Monday, September 29, 2008

Getting Started on Seesmic

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wall-E briefly reviewed, sort of

I'm quite late posting my review (I watched the movie months ago, shortly after it was released in cinemas), but here it is, finally.

This film is brilliant in so many ways. It pays subtle homage to other sci-fi movies, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, E.T., and Short Circuit. In the credits there's also plenty of visual homage to Seurat, Van Gogh, and even Atari. Rarely have I enjoyed a film so thoroughly, and the inside jokes for Apple fans are sprinkled throughout - from Wall-E's solar charging completion sound (taken from a rebooting Mac) to the Axiom autopilot (a synthesized Macintalk voice) to the video-capable iPod on which Wall-E views the Broadway musical that taught him about romantic love. There are clever touches and Easter eggs throughout — among the space detritus circling the Earth, Sputnik bobbing in the wake of the ship carrying EVE and Wall-E to the Axiom, and as the Axiom roared past the moon, the lower stage of the Eagle lunar lander, a lunar rover, and a U.S. flag, all reminders of NASA's Apollo space program. Much has been written about the relationship between Wall-E and EVE, but EVE's rebellion against the "Directive" revels in the notion that love can ultimately triumph over all obstacles. Robot love, that is. A bit of a stretch, perhaps, but the humans eventually pick up the hint.

How ironic that future humans are revived from their sybaritic stupor by a lonely, geeky trash compactor and his feisty robot girlfriend. More importantly, perhaps, is the surprising level of cultural self-parody (and criticism) throughout. In fact, it reminds me of The Story of Stuff. Many commentators bristle at the (supposed) environmental scaremongering they see in the film. On the contrary, the movie's dystopian view of our future is entirely appropriate.

Dismissive reviewers might want to look in the mirror to see if they bear any resemblance to the dumbed-down captain of the Axiom, since they seem to have missed the point of the film entirely. There are plenty of movies that cater to philistines. Wall-E is not one of these. If you haven't seen it, rent or buy the DVD when it comes out in November.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Monday, September 01, 2008

The US Election Just Got More Interesting

Some people think Sen. McCain picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to woo Hillary Clinton supporters disenchanted with Sen. Obama's failure to name Sen. Clinton as his running mate. It's probably not that simple, but one can't help wondering if indeed gender was indeed a major issue in this case. Is the American public truly ready to accept a woman as its potential next president? Perhaps, perhaps not.

One thing is clear: the US Republican Party is trying to differentiate itself clearly from the Democrats on pro-life issues, and Gov. Palin's pro-life stance seems pretty obvious. For one thing, she said about her youngest child Trig, who was diagnosed in utero with Down Syndrome:
We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.
OK. Now if that doesn't bring into stark relief the difference between a pro-life and a pro-choice (really pro-death) position, I don't know what does. Regardless of your politics, the pro-death position is really no different in principle from the "useless eaters" philosophy that led to the Holocaust. And this should make us think carefully: what do "pro-choice" people really believe? That some human lives (e.g. theirs) are more valuable than others (in this case, unborn children). This should be clear. Don't let the arguments about "a woman's right to choose" fool you. A right to choose what, exactly? To kill her unborn child. In other words, murder.