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April 28, 2009



That line about TV stuck with me too. Here's the full quote.

Newton: The strange thing about television is that it doesn't tell you everything. It shows you everything about life on Earth, but the true mysteries remain. Perhaps it's in the nature of television. Just waves in space.

... but the real takeaway quote was the last lines in the film. I think about that little ending scene a lot.

Waiter: I think perhaps Mr. Newton has had enough, don't you?
Nathan Bryce: I think... perhaps... you're right.


The curse of having almost limitless information at your fingertips is that it all becomes devalued, both in real financial worth and in cultural worth as well.

When I was in college I ran our Art Forum film series one year, picking the films (thank God for Janus Films), ordering the 16mm reels from the local library system and signing out two projectors from the AV lab (I always had reels synched up - no clumsy breaks for my audience!). I kind of stuck to Fassbinder and Herzog but people loved it. Now we have Blockbuster - which I hate as a corporation - but we can still watch Herzog or a Pabst german expressionist film one week and the latest Hollywood dreck the next. Technology changes, but if your head doesn't you can still sift out the chaff. And movies I own? I never watch.

vitamin J

Tee hee! You said "rental spectrum."


I lived in Poland for two years, from 1987 to 1989. I spent two years in Germany following that. A friend of mine lived in Japan for two years recently, and I can imagine how much easier and less isolated his life was thanks to the Internet and DVDs. We had access to VCRS and some American and British films in Poland. We could visit the American consulate to read issues of American magazines or go to the Adam Mickiewicz University's English library to read back issues of British magazines and the TLS. My friends really looked forward to a day trip to West Berlin so they could go to the McDonalds across from the Zoo Station and read the day's issue of the International Herald Tribune over breakfast. We were aware it was highly probable our mail was being opened and phoning the US was difficult. I had a short wave radio and loved the BBC World Service. God bless it.

I found life in Germany far less stressful, especially since there was a large international community in Frankfurt, where I worked. The big presence of the US Army meant there were many movie theatres in Frankfurt which showed American films in English, and several events held during the year which were aimed at the American community. I was working as a teacher of English, and when I spoke to my friends in the Army I noticed many of them felt cut off and isolated, even with American TV shows provided by the Armed Forces Network (including live sports coverage), American radio, daily free copies of the Stars and Stripes (with comic strips and Ann Landers and Dear Abby) and PXS full of American food.

By the way, I joined Twitter last week and I really don't see the point of it. It's mostly like sending updates from MySpace. I think the real attraction is that people can Twitter from their phones. It's perfect for people who love attention, love to text message, and have short attention spans.

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