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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Will To Truth:Eric Maddox - Interrogator - Capturing Saddam


The pleasure that comes of exercising a power
 that questions, 
searches out, 
 brings to light;
and on the other hand, 
the pleasure that kindles at having to evade this power, 
flee from it, 
fool it, 
or travesty it.
The power that lets itself be invaded by the pleasure it is pursuing;
and opposite it,
power asserting itself in the pleasure of showing off, 
scandalizing, or resisting. 
Capture and seduction,
confrontation and mutual reinforcement:
parents and children,
adults and adolescents,
educators and students,
doctors and patients,
the psychiatrist with his hysteric and his perverts,
all have played this game continually 
since the nineteenth century.
These attractions, 
these evasions,
these circular incitements 
have traced around bodies and sexes,
not boundaries not to be crossed,
perpetual spirals of power and pleasure. 
The Foucault Reader:Paul Rabinow, editor
The Repressive Hypothesis - The Incitement To Discourse; The Perverse Implantation (p. 324)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Roadside Attractions: Project Nim: Intellectual Torture - Terrace Pimped the Chimp


People know what they do.

They frequently know why they do what they do.

But what they don't know is what they do

Michel Foucault

From the Academy Award winning team behind Man on Wire comes the story of Nim, a chimpanzee who in the 1970s became the focus of a landmark experiment which aimed to show that an ape could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. What was learned about his true nature -- and indeed our own -- is comic, revealing and profoundly unsettling. (Roadside Attractions)  

The Young Bob Ingersoll and Nim - the only two in the film who are fully realized human beings - link to NPR article
1974 Lectures - Abnormal  - College de France
These lectures were written to be read to an international audience during 1974. They read as if you are listening to them. Foucault is never an easy read, but the oral lectures are his most accessible works. This is mesmerizing and had the idiot scientists understood his work Nim would never have had to suffer at their hands at the same time these lectures were being given. 
Madness and Civilization - A Genealogy of The Great European Confinement and the First Incarceration of People Considered Abnormal

Foster Mother
Nim with Cat - he loved cats
I am avoiding a psychological interpretation of the people in this film. I can only say they are sub-human specimens of humanity, and stupid in addition, even the supposedly well intentioned ones.
Roger Fouts taught Washoe ASL and then had to fight for her to save her life after science was finished with her.
She had someone who loved her from the beginning who pulled it off. Lucky Washoe, unlucky Nim.

“Project Nim” Reveals a Scientific Scandal

Everything Bolles says is correct. Only all of it is a floating sign that conceals the

Here is Nim in happier times. His foster family was non authoritarian with him but no one signed during his crucial and early years. As if a baby grew up in a home where no one talked.

Here is smug Herbert Terrace driving him in the car. I don't think this was the day he abruptly took him from his family.
Here he is with his first sign language teacher, a grad student assisting Terrace. They were very very close and now you see that he has grown, no longer the age and size of being carried around, bigger than in the car photo.
Now see her with Terrace and Nim. In the film you see how lovely she is, and how close she is with Terrace. Very close. Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart watchers will notice all the nuances.

Then a new sign language teacher comes on the scene. Another young enthusiastic pretty blond one. She and Terrace are very close and she is very close with Nim. 

An uncomfortableness arises between the two young women. Terrace gives the new one a title for the project that will look good on her future resume.
2nd teacher I think - lovely eh

His first teacher packs up and leaves abruptly. Nim clutches her. It takes six people to pull him off her as he clings to her. Again Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson watchers will see what is really going on here.

Bob Ingersoll Who Stayed to the End with Nim

Sundance Premiere Photos

You have a chimp growing up, moving into puberty, probably smelling sex on the people around him, people who have not neutered him but do not intend to breed him, and then who wonder why he bites his caretakers, until he so viciously bites the 2nd teacher in the face that the project is discontinued and Nim is sent to a medical facility, locked in a cage, where they do HIV, Hepatitis, etc research. A few caretakers learn some signing there. And then years of abuse follow after a happy childhood.   Basic principles of psychology and learning are ignored or not even known. Only Bob Ingersoll is aware while he plays with Nim.

This film is an indictment of highly educated human beings who cannot seem to connect the simplest dots in this puzzle of Nim nor go to anyone who knows for advice.  Terrace got to live in a beautiful estate with extensive grounds, donated for the project, with two adoring young very pretty grad assistants. 
The Dirty Little Secret

Student fucker: 


When he first arrived in New York, Nim was put into the custody of Stephanie LaFarge, a hippie mom who was a former Terrace student (and lover). She breast-fed the chimp, which was accepted as a “brother” by LaFarge’s seven children. She and the people who subsequently cared for Nim were not well trained in ASL, and they didn’t use it exclusively.

my bold.

Well, fuck me crooked, looks like he fucked them all. I must be psychic.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Herzog: The Jungle Is Obscene - Rob Pattinson's Next Director; A Blessing

Herzog will direct Rob Pattinson (as Lawrence) in: Queen of the Desert
This is the director Rob Pattinson has been waiting for. 

This month’s issue of Harper’s features a fantastic collection of diary entries by German film director Werner Herzog. These entries are excerpted from the forthcoming book: 

Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo

Released in 1982, Fitzcarraldo tells the story of a would-be rubber magnate who attempts to haul a steamship over a small mountain in Peru so that he can access an area rich in rubber trees. The infamous Klaus Kinski plays Fitzcarraldo, a European who pushes his crew to the breaking point in this mad quest; the semi-fictional plot was doubled in the real-life production disasters that plagued the movie. Fitzcarraldo dramatizes one of the oldest narrative conflicts, man vs. nature, in an earnest yet completely unromantic way. Fitzcarraldo, the opera-lover who brings ice to the natives, shatters any romantic illusions one might have about the power and majesty of nature in his mad schemes. This theme repeats throughout Herzog’s work, from the conquistador opus Aguirre, the Wrath of God to his outstanding 2005 documentary Grizzly Man. Again and again, Herzog’s films ironize, disrupt, or otherwise show the folly of romanticizing nature. His diary entries from Conquest of the Useless lay these sentiments bare in ways both bleakly poetic and terribly funny.
Take this entry from December 8, 1980: “The jungle is obscene. Everything about it is sinful, for which reason the sin does not stand out as sin.” Here, Herzog provides a succinct antithesis to Rousseau’s concept of the “noble savage.” Herzog’s view of man—de-politicized, that is—seems more Hobbesian, actually. In an entry from April 6, 1981, he writes:
“This morning I woke up to terror such as I have never experienced before: I was entirely stripped of feeling. Everything was gone; it was as if I had lost something that had been entrusted to me the previous evening, something I was supposed to take special care of overnight. I was in the position of someone who has been assigned to guard an entire sleeping army, but suddenly finds himself mysteriously blinded, deaf, and effaced. Everything was gone. I was completely empty, without pain, without longing, without love, without warmth and friendship, without anger, without hate. Nothing, nothing was there anymore, and I was left like a suit of armor with no knight inside. It took a long time before I even felt alarmed.”
Nature seems to nullify Herzog, to void any essential humanity he might have had. His repetition of “Nothing, nothing was there anymore” reminds me of King Lear’s famous lines “Never, never, never, never, never.” Although Lear is weeping over the body of his kind daughter Cordelia, the psychology of these lines surely reflect his own terrible experiences, his own nullified identity of homelessness on the wild heath.
For Herzog, nature is a war, nature will eat you. “Moss grows on lianas, and in the knobby places where the moss is thicker, a leafy plant like a slender hare’s ear grows out of the moss: a parasite on a parasite on a parasite,” he observes. If Herzog is melancholy or mordant in these grim reckonings, he’s also very, very funny. Take this hilarious June 4th entry concerning a giant albino turkey that’s been terrorizing the set:
“The camp is silent with resignation; only the turkey is making a racket. It attacked me, overestimating its own strength, and I quickly grabbed its neck, which squirmed and tried to swallow, slapped him left-right with the casual elegance of the arrogant cavaliers I had seen in French Three Musketeers films who go on to prettily cross swords, and then let the vain albino go. His feelings hurt, he trotted away, wiggling his rump but with his wings still spread in conceited display.”
And yet one senses that Herzog’s humor is a defense against the absurdity of nature, one that derives from an acute awareness that humanity is at once of and apart from nature, and at that by its own definition, its own choice. In a June 2nd entry featuring his nemesis the albino turkey, Herzog details an incident that highlights the essential ugliness of a Darwinian world:
“Our kitchen crew slaughtered our last four ducks. While they were still alive, Julian plucked their neck feathers, before chopping off their heads on the execution block. The white turkey, that vain creature, the survivor of so many roast chickens and ducks transformed into soup, came over to inspect, gobbling and displaying, and used his ugly feet to push one of the beheaded ducks, as it lay there on the ground bleeding and flapping its wings, into what he thought was a proper position and making gurgling sounds while his bluish-red wattles swelled, he mounted the dying duck and copulated with it.”
There we go. We get it all, all the order of nature. Food, sex, death, the whole deal, laid out keenly and with grim humor, neatly compacted into a single, grotesque episode. If these excerpts are any indication of the rest of the book’s trajectory, Conquest of the Useless promises to transcend standard making-of fare. Indeed, Herzog’s book seems nothing less than a profound meditation on the intersection of man, nature, terror, and mortality.
Conquest of the Useless: Reflections on the Making of Fitzcarraldo is available June 30th from HarperCollins.

"a suit of armor with no knight inside" is Lacan and Baudrillard. The suit of armor a "floating sign" asserting strength, a mask denying the emptiness of the signified, the knight inside is empty, weak, nothing.

And this is exactly what Kristen Stewart means when in LIttle White Lies Zine she said that celebrity charity is EMPTY! Herzog will love her.

“The jungle is obscene. Everything about it is sinful, for which reason the sin does not stand out as sin.” 

Baudrillard's definition of obscenity:
When simulated reality will be total we will be in 
Virtual Reality
An Obscenity

Pornography is not obscene. 
Sex is now everywhere except in sex.
Since sex is everywhere, totalized, that is the obscenity.