by anna at 07:08 PM on May 17, 2003
I haven't seen The Matrix Reloaded. Nor have I seen the original. Ditto for all the Star Wars sequels and prequels, Spider-man, X-man stuff or anything related to Tolkien's old stories about elfs or something. I'm not interested in fantasy, 'cuz I've got too much of that running through my head at any given moment. To watch that kind of shit would only confuse me further.
But I am not here to talk about movies per se. I am here to talk about the central premise of the Matrix trilogy i.e. that computers have taken over the world and are harvesting humans strictly for energy purposes. Supposedly they've provided some form of virtual reality to keep the natives from getting restless. In essense, a rehash of Plato's allegory about the cave, which was written 5000 years ago.
These are no new ideas.
These notions are also erroneous and in my view dangerously so. To confront your enemy you must know him well. Technology, specifically artificial intelligence, might have seemed like a major threat back in '99 when they dreamed up The Matrix. But it isn't anymore. Low-tech teorrists equipped with box-cutters are our enemy, not programmers
I'll tell you what the real Matrix is: The symbiotic relationship between government, big business interests and the media. Each feeds off the other's needs to fulfill their own. And it becomes an endless cycle of so-called events, reaction thereto and then forgetting all about it as soon as something else of mild interest comes along. The viewing public has thus become apathetic and numbed to just about anything short of a Sept 11 conflagration and that is all by design.
Al Qaeda terrorists have struck with devastating efficiency in Morocco and Saudi Arabia in the last week. Hundreds are dead or maimed for no reason, other than that the perpetrators want you to accept their hypocritical world view. How moved were you? Most likely you read about it, shook your head in disbelief and moved on to the next item on CNN.com. For you've been conditioned to believe that this sort of outrage is totally normal and more importantly, that there's not a damn thing you personally can do about it. Better to trust the worldgovernment, big business and media to keep the mayhem within tolerable limits. Fat chance, I'm afraid.
I guess I'm rambling and should cut this short. But you all do need to consider that there may be a real Matrix out there, one that threatens to deaden your normal human responses to horrors like this, just like in the trilogy of silly movies you'll pay to see.
Of course, with respect to the movies, I am relying strictly on reviews. I can't handle theaters anymore. Tonight's viewing will include Jagged Edge and The Accidental Tourist, both obtained on eBay for under $5. God bless my wife for bidding on such outdated items.
Love you Nan.
I've been reading the Weekly Dig, "The best Little Paper in Boston." They've got this series going on right now that takes a very alternative look at AIDS. It suggests that AIDS as one single disease does not exist and that not even the original discoverers of the disease fully suport this view and the treatments currently available. Its a pretty controversial line of reasoning and one that goes against everything I've ever read about the disease.
Here is the problem though. They could be right. At least from what I know. I've never met anyone who has AIDS. I don't hold a medical degree and I quit biology a long while ago so I can't tell you if their arguments are spurious or make sense. I can't go online and find information that I trust because its all written by people with vested interests. I agree with Anna, I really could be caught in the Matrix.
What bothers me is that an issue so huge and explosive could be subject to scattered views. The Weekly Dig is hardly the most trustworthy source of information in the world and I have heard the AIDS denialist theory before. If course when I first heard it, it was a mainstream writer who pitied them writing his view of their experience. I'd love to find out the truth about this issue and many others but I find it difficult to understand how to do that. I can't exactly call up the most important scientists in the US and ask them to explain in layman's terms what causes AIDS and what the AIDS test tells them about an HIV positive person. In the same vein I can't come up to Bush on prime time TV and ask the questions that no one else will ask. What were the top three reasons for the war? Explain the lack of weapons when you said you knew exactly where they were? Etc.
I'm sure I've rambled more than Anna did. It seems to me though that we need a weekly panel where the most important people of the moment answer to those of us who don't think CNN is a credible source of debate about the state of the nation or the world.
by Tomiwa at May 18, 2003 11:37 AM
The Matrix was not a silly movie. It rocked all sorts of worlds. Even if it was fantasy. I shall now go and pay to see the sequel.
by Tomiwa at May 18, 2003 11:38 AM
Having studied Plato, I can absolve the creators of The Matrix of plot-stealing. Yes, a large part of the movie deals with this Matrix which is most definitely an almost literal rehash of the allegory of the cave. However, the movie is really not so much about that; it is merely the backdrop to a story which is, curiously enough, closely related to what you stated in your post. Distilling it into a few words and a summary would take more mental effort than I'm willing to expend at the moment, but rebelling against the system, looking with eyes awakened, and good ol' human interests and fallibility are in there.
Oh, and AI still could be a threat. Not that I think it's likely, but ya know. And as far as the whole relationship with government... if you haven't seen the movie you may not know this, but the "agents" which are the "bad guys" in the movie are dressed exactly like secret service agents. Not a coincidence, methinks. :)
by snaggle at May 18, 2003 2:18 PM
I hate all this new aged jaunty kung-fu shit. Bruce Lee used to be so quick that the camera couldn't catch up with him. This computerized jaunty kung-fu shit is just gay(as in overyly-corny). It's so gay that I get a physical shiver through my body just watching it. Seriously. It's that gay. Just picturing the characters of the matrix moving in superstopmotion, and then coming to an abrupt halt in some seriously corny stance makes me embarrassed and self-conscious.
by LOCKHEED at May 18, 2003 3:23 PM
Okay y'all have won me over and that's not an easy thng to do. I hereby resolve to locate a DVD copy of The Matrix and check it out. But I won't brave the theaters to see Reloaded. That will have to wait. Besides, the critics say it lacks the oomph of the original. Surprise, surprise.
by Anna at May 18, 2003 5:11 PM
I think The Matrix was pretty stunning when I saw it in the theater, it came a real shock. I think the question of originality is misplaced however. If one takes Romeo and Juliet and sets it in modern times and adds music, they give you a freaking oscor for West Side Story, but when you fuse Daoism and cyberspace you are a ripoff artist?
I dont think so. What the matrix -and I am speaking only of the first one here - offered that was truly original was a new way of looking at the world. The religion in it is ancient, but how many people do you know that can get their head around the Matrix concept from a purely Buddhist or Daoist or Hindu perspective? Not many. Yet the Wachowski Brothers were able to do it in short order using a modern parable.
When Yogis in India levitate or stop their hearts, it is based on the assumption that this world is not real, that if one can overcome the concept of worldly flesh, pain, pleasure, eating, crapping, whatever, one can catch a glimpse of TRUE reality, one without bounds.
That is what the Matrix did without getting all weird about it. I think it is a perfect blending of eastern and western concepts, ideas, narrative, film technigques, action. I certainly wouldnt dismiss it casually and definitely not without seeing it.
I do have a buddy who hates Keanu reeves so much that he cant like anything he is in. Now this would be normal enough if the guy wasnt going to film school, if he didnt consider himself a future screen writer and if he didnt give all props out to anything STAR WARS related. the tool. when the matrix beat Phantom Menace for special effects at the oscars, he went on a 20 minutes diatribe about how they had to animate the soliders one by one. Like they didnt do THAT on Babylon 5 three years prior.
by eff at May 18, 2003 7:44 PM
Actually, the Ebert and the other guy review of Matrix Reloaded say it was better than the original.
I was really disapointed when I bought my DVD player a couple years ago. Considering how everyone I knew who had a DVD player had the Matrix, I figured all DVD players must come with it, like how you got Super Mario Brothers free when you bought a Nintendo system. I still don't own the Matrix. The end.
by mg at May 19, 2003 11:21 AM
I can summarize The Matrix in 10 words:
What if life was a MUD, and you didn't know?
I personally wouldn't mind, because if so, I'm a 50th-level warrior pixie, baby.
Oh, and sometimes Ebert and Roeper smoke crack. They're my favorite film critics, but they seriously miss the mark sometimes.
by jean at May 20, 2003 11:39 PM