Duty Now For The Future

by Buzz on 4/05/2016

Criswell rest of our livesI direct your attention to this fascinating article in the Washington Post:
Six maps that will make you rethink the world

It’s derived from a new book by Parag Khanna called Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization.

It’s a glimpse into the world of the latter part of the 21st century, 2050CE+ or thenabouts.

If you are a climate change denialist,
this is your cue to go visit a porn site.

There’s a lot of interesting stuff here, but I’ll let the article speak for itself.

I will say this for North American readers based on his predictions (and these are my take aways from the article, Khanna does not necessarily address all these particulars):

  1. While a political entity called The United States Of America may exist half a century from now, it will not be the geopolitical powerhouse it is today. [1]
  2. Much of the US and Mexican / Central American populations will be disrupted by climate change and move north, many crossing the border and heading on into Canada.
  3. Canada and Russia will become the breadbasket of the world.
  4. Denmark, which thanks to its claims on Greenland will be reveling in vast untapped natural resources as its glaciers melt, is gonna be fnckin’ RICH!
  5. The new global trade routes will be located through the Arctic region, which will be ice free for most of the year; life there will be bracing but not impossible.
  6. Those US citizens remaining in America will be working in thermal / solar energy jobs or supporting same; agriculture in the South and Southwest will quite literally dry up. The great Dust Bowl Migration of the Depression will be dwarfed by the population shift northward. [2]

The article focuses on the-glass-is-half-full side of the equation,
and as the old saw goes, it’s an ill wind that blows no one any good.

As noted, Canada and Russia will benefit from global warming, exporting food to the rest of the world. Trade routes will flourish through the Arctic, avoiding high tension choke points we have today.

But those blessings are only
the heads side of the coin;
there’s a tails side, too.

Solar energy will be a huge industry, but only because climate change is going to turns vast swaths of the planet into deserts.

The southern hemisphere is going to take a huge economic hit but will probably muddle through.

China is going to spend half its time in partnership with Africa, developing and exploiting the resources of that vast continent. It will be for them what the American West was for the United States, and if they learn from our mistakes and treat the Africans with more respect and dignity than we did our native peoples, they will be a dominant force in the world for many centuries to come.

A new Chinese-African ethnic group will emerge.

The other half of its time, China will probably be involved in a never ending series of slugfests with India.

As lowland areas of Pakistan and Bangladesh are flooded by melting Himalayan glaciers and rising sea levels, tens of millions of people will be on the move, disrupting and crowding India and Southeast Asia even more.

They’ve got to go somewhere and China is the closest spot available.

What’s left culturally of the United States will be found along the northern border we share with Canada. [3]

Southern US culture will vanish, the last shreds of the old Confederacy finally drying up and blowing away in the northward migration. [4]

The agricultural base of the American South, Midwest, and Southwest will cease to exist and be replaced by a solar energy based culture — and probably one funded by China, who will have no patience for archaic American ethnic BS.

Among the first generation of emigrants north — and if historical models hold true, skipping a generation to the third and fourth generations in the new land — there will be a great nostalgic look back at a mostly imaginary America. Americana — which will either whitewash or romanticize the historical struggles of the United States and the people in it — will be a hugely popular genre. [5]

While there will be a great temptation to blame these changes on this party‘s or that party’s political intransigence, the truth is this will be larger than politics.

Politics is going to be like a monkey dancing on the back of a whale: It may do it well, and it may do it successfully enough to ride the whale for a long, long time, but the whale is moving of its own accord and nothing the monkey can do will change it.

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[1] Think it can’t happen that fast? Ask the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Czarist Russia, and the Ottomans how long it took them.

[2] Canada would be well advised to prepare for this huge influx of climate refugees from both the US and Mexico. There will be plenty of agricultural jobs for them to fill, but if Canada isn’t ready for them, they will disrupt Canadian culture and society. My advice is to tell them to drop their old attitudes and allegiances at the border and become good Canucks, eh. That’s going to require a lot of re-education.

[3] It’s not impossible at some future point, perhaps in the 22nd century but maybe even sooner, Canada will absorb the US.

[4] They won’t be the only ones. West Coast culture and Gulf Coast culture will also evaporate under the relentless glare of the sun. Enjoy ‘em while you can, folks.

[5] It will be coexisting with newer genres born out of the coming great migration, and probably never as the dominant genre, but it will be there.

 

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There Are No Skeletons In My Closet

by Buzz on 4/05/2016

animated jason skeletons

Like Jason, all mine are out
in the open, hacking away.

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Nora Roberts’ Top 3 Pieces Of Writing Advice

by Buzz on 4/05/2016

Nora Roberts top 3 pieces of writing advice

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Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God

by Buzz on 3/05/2016

smith_w_eugene 01smith_w_eugene 04smith_w_eugene 02smith_w_eugene 03smith_w_eugene 05

photos by E. Eugene Smith (1949)

read the poem
“Beyond W. Eugene Smith’s Photographic Essay Life Without Germs”
by John Kinsella  

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 1/05/2016

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls

WotP Alan Watts 4

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A Poem

by Buzz on 28/04/2016

Drew Friedman - Screw magazine 651

I met a man
A dirty man
A’pissin’ in the sink

I said, “Hey, man!
Whatcha doin’, man?!?!?
Pissin’ in the sink?!?!?”

He continued to pee
But turned to me,
Saying with a wink:

“Don’t stop and stare
‘Cuz I don’t care
What other people think.”

So I killed him dead
Chopped off his head
And left it in the sink

The moral is:
Don’t piss or whiz
Where other people drink

art by Drew Friedman
for Screw magazine #651

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2020 Forward

by Buzz on 27/04/2016

jack-davis-westerns-2-john-wayne-620

Favorite Westerns Of Filmland #2, August 1960
cover art by Jack Davis

Methinks it would behoove both the Democratic and Republican national committees to adopt something along the following for their 2020 presidential primaries:

No one may enter the presidential primary unless:

  • They have been elected governor or lieutenant governor of a state
  • They have been elected mayor of a city with a population of at least one million (threshold may be reached at any time during one’s term)
  • They have been elected to either the Congress or the Senate of the United States
  • They are a retired field grade military officer who has led troops in combat

A person is banned from entering the primary if:

  • They have entered and dropped out of a previous primary (while the national committee may choose to grant an exception to specific individual cases such as those involving a health or family crisis, or being recalled to active military duty, the committee is not obligated to grant such exceptions)
  • They have lost a previous primary or convention ballot with less that 30% of the total votes cast

Point #1 is to block the dilettantes, the egomaniacs, the attention hogs, the mouthpieces for individuals and groups with ulterior motives.

Make candidates demonstrate their self-discipline and their party loyalty by campaigning for a smaller office first.

If you can’t win some custom tailored gerrymandered backwater district, you don’t belong on the national stage.

Exceptions are made for retired career field officers who have served their country all their life and know the enormity of the responsibility they’ll bear as president.

Point #2 is to eliminate those who waste the party’s time and resources.

If you haven’t got the stamina to finish the game, you don’t deserve a place on the bench; think long and hard about your chances and how it will affect your own political future before you throw your hat in the ring.

If you can’t get even one third of your own party to back you, you don’t deserve that party’s support in a national election.

Now, some folks will claim this only allows a select few to run for president under their party’s banner.

If it’s time for somebody outside the system,
start a third party; set your own rules.

But if you’re going to be one of the big two,
then do a better job of vetting candidates.

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David Lynch On Fishing For Ideas

by Buzz on 26/04/2016

David Lynch on deep downthis is an idea I’ve touched on a couple of times myself

 

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I Luvz Me Some Silent Danish Sci-Fi

by Buzz on 26/04/2016

We live, as the eminent philosopher Louis CK has noted, in an age of wonders, and films long thought lost or available only in badly deteriorated form are now restored to almost pristine condition.

1918 A_Trip_to_Mars_aka_Himmelskibet_advertisement_1920

One year after D.W. Griffith made Birth Of A Nation in the U.S. (and American audiences blithely bought into the ballyhoo that he had invented the language of cinema and creature the feature length film format), the Danes opted to end the world with a film called — surprise, surprise — The End of the World (Verdens Undergang).

Before we proceed, a bit of historical context: 
From 1914 to 1918, Europe was up to its neck in a little number called World War One.

It severely disrupted all the European nations involved in it, killing millions of people (mostly young men), and bringing much of those nations’ pop culture (read “movies”) to a screeching halt.

The United States, sitting safely on the other side of the Atlantic, was able to stay out of the first half of the war and kept cranking out big budget, high polished films that dominated the international market.

With virtually no home grown movies of their own (and the few that were made reflected the Spartan resources and budgets available), the European film markets eagerly lapped up the Hollywood product.

Even after the U.S. entered the war, our nation was never under direct threat, much less attack, and so was able to continue making highly polished big budget films.

Hollywood had no competitors in the world at that time…

…except for Denmark.

The Danes took a look at the gawdawful bloodbath going on just south of them and said thanks but no thanks, we’re sitting this one out.

As a result, they were able to make some truly astonishing movies, films that could — and did – compete head to head and nose to nose with the best American products.

While they made movies in a variety of genres and styles, I’m going to focus on two big budget (for the era) science fiction films they made (although the term “science fiction” wouldn’t be coined until almost a decade later).

The first was the above mentioned The End Of The World, a pretty straight forward tale that also clearly reflected Danish anxieties about the hell breaking loose just below their southern border.

Written by Otto Rung and directed by August Blom, it’s a story about a near collision with an asteroid causing worldwide havoc.

It pretty directly influenced the latter French film La Fin du Monde (1931) and both directly and indirectly (through adapted source material) the American productions Deluge (1933) as well as the opening chapter of Flash Gordon (1936).

1916 verdens1

Those films in turn influenced When Worlds Collide (1951) which in turn influenced both Deep Impact and Armageddon in 1998, and those films influenced a shipload of crappy direct-to-video disaster-from-space movies.

Not too shabby for a 77 minute movie you never heard of before, eh?

1916_verdens_01

While The End Of The World has a compact cast, it makes an effort to provide as impressive a spectacle as possible.  An elaborate village miniature was built and destroyed in a hail of smoky comet debris, terrific storms (stock footage and tank work) flood the countryside, and in a poignant ending, the heroine wanders through a now desolate and decimated village that has been reduced to utter ruins.

1916-apocalyptic-and-post-apocalyptic-fiction-the-end-of-the-world-screenshot

The movie clearly reflects the Danes’ then anxiety about what was happening south of them, as well as their fears they would get swept up in it (they didn’t…in that war; World War Two did see them overrun by the Nazis).

Two years after that, as World War One was finally winding down, the Danes tried an even more ambitious science fiction project, A Trip To Mars (a.k.a. Himmelskibet, Excelsior, and Das Himmelschiff in various markets).

1918 Trip To Mars 6

Adapted from Sophus Michaelis’ novel by screenwriter Ole Olsen and directed by Holger-Madsen, A Trip To Mars is the space opera genre delivered full blown, with all the trappings we’re familiar with.

While the spaceship, the Excelsior, is somewhat fanciful, it’s based on aviation technology of the time and compared to the tiny cabins of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers’ rockets, certainly looks like it could be a functioning spacecraft.

1918 Trip To Mars 8

It may be the first time spacesuits were depicted in a film, and the actual trip itself takes place over a several month-long flight.

animated atriptomars

But the most impressive part comes when they finally reach Mars.

1918 Trip To Mars 3

Although the Martians are depicted as being identical the humans — specifically Danish humans – there are hundreds of them on screen in various scenes, all in full costume.  An elaborate set was built for the Martian city, and unlike most films an attempt is made to show how Martian civilization differs from humanity’s attempt at the same.

1918 Trip To Mars 7

What’s missing is the slam bang violence that’s the hallmark of American sci-fi films.  The Danes, clearly appalled by the carnage they’d seen unleashed beside them, stressed a pacifist message, and after an initial conflict between the human crew and the Martians, peace is made and the daughter of the Martian leader opts to come to earth with the returning crew to help spread the message of love.

1918 Trip To Mars 5

While Danish cinema continued on, it lost interest in science fiction themes and, coupled with the impact of World War Two, the country did not produce any more science fiction films until Reptilicus in 1961 and Journey To The Seventh Planet in 1962.

Despite being in color and sound, neither measures up to either The End Of The World and A Trip To Mars, both of which have been extensively restored by the Danish Film Institute and are available for viewing on YouTube.

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The Words Of The Prophets…

by Buzz on 23/04/2016

…are written on the subway walls
and tenement halls

WotP Prince

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