Friday, December 18, 2015

In Which I Once Again Try to Rationalize Various Crimethoughts

So I have not had the most productive year of blogging. I suppose the main reason for this is that I seem to have ever less to say. This is disturbing of course, since I might have to live another two or three decades at least, and the possibility of being unable going forward to have any kind of intelligent thought processes that could be translated to writing is a state of existence that, due to the absence of other skills or interests at a recognizably adult level of development, I find unpleasant to contemplate. So I feel somewhat obligated to try to carry on. I am also going to cling to the hope that this bad year has been to some extent due to 1) the presence of the new baby, which, even though she is the sixth baby I have had, and is a remarkably easy baby as far as babies go, has still, given my age and the presence of five older children and their various needs--I have to spend almost one hour out of the twenty-four every school day washing out and then making up lunchboxes, for example--impeded more and more on my writing time since I am really too tired at night to do much of anything now, which formerly I could still usually put in a hour or so worth of effort; and 2) the current absence of a functioning computer for writing at home--I do have a smart phone now that has internet access but as yet I have not committed to trying to blog on it, though I suppose if I were truly alive and driven to write, I could. The obvious solution is just to buy a new one, but the timing has not been good for it. Between my wife being out earlier in the year on maternity leave, and the necessity of taking out maximum insurance in anticipation of the baby, and having to buy a new dishwasher, and keeping the children up with all of their camps and lessons and private schools, I have been holding off on the new computer, which would be pointless anyway unless my posting began to show a marked improvement.

It is true though that I don't seem to know my own thoughts, or trust them, on any number of matters, which tends to make writing about anything impossible. Lately, for example, most of the people of my general socio-economic group (or at least that to which I aspire to belong because there aren't any very appealing alternatives) who deeply believe themselves to be good and morally correct, and obviously care about being so, have been greatly excited in favor of the continued mass migration of refugees and other aspiring people from all corners of the world into the United States and other wealthy Western countries, with apparently no limits on such migrations as to number or any strict measure of social desirability other than those determined by the global marketplace and the would-be migrants themselves; to do otherwise would be a moral wrong. I tend to be conflicted about this, at least at the level, numbers-wise, that have already immigrated into these countries since about 1990, and that are being anticipated for the foreseeable future. There are any number of places in the heart of the great western cities and homelands that have had their populations transformed by foreign-born people without much of a visceral attachment or seeming cultural respect, beyond economic and certain educational opportunities, for the host country. There are a lot of old natives of these countries and cities who are deeply unhappy about the changes that have come over the societies that they grew up in, to the point in some cases of demoralization and despair, though as these tend not to be important or respected people, we are not supposed to worry about them. I am not quite in this latter condition--while I struggle some with constant change and 'disruption', I more or less accept its necessity and even its desirability, to a point. I believe I could even live contentedly enough in many places that are more diverse and heavily populated with immigrants than where I live now, provided that, first, the levels of overtly racially-motivated conflict and violence were low (low meaning, 'it is not something I have to account for in my daily life outside of the occasional extraordinary circumstance') and second, if in the United States, the local area were to maintain some strong institutional and cultural ties to the old American republic. A lot of people who occupy somewhat extreme positions, both on the left and the right, including many on the left who would be designated as belonging to the white tribe, seem to relish the prospect of some kind of racial conflict, for the leftists seemingly under the assumption that certain classes of especially distasteful white people are going to be receiving their deserved comeuppance, but I do not share this enthusiasm. For similar reasons I am not really that enthusiastic about the prospect of the western countries being continuously inundated by people from countries with whom they have had very few, and in some instances no cultural or historical ties until recently, though given the global demographic situation, I realize it would require a particular severity and arrogance of will on the part of the western societies to effectively do anything about the flow of migrants, which the powerful classes in these countries seem not to have, or be interested in having, presently.

The professed love that many leftists seem to have for almost any immigrant or person of color in the abstract, and their near ecstasy when a success or demonstration of superiority over the run of ordinary bland Americans by someone from one of these communities is recounted, while I actually think it is understandable given the bitter enmity which has prevailed in domestic politics during most of my lifetime, I also think is not truly real, and therefore not sustainable, especially when the current extreme left wing-right wing hatred dies down a little, which it will,  

I admit I am strongly affected by the stories all of the girls in Sweden and Norway who are supposedly getting raped at staggering rates by immigrant men, while their fathers and brothers and the civil authorities of their nations stand aside and do nothing, as if acknowledging their powerlessness in the face of forceful virility. Of course one hopes these stories are not broadly true, that the problem has been somewhat exaggerated as to scale or embellished as to its brutality, the impression given being that beautiful and unassuming young Scandinavian girls are being routinely attacked, captured and defiled in their own countries in broad daylight and with complete impunity by violent bands of young men of foreign origin, mainly Muslim. Of course I am affected because I imagine the women involved to be the typical beauties of their highly advanced countries, and the imagery of their being violated in their homelands by people hostile to their way of life and their very persons who could have been prevented from ever settling there in the first place is risible. People will argue that women are raped and treated terribly in various hellholes all over the world and I don't care about them. This is not entirely true, though in places where the racial composition, language and culture are completely different it is natural I would not have quite the same visceral affinity where the victims are concerned, and also the chaos and lack of social order and protection for women in these societies are not things to which I feel as direct a connection or responsibility, as I would say, do most Americans, because once you really try to confront all of the atrocities with which the world in all its glorious parts is filled, and keep them always in the forefront of one's consciousness, one must become rather humorless, and be possessed by the tireless zeal of either the saint or the crusader to live at all effectively forthwith, and those are callings that few people are equipped for. In any case one could say the same for me with regard to Sweden, but that country is not dissimilar in many ways to Vermont or New Hampshire, certainly when compared with the Zimbabwes of the world, and the breakdown of order and the safety of women there is more disturbing than it is in a place which had never quite achieved Western levels of those things in the first place.

Well, enough of this.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Lightning Movie Posts

I am so far behind on my movie documenting now, that I am going to go through as many as I can as succinctly as I can, sticking as much as possible to my most pertinent impressions:

Die Nibelungen: Siegfried & Kriemhild's Revenge (1924)

On Youtube, which is never my preference, but I have to take what I can get. Earlier Fritz Lang. Very good, I was into the Teutonic mythology. Supposedly Hitler was an enthusiast of these movies, which do feature a lot of Aryan types engaging in bloodshed. When Kriemhild marries Attila and goes off to live with the Huns we get a more convincing idea of the extreme filth and squalor in which barbarian peoples habitually lived of old. Margarete Schon, the actress who played Kriemhild, was striking to me for personal reasons (i.e., she bore a strong resemblance to someone I know and find attractive).

The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari (1919)

Dark, menacing German Expressionist classic, in a great print. Admirable for its style, daring, grasp of the civilizational mood in its moment, but with my current diminished concentration due to lack of rest and downtime this is one of those movies that I had a hard time staying awake through and actually following what was going on. Definitely appropriate for genuine smarties though. I will have to take it up again at some less hectic time.

L'Argent (1983)

Among the directors who seem to be universally considered as serious contenders for all time top-20 status, Robert Bresson has always been to me the most obscure. None of the video stores I used to frequent during that era ever had any of his movies, the college film society never showed any of them, his movies were never obviously referenced in any writing or other cinema that achieved any kind of mainstream penetration. Yet in time, influenced by the odd drop of the name in various corners accompanied with a forceful conviction of the greatness of the man's oeuvre, the idea formed in me that he was one of the small number--twenty? fifty? certainly one hundred--of the all time greats in the field. L'Argent was his last movie, and still the only one of his that I have seen. I bought a used VHS copy of it some years ago now, and had been unable to keep up with it at that time, but this revisiting was much better in that regard, and I was able to appreciate much more the amount of skill and control that is packed into every shot and scene, and their interconnectedness and flow, the quality of which is Bunuel-like. The movie is only around eighty minutes in length, yet a great many significant actions and psychological transformations happen. All of this is impressive, and therefore pleasing in spite of the rather doleful story and seeming message. Also on a less substantial note, we have some nice scenes from (a deliberately gritty and workaday) early 80s Paris, which resembles pretty well the city as it looked and felt like when I was there in 1990, but which I sense it does not in general tone resemble very much any more.

So I did not get too far tonight, but I will revisit this exercise again until I have caught up somewhat...