Category » SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Back in 1985, I saw this movie while visiting my friend Mark at Washington University. We had heard about it and were happy that the local PBS station in St. Louis was playing it on the air in its entirety. And even despite the fact that we were watching it on a 13″ black and white television with crappy reception, it really struck a chord with me. Here’s the basic description from Wikipedia:
Koyaanisqatsi (English pronunciation: /ˈkɔɪ.ɑːnɪsˈkɑːtsiː/ KOY-ah-nis-KAHT-see), also known as Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance, is a 1982 film directed by Godfrey Reggio with music composed by Philip Glass and cinematography by Ron Fricke.
The film consists primarily of slow motion and time-lapse stock footage of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. The visual tone poem contains neither dialogue nor a vocalized narration: its tone is set by the juxtaposition of images and music. Reggio explains the lack of dialogue by stating “it’s not for lack of love of the language that these films have no words. It’s because, from my point of view, our language is in a state of vast humiliation. It no longer describes the world in which we live. In the Hopi language, the word Koyaanisqatsi means “crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living”. The film is the first in the Qatsi trilogy of films: it is followed by Powaqqatsi (1988) and Naqoyqatsi (2002). The trilogy depicts different aspects of the relationship between humans, nature, and technology. Koyaanisqatsi is the best known of the trilogy and is considered a cult film. However, because of copyright issues, the film was out of print for most of the 1990s.
So, while I was looking at the latest news headlines today I started hearing the haunting Phillip Glass score from this film, and suddenly all the imagery from it started flooding my mind. I’m glad that I was able to find a streaming free copy to share with everyone, and I hope you take the time to watch it. It’s really (depressing) great!
it’s almost impossible to believe this, but i kid you not, my little kittens.
i don’t care if you don’t like cats, i’m not literally calling you a cat. it’s meant as a term of endearment, so don’t get all put out over it. it’s a compliment. why are you such an asshole?
so, this all starts with a really stupid, litigious, woman, who has inexplicably made the news in the last couple of days.
she was texting while walking in a shopping mall and walked right into a large decorative water fountain.
this wasn’t an unfortunate accident! nobody pushed her on purpose or otherwise.
she’s a grown woman and it was her own willful neglect of her own safety that caused this. if you’re that stupid, and that unaware of your surroundings, don’t leave the house without protective gear. better yet, take a helper with you or just stay home.
free safety lesson: this part is serious.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS!
walking into fountains is the least of your worries when you’re not aware of who and what is around you. there are real life human predators out there, just waiting for easy pickings like this. you might as well have a target on your back. i’m saying this to men too, but, unfortunately, ladies happen to be at a higher risk for violent attacks (sexual or otherwise).
i’ve seen quite a few serious injuries and had a couple of my very own. i’m not claiming to have any medical expertise, but life experience has taught me, that when you’re seriously hurt, you don’t get up and walk away, while doing an almost 360 degree survey of the area, as you’re simultaneously climbing out of the water. she looked a lot more concerned about her bruised ego, than any bruised body parts.
she wants to sue the mall, because some people (specifically security), laughed at her stupidity. she didn’t stop there though. oh no! she practically advertised how stupid she was all over the media, opening herself up to a hell of a lot more laughter, and then had the nerve to be shocked that many did not sympathize with her!
her feelings were hurt. that’s all. she wants money, because her feelings were hurt.
that’s ridiculous! you don’t deserve a windfall (or would it be a mall-fall in this case), for that.
i refuse to join her pity party. she’s an asshole!
there are, of course, no shortage of lawyers, ready and willing to step in and help her out.
(calm down, my warm and fuzzy little legal eagles; she has apparently already settled on one.)
whether she winds up actually needing a criminal defense lawyer or civil attorney (or both) remains to be seen, but i’m not going to get any deeper into that part of her tale, as it still seems to be developing and i feel myself starting to stray off topic. some of the legal issues are brushed upon in the first video of her, which is from a news report.
news report with woman in question and her lawyer:
they’ve disabled the embedding, so you have to look at this part on youtube.
news report video: click here
security-cam video of woman falling into shopping mall fountain while texting aka the schadenfreude portion:
the first thought that came to my mind when i saw her story was “Die Geschichte von Hans Guck-in-die-Luft” (english translation: The Story of Johnny Head-In-The Air”).
she is one person who i think could have benefited greatly from the frightening childhood tale that i am about to share with you.
i grew up with a german childern’s book called “Struwwelpeter” (english translation: Shock Headed Peter). if you’re not familiar with this now semi-legendary literary masterpiece, let me give you a brief overview here.
originally written in german by heinrcih hoffmann in 1845; it is basically, a collection of cautionary children’s tales.
just in case the carefully worded prose of his tales were not sufficient to help sink the message of terror into your kid’s soft, stupid, little, skull all by itself, he also filled it chock full of some of the most beautifully gruesome illustrations ever put to paper.
a book for children that has been scaring (and scarring) the shit out of them (or helping them hold they’re feces in, if they happen to be the anal retentive type.), for 166 years.
don’t get me wrong, there are some very useful tips for the unworldly and uninitiated young human, specifically surrounding the subjects of the most elementary laws of physics.
i was under the impression that these lessons were generally learned by a combination of trial and error and the helpful advice of your wonderful parents. if you still refuse to learn, or are just unable to learn, that you, as a human, do not happen possess the power to bend time/space/gravity etc. at your will, then here’s the book for you!
i personally wouldn’t recommend stories that end with the worst possible scenarios as a primer for my kids. then again, i don’t have kids, so who am i to speak on such subjects. i just know how it affected me.
the forceful, nightmarish way that these lessons were told and illustrated… well, let’s just say this, i’m sure i’m not the first person to mention this book in a therapy session or two.
please, also note, that this is probably the least gruesome of all the tales in this book, it was just the most appropriate for this post.
part two addendum:
if you’d like your own brand new, physical copy of this great coffee table, conversation starter piece (great for a first date, boring party, nosy landlord, etc), please visit the beautiful bill shafer at hyaenagallery.com and he’ll take care of you.
you can shop with him online or visit the shop/gallery in burbank, ca.. just click the link above and the magic will follow…
there is a lot of phenomenal original art all over that place too!
ok. enough with the plugs for my pals. here’s the story:
“The Story of Johnny Head-in-Air”
As he trudged along to school,
It was always Johnny’s rule
To be looking at the sky
And the clouds that floated by;
But what just before him lay,
In his way,
Johnny never thought about;
So that every one cried out
“Look at little Johnny there,
Little Johnny Head-In-Air!”
Running just in Johnny’s way
Came a little dog one day;
Johnny’s eyes were still astray
Up on high,
In the sky;
And he never heard them cry
“Johnny, mind, the dog is nigh!”
Down they fell, with such a thump,
Dog and Johnny in a lump!
Once, with head as high as ever,
Johnny walked beside the river.
Johnny watched the swallows trying
Which was cleverest at flying.
Oh! what fun!
Johnny watched the bright round sun
Going in and coming out;
This was all he thought about.
So he strode on, only think!
To the river’s very brink,
Where the bank was high and steep,
And the water very deep;
And the fishes, in a row,
Stared to see him coming so.
One step more! oh! sad to tell!
Headlong in poor Johnny fell.
And the fishes, in dismay,
Wagged their tails and swam away.
There lay Johnny on his face,
With his nice red writing-case;
But, as they were passing by,
Two strong men had heard him cry;
And, with sticks, these two strong men
Hooked poor Johnny out again.
Oh! you should have seen him shiver
When they pulled him from the river.
He was in a sorry plight!
Dripping wet, and such a fright!
Wet all over, everywhere,
Clothes, and arms, and face, and hair:
Johnny never will forget
What it is to be so wet.
And the fishes, one, two, three,
Are come back again, you see;
Up they came the moment after,
To enjoy the fun and laughter.
Each popped out his little head,
And, to tease poor Johnny, said
“Silly little Johnny, look,
You have lost your writing-book!”
several years ago, i became aware of a very different, and quite brilliant band, called the tiger lillies, who put on a whole musical show, based on all of the stories in this book. here’s a video that includes a live version of ‘snip snip’, which also happens to be the story that scared me most of all. it still does.
The Tiger Lillies – “Snip Snip”
part four – wrapping this up:
i have so much more to say about all of the other issues that this whole ridiculous display raises about our collective sense of arrogance, entitlement, and devolution into textbook sociopaths, but i tried really hard to stick with my original idea here.
that is, to compare this incident with a great/horrible children’s book and to turn y’all on to a beautiful band of artists called the tigerlillies, a great writer named mark ebner; creator of “Hollywood Interrupted” (he inadvertently made me aware of this watery mess by posting a video).
i chose to use the english translation here, since the 10 or 12 readers that i have are mostly english speaking.
however, the english translated source includes the same disturbing illustrations as the coveted german one
that i still have sitting on my bookshelf from my childhood.
i have also included a link to the entire book (english translation) here, for your amusement, horror,
or anthropological studies.
Talk about irony. Here I am posting a clip about being stuck in a technology loop, which technically puts me in a technology loop. This short excerpt is from the new IFC series Portlandia, created by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.