Archive for September 1st, 2007


It’s A Dirty Shame

John Waters’ A Dirty Shame
A Dirty Shame
It amazes me what is supposedly shocking on film in America. Tonight I watched A Dirty Shame from director John Waters. The movie got an NC-17 rating. This means no one, under any circumstances, under the age of 17 is allowed in the theater to see this flick. Why?

Because it talks about sex.

There’s not a violent scene in this movie unless you count a squirrel accidentally getting run over by car. But there is a lot of talk about sex. Sexual positions, sexual fetishes, sexual insanity, sex fiends. There are exactly two real boobs on screen for the whole move and, if memory serves, two penises. Otherwise the sex, in a physical sense, is only implied and never shown. Incidentally the squirrel is saved.

Selma Blair as Caprice Stickles
Selma Blair as
Caprice Stickles
So why the NC-17 rating? Could it have been Selma Blair’s character’s ridiculously HUGE boobs? Could it have been the over-the-top juvenile humor? Seriously, Porky’s had an R rating with loads of boobies all over the screen and despite the silliness of American Pie it still had far more explicit sex.

Yes, I’m aware they made an R version of the movie, but honestly the NC-17 version of the movie isn’t that bad at all. I can’t imagine what they cut out to make it an R…

Whatever, if you liked either of those movies you’re likely to really like A Dirty Shame, too. I know I did. Thanks to NHK for introducing it to me. If you’re interested you can pick it up at Amazon!

2 Comments | Catergorized: movies


The New Space Race

In case you’ve been asleep these past several years (decades?), the space race never ended and pressure is building right now as countries that were in no position 30 years ago to compete with America and, at that time, Russia continue to strive outwards. In 1969 America put a man on the moon which should have heralded a period of instant human dominance of space. Instead we pulled back. While America is still the strongest player in human forays into space there are plenty of players coming on strong. China, India, Japan, Europe and Russia are all pressing on while I get the impression America, despite its considerable successes, is losing its ambition. All the plans and rhetoric in the world won’t amount to squat if we don’t actually do something.

I have made no secret of the fact that I think getting humanity out in space and beyond the confines of Earth is a mandatory goal for the survival of the human species. Afterall, all it would take is an asteroid or two to kill us off. Further, I think it’s important to define the culture that will prevail as we push out. Will it be a culture that supresses its people (China, Russia) or one that believes in freedom and human dignity (America, Europe and a few others)?

Russia has just announced its intentions of building a permanent lunar base. They join China, India, Japan and others. Russia has been recently flexing its muscles and China recently successfully shot down a satellite. Combined with these country’s remarkable lack of human rights, clean democracies and abundance of crime and need to prove themselves on the world stage, I worry about them gaining a permanent foothold in space.

I know it seems possibly paranoid on my part to worry about these things, but once a nation dominates space, that nation’s culture will dominate the future of humanity simply by spreading their culture to new environments and worlds. Further, depending on their priorities, once established in space it would be almost trivial to prevent other nations from attaining a foothold in space through military actions. Ultimately I care about the survival of humanity beyond natural (ie. asteroid impact, etc) and human destruction (ie. global warming, resource depletion, catastrophic war, etc) of this world I also worry about the future culture of the human species. I think you should to. If it were possible to make space truly international I would be for this. Any student of history will see the difficulty (amounting to impossibility) of this ultimate dream despite best efforts. So in the meantime I choose us.

Other interesting articles I found while scouring for links in this post… A nice summary of the China/Japan space rivalry. Another article about China… Since America shut down their application to join the International Space Station they’ve decided to build their own. India and Japan plan on getting to the Moon and building lunar bases (which space faring country isn’t?). Finally, an interesting editorial ruminating on many things I touch upon above, but with wider perspective.

5 Comments | Catergorized: political  science  technology
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