Like the Banshee which I actually want to use in a game now just to see what I can make it do. Some of the mechs are terrible. Not only are these mechs terrible but the game fluff will straight up tell you that the mechs are terrible. When you roll on the random force generation chart you will get certain results and you will know that you are being saddled with a piece of crap. Every game has these units. Little abortions in the play testing process or what have you. I don’t know how it happens. We could all make compacts to not use the crap mechs or something like that but I don’t want to and I don’t wanna play with people who would want to do that. I mean winning the game is easy. Jam as many rapid fire weapons as you can on some mechs and go for critcal hits. The more dice you roll the more chance you have of a head shot or a critical chest shot. Things like this are easy but boring. Playing with a group of disorganized miscreants is both fun and exciting and something I am HIGHLY looking forwards to.

We will have the secondary problem of getting moar minatures. I am okay with some proxying and substiutions but eventually someone else is going to have to pony up the cash for another boxed set or a butt ton of metal minatures. I’m betting it will be a boxed set though. For 50 bucks you get a lot of value, just out of the figures and map segments alone. Assuming the other person comes regularly we shouldn’t need more than 2 boxed sets. I am kinda hoping that catylist will let people buy just a bag full of the plastic figures but I think if that happens Iron Wind Metals will not be to happy. So hopefully someone will go for it and buy another one. Otherwise I am not sure how this is going to work. But I am sure as hell not making concession in my force just because we need two atlus’ and I only have one. I know where that Atlus is going. Still I don’t really see it being to much of a problem.

I am excited for all this but for now I am going to be moving on.

Hobo With a Shotgun

Alright then I am back to finish the movie post. I would of completed it then and there but Battletech with friends > this. Feel free to feel honored. Yay Battletech man that game can be fun. I’ll write some more about it later on in a different post that isn’t about movies.

So Hobo With A Shotgun. I am not attached to the internet at the moment. If I were I could tell you exactly what genra of movie Hobo is paying tribute to. It might be Grindhouse but I don’t think so. It is much closer to the Toxic Avenger and movies like that than most of the Grindhouse stuff but whatever. Genraization is not one of those things I enjoy contemplating or writing about. The movie takes some great pains to fit into the sort of 70’s gonzo cinema click. The movie is filmed in Technicolor and it shows it. One of the things the movie made me realize is that I really do like Technicolor very much. Whites seem super bright, red is intense, and the whole world has a strange organgy tinge to it. The hall mark of movies just like this one I think that if someone were to come along they could really make Technicolor sing. Maybe Sezuki will do it before he dies. I don’t really have much hope for that but whatever.

So the basic plot of the movie is that a hobo rolls into this city of moderate size on the rails and is horrified by the level of crime and violence that plauge the streets. Eventually we come to learn that the town is run by a rich psychopath and his two psychopathic sons. This guy owns the police, and therefore is pretty much allowed to do whatever it is he wants which is mostly murder and making scantily clad women dance in blood. The women were my favorite part of the movie. After awhile the hobo buys a shotgun from a pawn shop and starts cleaning up town. Lets not speculate on things like ammo capacity or how he managed to get shells. Lets just keep moving shall we?

There are rules to movies. Pregant women don’t get shot, children don’t die, things like that. It is a very hard thing to pin down but when you watch action films and even most horror films there is this strange moral code that is followed all throughout these movies. The Scream movies which we can all thank for reinvigorating the horror genera points out these rules and makes fun of them ie don’t have sex. This harkens back to the purtain morality that is oddly engrained in even the strangest parts of our culture. The Friday the 13th series follows all the rules that Scream puts out so much so that it is almost like Wes Craven sat down one day watched all ten Friday the 13th movies and decided to make a movie about the rules.

Then there are movies that ignore these rules. Going back to Wes Craven and the original version of The Hills Have Eyes one of the mutants shot a pregnant woman right at the start of the movie. This wasn’t something that had happened on film before. I think ever. It is one of the most effective moves he could make though because it firmly establishes him as a man who just doesn’t give a fuck about the rules and he will show you whatever he feels like. Even though this is the most shocking moment in the movie, the rest of the movie has this incredible sence of dread to it because you never know what the hell else you are going to have to see.

Hobo does the same thing. But unlike The Hills Have Eyes it didn’t do it to instill fear. It instead did it for the sake of shock value and shock value alone. It is a shock movie. You watch it, you go oh my god, but then there isn’t anything else to it. Unlike Gummo, or Kino Lika, or Happiness this movie excists for the sheer purpose of being shocking. It clocks in at under 90 minutes and it uses all the time possible to fill the movie with as much blood and violence as possible. From the child molesting santa, to the plague which actually has a fun way of killing people, to the baseball bat covered in razor blades, to the scene with the bumper cars, to the guy throwing a Molotov cocktail into a dumpster containing a woman and her baby, to the ice skate scene, to using a flame thrower on a bus full of children, to the thing with the man hole cover and the barbed wire noose, to the scene with the lawn mower, the movie just keeps going. I didn’t even list everything.

See I don’t care about the rules. And while I am not jaded I do like my ultra violence to mean something. Like take Machete for example. That movie had some significant ultra violence to it, but at the very least it was funny about it. It was all done with a wink and a nod, and there wasn’t a bus full of dead children involved. Had Don Johnson (The leader of the white supremacist militia group) had baked a school bus full of Mexican children the movie would have had a decisively different tone to it. Both movies are very violent but Machete stays within the rules. He even never kills the bodygaurds of the crime lord. I guess he sees them as hired help much like himself most of the time or something like that. Everyone who dies in this movie has it coming. If you were to tally up the body count in Hobo, just about no one in the movie who dies deserves it. Which makes you wonder what the point of it all was. Then again as a purely superficial piece of cinema as long as you like a dose of the ultra violence you won’t find better offerings this decade or probably the next. Me? I got distracted twords the end and played city of heroes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Movie Time!

Okay then so here we go now. Today's post will will include the movie Kino Lika and Hobo With a Shotgun.

Once long ago I read an article by a man named Nick Hornby who was lamenting that he wanted to vary his reading materials more, that he wanted his books to encompass a galaxy of variety. Well I think I've managed to do this with this week because you can't get more diffrent than Kino Lika and Hobo With a Shotgun. I mean one is from Coatia and the other is from Canada. Enough of that though lets talk movies.

Kino Lika, which is called The Lika Cinema on IMDB is one of those movies that has the unfortunate distinction of having "that" scene. That scene is that one fucked up moment that takes people for a loop and forever after when they talk about the movie it will be in terms of that moment. Gummo has the bathtub scene. Vistor Q has its lactation. Happiness has the pedophile. Irreversable has its horrible rape scene that can actually cause physical illness. Now there is Kino Lika which has an unatractive girl trying to have sex with a pig and the pig turning her down. These moments excist in these movies for varying reasons. The reasons for their inclusion is as varied as the movies they are included in. Unfortunatly, many viewers are overwhelmed by these moments and they they end up forgetting that there is whole rest of a movie around. This is especially true in Kino Lika because the pig scene which is heart wrenchingly sad is not nearly the most important part of the movie.

The movie itself is a bit of a challange. It is about a small town of farmers who are suffering through a horrible drought. The people are poor and things look awefully bleak for everyone who is a main charecter. However, for everyone who isn't a main charecter life is actually pretty good and they are all able to relax and have fun. As a result I am not really sure what to do with the movie internally. With the exception of the kid who acidently kills his mother in a farming acident most of the people's problems are their own. The fat girl doesn't nearly have to be as unattractive as she is. I mean she really really tries to to be unatractive. The miserly farmer's problems are one of personal pride and he actually learns his lession over the course of the movie and becomes a better person. It is a rough road though for him.

So is the movie is just a bunch of misery porn? I don't think so. It isn't so much that the non main charecters are careless but rather that they've all learned to relax or something or other. I think the biggest lession of the movie is that the poor lack the means to properly deal with trauma. Or to put it better. The people in this movie have a hard time dealing with Trauma. Part of the problem is that the people are poor but they aren't destitute. This is similar to my current living condition. They live close to failure and when something upsets the careful balance of thier lives it is catastrophic. Catastrophic enough to become a main character for a movie about misery and pain.

This movie doesn't excist in a vaccum and it shares a lot themeaticlly with Gummo. Most of the main charecters in gummo lost someone important in the tornado mentioned at the onset of the movie. Grief is tough to deal with in ideal condtions. The way people live in both these movies is far less than ideal. I liked Kino Lika alot. It shows the way people live in a place I know nothing about and I found it fascinating.

Anyway I have to go do gaming times so Hobo With a Shotgun will have to wait.

Well It has been awhile

It has been awhile since I've written in my cheery little blog. I took a break. A little longer break than I've intended but a break none the less. Now I am guessing that it is break over. I find that whenever I take an extended break from writing I always have a hard time getting started again. I hate having a hard time getting started but these things do happen. It isn't si much that I have nothing to say but rather that I have pleanty to say and I just have a bit of a hard time saying it. So at the moment I am going to write about nothing paticularly important to me and there is pleanty of that to go around. I am feeling foggy.

I suppose it is the time of year. I always start feeling foggy around my birthday and then it either lifts or becomes a crushing disapointment. This year we are leaning twords the crushing disapointment end of the spectrum. I will have to work on my birthday which I HATE doing. I will work with a retard and I am just not happy about this. I tired getting it off but it didn't work out. Ordinarly I take a whole week off for my birthday and it is great. This will still happen. It will just be at some time in the future when we have enough people and I can. This is a day that I am officially looking fowards to. Until then it will be a period of long hours doing more work than I should with people I don't paticularly like.

I don't normally complain about my job because deep down inside I actually don't mind it very much. It have way more good days than bad and it is insanely easy. That and it provides an insane amount of fringe benifits like food, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies. It also isn't like this is the first time something like this happened or that what is going to happen to me is going to be very hard. It is just that this time of year I get foggy. Like I said. So it is just the way it is. Isn't that disapointing?

I am hoping to head it off at the pass and to keep my head up and my tumbs occupied. I love occupying my thumbs and then hopefully I will pop out of the otherside of this perfectly fine and happy, ready to continue on with my cheerful little life and who know perhaps it will be improved. I meant to download Quills. Nuts. The great thing about Quills is that is just a relentlessly fun movie. The script writer really loved De Sade. Sure sure you can watch the movie never having read a word of De Sade and you'd like if you like that sort of thing. But if you are a fan of De Sade's really a fan than you can see the ecchos of his stories, his time period, and his life all throughout the movie. It perfectly blends the mytholigy surrounding the man along with tributes to his "contributions" to literature. It isn't a great movie, but my oh my it is certainly fun to watch.

Anyway I am going to start a new post and do a media round up because this one is kinda mopey and I feel sufficiently warmed up.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


So I saw Sucker Punch! And I love Sucker Punch and I will continue to love it for a very long time. I was going to write about some of the hatered that has been arrayed twords it but then I realized that I don't actually care. Haters gonna hate! Also I mean it is the internet and people just sort of spew whatever the hell it is they feel like without any regard for quality and who am I to look down upon such an endevor. This blog right here has never been checked for grammar and I only go back and fix red squigglies every so often and there are some things I've written about here that I am flat out wrong about so you know whatever.

That and I saw Innocence. Innocence is one of the first movie I've seen in a very long time that has challanged my views/perceptions of the world, and believe me I try. This is the sort of thing I go for. I could wank my credentials here but I don't feel like it.

The thing about Innocence is that it does absolutly everything to be as sinister as possible without any of it ever coming to fuitition. In a lot of ways it plays out like a gothic novel where you keep expecting death and destruction to happen at every turn, and yet it doesn't. However, unlike The Mysteries of Udolpho I actually liked this movie a lot. It starts off with a bunch of random, disjointed images that do eventually make sense later. Then there is a casket with a sun pattern on the top containing a very young girl. The girl wakes up, doesn't know where she is, where her brother is, or where her family is. The other girls dress her (oh yes she is naked, prepubescent female nudity), and explain with a strange sort of matter of factness that no one will visit her, that there are rules, and that there is punishment for breaking the rules.

From there the movie meanders on sometimes following around one charecter or another allowing the viewer to explore the mysteries of the strange boarding school but without ever really learning very much about it. We know that there is a high wall surrounding the grounds with no way in or out, that there is vent leading to somewhere, that there is a shadowy headmisteress who only comes once a year to visit the middle aged girls. She inspects them all and then takes one away and she is never seen again. Other than that the whole compound is policed by two older women, a teacher with a limp, and a ballet instructor. Rumors abound about these 4. One rumor is that the older servants are girls who tried to escape and their punishment is to stay and serve the other girls. Another rumor is that the teacher with the limp had her leg broken by the headmisteress as punishment. None of these rumors are substantiated and while punishment is often threatened we never actually see any of it take place.

And all the while the movie drips with mystery, dread, and implications none of these feelings are at all justified. Certainly, the circumstances surrounding this boarding school are very odd. However, there is no indication that there is any sort of misconduct on the part of anyone. The frequent female nudity remains ever prescent but it is never prescented in an exploitative way. Instead it is just part of life and living in an all girl communinty where swimming, running and playing outside are all frequently encouraged activities.

The first thing that seems at all out of place is when we discover that the oldest girls give ballet preformances at night in a secret stage behind a grand father clock. It is twords the end of the movie, anyone keeping track of running times knows this, and yet even still there is nothing untword going on. The girls never see anyone in the audience either before or after the show and they are fully clothed so it isn't like they are preforming some sort of horrible nudie sexual evilness, and you know what? At this point in the movie it would of been welcomed. The dread I was feeling has been in overdrive the entire movie as I had learned to like these little girls and I was never able to, not even for a second, trust the school that they belonged to. But no, it was just a dance.

At the end of the movie I felt more than a little dirty and ashamed. I just spent 90 minutes expecting that something horrible in nature to happen to these girls. Other than some of the peculiarities of the setting I had no real reason to. Maybe it is because I've seen one to many fucked up movies in my life, or maybe it is because I belong to a culture where there is a hyperactive and prevasive sense of fear, especially fear surrounding children and their abuse. Now the movie itself is french and there might be some cultural barriers in regards to how we treat children, and I definitely know there are cultural barriers twords our attitudes regarding boarding schools because they are relatively rare in our country yet I am 90% certain that the unending sense of dread was a purposeful choice on the part of the director. I feel that I was made to suspect the worst and to expect horror around every turn because I had lost what the main characters have.

Ultimately I wanna see it again. In a couple of months I need to let it sit so that when I watch it again I can see the movie for what it is instead of what my culture has trained me to view it as. It is an interesting problem though. Like I know for certain that the movie does have some dark undertones but NOTHING like what I was expecting to happen so I'll be interested to see what happens when I see it again.

THis movie kinda came out of knowwhere for me and I am really glad it happened to me. It is the first time in a long time that a movie has stuck around in my head begging me to mess with it. Normally that area is reserved for the written media so well done movie. Well done.