Archive for November, 2010

a Poem for Maromi

Posted in Sermons on November 23, 2010 by nicholasnordlinger

In 2008 my brother first showed me what I would from then on refer to as “the greatest anime series ever made.” From the mind of Satoshi Kon, who had previously frightened me with Perfect Blue and would later astound me with Paprika, came Mōsō Dairinin, or as I would lovingly know it, Paranoia Agent.

I obsessed over this show, watching it all the way through dubbed, then back again through with subtitles and Japanese audio, and then again both ways. It crams more eery brilliance into 13 episodes than most shows manage in multiple seasons. An analysis of the series would be difficult, there is so much great material to discuss and criticize that my brain shuts down at the barrage of options for such a piece. Instead I shall keep things simple and sentimental. I am still in a fanboy state of mourning  for Satoshi Kon’s recent, sudden passing, and I can offer his works nothing but praise. De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

So to the little dog who captivated Japan, and told us all to “take a rest,” these verses are for you:

Irrepressible you

east island all erupting, lovely

truth obscurer, pink

like Jackie O day of the shot, eyes

like puddles of fresh rain, there

we find something serene,  canst

thou summon up the Slugger? Do

so now, for I can’t stand, head

is rolling on my neck, shoulders

barely hold it there, come

and swing the home run hit

Fuyubachi? Zebra? Zebra! How

are you connected to yourselves?

How bouts we take the bullet train, now

tell that story once again, how

little boys did run amuck, shadows

lurking from the walls, you’re

creator, fallen, crawling forward

towards the red light, towards the train light

towards the headlight, swerving rain drive, falling pain came slicing, like the frequency

it’s buzzing

buzzing radar man will warn the world!

“He comes from nowhere,” nowhere? Here is hollowness, the catalyst

They call me Ichi, number one! The slugger comes, he glides because

his feet are wings, he means to slay

the wicked Goma, he infesting all, Maromi!

now deliver us and lead us not into temptation

for thine is the people

the eyes and the bloodbeat

thunk thunk drunk on Sake,

stumbling home

begging for

quick ignorance

whisper slow Maromi

crawl gently up and down my arms

Japan forgives itself through you

when will we see again

the beautiful mushroom cloud

the tsunami

the great black ooze that sweeps

like grasping arms

embracing arms

do us no harm

our lives belong to you

the great shadow of the bat boy

it has now become the cloud

it has now become the wave

it has now become the quaking ground

the lesson then was simple

goodbye pup, you never spoke

it was your ghost

I’ll tear the paper people up

your puddley

eyes

now

close

今 敏 Kon Satoshi 1963-2010

 




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Why are there no movies in space?

Posted in Sermons on November 12, 2010 by nicholasnordlinger

 

Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, the future (or, I guess, the past in Star Wars’ case) of space is full of bright and exciting technology, new exciting games (Pyramid <pictured left from the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica>, Dabo, Dom Jot, Kal Toh <there are a ridiculous number of different games and sports from Star Trek> or even that little hologram board game from A New Hope <you know the game I’m talking about, the one they’re playing when C3PO famously suggests that they “let the wookie win” >) books (Baltar writes a partial book while incarcerated in the re-imagined BSG that seems to gather a vast readership rather quickly, there are thousands of data files in Star Trek for reading, sadistic Eastern philosophy circulates throughout the Firefly universe) plays (Kirk attends a production of Hamlet in The Conscience of the King TOS episode 13) and music (the cantina scene from A New Hope or Jabba’s personal band from Return of the Jedi, on the Enterprise Uhura often sings while Spock plays the Vulcan lyre, and, somehow, All Along the Watchtower, makes it’s way to the Galactica near the end of season 3)

But no movies.

Seems like culture and technology have progressed with leaps and bounds in the imagined worlds of space, powerful weaponry, incredibly efficient space travel, and medical advancements (remember Luke’s hand?) but there doesn’t seem to be any Space Hollywood. In a Universe like Star Trek’s that is specifically meant to be this present’s future, the lack of a film scene becomes even more difficult to explain. What? Did we forget about cameras?

Clearly not. Picard looks at old pictures of himself (in that  leather bound photo album from Generations <pictured right>) but I guess Earth forgot all about motion pictures.

Sure the Holodeck has a cinematic aspect to it, but really it’s more like a game (mystery solving and what not.) They’ve got no shortage of games, games seems to be the main thing they do in space.

Conversation is another big activity, everyone’s always talking about Space Politics and Space Wars, religion, books, sex, music, but never movies. There are no famous directors on Serenity, the Millennium Falcon, the Enterprise, or the Galactica.

There’s even an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (Season 1, ep. 22 The Neutral Zone) when a couple of humans from the 20th century are unfrozen from cryogenic hibernation and the first thing one of them asks is “where’s the T.V?” because he wants to watch a Braves game. Data does his classic little head tilt, realizes that such an antiquated abbreviation means “television”, and explains that the tube went out of style in 2040. Not like everyone got bigger, better T.V.’s, people just stopped watching altogether, they had better shit to do, like particiate in virtually-simulated orgies on the Holodeck.

Science fiction writers must have realized how much thought a Space Film Industry would take to design. What would the movies be like? Would they be depictions of the present (as in “modern” depictions of Space, contemporary drama) or would they be films of the past and therefore about “our” (the viewers) present, or more confusing still a past of the future that is our present future?

...uh

 

Even more confusing we would have to assume that in Space Hollywood science-fiction would be as popular a category as it is in our time/place. That means that in the Federation, the Galaxy, the Alliance, and the Galactica, many movies postulating a future of the future would be produced. That’s too much for most writers, but I challenge anyone brave enough to depict a Space Film Industry, with all its confusing rammifications.