Saturday, May 18, 2013
The most amazing show I've seen on TV in recent times, I must say, is NBC'S "Hannibal". It's just a crying shame that the low viewership is causing the network to think hard if they want to make a second season.
The problem is not the writing. Lesser writers would be tempted to turn the show into a serial-killer of the week whodunnit, or even worse, Hannibal worship, where each episode is merely a cheap freakshow performance regaling us with the gruesome ways Lecter kills and devour his victims. Fortunately, writer/executive producer Bryan Fuller doesn't do that. He even puts Lecter on a creative leash until the sixth episode, when we finally see the man kill. Instead, Fuller explores Lecter's relationship with his friend/nemesis Will Graham, who we know from "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Red Dragon" will eventually catch the good doctor. The show contemplates the nature of violence, of life and death, of hideously twisted creatures wearing human faces and acting like human beings. So, no, the problem isn't the writing.
The problem isn't the acting either. Mads Mikkelsen (you might remember him as the creepy European guy who scrambled Daniel Craig's eggs in Casino Royale) plays Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter quite differently from Anthony Hopkins. With all due respect to Hopkins, Mikkelsen gets under your skin in a different way. Hopkins' Hannibal was a caged beast in the first two films and a hunted animal in the third, still potent but past his prime, his human mask long-discarded. Mikkelsen's Hannibal is a predator in his natural habitat, a man of wealth and taste, unfamiliar with the flavor of defeat and incarceration, keeping any hint of his strange appetites well-hidden until he's ready to pounce. (NOTE: Let's forget "Hannibal Rising" ever happened, shall we not?) Again, the problem isn't the acting.
The problem, I think, is that the show makes viewers too uncomfortable. NBC's "Hannibal" is a victim of its own success as a story. Perhaps viewers expected the low-brow freakshow, preparing themselves for the cheap thrill of spilt human blood and innards that would disgust them for forty-or-so minutes before allowing them to shake it all off as just nasty fun afterwards. No harm done. What they got instead was a tale as suave and sophisticated and sensual as Dr. Hannibal Lecter himself.
If the show doesn't get another season, I suspect it will still be remembered for a long time.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
-Stephen F Roberts
I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.
What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.
Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.
When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything around you starts to look like a nail.
If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.
Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument
Life is journey, not a destination.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Religion easily has the best bullshit story of all time. Think about it. Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man… living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.
I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
Lighthouses are more helpful then churches.
We could call order by the name of God, but it would be an impersonal God. There’s not much personal about the laws of physics.
The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.
Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.
-Delos B. McKown
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
Our ignorance is God; what we know is science.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins.
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Something I posted in a discussion about movies:
There are no evil studio and network executives gleefully plotting to make movies and TV shows that would piss us off.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
The world is not going to be forever divided between the rich and the poor. Humanity's compass points towards freedom, equality, justice, and rational thought. It may be derailed from time to time, such as when the Nazi Party came into power in Germany and espoused the idea of one race being superior to others, but history shows us that humanity always gets back its bearings and continues its egalitarian march. Granted, there'll always be those who will cling to the status quo or the status quo ante, whether it's through religion, pseudo-religious organizations, or laughable delusions of aristocracy, but the world has never been more dead-set on social equality than it is in this Age of the Internet.