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December 20, 2013

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Kevin McLeod

To Greg
(apologies for the delay, but been away for a bit)
The Shining is not The Talmud. And I am no High Priest. I am a scientist somewhat, searching for a global language that anyone can participate in by using it. Movie directors are our era's version of temple scribes, creating myths that encode our laws and rituals into performance. I'm not trying to inscribe mystery, I'm trying to decipher it, using methods that anthropologists and archaeologists have used for over a century to decrypt the past. Strangely, you infer that I have a proprietary relationship with this process and paradoxically the opposite is true, I let anyone who can read english access it, without any fees. You see this as dehumanizing, or that I am somehow less than human, and use a dead, subjective essence like irony as descriptive, while I can assure you that emotion is the central goal of all humanity and that the semantic-meaning that divides all humans is likely our undoing. Where ALL conflict comes from. And Kubrick is the one of few among many who is telling us to forge a new comprehension of humanity from our needless alliances with centralized, tribal meanings that lay buried in our languages but cannot be ignored in the purely visual. I am not interfering with your views regarding Kubrick, any interpretation is possible. But incredibly, you find it necessary to interfere with mine. Who is more aware here?

Jocko

i think i get what he's saying- Kubrick trying to show us how we're all locked up inside our own heads (like the characters in the movie) projecting it outward in patterns particular to us? Rorshach movie making, 'managing the gaps'? Bah

Richard

Okay, okay, enough of the hate already. If you don't like Kevin's interpretation, ignore it. Problem solved.

Greg Machlin


Meet the New High Priests, same as the Old High Priests.

You don't live in the future. There is no future. There is only the present. And those who want to control the present. You're just another controller. You want to mystify what is simple so that you can claim proprietary interest over it. Because this is what people do. They try and carve out there own little niche and then make themselves lord and ruler over that niche. Again, you are acting as if Kubrick is speaking in a language that only you - and a few select others - can understand, and that's where I refuse you and your ideas. Which doesn't make me retrograde. It just makes me immune to your bullshit. When I watch Kubrick I see someone using the language of cinema in a very elegant way. You watch his films much like a talmudic scholar reading the bible. You see codes that need to be deciphered. Which is your prerogative. I just find your nutballing of Kubrick kind of obnoxious. And willfully perverse. Your readings of his film take his films away from him and make them YOURS. Kubrick said that films were meant to bypass the intellect and head straight for the emotions, the heart. You seem to disregard this. You seem to think that you can quantify and make a typology of things he did on an unconscious level. How Kubrick achieved what he achieved is largely in part because he had the intuition of an artist. Some things can't be explained. You would probably disagree with this. But there is something ineffable that goes into making films as beautiful and haunting as Kubrick's. Stop thinking with your hyperrational, programmer's mind, and start thinking more like a human. You are exactly the type of dehumanized person Kubrick's films portrayed and worried about. I don't think that's an irony you quite get.


Kevin McLeod

My ego isn't the issue. I am not claiming any brilliance. I'm using guides before me. Something someone like a guy named Cassirer did for bridging written languages, and Suzanne Langer did for bridging scientific fields, the same can be done to film, only it requires we study the smartest directors. Kubrick is obviously years if not decades before his time. Attempting a holistic peek into how film works, with him in focus, might actually reveal some basic truths about how the medium operates on different centers of the brain. Semantic, grammar, even metaphor appear to have regions separated. And it's an insanely young language, compared to the languages we speak with. A clear line of genius from Heraclitus (paradoxes that condense science and language) to DaVinci (paradoxes that condense symbols into science) to Poe to Kubrick etc, all employ similar, if not converging strategies.

You may want to remain attached to the meaningful aspects of storytelling. The profound emotions of storytelling. But videogames don't really seek meaning, just solutions.

I hear these denouncements but the anger seems filled with fear, and hatred. And likely meaningless, since none of you can discuss even the basics of what's being suggested. This isn't very hard. You use nouns. You use verbs. You probably know what syntax is. And you've all seen hieroglyphics. And now you know what a movie really is. Acted glyphs. The beginnings of a language. And I didn't come up with this. Two guys did: Eisenstein and Griffith. Both talked about film as glyphs and ideograms and sentences. You're basically attacking a theory invented by the inventors of longform cinema, almost all the tricks wee use began with these two.

These two A, and Greg Machlin. I hear this pointless vitriol, and again, futile characterizations. Not any of you want the debate. You attack like this is some retro-era witchhunt. This is not the dark ages. This is the future. You're invited to wake up.

Greg Machlin

What a monster fucking ego you have, Kevin McLeod. Attached to a medicore intellect. Too bad Ascher didn't include your narration on the soundtrack. You would have fit in perfectly with the others.

A

Yes, Kevin, you are a prophet, a seer, a man out of time whose time will come when our time is done. Get over yourself, dude. You have perfected the art of seeming to say a lot while saying absolutely nothing. You're the Soakal Hoax come to life. You are projecting yourself into Kubrick. Kubrick is a genius, and since you understand Kubrick, you must be a genius too. Kubrick didn't invent a new language, he just used the tools at hand better than most. Stop using Kubricks films as evidence of your own cognitive superiority. Too bad Kubrick's not around. I think if he read your analysis of his films he would laugh. But I'm just guessing. Of course, I assume you know exactly what he would think, because you can read minds. Double your meds, "Mstrmnd."

Kevin McLeod

Look, it's pretty apparent this thread offers both insight and healthy debate. Unfortunately what opened the debate here, the introductory rancor aimed at me is the usual: uninformed characterization. I'm not here to name-call, I'm here debating ideas. I've developed a pretty clear argument that's easily understood if time is taken to grok it.
I'm not alone, I have several pretty brilliant scientists from a variety of fields lending a hand in the book's thesis. These are not only skeptical thinkers, they're the leaders in their fields.
Lastly, it's quite important to understand the film medium is just like any other written language at its very beginnings. Except this one is pictogrammatic, and in motion. What Kubrick did was to give the medium a shove towards a more complete language, maybe using a syntax that's never been seen before. I invite anyone to really take a careful listen to the commentary. At the very least you can learn first-hand what Kubrick invented, something he called a "mode-jerk" (see the Thames & Hudson A.I. Book), and how it was applied to The Shining, 2001, Eyes Wide Shut and Full Metal Jacket.

corym

I'm getting off this train now.

Kevin McLeod

You're not getting what I'm saying. Jesus in toast is implied by a cultural search for random things out here. Out here in reality the gaps between meanings are yours. You police them, and you're in charge of your consciousness. So spotting any pareidolia is your mind's eye. Here, they're a direct product of Kubrick's managing of gaps, which is the generator of any 'desire' to see pareidolia. Kubrick amplifies pareidolia through this style. Enjoy the book.

corym

@Kevin McLeod

Again, if this is, as you say, pareidolia, doesn't that mean that you aren't talking about Kubrick at all? You can see a minotaur, Kubrick's face in the clouds, Jesus in a piece of toast. It doesn't imply Kubrick intended The Shining as a cognitive test any more than Jesus in my toast implies that my loaf of bread is Christian. I can even get a hundred people to agree that my toast looks like Jesus, it still says nothing about my loaf bread--and certainly nothing about the baker.

Kevin McLeod

The pareidolia here appears to be conjured by the viewer's need to see a specific representation culled from entirely different syntaxes. Two examples, both minotaur (a symbol that she sees as a representation) and 'Kubrick in the clouds' a direct representation are culled from respectively, time-space distortion and representations. There are others and I'll save them from the book.

corym

@Kevin McLeod

If, as you say, all of these readings involve some pareidolia, doesn't that brush authorial intent aside? The nature of pareidolia is that the stimulus is random. I may see Jesus in a piece of toast, it doesn't mean my loaf of bread is administering a Rorschach test.

Kevin McLeod

These aren't you're basic interpretations of art, which involve typically similar or same syntaxes. A symbol is matched to it's antithesis, or two symbols and a word etc. An ambiguous exchange leaves the audience guessing. Those are interpretations that uses the film in a singular syntax. Instead each interpretation in 237 involves differing syntaxes. The 'visual minotaur' (singular, however real or not) exposes an intricate maze built from multiplied impossibilities. The film mirrored against itself. The 'moon conspiracy' sourced in direct representation (not symbols). Not only do none share syntax, they're quite elaborate and each seem to involve some pareidolia coupled with statistically valid data. You're looking at a pretty vast cognitive-science test. Storied by King, visually amped to the hilt by Kubrick.

corym

@Kevin McLeod

"I say that Kubrick invented a new way that language can operate. The result is that 5 people can map out completely different subjectivities from what might be observed as a fairly objective piece of linear motion."

So five different people will give you five different interpretations of a work of art? How on earth is this different from any other novel, poem, film, painting....

Kevin McLeod

and to respond to the addendum, your key argument's analogy hold's no weight: there are no references to the Holocaust in The Shining. Zero. Of course the debate is a stretch.

There are hundreds of references to Native American identity in the film, so it's possible a Mesoamerican scholar is going to observe the discrete use of symbols if shown them.

And if the author were to really read the text, he'd discover that the scholar sent me the initial piece of data as a lark: the July 4, 1921 folkloric myth. A chance lightning bolt that created a legendary curse (entering folklore only in 1921) from a Revolutionary War era Native casualty. Like Poe, Kubrick was a master of weaving the real with the unreal, and always in a form of mirroring.

Kevin McLeod

Of COURSE I'm a crank. By definition, futureshock always involves assertions that the society at large is unable to comprehend. My job is push an agenda of rapid futurism. And no, there is no paranoia or conspiracy involved in my writing. The writer "A" here has either never read me or is simplistically grouping me in a group I denied (I chose not to be in the film).

My argument is far more advanced than what this clown is suggesting. I say that Kubrick invented a new way that language can operate. The result is that 5 people can map out completely different subjectivities from what might be observed as a fairly objective piece of linear motion. I can prove this, since I've done the research. The letter above is one of scores of references (including research into Saul Bass's archives) to prove a quite complex argument.

The personal attacks are proof the writer has little substance with which to debate.

A

Mstrmnd is a crank. His analysis of films are incomprehensible and inane. Guy should stick to coding or whatever inhuman thing it is he does. Movies are for people who don't think in ones and zeros. I never thought I would live to see the day where acute paranoia is the default mode of perception for people not taking massive does of doctor-mandated klonopin, but it seems as if we have arrived at just this place. Paranoia and conspiratorial thinking are fine when they are coming from the fringes of society, because it gives the ranting a dose of autheticity. But when it's coming from the center is loses all bite and becomes cheap and banal. That what it felt like listening to the people in Room 237. Like being stuck in an elevator with the world's most boring lunatic. The people interviewed by Ascher have lost their minds, i.e., they have lost control of the critical capabilities. It's not cute and it's not cool, it's just sad.

Richard

Like most Kubrick films, "The Shining" is filled with details designed to draw the viewer into a labyrinth, and judging from this documentary, it worked. Some of the details, like Jack reading Playgirl, are probably pranks. (Not unlike John Lennon singing "Here's a little clue for you all, the walrus is Paul.") Others, like the hallway carpet switching direction and the minotaur images, are dead on. I'd say what these clues point to are not the moon landing or Native Americans or 1942 but the labyrinth itself. We all create one and get lost in it. But as one of the commentators notes, Danny shows we can find a way out.

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