A Day in the Life of

Last night I took a break from watching La La Land and headed to Hacksaw Ridge instead. The turnout was spectacular. It was a full house on a weekday. That got us thinking. Friend wondered if it could have anything to do with faith. I liked that thought. I liked it so much I pursued it further. Could it be that they were running commercials for the movie exclusively and extensively on the Christian channels? I hadn’t come across much of a publicity push anywhere else that would explain the turnout. Could it be that a local celebrity preacher name-dropped the movie in one of his sermons? Or could it be that he handed out the tickets himself? Teach a man to fish and he won’t starve for the rest of his life. Direct your congregation to a Mel Gibson film and you don’t need to worry about your sheep going astray.

The movie itself was a mixed bag. The war scenes had me turning towards my friend at least twice with a “did you see that?” expression on my face. A Star Wars or a Marvel movie couldn’t make me do that. Shame on those for disneyfying violence. When you disneyfy violence, you sanitize and degrade it. There’s a way and a need to degrade violence, but that’s by exposing its brutality- not by making the victims faceless and the fights bloodless. Just because you make a lot of money doesn’t mean you’re right, Disney.

From one empire to another. We need to talk about the similarities between the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey and Pizzagate. Democrats like to make fun of Trump’s supporters for their gullibility and existence in a post-truth society. The way Democrats look at the Republicans must be the way Chomsky looks at them all. Chomsky views the stories published by NY times the way Hillary supporters look at the fake news stories planted by the alt-right on facebook. The more enlightened you are, the more is your ability to spot fake news apparently. Unfortunately, not many people have the free time or the inclination to reach a level of enlightenment where they begin to question the stories put out by outlets like NY Times. One such person with no time or inclination was the assassin of the Russian ambassador. Poor guy believed all the blame for the devastation in Aleppo could be laid squarely at the door of Russia. Did he know that Assad had offered a way to end the conflict even before it had become all encompassing? Did he know that US and its middle east allies wouldn’t come to the table unless Assad stepped down? Does he know how the American, or for that matter any other country’s, scales tip when the time comes to choose between geopolitical equations and saving human lives? Got to appreciate the cold hearted ruthlessness of the empires, even if they go around in cloaks boasting the values of freedom and democracy and human rights. If you only knew the number of autocratic regimes the US has propped up over the years. We need to support this murderous dictator because we need him in our fight against communism, we need him in our fight against terrorism, we need to depose this leader because he poses a threat to his own people… The problem with badmouthing and calling out the hypocrisy of the empire is people react to it in only one of two ways, and both of them amount to dismissal. Either they go:  We know all of this, tell us something we don’t know; or Okay (I don’t see how any of this concerns me).

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At this point, I could go on and end up like that Charlie Day meme or rehabilitate my image by talking about Blade Runner and Ryan Gosling. The prospect of Roger Deakins and Dennis Villeneuve getting back together to frame Ryan Gosling should be enough to make you forget the crushing despair of having to spend your whole life being manipulated and misinformed- and thank Jesus Christ, it is. What is real and what is reel, when the real is a construct of lies and the reel at least tries its utmost to stay true to itself?

London Falling

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Real Queen/ My Queen

 

Oye British politician somberly appearing on television and declaring “I am absolutely gutten and heartbroken,” SHOW, DON’T TELL. After discovering Gwyneth Paltrow’s head in a box, did Brad Pitt simply SAY, “I am angry, very angry” or did he ACT it out? Television audience deserve better. Learn to wear your heart on your sleeve or don’t appear on my television screen, guv’nor.

I’m on the side of the good guys here. For their sake I hope it doesn’t turn out to be a case of the boy who cried wolf. For their sake I want Great Britain to really suffer, at the minimum a lost decade. Xenophobic racist attacks on existing migrants would be a bonus. I know I shouldn’t be wishing harm upon what are some of my own friends and relatives but everything in order to serve the greater narrative, eh? When did the threat of physical violence ever stop Gandhi from staging a public spectacle? He was willing to be lathi-charged as long as there was possibility of word getting around. Be like Gandhi. Know the importance of selling a story.

For months now I’ve been hearing that Britain on its own would be a smaller and weaker negotiating partner and would hence have to make do with less than ideal trade agreements. Well, I want to see that play out. I want to see a decline in British exports and I want to see a decline in the spending power of the British tourist. I want to see London’s financial sector fall to its knees and for wealthy Chinese to buy prestigious London real estate at bargain prices. I want to see Scotland break away and I want to see football transfers stalled by work permit requirements.

I hope every fear of theirs comes true, every nightmare of theirs comes to life. I hope their music bands stop performing in their own country, because their currency is worthless. At the same time, I hope some great music comes out of the chaos.

Relations between US and the EU won’t be as good with US’ biggest ally out of the EU. EU will no longer be disproportionately aggressive towards Russia with UK, and by extension the US, out of the picture. Britain will be reduced to a small country like Pakistan, trying to win favors from whomever it can. It will resort to playing off China against the USA. It may even give the Kohinoor back in exchange for some FDI from India. (Ironic, huh? Britain feared it would turn into Pakistan by letting in Pakistanis but it’s going to turn into Pakistan because of not letting in Pakistanis.)

Cristiano Ronaldo might have been wrong in calling Iceland all those things but he’d be will within his rights to call England all of those things. Namely, a small-minded nation that isn’t going to achieve anything. Well, it’s Capital might end up beneath the waves in the next 50 years and that wouldn’t be nothing. So visit it while you can, don’t wait for the currency to fall much further, there won’t be nothing left to visit.

The monarchy will become all the more important now, I guess. With no substance, symbols become everything.

Even today, you can see countries clamoring to get into the EU. EU looks like Elysium from where they are. Turkey is leveraging the refugee crisis to get closer to the EU, India would chop off an arm and a leg to have the concessions Britain had as a member of the EU, and to all that Britain said NO, BILL PLEASE.

The day after:

Front page of the Hindu: The referendum is likely to drive away students given the ‘unwanted’ feeling generated now.

Page 13 of the Hindu: The drop in the pound is likely to result in an increase in the number of students opting for the UK as a destination for higher education as this will make studying there significantly cheaper.

I mean I know the world is complex and there are two sides to every coin but WTF!

Quote of the day- “Migration to the UK will come down significantly. A recession tends to do that.”

The story behind the picture of Lea Seydoux: This tweet by Edgar Wright.

You want metaphors? I’ll give you metaphors. You cheered on when fictional Ramsay met his death but you know what, Ramsay won where it counts- at the polling booth. You cheered on when Harry vanquished Voldemort but you know what, you made JK Rowling cry and feel powerless. You made her lose to Voldemort, a figment of her imagination. How embarrassing, for her.

Did you hear the story about how the leave vote was strongest in the regions most dependent on EU*? Forget Apple, forget Steve Jobs, forget iPhone, this ladies and gentlemen is true human ingenuity.

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*There’s actually a very good reason why the people in the regions most dependent on aid from EU wanted to leave the EU. These regions have suffered from deindustrialization, closure of factories, loss of jobs and have the highest levels of poverty. They may said to have suffered the most from globalization, as such. First came the impoverishment, then came the meager aid- as they see it. But is the answer to rail against globalization or to get newer skills and better degrees, as the backers of globalization put it.

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