Media

‘In Bruges': Film-making at its best

Martin McDonagh’s dark crime-comedy In Bruges (Universal Studios 2008) represents film-making at its best. Without excessive reliance on the special effects with which Hollywood is infatuated (and infected), and simply by employing the basics of cinema – successive images and sounds – it manages to draw its audiences into the unlikely world of professional assassins,…

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A stream of consciousness: Art, consciousness, self-consciousness and the unconscious

What is a ‘stream of consciousness’? This presupposes that one knows what consciousness is, and how it differs from the unconscious, and from self-consciousness. Briefly, consciousness means an awareness of something, most broadly your environment. In this sense, even plants are conscious, as shown by the phenomenon of phototropism. Self-consciousness, by contrast, denotes not just…

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The lost sense of community: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’

Christopher Nolan’s recently released feature film Dunkirk not only fills a long-existing gap in cinematic coverage of important historical (particularly wartime) events; it also highlights something of contemporary significance: the glaring difference between the world of the 1940s and that of today, namely the strong sense of community that animated people back then, and which,…

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Why does celebrity online behaviour affect ordinary people?

In a recent article on the Yahoo website, Marie Claire Dorking claims that when so-called celebrities – the contemporary kitsch counterparts of ancient Greek Olympians – ‘behave badly’ online, their behaviour has a recognisable impact on the behaviour of ordinary people, including children. In other words, the bad example they set has consequences when it…

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The cyber-war(s) being fought right under our noses

Time magazine invariably has very clever, multi-faceted covers, the latest one being no exception. It shows the White House – the American president’s residence and workplace, all in one – being slowly but surely devoured by Saint Basil’s Cathedral, with its red brick walls and colourful onion domes, which stands on the Red Square and…

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The actress who should have won the Oscar this year

Although I have come across quite a few people who dismiss the richly ambiguous La La Land as an unsuccessful attempt at a musical – no doubt implicitly comparing it to traditional musicals like My Fair Lady or The Sound of Music – I do not share their view. It is an outstanding film that…

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Technocratic culture: ‘Disconnect’

If you don’t like thinking for yourself, don’t read this post. If you prefer playing around on your mobile device or smartphone, don’t bother reading further. The phone is definitely smarter than you are if you have relinquished your own memory and thinking-ability to its functionality. But if you would like to know something more…

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A South African link to Trump’s inner circle

People are trying to figure out Donald Trump’s real agenda. There are big clues in the people around him. Trump appointed Steve Bannon as his campaign manager last year and Bannon is now his chief political advisor and strategist. Bannon is a multi-talented (journalist, naval officer, investment banker and Hollywood producer) white nationalist Islamophobe who…

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Far more than a thriller writer

It is easy to misjudge a writer, particularly if the blurbs on the cover of his or her books proclaim something like: “Impossible to put down. Another mind-blowing story!” Or: “Wow…Blockbuster perfection. An exhilaratingly brainy thriller…” Not that these blurbs are inaccurate regarding the novels I have in mind; up to a certain point they…

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The biggest cover-up of all time?

After seeing the film based on Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and not having read the novel, I was somewhat prejudiced against his work as being just another kind of thriller, spruced up with a high-art context in which the action unfolds. Until I read his novel, Inferno, named after the first part of…

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