Thought for the Day

And Will loves New York? she asked.

He really does, I said. And he’s a Marxist now, I think. He just says Kapital, doesn’t even use the Das.

Cool.

Yeah.

Miriam Toews, All My Puny Sorrows

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Climate Change Link

A link so that I can find this again:

Patter

I watched a coupl’a movies the other night. The first was The Lost Girls. It was pretty bad. But it was the $0.99 movie rental on Apple Movies a week or two ago, and I rented it. The premise was that multiple generations of girls from Wendy Darling’s family are visited by Peter Pan. Or maybe not. Maybe Peter’s just a metaphor for mental illness. It’s not entirely clear. The person who wrote the screenplay (adapted from a book) and directed the film also starred as the main character. And I don’t think that was a great choice.

But the other movie I watched was Being the Ricardos — an Amazon Studios film available through Amazon Prime. And that was amazing.

This latter film was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. And while I sometimes think that Sorkin’s stuff can be a little infuriating — for example, I think The West Wing is a very facile and idealistic view of the way American politics works — I love how he writes dialog.

He writes the characters smart and able to express themselves. Throughout the film, characters are juggling multiple crises: rehearsing and filming an episode of I Love Lucy (with a director that Ball doesn’t really have confidence in), dealing with a question of whether or not Arnaz has been unfaithful, trying to quash a news report alleging that Ball is a communist, and trying to persuade the studio that they should allow the show to incorporate Ball’s pregnancy as a storyline (I learned, years ago, that the studio didn’t allow them to say the word pregnant on TV; Lucy was, instead, “with child” or “in the family way.”) The characters are constantly jumping around from one point of conversation to another. In one scene, Arnaz chides Ball for jumping topics without warning and Ball admonishes him to keep up.

There was one distraction in the film: it positions Arnaz’s opposition to communism to be a result of the revolution in Cuba… but the story is set waaaay too early (1952/1953?) for that to make sense.

Anyway: going from a film that I almost turned off to a film that I adored in the same evening was pretty whiplash-y.

Canada-as-Canada in Film

All My Puny Sorrows is beautiful, but tremendously sad.

Content warning: suicide is a major theme of the film.

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But why aren’t their jackets yellow?

I’m late to the game with Yellowjackets, but it’s kind of exactly my jam. I think that probably says something unfortunate about me.

I think it worked for me quite a bit more than The Wilds, which I enjoyed but didn’t really love.

Tasty Crow. Tasty

I’ve had my beefs with Discovery, but I count that as among the best episodes of Trek, ever.

Thought for the Day

You look at the capture of power in the right wing, the ascent of white nationalism, the concentration of wealth. You cannot really animate or concentrate a movement like that—you can’t coalesce it into functional political power—without a sense of persecution or victimhood. And that’s the role of this concept of cancel culture. It’s the speck of dust around which the raindrop must form in order to precipitate takeovers of school boards, pushing actual discourse out of the acceptable norms, like in terms of the 1619 Project or getting books banned from schools. They need the concept of cancel culture, of persecution, in order to justify, animate, and pursue a political program of takeover, or at least a constant further concentration of their own power.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez an Insider Now?”

Thought for the Day

Worrying about this [white, Euro-centrisim in Physics] reminds me of the opening sequence of Cameron Crowe’s English-language adaptation of Alejandro Amenábar’s Abre los Ojos, Vanilla Sky. In the scene, Tom Cruise’s lead character David Shelby is driving down a familiar New York City street against the backdrop of Radiohead’s opening track to Kid A, “Everything in Its Right Place.” The song, which Radiohead’s lead singer Thom Yorke has explained is about depression, is an ominous foreshadowing of the dystopian direction that the film goes in. My experience with particle physics has something in common with this juxtaposition. I feel comfortable, extremely comfortable in fact, with how the Standard Model tends to locate particles in their correct mathematical structure, in their right place. But I am also low-key worried, on the regular, that finding comfort in this makes it difficult for me to see the larger physical picture, or perhaps is a refusal to see the larger picture. When I think about this, I too have Radiohead playing in the background.

In my heart, I fight with the history of the Standard Model of particle physics and the motivation behind it, but also every time I think I can’t deal with physics or physicists anymore, it is the Standard Model that makes me stop in my tracks and think, “Wow.” I get lost, in the best possible way, in the math—every single time. I will never get bored of picking up a particle physics textbook and starting from page one. […] I have no love for how my professional community is structured. But it’s also the case that when I think about quarks, I experience the kind of loving hope that is best set to Def Jef’s “Black to the Future”: “We know where we’re goin, because we know where we came from.” Maybe, then, I’m not just a hack for colonial science, but more like Princess Shuri from Black Panther, giving particle physics a new spin and rhythm. This is not to say that the laws of the universe are not universal—but it may be that what we think we know is incomplete and will not be complete until we are able to think beyond how white men are trained to think in a Western educational setting.

— Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, The Disordered Cosmos.