A Little Something to Fight the Poison

Thursday, May 15, 2003
BACK WITH A THUNK: Got bonked on the side of the head head by my roommate playing squash today and had to spend a couple hours getting stitches (lucky 7, if you're wondering). Totally random. But that doesn't mean that I won't use it as an excuse for any incoherence that might appear in this post.

Poker skill/luck has not been with me recently. Ah, well. I shouldn't complain; cards have usually been good to me, but maybe I should just accept that my time has passed.

Yeah, I know, if I had a cat, I'd probably start blogging about it right now. But political news is depressing, in a numbing, shouldn't have mixed-those-Tylenol-IIIs-with-Nyquil sort of way. I think the following developments capture the reasons for my bleh-ness pretty well:

1) The main U.S. military group directing the search for WMD is wrapping up its work without having found a damned thing (via the currently solo Jane Finch). I'm not sure what makes me more disgusted: (a) that it's quite evident now that the Bush Admin was being highly dishonest, if not blatantly lying through its teeth; (b) that so much of the U.S. public and media bought it (those two phenomena obviously go together); or (c) that so few people in the U.S. public or media seem to give a damn, even if the evidence is starting to become quite obvious.

2) Ariel Sharon is about as much a Man of Peace as I'm the Man of Steel. As usual, the settlements are going to stay and keep the blood flowing, Road Map, Abu Mazen, or Colin Powell be damned. Yet in the words of some random (and not even particularly wide-eyed) yay-for-Likud poster I read on another blog, Sharon's been "wonderful."


That numbing feeling might be the reason I've turned my attention away from current events and toward sweet, sweet escapism. I finally saw The Matrix on a TV that was bigger than 8" (yeah, a travesty, but not as bad as my roommate who hadn't seen at all before). Who knew what I'd been missing? Everyone but Eric Alterman, probably--love his blog, but, dude, bashing the coolest movie of the last 5 years is not a way to win more friends anywhere on the political spectrum.

I'm not sure if I buy the claims that the first movie has a ton of philosophical depth, as opposed to posturing, though. I wonder, for example, if the Wachowski brothers realize that their Baudrillard references actually cut against the main point of the movie? If I understand Baudrillard correctly, his thesis--like that of other Po-Mos and Po-Mo sympathizers--roughly asserts that any notion of objective reality is vastly overrated; we have now entered a phase of experience in which the symbol and the signifier has rendered the reality of that which is being symbolized and signified obsolete. In other words, they'd side with Cypher, which seems like a rather problematic position.

But I suppose if eminences like Slavoj Zizek took it seriously, who am I to disagree? And even if we couldn't find metaphysical common ground, I'm sure Slavoj and I and many others could build an overlapping consensus on the fact of Carrie-Anne Moss' astonishing presence and grace as Trinity--Reason 135162762 to be proud of Canada. Best. Use. Of. Leather. Ever. ("My name is Eric and I think I have an, ahem, heroine addiction").

OK, I'll just briefly leave you with a funny clip from a hoity-toity New Yorker review of the second installment. It's negative--I've only read the bad reviews, since I don't want to build up expectations. Although I'm getting a little worried, since the little snatches I glimpsed of the movie's many positive reviews have been a bit tepid. Anyway, if you're wondering as to my motives for getting my PhD, it's so that I can become a famous pop academic and then slip my no-dramatic-talent butt into cool movies:
The only thing setting Zion apart from the good-guy planets in "The Phantom Menace" or "Star Trek" is that it seems to have been redlined at some moment in the mythic past and is heavily populated by people of color. They are all, like Morpheus, grave, orotund, and articulate to the point of prosiness, so that official exchanges in Zion put one in mind of what it must have been like at a meeting at the Afro-American Studies department at Harvard before Larry Summers got to it. (And no sooner has this thought crossed one’s mind when—lo! there is Professor Cornel West himself, playing one of the Councillors.)