Archive for the ‘(All Things) CULTURE’ Category

Is The Last Jedi the ‘worst Star Wars movie ever’? Possibly. Even probably. But what does that even mean?

Needless to say, this is my provisional review of The Last Jedi.

Writing this review – and thinking all of this through – has actually been a form of post-The-Last-Jedi therapy for me. And I needed that. A much longer version of this review can be found here. (more…)

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Every few Christmases, I tend to re-read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, as the book has always had a hold on me ever since I first read it as a child.

When I read it as a child, I had no real social conscience or understanding, of course – I simply enjoyed it as a Christmas story. As time has gone on, however – and particularly in the last several years – it has become more obvious how socially and morally relevant Dickens’ story still is.

It was reinforced again a few days ago when I was walking down my nearest high street.

The shops were really busy, the streets were crowded and there were Christmas lights and stuff everywhere. But there was a particular point at which I had a vivid moment of perceptual clarity, where it freshly occurred to me just how unmeaningful and fake so much of this milieu was. (more…)

As Episode 8 of the Star Wars saga hits cinemas and adds a new chapter in the mythology of the galaxy far, far away, here’s a timely revisit to all the existing films in the epic, magical universe Uncle George made.

Even die-hard fans have mixed feelings about the various films, particularly in regard to the prequel trilogy, which has been excessively and mostly unfairly maligned. But here is a loving and critical look back across cinema’s greatest saga, with the added power of hindsight and greater perspective.

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There is something that occurred to me ever since seeing The Force Awakens for the first time. It’s a theory based firmly in the mysticism and esoteric nature of the Star Wars mythology that has always been there.

And I want to lay it out here – before people go to see the new film.

As the next chapter in the Star Wars film saga sees general release, I’m taking a last chance to bore everyone with my juvenile fan-boy theorising and wide-eyed analysis: and, in this instance, to explain why I think there’s a hidden story in The Force Awakens and that it wasn’t entirely the film we thought it was.

For anyone who’s not particularly a Star Wars fan, I apologise – for what is going to read like a lot of rambling, geeky nonsense.

I’ve posted this theory elsewhere too; but I wanted to make sure I shared it here as well. I can’t say, of course, whether The Last Jedi will validate any of this or not. But you will need to rewatch The Force Awakens after reading through this – in order to test the argument out.

An alternate title for this could be ‘ANAKIN SKYWALKER WAS IN THE FORCE AWAKENS AND WE DIDN’T NOTICE’. (more…)

I noted a few days ago the similarities between the late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

We noted that the unsettling footage circulating on the Internet and some news channels of his death were eerily reminiscent of the brutal murder of Gaddafi in October 2011.

And we also noted that Saleh (pictured above with two other casualties of the Arab Spring, Gaddafi and Mubarak) had other similarities to Gaddafi in terms of his decades-long rule, his carefully nurtured relationships with the Yemeni tribes and factions that allowed him to keep order and stability in the country for so long, and how he – like Gaddafi – fell victim to the ‘Arab Spring’.

Something else Saleh had in common with Gaddafi had been a belief in the ideas of pan-Arabism and a particular admiration of President Nasser in Egypt, who, as it happens, was also a major inspiration for Gaddafi. (more…)

Jerusalem is regarded as an international city, under a world body protectorate.

That is its prevailing status.

The United Nations has affirmed in a number of resolutions that continued Zionist colonisation of Jerusalem is illegal under international law. Every Zionist settlement in illegally occupied East Jerusalem is a direct contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids an occupying power from transferring colonists into the areas it occupies.

The UN Partition Plan in 1947 – which divided Palestine between Jewish and Arab states – was clear to grant Jerusalem special status, placing it under international sovereignty and control. To some, this situation isn’t ideal – but to most, it’s the situation that works.

This special status was based on the historic city’s cultural and religious importance to Muslims, Christians and Jews, meaning that no one party should have control over it. Jerusalem houses some of the most important buildings or locations in all three religions and has always been a melting pot of all three – and other – communities. (more…)

It is baffling that ‘Russia-Gate’ is still going on – much less that so many platforms or agencies seem to be taking it so seriously.

It is clear to most discerning minds that the entire ‘Russia-gate’ fiasco that is utterly dominating politics and media in the United States is an exaggerated or fabricated pantomime, designed to discredit or hamstring Donald Trump‘s presidency and – moreover – to provide a phony ‘excuse’ for why Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election.

Having needed something to blame for the horror/humiliation of having lost the presidential election to a complete moron, the Clinton camp and its supporters decided to blame Russia for ‘hacking’ the election (which, in fact, seems to mean nothing more than running a propaganda campaign contrary to the American MSM propaganda). (more…)

The situation in Libya has largely – and probably by design – fallen off the radar of most mainstrean news or journalism.

Ever since the fall of the Gaddafi government in 2011 – up to which point the mass international media focus had been intense – most media outlets have opted, strategically, to shed as little light as possible on the chaos in the North African nation. (more…)

It’s difficult to tell – particularly for someone like me, who isn’t particularly well versed in the Zimbabwe situation.

That being said, judging by the reactions of journalists and outlets who are much better versed in Zimbabwe, no one really knows if the military intervention in Zimbabwe should be seen as a good thing or a bad thing.

Even ‘experts’ on the country seem undecided or even ambivalent; some being please Mugabe is finished, others not convinced this apparent change is going to lead to any real improvements.

What is interesting to note, however, is the explanation given for the military’s actions. Zimbabwe’s army chief, General Constantino Chiwenga, has said that Robert Mugabe‘s Zanu PF had been infiltrated by ‘counter-revolutionaries’ and that “drastic action” was needed immediately. (more…)