Gangster enlightentainment

If you’re in the mood for a cross-genre mindbender some night, do get hold of British direct Guy Ritchie‘s uncategorizable 2005 flick Revolver. That is, if you’re also in the mood for graphic torture, editing that sometimes looks like it was done in a food processor, seriously twisted egomaniacs, mucho gun battles, and hearing yourself saying “Huh?“and “What the…?” a lot.

The double-entendre tagline is Your mind will not accept a game this big (it becomes a double-entendre after you’ve seen the flick), and the plot involves a con job so pervasive and subtle that even you, innocent reader, are implicated. Plus it’s got voice-over and i lo-o-ove voice-over — though this may be the first time voice-over turns into a plot device.

The film becomes completely impenetrable early on, but your perseverance may be rewarded. I thought it wrapped up neatly, if ham-fistedly, but methinks one either gets it in spades or not at all, depending on one’s metaphysical bent. Critics savaged it. Roger Ebert gave it a rare one-half star in a review that begins,

Guy Ritchie‘s ‘Revolver’ is a frothing mad film that thrashes against its very sprocket holes in an attempt to bash its brains out against the projector. It seems designed to punish the audience for buying tickets….

You’ll have to watch this one twice. But not, dear God, on the same night.

Kudos to Ritchie and his actors for artistic guts. His other films, better received, include Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Thanks to the inimitable Jonesie (wish there were still an active link) for telling me about it: Ego, riding the human experience for some purpose of its own, worried sick about losing its horse.

The case for lazy

More from Zen and the Beat Way (p. 22-24, emphases mine)

It seems to me in a way … that this emphasis on productivity goes back to the great age of scarcity, when if people did not work, they didn’t have anything to eat. We do not have that situation today. In fact, we are working hard against it…. We are deliberately creating an economy in which machines do our work for us, and an abundance of food is produced. So we have got to learn how to loaf….

In a culture where everybody has to keep producing, even though plenty is produced already, all kinds of propaganda have to be generated to get people to buy up the surplus production. But in order to find the means to buy it, they have got to create surplus production. Well, this is a vicious circle of major dimensions. And although we may not like … the role that the more irresponsible beatniks are playing, it is a role that in a way emerges almost of necessity in our particular kind of civilization.

In other words, people who are going to be nonproductive, who are going to be fundamentally lazy, are going to idealize a life of a certain kind of poverty. And they are going to explore realms of experience that solid citizens have not explored and are indeed afraid to explore — the inner world, the world of imagination and fantasy and the unconscious.

Work Less PartyOn a similar political note, all you surfer-dude and -dudette sympathizers, check out the Work Less Party, based in Vancouver and apparently contesting our next provincial election.

Thoughts for tonight

From Zen and the Beat Way (Alan Watts):

Agriculture and industrialism … have created a glut of material goods and a great poverty of time. Most people have a way of life devoid of everything except maintaining and servicing their material existence 12 to 14 hours every day. In contrast, the Aborigines [spent] 12 to 14 hours a day in cultural pursuit. (quoting Robert Lawlor‘s 1990 book on Australian Aboriginal culture, Voices of the First Day).

Imagine what your life would be like if you spent 12-14 hours a day in “cultural pursuit,” i.e. meaningful activity — the stuff you do when you consider you’re having fun. Come to think of it, rich people do have that opportunity, and on the whole they don’t seem to make much of it. Without a wide cultural context, maybe it’s impossible. But i want to give it a try.

One more:

[In] essence, mystical experience and ecological awareness [are] simply two ways of talking about the same experience.

That is a profound statement — one i find suffused with hope, in that “ecological awareness” is starting to make deep sense to people in the West.


I dropped in to Tom Lee Music on Granville St. today. They’ve filled out their hand percussion section since i was there last, and i found and tapped on Mountain Rhythm‘s well made frame drums. a cadillac version of the Remo cheapie i’ve been spending hours a day on for months now.

Unfortunately, frame drums, though certainly among the more portable, are hardly the sort of thing one wants to be carrying on his walkabout.


Interviewer: What is Zen?

Alan Watts: [Soft chuckling.]

Interviewer: Would you care to enlarge on that?

Alan Watts: [Loud laughing.]

—Front matter of Zen and the Beat Way (1997)

I borrowed the book from the Vancouver Public Library yesterday with my spankin’ new BC OneCard, good at every public library in B.C. That’s like gold for the homeless wanderer, folks.