This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Archive for the category “arts”

“Fargo” (TV) Season 2: What On Earth Is All That UFO Stuff About?

14mcclarnon-master675Well, that was certainly meta. Read more…

How To Be A Real Great Poet



In nerd news: fragments of smoking pipes with traces of cannabis have been found in a location that was once William Shakespeare’s garden. Although it is not at all clear that any of these pipes belonged to the Bard (or indeed if they even date to his lifetime) scholars are excited: after all, here is a chance, however slim, of demonstrating that the boring stuffed shirt that was Bill Shakespeare really did write all that nice poetry. Maybe he was high as a kite. Read more…

What Does This Movie Mean? — The Godfather’s Oranges

I’ve been meaning for some time to write something about all those oranges in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy. It’s a topic that’s been copiously discussed by viewers and critics, but I still feel that there is something left to say about it. Specifically, it’s the question of “why oranges” that really fascinates me.

So let us begin. Read more…

Myths and Illusions: The Myth of True Genius

Ivan Aivazovsky, "Pushkin's Farewell to Sea" (1877)Today’s entry into the pantheon of modern Myths and Illusions: True Genius.

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What Does This Movie Mean? The Coen Brothers’ “Fargo” (1996)

Here is another entry in my amateur critic movie interpretation series. This is Fargo; if you are reading a blog entry interpreting it, I assume you’ve seen it — so I won’t summarize the plot. Let’s just dive right in. Read more…

Ban All Images Just In Case, For Freedom

William Hogarth, "A Midgnight Modern Conversation" (1732)WARNING: The artwork contained in this post depicts an occasional nipple and a baby without undies. If you are under 18, don’t look, or you will die!!! If you are 18 or over, proceed at your own risk, but should you believe you may be harmed by the sight of a female breast or a naked infant, I do encourage you to consult your father, clergyman, therapist, your favorite political candidate or your local Chastity Pariah.

You sheeple will be happy to know that conservative heroes have uncovered the real reason Jay Carney’s kitchen has prints of two WWII-era Soviet posters in it: to make you sign up for Obamacare, convert to Bolshevism, embrace the theory of evolution and make Jesus cry. Never mind that these posters are virtually identical to American propaganda posters from the same era. Never mind that the posters convey rather unobjectionable ideas (unless you are a Nazi sympathizer): “Men, enlist! Your country [which, by the way, was actually honest-to-goodness invaded in WWII] needs you.” “Women, do your part on the home front!” (That “Natasha the Riverter” poster actually reads “strong home front — strong war front”.) Never mind that in recent years, vintage Soviet posters have become something of a fad, and their significance to people who hang them in their kitchens, or bathrooms, or dorm rooms, or laundry rooms, is ironic. No — wingnut pundits know upwards of 5 Russian words (including “dacha”, which this native Russian speaker apparently never understood properly), so leave it to them to tell you what these images really say to you, you poor bovine schmucks without understanding or willpower. Read more…

On Good Ways And Bad Ways To Get Yourself Properly Martyred

Disclaimer to religious people: This is not actually a set of instructions for how to become a martyr. If that’s what you are, in fact, looking for, boy are you in the wrong place. Or maybe you are in just the right place, if you are actually looking for a manual on how to become a martyr. I don’t know, the bottom line is you may get offended. The author is an atheist, and this is a very irreverent post. Avert your eyes or proceed at your own risk.

Jezebel has posted an interview with Lila Rose, an anti-choice activist and O’Keefe-style “reporter” of the “let’s perform all abortions in the town square” fame. Read more…

“Mad Men”: Megan Draper On The “Emptiness Of Consumerism”

I’ve written previously on this blog that one way to deal with the bourgeois guilt, even to the point of moral superiority, is to like a Charles Dickens novel. If you enjoy sipping champagne made from the tears of Tiny Tim, being socially conscious about all the evils in the world except your own role in them makes it that much easier to feel good about yourself.

Which brings me to Mad Men and last week’s episode, “A Christmas Waltz”. There is a scene in the episode where Megan takes her husband Don to a play entitled “America Hurrah”, which apparently contains numerous jabs at advertising. Later, when he expresses his bitterness, Megan tells him that this is a play about the “emptiness of consumerism”. Read more…

What Does this Movie Mean? “A Serious Man” (2009)

I’ve really gotten sucked into blogging about politics for the last several weeks, so this Friday, I decided to do something fun. Every time my husband and I finish watching a “deep” movie, he turns to me and asks: “Okay, genius, in ten minutes or less: what does it mean?” Since I create these blurbs on a regular basis, I am going to start publishing them. These are not “reviews” per se, but just some thoughts on what I think these movies convey. Naturally, major spoilers follow, so read at your own risk.

A Serious Man (Coen Brothers, 2009)

This is one of the richest, deepest, saddest, most mysterious movies ever made. It is a philosophical and dramatic masterpiece, and interpreting it completely is an impossible challenge. But I’ll try interpreting it a little bit, anyway. Read more…

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