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September 04, 2008

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Lime Green!!!

The Green!!! It's baaaaack!!!!!!

POW! POW! 9/11! 9/11!

Also, again with the tacky looking green background?

honestly, the green screen floored me -- i can't believe they did that

I didn't realize what a bad speaker he is. Wow. This is a lame speech (we are at the VP) poorly delivered.

I didn't realize what a bad speaker he is. Wow. This is a lame speech (we are at the VP) poorly delivered.

I didn't realize what a bad speaker he is. Wow. This is a lame speech (we are at the VP) poorly delivered.

I didn't realize what a bad speaker he is. Wow. This is a lame speech (we are at the VP) poorly delivered.

Will veto first big pork bill. Would that be one pushed by Palin?

I think Doug is really stressing how bad a speech it is.

Yeah, this is pretty bad. And the audience just isn't cheering much. Nothing like, oh... 85,000 Democrats cheering for Obama!

I can't wait for the debunking thread on McCain's speech.

(Just heard the line "I've fought union bosses." Way to go you maverick!)

Wait, he's been called a maverick? He was a P.O.W.?

This changes everything.

Sure did talk a lot about his Veep candidate for a while there.

Whoa, the camera found two of those 36 dark-skinned people!

I notice he doesn't include "I fought oil companies" in that list of who he's fought.

And see my comment here.

I'm thinking of switching to Voyage of The Bottom Of The Sea, though. More intelligent.

The Green!!! It's baaaaack!!!!!!

Maybe the campaign realized that having people submit videos to Stephen Colbert featuring McCain as Elvis or McCain as the Star Wars kid or whatever is the best way to get favorable coverage from the Daily Show/Colbert block (or as favorable as they're likely to get, at least).

Forgot about the speech. Bladerunner was on.

Wasn't it odd when in the bio film practically every pair of modern Americans they cut to within the film was African-American? I wonder how those Schmoes feel now that their file footage was used in this way? (Gary: wasn't it forty-some, not thirty-two, Black delegates?)

This is Dullsville, I'm just going to read the transcript later. Also, I have an urge to throw a brick at the TV, so that's a factor too.

Doing my homework in logic will honestly be more fun than this.

Wow! Most people have applause lines, McCain has boo lines.

Find jobs that won't go away? Ha!

Warren: I thought I saw at http://ta-nehisicoates.theatlantic.com/>Ta-Nehisi the other day that there were 37. Not sure if that's really where I saw it, though, or if that's the right number, so accuracy-wise keep your fingers crossed. ^.^;

MeDrewNotYou wrote:

Yeah, this is pretty bad. And the audience just isn't cheering much. Nothing like, oh... 85,000 Democrats cheering for Obama!

I think those are exactly the same people who are cheering for this speech. Just for slightly different reasons. ;)

"Bladerunner was on."

Which one?

And for a more interesting argument: I don't care what Ridley Scott thinks: Decker wasn't a replicant. It wouldn't make any sense.

It's much harder to take real-time notes tonight. Not enough applause breaks.

Was Cindy the only speaker to say the R word all night?

Crowd tried to drown out McCain's formal acceptance with USA!USA! No luck.

Did McCain get booed when he mentioned current economic plight? It sounded like booooSA!USA!USA!

--TP

I'm surprised he wasn't booed when he said "we will not need fear a return to the cold war."

I can't believe people still watch speeches on television.

Can't they just send an email? I mean what is the point? If something only sounds reasonable when it is said in a stadium full of flags and screaming supporters, it is probably just regular old American fascism.

"Gary: wasn't it forty-some, not thirty-two, Black delegates?"

Eli Saslow and Robert Barnes of the WaPo say:

[...] Only 36 of the 2,380 delegates seated on the convention floor are black, the lowest number since the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies began tracking diversity at political conventions 40 years ago.
I can't vouch for their accuracy; I'm not there doing a survey, myself.

But I did notice that the C-Span camera seems to find some of those 36 with unusual frequency. And my head snapped around way earlier this evening, back around 7:30 p.m., EST, as I was starting to leave my room for the kitchen when their film came on, and suddenly 8 different dark-skinned people appeared in successive still photos, including Martin Luther King, whom I was unaware was a Republican. Turned out it was some sort of short on how Republicans love America more than anyone, so random pictures of -- whoops, there's an extreme close-up of a dark-skinned woman again -- African-Americans were clearly called for.

I like that http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7599249.stm>this happens the day of McCain's acceptance speech.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Palin have ties to Abramoff?

KEEPER: Stop! What is your name?
GALAHAD: Sir Galahad of Camelot.
KEEPER: What is your quest?
GALAHAD: I seek the Holy Grail.
KEEPER: What is your favorite color?
GALAHAD: Blue. No yel [green :-) ] -- Auuuuuuuugh!

And for a more interesting argument: I don't care what Ridley Scott thinks: Decker wasn't a replicant. It wouldn't make any sense.

Sorry, Decker absolutely was. And it makes perfect sense, because it answers the core Philip K. Dick question: Yes, Androids do dream of electric sheep.

"Gary: wasn't it forty-some, not thirty-two, Black delegates?"

Makes me think of:

Mrs. Iselin: [at meal time] I'm sorry, hon'. Would it really make it easier for you if we settled on just one number? Sen. John Yerkes Iselin: Yeah. Just one, real, simple number that'd be easy for me to remember. [Mrs. Iselin watches her husband thump a bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup onto his plate] Sen. John Yerkes Iselin: [addressing the Senate] There are exactly 57 card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the Department of Defense at this time!

It's a good speech. Won't move mountains -- unlike Obama's -- but won't cost him anything either.

Pretty sick watching thousands of torture supporters getting off on a man who was tortured.

The ending is pretty good.

Is it just me or did the audio sound really washed out?

Wow, McCain's speech made me want to start killing a bunch of foreigners for American.

Yeah, von. I agree the end seemed pretty genuine and passionate. But the war hero crap has worn past thin.

PS. Chris Matthews is an ass.

""Bladerunner was on."

Which one?

And for a more interesting argument: I don't care what Ridley Scott thinks: Decker wasn't a replicant. It wouldn't make any sense.--


I'm not sure which one. I last saw the first one many years ago and never saw the revised version, unless this was it, but if so the revisions went by me. I'd heard that there was something in the revised version that showed Decker was a replicant, but if that was there I missed it. (Possibly while grazing in the kitchen.) Rebecca did ask Decker if he'd taken the test/

McPOW READ! McPOW GRIMACE AWKWARDLY! McPOW POW!

(1) I'm surprised by how lefty the policy proposals were. Not much space between McCain and Obama, it seemed.
(2) Given (1), I'm unsurprised by how tepid the applause was. But, generally, I'm surprised by how tepid the applause was.
(3) He was quite gentle. None of last night's nastiness.
(4) Are McCain's team and Palin's team coordinating at all? This felt like two different conventions.

Pundits loved it! It must have been GREAT!!

Apparently in the third version, there's a gleam of Red Eye Deckard, which marks him out as a replicant because all the other replicants' eyes glow red at some point. (I have all three versions, but I failed to notice the eye-gleam when I watched the absolutely final, no really, this is it Director's Cut.)

That said, I think he is a replicant.

(4) Are McCain's team and Palin's team coordinating at all? This felt like two different conventions.


Yup, that's probably exactly how they want it. Palin and the others go out there and play to the wingnuts, McCain goes out there and acts like he's some kind of maverick that will end the partisan bickering that Palin and the others feed on.

ara,

Palin's team is McCain's team.

Ever hear of Good Cop/Bad Cop?

IMO, other than a stronger Gustav, the Republicans got exactly what they wanted out of this week.

Now it's up to the Obama team to show that they can beat this crap. Working in their favor is an energized base that is larger than McCain's, a truly historic ground operation, a lot of money, and a sense that we need change.

Working against them is the fact that the GOP has run this campaign in thirteen or fourteen of the last fifteen presidential elections, and it's worked a lot more than it's failed.

Yeah, von. I agree the end seemed pretty genuine and passionate.

I agree, too. Most of the speech was pretty blah, but the end didn't give me that "what the hell is wrong with these people?" vibe that I usually get watching the GOP convention. I could see why people had tears in their eyes and why they admired the man speaking.

I don't remember who brought it up last night, but there was a comment speculating on the possible symmetry between Democrats and Republicans watching each others conventions and not being able to understand how the opposing group could be swallowing the garbage being spewed on stage (to paraphrase). I could at least understand it at the end of McCain's speech.

Von, why would they make a replicant-hunting replicant who was so wimpy, and who wasn't killed by Roy Batty only because Batty had mercy?

Setting aside that it would have completely gone against Phil Dick's intent, since the movie and the book are pretty damn different. But this goes to the heart of the point of either story.

Most of all, the core of the story, and all Phil Dick's stories, revolves around the moral ambiguities of what it means to be human. Not what it means to be an artifical creature. That would make sense if the readers were artificial, but since the readers are humans, the question would be irrelevant, and the question wouldn't even be there, thus rendering the story essentially pointless.

If Deckard were a replicant, all his subtextual doubt about whether he was or wasn't would be meaningless. As would his overcome qualms about Rachel's replicant nature: it would just be a goofy Twilight Zone/O'Henry type "twist" ending: an empty gimmick. (This is the reason that idea appeals so to adolescents who are clueless about underlying structural themes in fiction: it's "cool," if you're not all that bright, or familiar with science fiction; if one was, one would recognize that that notion would just be a boring cliche, and one Dick would variously be horrified at and sneer at.)

Ridley Scott is superb at visuals, but he knows diddly about sf themes, and cares less.

"the core Philip K. Dick question"

Um, what?

"Makes me think of"

Why?

GF

If artificial intelligence is capable of recognizing and rationalizing moral ambiguities, what does that say about the “uniqueness” of being human?

That said, I think he is a replicant.

Whattaya talking about glowing red eyes? The unicorn, man. It's the origami unicorn that seals it.*

Kids these days.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Themes_in_Blade_Runner#Deckard:_human_or_replicant.3F

GF

If artificial intelligence is capable of recognizing and rationalizing moral ambiguities, what does that say about the “uniqueness” of being human?

" I last saw the first one many years ago and never saw the revised version"

There are four versions (I have four of the DVDs; I didn't bother copying the International version). The original theatrical version, the "Director's Cut," the International version, and the "Final Cut" produced last year.

"I'd heard that there was something in the revised version that showed Decker was a replicant, but if that was there I missed it."

Scott inserted a scene left over from "Legend," of a unicorn, which Deckard sees in his dreams, thus demonstrating that the reason Gaff leaves his origami unicorn is that he read Deckard's file and is informing him of his replicant nature.

Scott only decided to do this a few years ago, and it's only in the Final Cut; it was never in his mind originally, or even when he did the "Director's Cut"; talk about revisionism....

If the version you saw had the voiceovers, it was the theatrical version; if it didn't, it was one of the others, of which the differences, other than the above, are relatively minor.

Don't mind me, I'm still annoyed at Scott buying Alan Nourse's title, which makes no sense whatever: wtf does "Blade Runner" mean in the context of the movie? Nothing whatever! It just sounds kewl.

I still love the movies, to be sure, but I'm not as wild about them as many, whom I think get more than a little carried away. Mostly it's a ton of great visuals, but not all that much more.

(Hell, Phil Dick was a wildly imaginative schizoid, but his prose was pretty horrible, which only makes sense, given how much of it was written on speed.)

There was NO policy. At all.

Unless you think praising community colleges as a solution for economic woes is a policy. You lost your job. Go to a community college to get retrained. But NOTHING at all as to what the federal government should do to support it.

Then he went into boilerplate about school choice. Which is just anther way to have local tax dollars directed to religious schools. But is NO solution for community colleges: we already get to choose which community college we go to.

This section of his speech was truly lame, and even incoherent.

Gary, you're entire answer assumes that the movie has to equate to the book. It doesn't.

A related (mis)assumption is that the movie can't be meta, and that it matters whether or not Ridley Scott "knows diddly about sf themes."

In reverse order:

"the core Philip K. Dick question"

Um, what?

You're either ignoring or not seeing the playfulness. "Do Androids Dream of Electic Sheep?" In the DC, Deckard daydreams about a unicorn, a figure of which is left for him to find at the end of the movie -- thereby confirming that his daydream was an implant and he a replicant.


Sorry, DC = FC. I forgot that there was a prior "director's cut."

Did anyone note that the crowd cheered U.S.A. when McCain began to talk about people who were out of a job or unable to pay bills?

That was positively weird.

Of course most of those in the room don't exactly live paycheck to paycheck . . .

I always thought the family pictures and the weird formulaic way he plays the piano were giveaways.

"If artificial intelligence is capable of recognizing and rationalizing moral ambiguities, what does that say about the
'uniqueness' of being human?"

That's the point of Roy Batty's story. Having Deckard also be a replicant would be purely redundant.

(It's also the story of neo-BSG, but I digress.)

Gary's anti-replicant argument makes sense to me, both on the deeper meaning of the story and, to be honest, on the more superficial level where my movie watching tends to be. I mean, Decker was pathetic. Every single time he went up against a replicant he got his ass kicked and only survived because of luck or, in the case of Priss, because she decided to act like a James Bond villain and stretch out what should have been his death scene. Why genetically engineer a merely human assassin to go against superhumans?

"Gary, you're entire answer assumes that the movie has to equate to the book."

Hardly; you failed to understand me; to be sure, I don't claim my offhand remarks are a paragon of clarity.

"In the DC, Deckard daydreams about a unicorn, a figure of which is left for him to find at the end of the movie -- thereby confirming that his daydream was an implant and he a replicant."

Yes, I'm perfectly well aware that Scott in recent years decided that would be cool. As I said, he doesn't understand sf themes, or the point of his own movie. Other than what looks kewl, or seems like a neat idea to someone who knows squat about science fiction (text), that is, in fact, a ginormous flaming humdrum cliche. Scott altered his own movie to revise it (four times): that's his privilege, but retroactively deciding Deckard is a replicant is a dreadful thing to do to the original movie story, and it doesn't impose retroactive changes on the original movie story. Thankfully.

Re: Terragone @11:40 -- There appeared to be some protest-type disruption in the hall which the delegates on the floor covered up by shouting (drowning out the protesters?) USA...USA. And your observation is correct . Once the cheering occurred during a totally non-sequiturial (for applause) moment.

CNN Political Analyst Jeffrey Toobin just called it the "worst acceptance speech since Jimmy Carter in 1980." His take was that it was so boring, so devoid of any policy specifics and so lackluster it was as if all the ace speechwriters had huddled in Sarah Palin's hotel suite and left poor John to make up his own stuff.

I agree with Toobin. And McCain's delivery? Wooden, artificial, uninspiring, dull and just bad oratory.

I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe...Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion...I watched C-beams... glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate.... All those... moments will be lost... in time... Like... tears... in the rain... Time... to die...

Did you guys know Rutger Hauer was a POW?

Scott is, I should point out, consistently clueless about the sf themes of the story. In the original story, Earth is vastly under-populated, because of radiation from World War Terminus; this is why people are emigrating to the off-world colonies.

Scott alters this to an over-populated world, so he can have Kewl Huge Buildings, but it makes no sense, because no amount of off-world emigration could conceivably dent over-population: do the math.

I could go on with a lot of examples along those lines (explain what, in the movie, the point of artificial animals, such as the snake, is, in the absence of radiation killing real animals, please; I'll just wait right here): Scott just has no clue as to what logic in constructing an sf world is: he just knows what looks great on screen, and that he's superbly talented at. But story logic? Fuggedaboutit: he's his own unreliable narrator.

Thematically, Deckard is becoming less and less empathetic, and thus less human, because of his killing; by achieving love with Rachel, he regains his humanity; if he's a replicant, boing, this theme, his entirely storyline, disappears, for the sake of a cheap-ass juvenile cliche gimmick. You can enjoy it all you want, but you're destroying a meaningful story in favor of preferring a superficial cliche. Your privilege.

"Gary, you're entire answer assumes that the movie has to equate to the book."

Von, what, exactly, was your interpretation of this?: "Setting aside that it would have completely gone against Phil Dick's intent, since the movie and the book are pretty damn different. But this goes to the heart of the point of either story."

How did you get from reading that to your conclusion?

“Why genetically engineer a merely human assassin to go against superhumans?”

Well, like the Frankenstein monster, usually the mind who created the “altered life” does not have control over his or hers creation.

It was one thing for Deckard to recognize the “humanness” of the replicants, it’s quite another for the reader to realize he is thinking like/with a replicant.

"Scott alters this to an over-populated world, so he can have Kewl Huge Buildings"

Moreover, how does one reconcile those huge buildings, and the crowded, over-populated, world of those buildings and the streets, with J.F. Sebastian living in the deeply run-down, but vast, empty, apartment in the empty Bradbury Building?

Answer: Ridley Scott could care less about story logic, so long as the screen is full of great-looking visuals.

Crowded streets and markets? Looks great! Vast empty old apartments? Looks great!

Consistency? Don't bother thinking about it.

the sake of a cheap-ass juvenile cliche gimmick

Considering the amount of amphetamines Dick was ingesting, why would cheap-ass juvenile cliche gimmick be beneath him? Sober writers are prone to cheap-ass juvenile cliche gimmicks, and great writers are guilty of cheap-ass juvenile cliche gimmicks, as well.

Cheap-ass juvenile cliche gimmicks make for great philosophical writing.

I always thought the family pictures and the weird formulaic way he plays the piano were giveaways.

Wait...are you talking about Deckard or McCain?

"Did you guys know Rutger Hauer was a POW?"

Okay, this wins the thread.

"Considering the amount of amphetamines Dick was ingesting, why would cheap-ass juvenile cliche gimmick be beneath him?"

Be that as it may, I'm not aware of anyone ever suggesting that the Rick Deckard of the novel is an android ("replicant" is a word Scott invented). The (a) point is that he's getting more android-like, becoming dehumanized.

The title is not "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?"

Or, if he realizes he is an android why continue to embrace aspects we think of as being human? Reflection, morality, love, empathy…etc. Especially, since it’s humans creating amoral and immoral “artificial” beings. Maybe, all the sweetness and light we ascribe to humans are really a myth we tell ourselves so that we can pretty-up our darker angels.

Or he wasn't becoming less human, he was acting like a human. That is, replicants were not be be empathized with, which was a very human attitude/logic. Yet he was experiencing thoughts and emotions when he "recognized" them...maybe he realized how human he had become and rejected his growing humaness.

I'm not that committed to any of these plot lines, however speed-freaks are known to be unreliable witnesses. Even to their own stories.

Well, the McCain speech thread promplty degenerated into a dispute over interpretational details for a Ridley Scott sci-fi movie. I take it people didn't find the speech too interesting. Or is the implication that McCain was replaced by an android while captive in Vietnam and the US has to have its military budget expanded to close the android gap?

Gary,

One of the ideas that the film is getting at is that the replicants are just as human as the humans. Because of that, nothing of the moral force of Deckard's fall and redemption is lost if he turns out to be a replicant himself at the end.

As for why Deckard is so weak compared to the other replicants, that's not so hard to see. If Deckard had superhuman powers, he would quickly figure out he was a replicant and then stop killing his own kind.

The movie is largely about the false demonization of enemies. The love for Rachel and the compassion of Batty shows that there's nothing that really separates human from replicant. The realization that Deckard himself is a replicant (which I don't think you're supposed to understand during the movie, only upon later thought) is just the last step of that theme. Scott sets up a rigid opposition and then increasingly blurs the two sides... replicants are just like humans and the human is a replicant.

Also, I remember the unicorn stuff from the Director's Cut in the early 90s. So it is not as new as you are saying.

"Or is the implication that McCain was replaced by an android while captive in Vietnam and the US has to have its military budget expanded to close the android gap?"

Yes. That.

I thought the final of the novel, where Deckard's wife uses the emotion generating device (Penrose generator?) to grant Deckard 'a long deserved rest', after Deckard discovers that the toad he discovers is actually a machine, seems to suggest that Deckard is an android. That is mirrored in the notion of the android run San Francisco police station that is internally consistent, but Deckard cannot call out.

Also, the empty buildings is not straight from Scott's love of visuals, the novel has the notion of kipple, that slowly crowds out people, so Scott can be seen as trying to express what is in the book.

btw, I agree with someotherdude on this.

DonQuiKong: I disagree with your analysis (though you are right about the first release of the DC having the unicorn dream - that and the theatrical version are the two I've watched). In the original film, human and replicant are not the same until the ending, and having Decker turn out to be a replicant ruins the logic established by the rest of the film (IMO).

I think the central question of the film (and for that matter, the book) is: in a world in which androids exist that appear biologically human, what is the true essence of being human? The film suggests two answers that distinguish humans from replicants. One is the significance of memories as a key to identity. Humans, in part due to their longer lifespans, have a richer set of natural memories. Hence the significance of photographs to the replicants (especially Leon) - photos are an external form of memory that form a key part of their identity. Rachel, due to the experiment in giving her artificial memories from a real human, is the replicant who is closest to being human - but note that Deckard can still identify her as a replicant with the V-K test, even though it is much more difficult for him to do so. This ties in, too, to Batty's "Tears in Rain" speech towards the end - he mourns not just his approaching death, but the consequent loss of the unique memories that form his personal identity.

The second, more important difference, is the ability to feel compassion for others. Remember the V-K test to identify replicants? It's described as an empathy test, measuring the involuntary eye response to descriptions of emotional situations involving others. Replicants fail because they can't summon up the same empathetic response that humans do. Throughout the film, we see the replicants showing some degree of concern and empathy for each other, but hardly any towards humans. Batty, for example, uses Sebastian's empathy for Pris to manipulate him, but has no compunction about eliminating him once he is no longer useful. I think there are really only two scenes showing replicant empathy for humans - when Rachel, and then Batty, save Deckard's life. If Deckard isn't human, then I don't think there are any examples of replicant empathy for human - just replicants looking out for each other.

If Deckard is human, then he and Batty are moral counterpoints to each other. Batty is the replicant who wants to become human; Deckard is a human whose empathy has become so worn down that he is in danger of becoming morally equivalent to a replicant. He has not only had to other all replicants in order to do his job (stating "a replicant is a machine," and referring to Rachel as "it" once he realizes what she is), he's become burned out towards other humans as well.

The great story arc of the film becomes the parallel quests of Batty to find his inner humanity and Deckard to regain his own, culminating in the fight on the rooftops. There the dying Batty finally gets Deckard at his mercy, looks at the man who has just killed his lover and been trying to kill him, and after invoking an empathetic response ("It's a terrible thing to live in fear - that is what it is to be a slave."), pulls him to safety. In this reading, that moment becomes the moral redemption of both characters. Batty dies morally human, and Deckard, having learned to feel an empathy for Batty that complements the empathy he had earlier begun to feel for Rachel, abandons his job, goes home, and completes his transformation by rescuing her.

But if Deckard is really a replicant, then I think we lose that whole transformation and redemption story arc. All we have is a kind of professional courtesy of one replicant towards another that doesn't say a whole lot about the human condition. We already know that replicants can feel sympathy for each other - it's the ability to empathize with those who are unlike us that the film sets up as the ultimate test of being truly human.

So I agree with Gary. I think that in making Deckard unambiguously a replicant in the DC, Scott destroyed the moral center of his film in order to get a more dramatic ending.

"I always thought the family pictures and the weird formulaic way he plays the piano were giveaways."

Wait...are you talking about Deckard or McCain?

You know why McCain plays the piano in a formulaic way...because for five years, McCain didn't have a piano. Hell, he didn't even have a harmonica when he was a POW. But I bet Obama secretly plays the French horn.

But I bet Obama secretly plays the French horn.

My brother used to play the French horn. ...mostly, I used to wish he wouldn't.

But I bet Obama secretly plays the French horn.

I look at Obama and see him as a trombone man. He's tall and lanky- a trombonist's body.

It also doesn't hurt that I play trombone and that I realize that it is superior to all other instruments. ^.^

Jes: You must have had a horrible childhood. Listening to a horn player practice is like a cheese grater to the eardrums.

Thanks, Dave W., for putting much more coherently than I did what my main point was.

And I'll also repeat that the same theme/storyline is what neo-Battlestar Galactica has been doing.

"I look at Obama and see him as a trombone man."

But McCain is the con man selling band instruments: my friends, we've got trouble right here in River City.

I took a short look at it on youtube without sound. From the body language I'd say that this is not a living person but a mechanical puppet with a very limited repertory of gestures that are exactly repeated more or less at random. Somebody call the messieurs Spalanzani and Coppelius please* ;-).
For balance: Obama's head movements sometimes look a bit studied too but not in a mechanical way.

*or someone check, whether the Mi-Go have whispered to him in the dark.

A true American patriot would play the English horn, not the French one (would also be nearer to Clinton's saxophone). Why does this topic bring to mind the word 'blowjob'? ;-)

Hartmut: A true American patriot would play the English horn

...which is called the cor anglais. Sounds French.

Why does this topic bring to mind the word 'blowjob'? ;-)

*primly* I can't imagine. Does McCain have good lip?

MeDrew: You must have had a horrible childhood. Listening to a horn player practice is like a cheese grater to the eardrums.

Yes. Yes, it is.

Batty allows Deckard to survive because he realizes that he is a replicant, in essence he acts like a “typical” human, only capable of empathizing with those he can see himself, in.

Deckard realizes there is nothing special about being a human, and escapes, like a slave would.

You guys are putting to much faith in a writer committing to the rules and logic of story writing. I mean, do you think Scott and Dick are robots, only capable of going by the rules programmed by others?

Jes, for that very reason I did not use the more common name for that instrument (which to my knowledge is not English and definitely not a horn but part of the woodwinds);-).

Listening to a horn player practice is like a cheese grater to the eardrums.

Yes. Yes, it is.

Oh for pete's sake. How about a beginning oboe player? (that's a cue for Anarch to jump in) A sax? A viola?

"The horn, the horn, the lusty horn, Is not a thing to laugh to scorn."

"You guys are putting to much faith in a writer committing to the rules and logic of story writing. I mean, do you think Scott and Dick are robots, only capable of going by the rules programmed by others?"

I don't know what you mean by that, but I have a considerable amount of employment history as a professional science fiction editor, employed by Avon Books as such, offered the position of Managing Editor of Twilight Zone Magazine and Night Cry magazine, a former Assistant Editor at Amazing Stories and Fantastic Stories magazines, employed as a freelancer by, to name just a few, Berkeley Books, Baen Books, Tor Books, Ace Books, Penguin, Bluejay Books, Dell, etc., since 1975, so, yeah, I do think I have a few clues about story logic and structure. At the very least, I seem to have conned more than a few publishers into paying me on that basis; I've also in that capacity evaluated umpty hundreds of movie scripts, fwiw.

"Batty allows Deckard to survive because he realizes that he is a replicant, in essence he acts like a “typical” human, only capable of empathizing with those he can see himself, in."

And that would be a singularly lousy, pointless, story.

I think that Blade Runner - even the first release of the movie - is a far, far better story than Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Phillip K. Dick is possibly the most overrated science-fiction writer of all time. The best thing to do with his novels is to hand them to a good director and invite them to use anything good they find as a launchpad for a film.

Anyone else notice Robert Shaw's gills?

"Phillip K. Dick is possibly the most overrated science-fiction writer of all time."

His greatness lies in his themes and ideas; definitely not in his prose, or story structure, or plots.

I wouldn't really argue your point; he deserves plenty of attention, but so do a huge list of other writers who haven't gotten a thousandth of the attention he's now received. And, of course, he had to die to get any mainstream attention at all.

I think that in making Deckard unambiguously a replicant in the DC, Scott destroyed the moral center of his film in order to get a more dramatic ending.

Dave W, very neat and convincing reading. Though, iirc, the film was to end with Deckard and Rachel escaping into the city (the first version had them going to the wilds of Canada for the happy ending, director's cut had that, but I've not seen all the versions). This then plugs into an underlying theme of hunter versus the hunted, which is then a continuation of a relatively consistent theme in Scott's works (with the exception of Kingdom of Heaven) If one accepts that, then the fact that there is no difference between Deckard and Batty except one is hunting the other heightens that theme. However, I don't think that reading is as powerful as yours.

But it's nice some good came out of McCain's speech ;^)

OK, OK, I'm overmatched in my battle with Gary Farber over Deckard's humanity. DonQuiKong's posts do a better job of expressing my views than I could.

As for read Farber to equate the movie to the book, despite his purported caveat ("Setting aside that it would have completely gone against Phil Dick's intent, since the movie and the book are pretty damn different. But this goes to the heart of the point of either story."): In reality, the first sentence caveats whilst the second sentence caveats-away. As better expressed by DonQuiKong, I don't think that the movie and the book necessarily* make exactly the same point on this issue.

von

*OTOH, as others note, there is at least a colorable argument that Dick wanted to leave Deckard's humanity in question.

Should be: "As for why I read Farber to equate the movie to the book, despite his purported caveat".

I'll consider your suggestion (prior thread) to preview before I post, Gary.

I do not doubt your gifts as an editor, Gary…maybe I ‘m suggesting you should be a more imaginative/creative reader.

"Whoa, the camera found two of those 36 dark-skinned people!"

There were 36?

I'm impressed.

br: "Chris Matthews is an ass."

He so often is. But I find he is so unscripted and spontaneous that I enjoy watching -- I also like it when he gets on Olbermann's nerves.

Matthews gets in trouble because he gets too caught up in the moment.

McCain's speech was lackluster -- and most of the reviews I saw said that -- yet Matthews took great joy in predicting that the Arizona senator would be ahead in the polls next week.

Since a fair amount of folks here seem to watch MSNBC, am I the only person who found it strange that the network kept Keith Olbermann holed up in a New York studio?

How many different versions did Scott make? Which one is “right”?

Dick’s own mental problems make him an unreliable interpreter of his own work. His schizophrenia seems to suggest that there are many Dick’s.

Depending on traditional forms of writing structures to understand this work is a fool’s errand.

Turned out it was some sort of short on how Republicans love America more than anyone.

I saw one of those that included Bill Gates. I don't think he's a Republican, either.

I liked the speech. I liked the whole night. I liked the biographical movie; I liked Cindy McCain's speech; and I liked John McCain's speech.

I only heard the speech. I didn't see it since I was on my computer killing orcs with a friend all night. So I don't know anything about the visuals that other posters were complaining about.

The speech and the whole night gave me the impression that McCain was solid and experienced. We could place our country and our fates in his hands and he would act in the best possible fashion. He has the life experience to know what to do. I was moved at some parts of the speech. I felt great respect towards him.

I particularly liked that the whole night was positive. It seems like all I've been getting from the Republicans is overwhelming nagativity and fear-mongering. This speech made me think how nice it would have been if McCain had decided to run a positive campaign instead of what he did go with.

However, it doesn't matter what I think because I am not the target audience. I am much, much too bitter about the last 8 years to even consider voting for a Republican. That's really the only thing that matters, but I guess I could also say that I like Obama, that I noticed that the the whole night was about the past and not the future (ok, I get it, he has an impressive resume for being president, but what ideas does he actually have about what he wants to do as president?), and that I'm not stupid enough to fall for a good cop/bad cop sort of thing where I am supposed to not hold McCain acocuntable for 3 nights (or several months) of relentless negativity because his own speech was positive (He's the guy in charge. Either he approves of what is going on or he doesn't have the skill to control his own subordinates).

By the way, I hated Palin's speech on Wednesday. I have no idea why so many people praised it. When it was announced that she was to be the veep nominee I recoiled in horror because I'd never heard of her and she apparently had no experience (I had the same reaction when Obama was first touted as a serious candidate). This speech was her chance to reassure me by demonstrating that she had thought deeply about serious matters and was aware of the burdens that come with responsibility. No, she decided instead to bore me by going on and on about her tedious life story and making stupid flip comments.

Julie: This speech was her chance to reassure me by demonstrating that she had thought deeply about serious matters and was aware of the burdens that come with responsibility. No, she decided instead to bore me by going on and on about her tedious life story and making stupid flip comments.

I think it's only fair to Sarah Palin to point out that she did not write her own speech: the speech she delivered was written by McCain's campaign team before she was chosen, for whoever McCain picked to be Vice President to read at the RNC. It was personalised to her (and made more "feminine", whatever that means) in less than a week.

Not that I think Palin has thought deeply about being Vice President, but it should be clear that the speech was McCain's, not hers.

To paraphrase Stanislaw Lem (about SF): Those that have the right ideas can't write and those that can write have no idea*. His two volume work on SF Fantastyka i futurologia (leading him to his breaking with the Science Fiction Writers of America) is a pure roasting. He put Dick clearly in the first category (terrible writer with genuine insights) but repeatedly expressed his dislike of "Do androids dream of electric sheep?"

*he admits of course that there are exceptions but thinks them to be extremly rare (he was also critical of his own skill as a writer)

The Dick/Lem connection is actually even more interesting because Dick wrote the following letter to the FBI.
Dick wrote:
Lem is probably a composite committee rather than an individual, since he writes in several styles and sometimes reads foreign, to him, languages and sometimes does not - to gain monopoly positions of power from which they can control opinion through criticism and pedagogic essays is a threat to our whole field of science fiction and its free exchange of views and ideas.

Hartmut, you show great depth about classical literature, so wonder what you think of notion that thinking about Dick's life is like meditating on the choice of Achilles, to be a hero living on in human memory or to live a long happy life devoid of fame. Dick's talk about baptizing his son in VALIS is filled with a paternal love that always has me wondering about choices he made and that everyone makes.

I have to admit that, although my Lem collection of books is near complete (he is better known and edited in German speaking countries than at home as far as I know), my knowledge of Dick is extremly limited (and btw, I never watched Blade Runner, I am more into cinematic obscurities than mainstream ;-)). So, I can't comment on any specifics.

As far as Achilles is concerned, his comments in the Odyssee seem to imply that posthumously he'd have preferred the other choice (although without blaming Ulysses for forcing him into the first). I'd also guess that his opinion of the behaviour of his son would have been rather low at the time ;-)

Hartmut, I highly recommend Dick. If you read only one, The Man in the High Castle would be the one I suggest.

"To paraphrase Stanislaw Lem (about SF): Those that have the right ideas can't write and those that can write have no idea*."

Yes, Lem was highly contemptuous of sf not written by him; it wasn't one of his more attractive qualities.

And that line is deeply stupid and ignorant. Do I need to start throwing out a very long list of names of writers?

Lem also disliked a lot he himself wrote and tried to prevent new editions of some of his works. My own experience with SF lets me believe that there is a lot of truth to that one-liner (It's not a quote). I could name a number of SF writers that know what they are writing about (and e.g. respect the laws of nature*) and have something to say but have mainly/only cardboard characters** in cliche-filled situations. On the other hand there are countless writers that are good to read but have a 5-year-old's understanding of basic physics.
A general observation I would make is that short stories suffer less from lack of general writing talent because there is less need for fleshed-out characters or byplay beyond the primary topic***. Personally I think that e.g. Artur C.Clarke's short stories are far better than his novels (and I would count him under the better writers).
I would not disagree that Lem's verdict is often overly harsh because he does not accept "mere entertainment" as a value in itself.
Btw, I get the impression that the good authors (i.e. form&content good) tend to keep the "hard" SF elements low and write mainly in a "realist" style. Bad authors are too often too fond of the SF gimmicks (with the result of parading their own ignorance in "explaining" them to the reader).

*or modify them in a deliberate way to make a point, not because they don't know them or just find them inconvenient. The Strugatzkis e.g. could do both "physical correctness" and "creative physics" depending on the particular purpose.
**In Lem's work practically all female characters (not that he has many of those in the first place) fit that bill.
***The Austro-German author Herbert W. Franke is an extreme example of that. Brilliant short stories, but in his novels the cliche characters and plot devices ruin the actual message.

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