Saturday, September 20, 2008

Joseph Campbell - Adventure of the Hero

Messenger Gods
Greek. God of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of thieves and road travelers, or orators and wit, of literature and poets, of athletics, of weights and measures, of inventions, of general commerce, and of the cunning of thieves and liars.

Hermes' epithet Argeiphontes...or Argus-slayer, recalls his slaying of the hundred eyed giant Argus Panoptes, who was watching over the heifer-nymph Io in the sanctuary of Queen Hera herself in Argos. Putting Argus to sleep, Hermes used a spell to permanently close all of Argus' eyes and then slew the giant. Argus' eyes were then put into the tail of the peacockm symbol of the goddess Hera.

Io was a priestess of Hera in Argos who was seduced by Zeus, who changed her into a heifer to escape detection. Her mistress Hera set ever-watchful Argus Panoptes to guard her, but Hermes was sent to distract the guardian and slay him. Heifer Io was loosed to roam the world, stung by a maddening gadfly sent by Hera, and wandered to Egypt, thus placing her descendant Belus in Egypt; his sons Cadmus and Danaus would thus "return" to mainland Greece. Hera tethered Io to the olive-tree in the temenos of her cult-site, the Heraion, and placed her in the charge of many-eyed Argus Panoptes to keep her separated from Zeus. Zeus commended Hermes to kill Argus.

Roman. Messenger and a god of trade, profit and commerce...his name is related to the Latin word merx ("merchandise"; compare merchant, commerce, etc.). In occult circles Mercury is given primary rulership over things megical. this may in part be due to Mercury's association with Odhinn by way of the days of the week. The name Wednesday comes from the Middle English Wednes dei...meaning the day of the Germanic god Woden (Wodan) who was a god of the Anglo-Saxons in England until about the 7th century.

Often depicted with the head of an Ibis...he was considered the heart and tongue of Ra as well as the means by which Ra's will was translated into speech. He has also been likened to the Logos of Plato and the mind of God. One of the two deities (the other being Ma'at) who stood on either side of Ra's boat...and has further been involved in arbitration, magic, writing, science, and the judging of the dead.

Thoth served as a mediating power, especially between good and evil, making sure neither had a decisive victory over the other. He also served as scribe of the gods, credited with the invention of writing and alphabets (ie. hierogiyphs) themselves. The ancient Egyptians regarded Thoth as One, self-begotten, and self-produced. He was the master of both physical and moral (ie. Divine) law. He is credited with making the calculations for the establishment of the heavens, stars, Earth, and everything in them...and is said to direct the motions of the heavenly bodies. Without his words, the Egyptians believed, the gods would not exist.

Holy Ghost

Hermes Trismegustus
"Hermes Thrice Greatest"
Psychology and Alchemy
C.G. Jung

Mercurial figure

Navaho Legends
Where the two came to their father

Gretchen, Helen of Troy, Virgin
Evolution of male perception of female power

Koran 37:158
Iblis "the Despairer"

Kamar al-Zaman
Reluctant hero
Supernatural forces intervene

Unconscious desire coming forth from his dreams, forcing upon him that
which he rejects, for his own benefit. Pride of a protector brings the
two together.

Threshold Guardian
"We are not defenders of the ID"
Safety of society
The fear of unknown keeps tribe together
Forces some out into initiation
The outcast seeing civilization from a distance

Chiruwi "a mysterious thing"
Half-man, victorious battle gives medicine

Incestuous libido
Patricidal destrudo

"Dreamer" "one who speaks from dreams"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Flash (DC Comics) in Animation/Television/Video Games

Wally West: The Flash

My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive. The Flash.

Yes. It's true. Autograph? Suuurre. Hi. How's it going?

So long ago. I won the lotto when I turned 21. Yep. Grew up in the midwest. Normal kid. Maybe a bit obsessed with superheroes. Well, one in particular. My uncle Barry. The Flash.

Something about the red costume and the yellow lightning. The ability to get everything done. Fast. Like, I'm talking about reading the library on a lunch break. And talk about travel? Just think it. Los Angeles? Bam. Hong Kong? I remember the Pacific seemed like it would be a challenge. The real hard part is finding Hawaii out there. First time I was running in a holding pattern til Barry led the way.

Anyways, I always wanted superspeed, and one fateful trip to the city to see my Aunt Iris, wouldn't you know it? I become a sidekick. Sure, the costume was yellow, but I thought I looked so puny when I was just wearing Barry's costume but small.

Oh, and speaking of small, our costumes used to shrink and fit in our rings. We'd actually get naked sometimes and slip into them in public. Well, not naked, but I was in socks and tighty whities out on sidewalks way too often.

So, Barry eventually sacrificed himself during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Imagine World War II during the 80's. The things that went down here ended an era. Heroes were broken.

And I was left with the mantle. The costume. In my arms. How could I be the man my uncle was?

I doubted myself so much in those first days. God, I was pathetic. Chasing after girls, blowing my millions on whatever suited me that second, betraying friends. Ugh.

It's no wonder I bought into the whole Return of Barry Allen malarky. I was so eager to give the title back. Me in my shiny, reflective coating costume, handing back the title to my uncle in his simple cloth costume. But it wasn't my uncle. It was Zoom.

Eobard Thawne. Professor Zoom. He killed my Aunt Iris. The one family member who felt like blood. Kin. Protective, loving, and always there with a smile. She actually did eventually return. Involves the 30th Century and the legacy of the Flash a thousand years in the future.

Eobard Thawne was from the far future. With the cosmic treadmill, we (and he) jumped through different eras, dimensions, even abstract concepts. He wanted to be Barry. Not even just the Flash, but Barry himself. In this future people gave themselves over to reliving a person of their choosing from any era. But Eobard wasn't content with this virtual heroism. He wanted flesh and bone. He wanted blood on his hands.

And he got it. A lot of it mine. I finally had to own up to the title of the Flash. Barry wasn't coming back. Suck it up. Be a man for once. Leave the sidekick, former child star primadonna crap at home. Yeah, that was me running with Robin. Dick Grayson. Old school, man. Tights. Oh yeah. I know Batman. We were in the Justice League together. With another guy too. You might know him. SUPERMAN. Yeah. I know. And here we are talking...

Everyone knew I was the Flash. Everyone. I didn't know the other JLA members' secret identities til later and I guess I don't blame them. I dropped the ball right off the bat. Mr. Element. Transmuted my costume. Why he would want to do this? I dunno. No judgments. But COME ON!

So there I am in my draws, which are pretty rank at this point. You wouldn't believe how fast I go through underwear. Thank god for baby powder.

So, Wally's a superhero millionaire as he turns 21. He loses his life a few years later right after he actually finds love. And she's a reporter, but I swear that was a coincidence. It's not a Lois Lane thing. Linda Park actually, kinda hated me at first, and I know that's exactly why I couldn't resist. She'd be wearing those short tight skirts that were big in the ninties. You know, not quite the 80's, high waisted, throw on some suspenders style, but not all that far off. But then you should have seen my hair. Coif!

So I die and merge with the speed force. The speed force is what we in the speedster family like to call our little nest egg. It's a seemingly endless field of energy that is everywhere inside of everything. Superspeed heaven? I dunno. But I outraced Black Flash, the superspeed grim reaper, so you know, who knows?

These days, I'm a mechanic. No one remembers me as the Flash. It's a secret again, as a parting gift from Barry before exiting the universe. He took away the burden of the last decade. A clean slate. A new life with Linda. And our kids. Twins. First time out, two kids. Two toddlers stumbling at mach 1. God, I hope their powers don't manifest until puberty. Or after. Post college maybe.

So, yeah. Used to be famous. Used to be rich. Now I work on cars at regular speed for 8 long, long, long hours a day, and then still do the things I always used to do in a day (i.e. foiling a scheme, fighting a villain, saving the universe), and get some sleep while finding time for the kids and maybe some Linda and Wally special time. No fast jokes. Not true.

Going slow. I drive to work. I live among people again. Actually, for the first time. I was an only child lost in thought. Then a sidekick superteen fighting gods. Finally a spoiled rich kid, before landing back on my ass here. And I love it.

Something about a routine that keeps you going with a smile. Slowing down and really taking things in is almost like information overload. But that's how everyone else is seeing it too. Not in streaks and blurs, light smeared across the eye. It's all in vivid detail and a numbing overindulgence of the senses. Ahhh, feels like real life. A man's life.

"Yo, West! I need you on lift 3!"

Coming boss! Okay, break's over. Gotta get back to the grind.

And with that he wipes his hand on a rag and turns away smiling.

The Shining

This movie gives it all away at the beginning. It creeps you out from the get go with the extreme long shot that makes the cars and hotel look like tiny models. The music is almost just noise, chaotic.

The shot of Danny beneath the knives in the background while he has ice cream with Scatman Crothers. This scene I love as Scatman basically initiates Danny, or 'Doc', into the world of magic by having him eat from the cup. (Wikipedia: cup magick)

The lady in water, siren, bathtub scene.

The labrynthine hotel nicely parallels not only the ending in the hedge maze but also the labrynth of mythology that emprisoned the minotaur. A metaphor that Joseph Campbell sees as an ideal heroic journey.

The writer ego exploding. First he sleeps late and says he should write. Then he kicks her out cause she's breaking his flow. Then a little staring out of the window at his wife and kid like a creepster before getting back to writing. Screaming in his sleep at the desk.

Dipping bacon into sunnyside eggs as he explains how he fell in love with the place. He pounds the wall with a ball as we pan back from a lone typewriter. Dissolve from wife and son wandering in the maze to father wandering to a miniature of the maze. Zooms in on an extreme long shot from above.

Everything is set up so hardcore. The way shots change and get closer or further away to make them creepier. The exposition of the phone lines being out as wife talks to the ranger. The flash of the twins dead bodies. The crazy look on Nicholson's face from the get go.

The tv show mom and son are watching have some sort of older woman/mom seduction undertones. From this Oedipal setup we see Danny venture into the lair of his father to fetch his firetruck (red, power, sex).

The long shot here with Danny way in the background makes him even more insignificant. The mirror placed on the far left of the shot helps trap Danny in the frame as well as play up the duality of his (alcoholic) father.

Which then turns to a tender father/son moment, where they wear complimenting blues bonding them as father and son. But then it turns creepy and Danny asks if he would hurt him or mom. This seems to send the splinter down through the marriage. A battle over the child, a
reason to lash out, hate the one you're with because you hate yourself.

A nightmare reveals what we've been suspecting from the first scene when we hear that an earlier caretaker killed his family. It's like we keep getting hit over the head that this is going to happen. Every scene widening the schism of this family.

The Gold Room. A temple of lights. The empty bar a reminder of the routine of drinking. A confession with the imaginary bartender. A few drinks loosens up his emotions so he can talk about the love of his son, and the anger he feels at his wife covering up the guilt he feels about once hurting his son. It's like that one memory of him hurting his son, and how they all dealt with it, explodes when they are no longer able to interact with anyone else.

From his first hallucination here with just the bartender, it extends to a full ballroom of the rich of another era. His dark red jacket is ruined here by a yellow drink which leads him to the bathroom where he meets the previous caretaker, now a waiter, in the bright red bathroom.
Displacing the feelings perhaps as he projects it on the previous caretaker.

He's framed by the mirror, and informs him of his son telepathically contacting Scatman. The mirror is also where Tony revealed to Danny what happened at the hotel. I believe they both share the gift of the 'shining', and this battle between the father and son (and perhaps his own feelings towards his father reflected by his own face in the mirror) is what comes to the surface.

Enter Redrum. I guess this film's most famous pop culture contribution. Murder spelled, or reflected, backwards. As spoken by Tony, the flipside of Danny. Danny's watching Road Runner & Coyote (a violent dualistic relationship) as mom goes off, baseball bat in hand, to talk to dad.

Why the repeat of "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.'? The creepster angle of showing the same thing typed over in every manner possible def sells us on what we assumed was his mental state; stark raving mad.

Dad using his responsibility towards his job (something he may feel insecure about having 'been' a teacher and trying to be a writer) as an excuse to go off on his wife. She shows concern towards their son and his jealousy explodes into rage.

Knocking him out, dragging him, and locking him up was a good move, which brings out the bargaining aspect of the abusive relationship. No longer in power he tries to woo his way back. While locked in there he has a dialogue with the former caretaker through the door as he stands next to a box of 'sliced peaches' and 'pimento pieces' by a company
called Golden Rey.

Getting back to Redrum, Danny takes a large phallic symbol knife (the sword), and lipstick, and writes redrum on the door. An incantation spoken and performed hypnotically, serves as a warning against the father who's now knocking at the door...with an axe. A wounded hand

Danny escapes his father in the labyrunth having gone through it before with his mother. Jack, although having seen the overview of it via the miniature, can't navigate it like his son from personal experience. He also deceives his father by erasing his tracks.

This leaves dad, the potential writer, to die lost and frozen in the snowstorm labyrinth, the wasteland of his mind. Cut to a pan/zoom in on Jack Nicholson at the hotel in its heyday decades ago. What does it mean?

I also like how the time goes from a month later to certain days to a specific time.

The music is just random noise at times but it's effective in causing some sort of physical reaction. The high pitched wine during the telepathic scenes seem to actually hit certain parts of my brain. The heartbeat sounds over so many scenes. Quiet moments where we pan in or
out, slowing us down, easing us from tense moments, making us think that maybe everything will be okay.

It seems so heavy handed but it works. Is it because we've seen it spoofed a billion times?

And that bigwheel through the hotel shot is just amazing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Adult Swim

I heart Adult Swim. I <3 it.

Metalocalypse. A metal band is the most popular band in the world. Pop culture therefore follows a dark and metal path but still looks just like the cheery pop idolatry of today. Goverment and mystical conspiracies track the band's progress. And metal songs that are funny. My roommate, an actual metal guitarist, hates it.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The token smart French Fry guy. The obnoxiously hip Milkshake. Typically simple Wad of Meat. The rent in Jersey. They might save the day, or everyone might suddenly explode. Insane-o-humor. The first bunch were funny, but now the ATHF aren't even on the show and Carl can only carry the show for so long. ATHF Colon Movie Film for Theatres was good though.

Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job. Sketch comedy by infantile retards exploiting the pathetic, goofball, offbeat, eccentric denziens of the entertainment industry. And I mean that in as admiringly a way as possible. The fine line of humor (and good taste) is crossed often and I'm glad that someone's out there trying to get away with this stuff. Cameos by Weird Al, John C. Reilly, Tom Skerrit, Dave Navarro & others! Tom Goes to Mayor, almost occasionally funny.

Assy McGee. Won't watch it. Can't do it.

Robot Chicken. Some sketches are just bad jokes, but when it's on, it's amazing. Nostalgia reigns with appearances by every single toy you ever had comes back and says/does some 'R' rated s#!% up in here. The E=MC2 rap from tonight's episode was true genius. Check the celebrity cameo voices at the end too. More often then not, if they spoof a celeb, they get them to do the voice. Yay Seth Green.

12. Oz. Mouse. I'm about to partake of illicit substances and watch this. I love this show. Here goes...

SHARK: "Are you drunk?"

FITZ: "Not drunk enough."

I think I read on one of the Adult Swim bumpers that this was the cheapest show every made. And it shows. Blobs of color that reek of MSPaint, poorly animated in Macromedia Flash, that tests your patience with every other gag. It's total chaos. Things happen for no reason. Things explode, people are shot, giant eyeballs show up, and the damned chinchilla won't stop the shrieking! It's amazing. I love the absurd and surreal. And best intro ever. Exploding cardboard city!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Othello - Iago

Just finished watching Othello. Iago is pretty much the man here, weaving deception which in the end could have an impact on an entire country. His hatred for a man of position he works beside drives him to befriend everyone into the most sinister plot.

Is Iago the bored social scientist, playing them against each other for sport? Is he just old fashioned evil? Or perhaps he is the unknown variable, the chaos in a system that simply must play out its role of entropy.

I've always thought compulsive lying was a cry for attention, a desire to be caught, to be listened to, for once, and truly heard. I've lied before and prided myself on my ability when it was necessary, aka for the greater good. I don't have the spite, the will to do harm. But I
feel as I do have the skill to manipulate.

Good intentions, an honest desire and joy at making others happy. I want those I see potential in to not be enslaved to self doubt. And maybe I want to see that I don't need to live that way either.