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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Must-Read Blog #4: Reflections in the Void

This is the fourth post in a series featuring blogs that are on my daily Must-Read list. Some of them are from people I know personally, and others are from random people I found on the internet in one way or another, but all of them are worthwhile reading.

Reflections in the Void is written by my brother Zac, who has always been a much more eloquent writer than I am. He is both terribly intelligent and terribly clear at the same time. Unlike, say, legal language, which is terribly unclear and only looks terribly intelligent because of all the big obscure words and Russian-doll-like syntactic structure. (But I have a sneaking suspicion that if you grilled an attorney on what his writing really means, he would be almost as confused as you are much of the time. A lawyer's job is to obfuscate, and it seems they do that very well.) Anyway, unlike an attorney, Zac makes eloquent sophistication look easy. Observe:

Zac on Time:




I'm not nearly so much the night owl many of my friends and acquaintances are (and my cat pretty much insists I get up to feed her every morning about six) but I find I enjoy the dark hours, at least in part because they are so timeless. One hour merges in with the next. With no externally imposed schedule, I find myself wondering how much a sense of time any of us have. If you're not meeting someone else's deadline, does it really matter to you if it's six or seven, one or two? In the dark hours, only my own fatigue and current activity/interest are my guides. Time is a quality that is useful at times, but not essential to the human experience. One may attempt to objectively measure a duration of time if one finds a need, but the human mind can make time's passing an ephemeral thing.

In relativity, no two events can properly be said to occur simultaneously. In some of the proposed solutions to uniting quantum mechanics and general relativity, time divides out of the equation. I can't really pretend I understand what that means, but the articles in the science rags say that time isn't necessarily a variable against which other variables change, the other physical variables simply change as a function of one another. "Clocks don't measure time, 'time' is whatever it is clocks measure." Maybe the universe doesn't care what time it is in those dark hours either.

Zac's Positive Review of Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (which, incidentally, made my Most Overrated Movies of 2007 list)

[Zac defends himself thusly: "I wasn't so much giving Pirates 3 a good review as I was accentuating the positive."] Duly noted.



[...] I differ from some people's opinions (hi, Sra) in that I find DMC the best of the three. Beneath the PG-13 fantasy adventure movie Disney let them actually make, there's the structure of a really vivid and dark fantasy horror movie that I find very compelling. The movie is full of devil's bargains, occasionally literal but more interesting when figurative. All the characters find themselves putting their souls (if you will) at stake, having to risk something precious, having to compromise their sense of what good people they think they are, in order to stay alive and out of prison with even the slightest hope of life, love, and happiness still being at the end of the tunnel. It can be quite interesting and chilling, and it's much more than I expected from a followup to the fun magic action yarn of the first movie.

The third movie does an interesting thing in making a tale of pirates versus the British seafaring interests into a war of freedom versus authority. Real world pirates might have been relatively cosmopolitan and socially loose compared with the societies of the time, but theirs is hardly a story of freedom. Pirates were still all about domination and their social structure had its own kind of authoritarian hierarchy, though the rule-by-the-strong was a little more obvious.

Still, an American movie will infuse itself with American (or more properly, Western Liberal) values, myths, and metaphors. And so we see the story of a diverse bunch of rag-tag freedom-loving good guys overcoming their differences to make a great stand for liberty and justice against the amassed forces of control, privilege, and power. It's a story we love, and we'll tell it again and again with pirates or cowboys or spaceships or gangsters or even stockbrokers.

Zac on the Dating Violence Bill:




I consider it a proper function of universal education to show all girls growing up that there are more options available to them than serving someone else's will, and to instill self-respect in them so that they will absolutely never want to "graciously submit." Then all the guys sick enough to want their girlfriends and wives to be subservient to them will be eternally frustrated, never achieve their captain-of-the-household dreams, live in misery, and die alone as they deserve. Or we can use universal education to instill enough respect and morality in boys growing up so that they realize authoritarianism is absolutely and universally evil, and that all relationships are among equals. Best of all, we can instill all these things in all children wherever they fall on the sex and gender spectra.

So there's a little taste of what you can expect over at Reflections in the Void. You're guaranteed to get something thought-provoking out of Zac's blog. Almost every post makes me think of some part of the world (or religion, or politics, or humanity) in a way I've never thought of it before. Being treated to a view of the world through a slightly different colored lens than my own is just one of the many benefits of having Zac as my brother. And you, dear reader, can also take a gander through the periscope by subscribing to Reflections in the Void. Make sure to comment and let him know Sra sent you :)

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The Over-Thinker said...

I think I really like this Zac. Yes--yes, I do.

Sra said...

He is a very likable sort, indeed.

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