Aesthetics, Art, Artist, Bad Ideas, Dance, Drawings, Emotions, Erotic Dance, Literature, Movies and Film, Music, Paintings, Performance Arts, Photography, Poetry, Sculpture, Self-Pity, Theatre, Visual Arts, Writing

Even Artists are Human. Even Artists.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:  Paul’s thoughts on the notion that artists feel things more deeply than other folks.

♦♦♦

THE CRITICS ROAR: “Sunstone’s ‘Artists’ post puts me in mind of 1975 when the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco lingered on his death bed for weeks before having the proper decency to exit the world and take his damnable evil with him.  ‘Artists’ is by most common measures a short blog post, but Sunstone nevertheless manages to make it a long one.  You soon find yourself praying for it to end. Praying hard for it to end.” — Gus “Gunning Gus” Johnson, The Blog Critic’s Column, “Leper’s Gulch Gazette”, Leper’s Gulch, Colorado, USA.

Continue reading “Even Artists are Human. Even Artists.”

Art, Cultural Change, Culture, Dance, Drawings, Human Nature, Literature, Movies and Film, Music, Paintings, Performance Arts, Photography, Poetry, Quality of Life, Sculpture, Society, Theatre, Visual Arts, Writing

Will They Bring With Them the Poets?

SUMMARY: Reflections on the future of humanity.

(About a 7 minute read)

I read a post yesterday on Bojana’s blog that got me thinking about the future of humanity.  That’s a topic that is more or less always in the back of my mind, but which I seldom write about.

I seldom write about it largely because it’s such a complex topic that I’m not sure what can be said about it that might someday more or less pan out as true.  Bojana’s approach to the topic was a pretty sound one — she mulled over her observations of her toddler and his friends as they were playing together.  The future, of course, begins with how we raise our kids.

Continue reading “Will They Bring With Them the Poets?”

Art, Conservative, Courage, Cultural Traits, Culture, Ethics, Harry Potter, Liberal, Literature, Loyalty, Meaning, Memes, Morals, Movies and Film, Politics, Progressive, Relationships, Religion, Science, Scientific Method(s), Society, Spirituality, Values, Writing

How Has Harry Potter Shaped Us?

Do you think it’s possible that the Harry Potter books and movies have shaped the world views of a generation or two?  If so, how have they shaped those world views?  But if not, why not?

I’m especially interested in four aspects of the question:

  • Ethics and Morals: Has the Harry Potter series formed or changed people’s ethics and morals?  Has it propagated British values? Has it placed more weight on loyalty and courage than on intelligence?
  • Science and Reason: What, if anything, has the Harry Potter series shaped or changed about people’s attitudes towards science, logic, and empirical evidence?  Has it undermined their significance?  Will the world see more or fewer scientists because of the series?
  • Religion and Spirituality:  Has the series shaped or changed anything about people’s religiosity or spirituality?  If so, what?
  • Politics: What, if anything, has the series shaped or changed about the Left/Right, Progressive/Conservative political conflict?  Has it moved anyone Left or Right on the spectrum?

I confess that I have not been paying attention to the series.  That’s not because I’m opposed to it, but because I lazy when it comes to reading fiction.  But a question on Doug’s blog got me very interested in the influence of Harry Potter on our society.  I would much appreciate your help understanding that influence.

Movies and Film

True Grit

After watching True Grit the other day, I agree with those who say the lead role is Mattie’s; Rooster and the others are her supporting actors.  I doubt that’s how the Academy Awards will see it, though.

I thought it was a good movie, by the way.

Literature, Movies and Film, Writing

What Accounts for the Extraordinary Popularity of the Millennium Trilogy?

Early afternoon on Saturday, Don and I were downtown waiting for the start of “The Girl who Played with Fire”.  As you might know, that’s the second movie in the Millennium Trilogy.  The first movie in the Trilogy is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, which Don and I had seen ten days before.  We passed our wait discussing the extraordinary worldwide popularity of the Trilogy and speculating about the reasons for that popularity.

The first book in the Millennium Trilogy came out in 2005 and the other two followed a year apart each.  The Trilogy was written by the Swedish author and journalist, Stieg Larsson.  Larsson had planned to write a series of ten books.  Unfortunately, he died in 2004 of a heart attack at age 50 with only three of his books finished and without his seeing even one of them published.

No one guessed how popular his books were to become.   The initial printing was a respectable 10,000 copies.  But, as of last May, 27,000,000 copies of the books have been sold worldwide.  In some small countries, it’s estimated that half of the adult population in those countries has read the Trilogy.

One peculiar effect of such popularity is that tourists are flocking to Stockholm, which is the main setting for the stories.  The influx has amounted to a 20% rise in tourism, and it’s being called “the Millennium Effect”.

So, on Saturday, Don and I had some time before the movie in which to speculate as to why the Trilogy is so popular.  And we came up with two reasons we thought most important.  First, the character of Lisbeth Salander.  Lisbeth Salander is a highly intelligent young woman with a photographic memory and a knack for hacking computer systems.  But more than that, she is an exceptionally strong person who has survived horrible abuse while fighting back and without allowing the abuse to destroy her.

Second, we think the two main characters (Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist) are underdogs and thus some of the Trilogy’s popularity is accounted for by the attraction that underdogs have for many people.

Well, that’s what Don and I have come up with to help explain the popularity of the series.   But why do you think it’s grown so popular?

Capitalism, Economic Crisis, Economics, Movies and Film, Politics

“Capitalism: A Love Story”

Early last week, I saw Michael Moore’s new film, Capitalism: A Love Story.  There’s an excellent review of the movie at the blog, Naked Capitalism.

I would add that neither the film nor the review explicitly states this:  We Americans seem possessed by the notion that rich folks know better than poor folks how to run the country — or at least the economy.  The theory is rich folks have more experience running things.   On the other hand, rich folks seem pretty challenged just to make their own millions, let alone look out for the other guy.  But someone objects, “It’s no one’s job to look out for the other guy”?  Then that person knows less of politics than an elected dog catcher.  Political power largely proceeds from convincing people that you will work on behalf of their interests.