The Truth About Truth

July 8, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, METAPHYSICS, USA History |

Not as it seems (photo by CGP Grey)

8 July, 1947: The Army Air Field at Roswell, New Mexico, issued a press statement about salvaging the remnants of a “flying disc” from a nearby ranch and taking it to the air field, where it was quickly spirited to an undisclosed location. It wasn’t till about 30 years later (probably after the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)) that dozens of people started asserting they’d seen aliens, flying saucers, men in black, and so on. It was good business for a long time.  But it wouldn’t even pass muster with Stephen Glass. Truth remains an elusive,…

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Nyugalom

February 28, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | CRIME, METAPHYSICS, PETER'S WRITING |

"The Chasseur in the Forest", Caspar David Friedrich, 1814 (detail)

[A lunatic from the past, Bela Kiss, living in conditions of relative tranquility (in Hungarian, “Nyugalom“), made recordings of his ravings in the first-person mode obtaining from time immemorial. These have been transcribed and lovingly italicized by a team of scholars with rather too much affection for the source. The editor has taken the liberty of suggesting that the ensuing statements in the manuscript smack of self-serving apologia, akin to the homilies obtaining in the forwards of most modern three-volume biographies, to the effect that guessing, decontextualizing, moralizing and or fiction are necessary in order to render an antique subject…

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The Heart is a lonely Hunter

(Carson McCullers) Not as completely ghastly as a Flannery O’Connor but up there in the southern Gothic oh-my-gawd stakes.  The ultimately empty, Christ-like Singer and the yearning tomboy Mick are stock characters perhaps but they live and breathe in this story of poverty, hopelessness and waste.  Ian Hunter’s “Cambreau” from Strange Cargo and Conrad Veidt’s “Stranger” from The Passing of the Third Floor Back meet Scout Finch in a boarding house, a café and a ditch.

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Birdman

(Dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu) (2014) This is an interesting and well-made film that suffers from an empty space about its heart.  The 1990s star of “Birdman 1, 2 and 3”, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton – get it?) spurned Birdman # 4 when at the top of the Hollywood pile, and is now a penniless has-been with substance abuse issues and an uncertain relationship with reality, as evidenced by his schizoid exchanges with the alter-ego Birdman character, who comes and goes, alternately revving and razzing Thomson in a voice reminiscent of Frank in Donnie Darko.  His comeback (or if you hate…

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Shadowlands

 (dir. Richard Attenborough) (1993) “We read to know we are not alone”…so we appreciate the intellectual tug of love between lonely but accomplished Clive Staples (Jack) Lewis of Magdalen College, Oxford and lonely precocious poet Joy Gresham (“the Jewish Christian Communist American”) in this simple, sad and beautiful film, easily Attenborough’s best (and a lot shorter than his Oscar acceptance speech for Gandhi, or so it seems). William Nicholson adapted his earlier TV and film scripts with additions based in part on the lovely book by Joy’s son, Douglas (“Lenten Lands”) and the script is wondrous – tasteful, literate and…

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