Sunday, June 25, 2017

In which the pond gets into a Craven dystopian mood for a late Sunday treat ...

This day the pond dropped in on the last disc rental store anywhere within cooee of Newtown...

They're going out of business, and the closing down sale began today at Civic Video.

The pond wasn't looking to buy anything. Who wants 576p when 720 or 1080 is to hand at the click of a streaming button?

It was more nostalgia, like heading off to a drive-in theatre or going off to Archer City in Texas to check out the locations for The Last Picture Show (well there's no point going to look for the Capitol Theatre in Tamworth, but an ice storm put the end to that location recce in the lone star state).

No doubt it's a trauma for the Civic Video folk but it's been a long time coming. The insatiable intertubes devours all kinds of business model in its path - the profoundly stupid onion muncher thought it was just a glorified home entertainment centre, but it's also an information and data supplier that can move mountains, as well as commercial and government business models.

The hipsters will probably regret it in due course, and develop a disc fetish to match LP, 8 track, Phillips cassettes - the pond noticed a couple stocking up with sci fi, but disc was on death row the moment the monumentally stupid Sony (down there with the onion muncher) won the high def disc battle and lost the delivery war. They could probably have got a few more years of life out of high end discs if they'd been sensible, but they fussed and feuded, and the apocalypse came ...

Well it's not really an apocalypse, and the students who worked at the store will move on to other low paying jobs, and consumers will just get their movies in a different way, but it is an elaborate way of introducing the notion of times changing and apocalyptic thinking amongst the reptiles.

Almost every day someone at the lizard Oz has an apocalyptic end times kind of rapture, and this weekend it was Peter Craven, falling about himself in what seemed to be a fainting fit of agonised despair ...

Most generations think they live in dystopian times and many yearn for the golden age that preceded it.

But if we're talking about fires, the Great Fire of London fulfilled  Paul Hogan's line "this is a fire". The death toll was reportedly small, but it took out some 70,000 homes. The San Francisco earthquake did enormous damage and generated huge fires. Nobody managed to accurately report the final death toll - up to 3,000 - but it did destroy some 80% of the city.

The Great Fire of Rome ran for some six days, and though sources are vague, hundreds probably died and thousand were made homeless.

So why do the dystopian routine? Things might be bad in Britain, but it's hardly reached the black plague or living in Pompeii stage, though if you're one of the people who died or was injured or was an affected relative or friend, there's every reason to think of it as a personal apocalypse.

But Craven wants to stretch from the personal to the cosmic and the existential and the wanker, as so many in the lizard Oz want to do, because somehow fear seems to be the number one motivation for stories in the rag:

Well no, actually, the pond would prefer to think of the enormous stupidity of George W. Bush and his war criminal allies using WMDs as an excuse for doing payback which had nothing to do with 9/11 but which did generate many real apocalypses in the middle east, while back in Australia sophisticates make reference to dystopian novels and flap their hands in the air like chooks sighting an axe on the chopping block ...

As for the financial heart of New York, the last the pond checked, it was out of control, and pumping up stocks to a level that seems guaranteed to produce a bubble burst. And then we can start talking about another 2008 ...

But when a reptile is determined on scribbling with apocalyptic gear cranked up to eleven, everything is grist to the hysterical mill ...

Actually whatever impact Daesh is having in the west, it's this sort of megaphone hysteria which nicely suits their cause ... and yet it's SOP for the reptile rag ...

It's natural to ponder the books and films where dream edges into social nightmare?

Not if you were a customer at Civic Video Newtown and you're serviced by Malware's copper connection.

The pond keeds. Talk of imaginary and fictional apocalypses is all very well, but the world has had many of them - after all, a genocidal god almost wiped out humanity with a flood, and apparently did for all the dinosaurs, and some still admire Her and think She's a bit of a good sort.

But a movie, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, is a movie, is possibly a rose on occasions, and getting agitated by by a fictional apocalypse is to jump at shadows.

The world is quite likely to endure many real future apocalypses, though the reptiles like to downplay the impact that climate science tells us is coming. Typically it didn't feature in Craven's text - perhaps he's been reading too much Lomborg or Lloydie or the climate science denialists that infest the rag.

No doubt there will be financial catastrophes, and future wars currently being devised might involve Australia again, but the pond suspects its personal apocalypse - coffin, say hello to crematorium - is likely to come sooner ...

Getting a house covered in ash is that sort of faux connection people make when they want to be directly involved in a catastrophe. Forget the ash. Having a house actually burn down is the real nightmare, and it happens every summer.

There's something comfortably removed about all this carry-on, and the pond suspects there might be a positive Hollywood ending in the offing ...

You know, after all the horror, the boogeyman gets back under the bed, in good time for the sequel.

What to do then, except put Craven on a crash course of Valium and give him a week off, while making it through the last steaming gobbet of despair:

And there you have it. At the very end, it turns out to be a great deal of fuss about nothing, a chance to trot out sundry references and boast of playing games with Ishiguro while eating fish and chips in an Adelaide restaurant (can the pond now boast about eating a hamburger in Quirindi while arguing with a shearer about how many Rocky movies there were in the franchise?)

After all, we should just put on a smiley face, and whistle "be happy" when nailed to the cross by the barbarians?

That's it?

Even worse, it has to be said that Craven seems to be entirely wet and completely clueless about decent disaster porn, which litters YouTube, and offers earthquakes, tsunamis, dashboard videos of car crashes, and extreme weather events ... and that's just for starters ...

Just don't expect to be renting it from a video store in Newtown any time soon ...


  1. "It's natural to ponder the books and films where dream edges into social nightmare?"

    Right, DP, and here's t'rific great list of 'em:

  2. Some trivia about the San Franciso earthquake fires - most of the fires were deliberately lit because residents couldn't make insurance claims for earthquake damage but could claim for house-fires.


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