Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wondering About the Relationship Between 'True Detective' and Lovecraft While Listening to Ice-T Read Dungeons and Dragons While I Borrow One of Madeline Kripke's 20,000 Dictionaries and Then Reflect on Noam Chomsky's Thoughts About America and Zombies

My earlier mention of the "vorpal sword" has triggered some ghetto nerd impulses. As is my habit on a weekend, here are some fun semi-related posts that you may find humorous, fascinating, usefully distracting, playful, and/or intellectually provocative.

If you are not watching HBO's great new show True Detective I suggest that you begin doing so immediately before all of its wonderful secrets are spoiled for you. True Detective is one of the best shows on television. Its meditations on existential matters of life and death, religion, as well as the banality of evil and cultural nihilism make me wonder how such a rich and intelligent show made its way to American TV.

True Detective is unapologetically literate.

True Detective is an onion: the viewer has to peel back the layers. I consider myself a pretty sharp and critical television viewer. I love it when I am made to feel stupid and ignorant by a great TV show or movie. Apparently, True Detective is an inter-textual exercise, one that is using the detective genre to tell a Lovecraft inspired pulp story about those who shall not be named.

The great site io9 is exposing the mystery within the mystery that is True Detective here and here.

The rapper, singer, and actor known as Ice-T--a connoisseur of beautiful women whose bodies have been sculpted as roller coasters for his pleasure--is a master of self-parody. Self-awareness is a virtue. Deft and witty self-awareness of how one is simultaneously both a person and a character is an art.

As I listen to Ice-T's frustrated (and damn funny) attempt to record a Dungeons and Dragons audiobook, I cannot help but wonder what character class he would play in the game.

How many dictionaries do you own? The children of the digital age do not know the joy of finding obscure words in their family's unabridged dictionary that sat in the corner of the TV room. I pity them their loss of such innocence and discovery.

Searching for words online does not have the same transformative power as holding that big heavy tome of knowledge in one's hands and searching for naughty swear words and descriptions of sexual practices that you could insert into your grade school essays as a means of provoking the teacher. Perhaps, I am over-sharing? I know that I am not the only young ghetto nerd who committed such politically transgressive and resistant acts against the forced conformity and tyranny that was my elementary school.

Madeline Kripke is a testament to the power of learning. She is also a hoarder with a whee touch of obsessive compulsive disorder. I love her. 20,000 dictionaries? Kripke is a national treasure. What is not to love about such a keen mind and a dedication to knowledge?

When the zombie apocalypse comes, we will need her 20,000 dictionaries to help reboot human civilization.

Speaking of zombies, Noam Chomsky, one of the United States' greatest intellectuals, offered up his thoughts on why that type of undead ghoul has come to dominate American popular culture over the last decade. Next to jazz, I would suggest that the zombie is one of America's greatest cultural gifts to the world. Chomsky makes it clear: America is a broken society--paranoid as well as fearful--and the zombie is part of a cultural anxiety which has its roots in The Founding.

Once more, Chomsky proves that he is "just better at life" than the rest of us.


Myshkin the Idiot said...

Definitely was looking up inappropriate words in the dictionary, sharing them with a teacher, not so much. We keep reference books and others handy. We have a dictionary. Used book stores around here are excellent, I owe much of my post college education to cheap and falling apart paperbacks.

The zombie thing is strange. They can be exciting movies for what they are, but help me understand: My wife has six year old students who come to school talking about the latest episodes of the Walking Dead. She even has a friend who boasts about her three year old enjoying the series. What is going on here?

chauncey devega said...

I love zombies. My read would be a negotiation of national trauma. Brainsssss!!!

Sharing them w. the teacher was always fun. They would be enraged and titillated.

Miles_Ellison said...

A commenter on Racialicious replied to a post questioning the lack of zombies of color on The Walking Dead. His/Her theory was that blacks and latinos weren't getting caught by zombies, and migrated to the Caribbean and formed a thriving zombie-free society.

chauncey devega said...

They aren't watching the show very carefully then. There is lots going on w. the "zombies of color".

kokanee said...

Re: "Wondering About the Relationship Between 'True Detective' and Lovecraft While Listening to Ice-T Read Dungeons and Dragons While I Borrow One of Madeline Kripke's 20,000 Dictionaries and Then Reflect on Noam Chomsky's Thoughts About America and Zombies"

Did someone get into my drug stash tonight? ;)

While we're sharing, I always prefered encylopeidias to dickshunaries. Never did learn to spell. And to deal with the rich vocabulary on WARN, I click on the word and select "define." Growing up we had the kiddie Golden Book Encyclopedia Set. Today it's Wikipedia. Recent Wikipedia searches include: microaggression, critical race theory, internalized racism, culture of fear.

Re: "Culture of fear"

Michael Moore's A Brief History of the United States of America

From a research study conducted on "fear culture" and organizational behavior (OB):
Hierarchical, fear-based cultures are paralysing organisations. --
I presume what is true for organizations is also true for the country as a whole.

In the news:
This was appalling: Judge Tosses Muslim Spying Suit Against NYPD, Says Any Damage Was Caused by Reporters Who Exposed It
How the right wing sees things: Student charged with racism, forced to apologize for image of Obama kicking door
How former Republican, Mike Lofgren, sees the country (a must read): Anotomy of the Deep State
Michelle Alexander, law professor and author of The New Jim Crow was on Bill Maher last night. Google realtimeforfree to watch it.
Unconscious (implicit) bias:
Hidden Bias Tests measure unconscious, or automatic, biases. Your
willingness to examine your own possible biases is an important step in
understanding the roots of stereotypes and prejudice in our society. --Test Yourself for Hidden Bias

Veri1138 said...

Waiting for my Traveller CDs from FFE. 1st Ed. AD&D only. Retro Star Frontiers. And encyclopedias, damnit. Don't forget Twilight:2000 1st ed.

RiPPa said...

Ice T plays D&D? I think my inner thug and fake pimp just curled up into a ball and cried.

Veri1138 said...

Google 'star frontiers downloads'

Shady Grady said...

Ice-T would be a Chaotic Neutral 5th level thief/4th level bard

kokanee said...

No, no, no! Ice-T's manager sent T, much to his chagrin, to read a D&D book for Audible (their podcast's sponsor).

Listen to the podcast. It's hilarious.

kokanee said...

kokanee said...

Ice-T once called rap a hustle. Gotta love the guy.

One of my favorites from NWA:

Popular Resistance Newsletter - Defining What We Stand For

kokanee said...

FFE = Frontier: First Encounters? Never heard of it. Nor did I play any of the role playing games like D&D. I did go through the entire Infocom series though. Remember Zork?
Popular Resistance Newsletter - Defining What We Stand For

kokanee said...

Ah, thanks.

Did you know about this, or does it interest you?

Popular Resistance Newsletter - Defining What We Stand For

Miles_Ellison said...

Most people aren't watching that show closely. They're watching it because they think everybody else is watching it.

I do think that a show about a zombie-free outpost run by people of color would be interesting. How long would it take before zombies (and white non-zombies) tried to destroy it out of racist spite?

Buddy H said...

Adopting a dog owned by Ice T:

"A lot of them take on the personalities of their owners"

OldPolarBear said...

Raw Story linked to that Chomsky the other day and it generated a large comment thread. There were the usual denials and anger at Chomsky for hating America blah blah blah but then there were some interesting comments. Some said Chomsky is wrong; zombies are this and then somebody else woul say no you're wrong zombies are that. I think that's the genius of the zombie: they can represent so many different things.

Veri1138 said...

Reminds me of Eve Online. Eve Online becomes repetitive. I wish we had SWG Pre-CU back with the ability to fly your spaceship planetside - which they accomplished in 2012 before closing the servers. Best skills system also.

Look at this...

kokanee said...

Re (kokanee): "Did someone get into my drug stash tonight? ;)"

No offense intended Brother Chauncey: my apologies if it did. I guess that's just me trying to be hip, ghetto cool and ghetto bad azz. Never really embraced "respectable" white culture. This hit a chord with me:
Looking Beyond White Privilege: How Race Still Matters in America

chauncey devega said...

Me thinks you thinks you think too much my friend. That isn't always a bad thing :)

But, one of the problems w. pc "social justice" discourse is that it creates anxiety and "rules" that while nice and good on paper are really so very flat, meh, and one dimensional in how real folks live and relate to one another. In the long run, pc on the Left and by "progressives" can become self-parody. PC on the right does the same too. I point that out because the term political correctness has a complex origin.

kokanee said...

Thanks. I've never been a fan of PC either. It fits in nicely with color blindness/microaggression. At the same time, there are social norms that we all have to abide by.
I've found a treasure trove of articles here at WARN on PC and on other things like what respectability means, etc. I'm now going through the entire archive. It's going to keep me busy for some time. ;)

Veri1138 said...

Celebrate our differences instead of trying to pretend.