Several people have wondered over the last year which review I've been trolled on most often. In an effort to answer this vital question, I've compileSeveral people have wondered over the last year which review I've been trolled on most often. In an effort to answer this vital question, I've compiled another list. Here, you can see all my reviews on which the comment thread contains at least 100 comments:
So this is what Goodreaders are really interested in! Next time I'm asked, I'll be able to give a snappy answer: in roughly descending order, it's God, Harry Potter, Science, Goodreads, Hitler, Sex, Vampires and Proust. All things considered, not too bad... ...more
The other day, I was being criticized by certain people for posting a frivolous review of Er ist wieder da despite not having read it. Well, I am theThe other day, I was being criticized by certain people for posting a frivolous review of Er ist wieder da despite not having read it. Well, I am the first to admit that my behavior is inexcusable, but I was a little surprised not to have been arrested earlier. Ladies and gentlement of the court, I have been doing this for years. I'm a serial offender. I'm just glad that I've finally had a chance to come clean.
Here are some other reviews I've posted of books I haven't read (I'm afraid this is a mere sample):
I was somewhat disturbed to hear from Lilo that the negative review of Er ist wieder da which she had posted on Amazon had been removed without notice
I was somewhat disturbed to hear from Lilo that the negative review of Er ist wieder da which she had posted on Amazon had been removed without notice. As an experiment, I thought I would post a negative review of Mein Kampf, where I do the same thing and advise people not to read it. You can find the review here.
So far, three people have voted for it and one person has attacked me in a rather bizarre way. I'm curious to find out what will happen next. In particular, I want to see if Amazon remove my review too. My guess is that this will only happen if the review gets a large number of votes - so if you're also curious, please go there and add your vote. I will post an update if and when there have been any significant developments. _________________________________________
Well, here's an interesting development. The Amazon review, which is currently running at 20-3, has not been deleted... but one of the more deranged posts by "CitizenChampion", the guy who was attacking it, has been removed.
So far, then, Amazon have behaved quite correctly. Did anyone on this thread flag Citizen's post? I didn't. _________________________________________
Only a few hours later, and with the score at 24-3, we have a new incident: this time, Amazon have deleted a sarcastic post criticizing "CitizenChampion" and implying... well, let's not get into that. But it went remarkably quickly. Whoever's in charge certainly seems to have their eye on this one. _________________________________________
I knew "CitizenChampion" wouldn't give up that easily. Since his latest post will probably soon be deleted by the moderator, I'm pasting in a copy here.
In all probability you are a Jew.It further seems that these hidden bastards might share a common trait that an enemy once is an enemy always. What you have committed has little or nothing to do with "Mein Kampf",though you truly fear them this is about an enbred contempt perhaps even the having of ill-will against my ability to participate. This forum like another forum here at Amazon is a wicked as it is corrupt.You are not honest Manny Rayner and neither are this hidden filth behind the scenes that I wpould rather grab you by the throat,You bastard menace.
Keep at it, "Citizen"! I'm feeling prouder of my partially Jewish ethnicity every day. The score is now 31-3. _________________________________________
I'm afraid that all of Citizen's posts have now disappeared from the Amazon review: some have been deleted by the moderator, and some by Citizen himself. He's probably making a smart move. I don't know where he's from, but in quite a lot of countries he might have been getting into illegal hatespeech territory.
Well, Citizen, if that was so then I'm flattered you were willing to risk a fine or maybe even some community service to attack my little review. [Update: in England, it seems that this would be entirely possible. See Paul's message #85 in the comment thread.] And I'm relieved that I had the presence of mind to save one of your comments for posterity. You have not written in vain.
The score is now 37-3, and the review has reached the first page. Thanks for all the support, guys! _________________________________________
A few days later, and Citizen is back! I'm copying all his posts from now on. Why, oh why, didn't I do this right from the start? You can see that I'd never have made an investigative journalist. Anyway, here is his latest open letter to the world:
Your a liar Manny Rayner, however like your source of information it remains an embedded feature of your claim. You remain a hidden wretched wickedness that is a plague upon a honest word. You indeed like your claim of half and half is like your word,it is stolen and now you are crying wolf. One further thing your inability to be honest is likened to this websites inability to be honest as to "Mein Kampf". I really do not care whatever cornball crap your hustling whoever the hell you are but one thing is for certain this no good website has deleted many upon many comments of mine that require an honest approach to who is Adolf Hitler.This embedded feature is so determined to deny any claim of another opinion that this embedded feature is as your half and half claim,that is your history as well as this claim has legs. What I said was in all probability you are a Jew this was after Amazon was having a heart attack.Amazon is not capable of being honest.It is truly regretful to have worked well on an opinion and then to see this disease spread. Do you know who Amazon is ?
The score is now 45-4. _________________________________________
Citizen's latest post has been deleted (it says by the author), but now a new voice has joined the conversation. "Loki" writes:
The statement "Hitler is evil" is a subjective statement: I for one do not subscribe to the idea of absolute "Good" and absolute "Evil". So, I do not think it appropriate to stay away from reading any book because someone thought the author "evil". One should read and assess for oneself.
So I do not think it appropriate that people should recommend against reading a particular because they consider the author or subject "Evil". They should make the recommendation solely on the merits of the book, AFTER reading the book.
I hope Amazon would take note and will not allow such reviews to be posted.
How will Amazon react? My prediction is that they'll just ignore it, but we will soon see.
The score is now 49-6. _________________________________________
"Loki", who is a good deal more polite and coherent than Citizen, is still trying to persuade me that I am being unfair to Mein Kampf. He says that everyone has a right to be heard, including Hitler. Well, as I just replied, I couldn't disagree more. Hitler long ago forfeited his right to be heard. He has no rights at all.
We're now at 50-6. _________________________________________
This thing is in danger of getting out of hand; I had no idea that so many Goodreaders felt it was immoral to discourage people from reading what is widely cited as the most hateful and dangerous literary work in human history. But, be that as it may, I would just like to remind everyone what the original point of the exercise was: I wanted to see if Amazon would delete a review whose sole purpose was to persuade shoppers not to buy Mein Kampf.
I have said harsh things about Amazon before, but this time I'm delighted to give them a clean bill of health. If anything, they have been overzealous in defending me. At least in this instance, they have made it very clear that they think it's more important to show respect towards Hitler's millions of victims than to try and increase their profits by removing or downplaying negative reviews of his dreadful, utterly evil book.
I MISJUDGED YOU, AMAZON. APOLOGIES, AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I think I first read it, in English, when I was about seven, but I only just got around to looking at the Danish original. If it doesn't bring tears tI think I first read it, in English, when I was about seven, but I only just got around to looking at the Danish original. If it doesn't bring tears to your eyes, then your heart is truly of stone....more
On first looking into Chapman's Homer Bjørneboe's Bestialitetens historie
MUCH have I travell'd in the realms of gold, And many goodly states and kingOn first looking into Chapman's Homer Bjørneboe's Bestialitetens historie
MUCH have I travell'd in the realms of gold, And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; Round many western islands have I been Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Oft of one wide expanse had I been told That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne: Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes He stared at the Pacific—and all his men Look'd at each other with a wild surmise— Silent, upon a peak in Darien*.
* After which they raped and massacred hundreds of thousands of Aztecs, plundered their country of gold and precious stones, and reduced the remaining people to slavery. The following is an extract from an Aztec account of one of the key incidents:
Here it is told how the Spaniards killed, they murdered the Mexicans who were celebrating the Fiesta of Huitzilopochtli in the place they called The Patio of the Gods.
At this time, when everyone was enjoying the fiesta, when everyone was already dancing, when everyone was already singing, when song was linked to song and the songs roared like waves, in that precise moment the Spaniards determined to kill people. They came into the patio, armed for battle.
They came to close the exits, the steps, the entrances [to the patio]: The Gate of the Eagle in the smallest palace, The Gate of the Canestalk and the Gate of the Snake of Mirrors. And when they had closed them, no one could get out anywhere.
Once they had done this, they entered the Sacred Patio to kill people. They came on foot, carrying swords and wooden and metal shields. Immediately, they surrounded those who danced, then rushed to the place where the drums were played. They attacked the man who was drumming and cut off both his arms. Then they cut off his head [with such a force] that it flew off, falling far away.
At that moment, they then attacked all the people, stabbing them, spearing them, wounding them with their swords. They struck some from behind, who fell instantly to the ground with their entrails hanging out [of their bodies]. They cut off the heads of some and smashed the heads of others into little pieces.
They struck others in the shoulders and tore their arms from their bodies. They struck some in the thighs and some in the calves. They slashed others in the abdomen and their entrails fell to the earth. There were some who even ran in vain, but their bowels spilled as they ran; they seemed to get their feet entangled with their own entrails. Eager to flee, they found nowhere to go.
Some tried to escape, but the Spaniards murdered them at the gates while they laughed. Others climbed the walls, but they could not save themselves. Others entered the communal house, where they were safe for a while. Others lay down among the victims and pretended to be dead. But if they stood up again they [the Spaniards] would see them and kill them.
The blood of the warriors ran like water as they ran, forming pools, which widened, as the smell of blood and entrails fouled the air.
And the Spaniards walked everywhere, searching the communal houses to kill those who were hiding. They ran everywhere, they searched every place.
Reading Bjørneboe's comments in Bestialitetens historie on Saint Paul and the way he reorganized Christianity, I was reminded of Monty Python's sketchReading Bjørneboe's comments in Bestialitetens historie on Saint Paul and the way he reorganized Christianity, I was reminded of Monty Python's sketch Interview with Vice-Pope Eric, which is kind of the short, comic version. For people who aren't familiar with this masterpiece, here's the relevant passage:
PYTHON: To return to sex. (CHEERING)
STALIN: What about Communism?
PYTHON: Later, later. Vice-Pope, did Christ himself say anything about sex being sinful?
VICE-POPE: Apparently not, no. This was obviously an oversight on his part, which fortunately we have been able to rectify, with the help of the teachings of Paul...
PYTHON: The Pope?
VICE-POPE: No, no, the saint. The woman-hater.
PYTHON: Oh, the pouf.
VICE-POPE: So they say, yes. Anyway, we've managed to pass this off as Christ's teaching, rather successfully as I think you will admit.
ALL: Absolutely. First class job.
FRAMPTON: Had me fooled.
VICE-POPE: So that even where sex has been... well, permitted, the guilt's been in there, doing its job.
FRAMPTON: Does this necessity to sub-edit Christ sometimes worry you?
VICE-POPE: Not really. After all, you can't treat the New Testament as gospel. And one must remember that Christ, though he was a fine young man with some damn good ideas, did go off the rails now and again, rich-man-eye-of-camel for example, which is only to be expected, because he came from a difficult background... an under-privileged Jewish family, his father, God, God the Father that is, was all over the place, in addition to which He wasn't married to Christ's mother.
FRAMPTON: But Joseph was.
VICE-POPE: Yes, but Mary was a virgin you see, so the marriage could never have been consummated and so was not legally valid.
PYTHON: So, either way, Christ was a bit of a bastard?
VICE-POPE: Yes, an almighty bastard of course but... This sort of thing helps to explain, too, why he became polygamous in his after-life; all nuns being brides of Christ, as you know.
KRASZT: But with certain exceptions, you accept his teaching?
VICE-POPE: Oh yes, it's been an invaluable basis for our whole operation really. Of course people accuse us sometimes of not practising what we preach, but you must remember that if you're trying to propagate a creed of poverty, gentleness and tolerance, you need a very rich, powerful, authoritarian organisation to do it.
FRAMPTON: I'm afraid I must go now. I have to get Eddie's tea ready....more
Their have been many descriptions of the grieving process in world literature a very famous one is In Search of LosThe Grieving Process in Literature
Their have been many descriptions of the grieving process in world literature a very famous one is In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust Marcel's GF has died in an acsident he is very sad and goes round asking all her friends if she was a lezzy but no one will tell him for sure in the end he thinks maybe it wasnt so important really. A modern book about the grieving process is Min Camp by Karl Over Knaugard his father has died and he is very sad and cries all the time speshully becoz his father has left the house looking like a bomb hit it there are empties and crap everywhere so he has to spend all week cleaning it up it is a nightmare.
Unfortunately In Search of Lost Time and Min Camp are very long they are like litrally thousands of pages so I havent had time to read them for this essay but they are very important books in world literature all the same. But last nite I went and saw Cans by Stuart Slade it is also about the grieving process but it is shorter and the theater is above a pub that is a plus if you ask me. This girl Jen and her uncle Len are grieving for Jens father who is also Lens brother they are cleaning up his shit putting stuff in boxes it is a bit like Min Camp I think. They are very sad becoz he topped himself he was a TV personalty who was accused of being a perv and a cereal rapist it is a refrence to Rolf Harris or Bill Cosby one of those people anyway.
Cans is quite funny people were LOLing all the time you learn a lot about how grieving works like when you are grieving you dont see the funny side of things their is this bit at the beginning when they are drowning mice it is hilarius but Jen cant see that becoz she is so broken up about her dad. And when you are grieving you arent interested in sex Jens BF wants her to sext him pictures of her ladybits but shes not interested in the end she smses him gifs she has got off a porn site she wonders if he will notice but he dont.
You learn that grief is very difficult Jen is so sad but their are 2 things that are very important if you want to feel better you have to have someone to talk to and you have to drink a lot of cider. I liked this play a lot next time something really bad happens to me I will remember that. ...more
If you haven't read David Mazieres and Eddie Kohler's already-classic "Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List", check it out now to find new angles on hIf you haven't read David Mazieres and Eddie Kohler's already-classic "Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List", check it out now to find new angles on how to become a published academic author. More details here, including the referee report. ...more
This book is not a novel, and it is not an autobiography, and it is certainly not a responsible work of history, sociology or anthropology. It is, morThis book is not a novel, and it is not an autobiography, and it is certainly not a responsible work of history, sociology or anthropology. It is, more than anything else, a meeting with the author, a Norwegian who has spent his life wandering the world collecting information for his masterpiece, the History of Bestiality. He sometimes calls himself Johannes, and sometimes Jean, or Giovanni, or Ivan; he is evidently very far from sane, and he usually has a glass of wine in his hand. After a while, I began to imagine the surroundings. We are sitting in a large room in an establishment which might be a psychiatric hospital, but is more likely a rather downmarket brothel. As we talk, people wander in and out. Sometimes, they join in the conversation for a while; my host asks them to read passages in their native languages, while he nods encouragingly. Many of them are attractive young women, who look at him (never at me) with melting eyes.
Sometimes I think Johannes hates humanity, and sometimes I think he loves it too much. He refers to his fellow human beings by a variety of pet names; he calls them his small bears, or his lemurs, or his wolves. He launches into long, fantastically detailed stories about the Nazi doctors, the witch-hunts of the early 17th century, the conquests of the Aztec and Inca empires, the Vietnam war. He has a ferocious and unforgiving hatred of the Americans, the Russians, the Germans, the Spaniards, the Portuguese, the Italians and the Catholic and Protestant churches. He cannot mention Lenin or Saint Paul without spitting, but he loves Marx and Jesus. He keeps changing his mind about Robespierre.
He says that Hitler might have been a good thing for the Europeans; they finally had a chance to learn what it was like to be on the receiving end. But then he shakes his head and says it’s probably too difficult for them to understand.
He describes how men have raped and tortured women in the name of religious and political ideals. He is extremely specific, and presents long lists of the dreadful things that they have done; after a while, he is so agitated that he can hardly speak. When this happens, the girl nearest him touches his hand for a moment, or smooths his thinning hair, and after a while he can go on.
He complains bitterly that the universe has no meaning. He makes frequent reference to the burning heat at the center of the Earth and the absolute cold of space. He says there is life only here, in this tiny zone precariously wedged between the two extremes, and that we have turned our fragile little abode into a torture chamber.
He talks for several hours. In the end, he is too exhausted and overwrought to continue. He collapses on to his bed and lies there, half reclining, momentarily unable to speak. One of the girls, the one who appears to be his favorite, brings him a jar of pills. He helps himself to a handful and washes them down with more wine.
“I have done what I could,” he says, in an unexpectedly clear voice. “Now it is up to you. Nunc dimittis; suffer thy servant to depart in peace.”
I leave. No one looks at me; they can only see him. ...more
It had been some time since I had last visited 221B Baker Street, and when I entered I found my friend engrossed in the study of a slim volume. "WatsoIt had been some time since I had last visited 221B Baker Street, and when I entered I found my friend engrossed in the study of a slim volume. "Watson!" he said, without lifting his eyes from the text. "Pray tell me, are you by any chance familiar with Mr. Hume's Enquiry into the Principles of Morals?"
I could not hide a smile of modest self-congratulation. "Indeed, Holmes," I said, "I know the book very well. I wrote an essay on it during my final year at Oxford, and was fortunate enough to be rewarded for my efforts by winning a minor prize."
"Excellent, excellent!" said Holmes. "Then you will no doubt have little difficulty in summarizing the content?"
"I think, even at this remove in time, that I would be equal to the task," I replied. "Mr. Hume regarded the book as his greatest and most important achievement in the field of philosophy. He endeavors to explain the origins of our moral sense, and considers three main explanations: that moral principles are due to custom, that they are due to self-interest, and that they are due to the general benefit they bring to society as a whole. Although he does not by any means discount the relevance of the first two causes, the author nonetheless maintains, throughout his book, that the third is by far the most important. This notion he argues for at length, supplying a wealth of examples in its support; though despite the fact that I generally found myself in agreement with him, and to no small extent influenced by the ideas he propounds, I am forced to admit that the prolixity of his explanations and the inordinate length of his sentences on occasion caused me to wish that he had found a more succinct manner to present his thoughts."
"It is indeed evident," said Holmes, "that Mr. Hume has had a considerably influence on you. But I must confess that, speaking for myself, there was another aspect of the work that more immediately engaged my attention."
"And what may that be?" I asked.
"Why," said Holmes, "it is perhaps of little account; but were you not struck by the curious nature of the author's remarks concerning the possibility that moral principles are divinely ordained, and follow from the precepts of Holy Scripture?"
"I am not sure I grasp your meaning," I replied. "To the best of my recollection, Mr. Hume says little or nothing about this matter."
"Quite so!" said Holmes with satisfaction. "You have put it in a nutshell. That is exactly the curious circumstance to which I was referring." ...more
I had seen so many references to Hume's Enquiry that I almost thought I had read it; but, when I actually got around to opening the book, I found as uI had seen so many references to Hume's Enquiry that I almost thought I had read it; but, when I actually got around to opening the book, I found as usual that things were not quite as I had imagined. I was not surprised by his relentless scepticism, or by his insistence on basing all reasoning on empirical evidence. These qualities, after all, have become proverbial. I was, however, surprised to find that I hadn't correctly grasped the essence of his argument concerning the nature of knowledge. In case you are as poorly informed as I was, let me summarise it here.
Hume's position is wonderfully simple. He asks what grounds we have for supposing that multiple repetitions of an experiment justify us in inferring a necessary law. If we note, on many occasions, that hot objects burn our hands when we touch them, what logical reason do we have for assuming that we should not touch the next candle flame we happen to see?
The answer is that we have no logical grounds at all for making such an inference. Of course, as a matter of observed fact, we do assume, after a small number of trials, that touching hot objects will hurt us. Hume says this is nothing to do with logic; we are simply designed in such a way that we cannot help being influenced by our experience to adopt such rules. As he points out, many other living creatures do the same. It is impossible to believe that a dog or a horse is performing any kind of logical deduction when they learn to avoid touching naked flames. They simply acquire the habit of behaving in this way. The most economical explanation of what we see is that human beings are doing the same thing.
A mountain of discussion has accumulated since Hume published his book, and it would be presumptuous of me to give my opinions when so many extremely clever people have already done so. I am, however, struck by something I have noticed in the course of my professional career. I have worked in Artificial Intelligence and related subjects since the early 80s, and during that period the field has suffered a profound change. In 1980, most AI research was related to logic. People assumed that the notion of intelligence was in some essential way based on the notion of deduction. Making machines intelligent was a question of making them capable of performing the right kinds of logical inferences. This tempting approach was, unfortunately, a resounding failure.
Somewhere towards the end of the last century, a different way of looking at things started to become fashionable, and quickly gained ground. Instead of thinking about logic, people began more and more to think about probability. They collected data and extracted various kinds of statistical regularities. The new AI systems made no attempt to think logically; their decisions were based on associations acquired from their experience. At first, the AI community was scornful, but it was soon found that "data-driven" systems worked quite well. They made stupid mistakes sometimes; but so did the logic-based systems, and the mechanical logicians tended to make more stupid mistakes. They could reason, but they had no common sense. Today, data-driven systems have taken over the field, and the approach has been shown to work well for many problems which had once been considered impossible challenges. Particularly striking successes have been notched up in machine translation, speech recognition, computer vision, and allied fields.
If David Hume came back today, I have no idea whether he'd be offered a chair at a philosophy department. But I'm fairly sure that Google would be interested in hiring him. ...more
This book has a seriously misleading title. You would be forgiven for thinking that it is a textbook designed to teach you Auslan (Australian Sign LanThis book has a seriously misleading title. You would be forgiven for thinking that it is a textbook designed to teach you Auslan (Australian Sign Language), but in fact its remit is far broader. Johnston and Schembri certainly tell you a good deal about Auslan, since they strongly believe that linguistics is about the concrete realities of language; in contrast to Neidle et al, which I read a couple of months ago, there are few tree diagrams and a great many pictures of people making signs (Neidle is the other way round). This wealth of detail, however, is directed towards the examination of some decidedly ambitious questions. What are sign languages, really? In fact, what are languages in the first place? We discover that the existence of these soundless linguistic systems lets us review many of our assumptions from a new and revealing angle.
As the authors say, one of the persistent myths in this area is that sign language is just gesturing, and not a real language at all; a lot of people believed this until the 1960s, and deaf children were not allowed to sign at school because it was supposed to interfere with their ability to learn spoken language. Then linguists, William Stokoe being the most famous one, started to investigate the formal properties of sign, and the received wisdom rapidly swung a full 180 degrees. ASL and Auslan, we're now told, are just as much "languages" as English and French, and anyone who argues with this is in danger of being labeled a language imperialist. But is it so clear? It probably helps that the authors are Australians, a nationality who have little time for political correctness. They encourage you to look at the facts and draw your own conclusions.
So to what extent are signs just natural gestures? Some signs are obvious: for example, "I" is signed by pointing at yourself, and "you" by pointing at the other person. Other signs, however, are completely opaque: you wouldn't know that stroking your cheek meant "woman" without being told. As usual, of course, anecdotal evidence doesn't get us very far, but the authors try to orient us. Many sign languages have no common ancestry, but despite this there is a high proportion of vocabulary overlap, perhaps as much as 30-40%, even between unrelated sign languages. That's far higher than for spoken languages, and suggests that sign languages are to quite a large extent based on principles of iconicity, i.e. natural gestures.
J&S also devote a good deal of space to consideration of "classifier constructions", which Neidle et al hardly mention. If you want to sign something involving spatial relationships, you typically use a sequence which at least superficially resembles a little piece of handpuppet play-acting. For example, to sign "The man went over and stood in front of the car", you sign MAN and CAR, then use one hand with two fingers pointing down to represent the man and the other hand with a flat palm to represent the car: you move the "man" hand in front of the "car" hand, if necessary using the form of the movement to suggest that the man did it eagerly, hesitantly, or what have you.
Classifier constructions are very common. Again, is this language or gesture? No one seems quite sure. A language is a conventionalized system of communication; it's apparently difficult in many cases to decide the extent to which signs have become lexicalized, and hence part of a conventional language. Classifier constructions seem like little free-form playlets, but some researchers argue that they are governed by subtle rules which are not immediately obvious. As the authors constantly say, much more research is needed before we will properly understand how signed languages work. Their preferred view, which they stress is not shared by all people in the sign language linguistics community, is that signed languages are young languages still at an early stage of their evolution. They change rapidly, and creativity of individual users plays an important part. In general, J&S think that creativity is an aspect of language that has been undervalued by theoreticians, particularly ones working in Chomskyan frameworks. They warn against over-rigid application of theoretical principles.
The book concludes by suggesting that signed languages may be able to give us fundamental insights into the very nature of language, which could end up forcing us to revise some of our most basic assumptions. The funny thing is that we shouldn't have needed to wait until the early 21st century to have this conversation. Plato's Cratylus, one of the earliest surviving texts on linguistics, actually opens with a discussion of sign and uses it to argue that iconocity is central to language. If J&S are right, Plato may have been closer to the truth than many later thinkers. I found it all quite fascinating. If you're also curious about the nature of language, I strongly encourage you to get acquainted with this remarkable new subject.
Lili's friend Zoe has problems. Her parents fight all the time, which makes her life a misery. When we first meet her, it's dinner time and Mom is serLili's friend Zoe has problems. Her parents fight all the time, which makes her life a misery. When we first meet her, it's dinner time and Mom is serving up meatballs.
"I don't want any of your lousy meatballs," growls Dad, and puts his hand over his plate to show he means it. But he's too slow, or maybe Mom does it on purpose, because he gets a scalding splash of meatballs and gravy all over his wrist.
"YOU FUCKING BITCH!" he yells, and goes off to the bathroom to clean up. Zoe, who's been sitting next to her, says she's not hungry.
"Then get hungry!" snarls Mom and serves her some meatballs anyway. Zoe, a sweet-tempered little girl, tries her best to choke them down.
It gets worse. A few days later, Dad says he's had enough. You see him standing in the hall with his bags, accompanied by his daughter Lucille, a pouty, overweight 15 year old who dresses like a cross between Barbie and a cheap hooker. The parents do some final yelling at each other.
"YOU PATHETIC, NARCISSISTIC LITTLE BOY!" screams Mom.
"YOU FUCKING WHORE!" screams Dad. "YOU'VE FUCKED EVERYONE! MEN, WOMEN, MIDGETS... YOU NAME IT!!"
Mom manages to kick him. It looks like she's aiming for his groin, but she connects well above the waist.
"You've broken one of my ribs!" groans Dad. He limps off, accompanied by Lucille. A minute later, she comes back; Dad, who's a famous movie actor, has forgotten his statuette. She grabs it off the hall table and disappears again.
Zoe is left with Mom and her half-sister Danielle. Mom loves Danielle. She tries to love Zoe too, but she can't: Zoe reminds her too much of her second husband. Also, she's got a new boyfriend, an older man with graying hair and a permatan. He creepily tries to ingratiate himself with Zoe and Danielle, but can never remember which one is which. After a few weeks, Mom tells Zoe that she's going to have to go and live with Dad for a while.
Zoe doesn't argue. There's no point, and who knows? It might be better. On the way, she makes friends with a black cat. Zoe's wanted a cat for ages. "Your name is... DAC!" she whispers. "You're mine." Dac purrs contentedly, and Zoe experiences a moment of complete happiness. Half an hour later, she turns up at Dad's apartment carrying her suitcase and Dac. Lucille makes a face.
"He'll never let you keep THAT!" she says. Dad, Zoe now remembers, is very superstitious. Lucille shows Zoe her room. Every single thing in it is Barbie-pink. Zoe's room looks like a large broom-cupboard full of junk.
Dad gets home. He takes one look at Zoe and starts freaking out.
"OMG!!!" he screams. "You've CUT YOUR HAIR!!!! Why????" It's true; Zoe has asked the hairdresser to cut off her long hair, so that she'll look more like the girl she sits next to in class. Dad hates it. He tells Zoe over and over again that she's disfigured herself and now no one will want her. She should have sexy long hair like Lucille.
Zoe isn't too bothered: people have been yelling at her all her life. It's more important that she's got the same haircut as her best friend. They always go around together and have secret pet names for each other. Though what she'd most like would be if the cool skateboard boy would notice her. But he treats her like she's invisible. The only boy who pays her any attention is Fatso, a dumb kid with no social graces that everyone picks on. Zoe would kind of like a boyfriend, but she's not that desperate.
Dad has wild mood swings. He gets offered a good part in a movie and decides that Zoe is lucky. He uses his connections and takes her to see her favorite band. She gets photographed snuggling up to the lead singer. But a few days later, he's forgotten all about it. Zoe writes an essay about Dac for a competition and wins first prize from a field that includes the whole city's primary schools. She gets to read it out in front of an audience. Dad is a no-show, and so is Mom. Soon after, he says she's going back to her other apartment. Zoe heads off with Dac and her bag.
Mom's traded in the creep with the permatan. Her new boyfriend is an American sound engineer called Ricky. He's much younger than Mom and covered in tattoos. Zoe likes him at once. She wheels out her few words of English.
"Do you like... meatballs?" she asks shyly.
"I HATE THEM!!" says Ricky. "YUCK!!!"
"YUCK!!!" agrees Zoe. They both have fun putting their fingers down their throats and retching. Next day, Ricky takes Zoe to school. Surely the cute kid with the skateboard will notice? But when Zoe comes home, Ricky is kneeling at Mom's feet, weeping with his head in her lap.
"DON'T LEAVE ME!" he sobs. Mom looks unconcerned. "You can't force love," she says philosophically. "We had some good times." Ricky weeps and wails some more. It doesn't help. Soon, Mr. Permatan is back.
One day, the postman arrives with a parcel from overseas, registered delivery. It's addressed to Mom and Dad. He asks for a signature. Mom signs. Two cops burst in; the parcel is full of drugs. She's been framed, but she's been here before and doesn't lose her cool.
"This is addressed to me and my husband," she observes. "I don't even know who the sender is." The cops look uncertain until Zoe suddenly joins the conversation.
"'Course you know who he is, Mom!" she says chirpily. "Don't you remember?" It's not clear if she's doing in on purpose. The cops drag Mom off in handcuffs and also arrest Dad. It's a sensation in the gossip press. When Mom comes back, she's beside herself with rage.
"THAT'S IT! OUT!!" she screams. Zoe gets Dac and her bag. When she arrives at Dad's, he turns out to feel just the same way as Mom. Also, he's leaving on a trip. He finally agrees that Zoe can stay over the weekend. As soon as he's gone, Zoe tells the hired help that they can take the day off. Then she starts organizing a party: it helps that she's allowed to order from Dad's catering firm. She invites every kid in the class. They all say they'll come, even the cute skateboarder.
Everyone does indeed turn up. The catering firm have brought plenty of cake and soda. There are balloons everywhere. The kids start dancing. After a while, the Queen Bee says it's time to play Spin the Bottle. In this version, the boy has to hide in a dark room, then the girl goes in and they make out. She reads out the names. It's Zoe and the skateboarder!
Zoe has to close her eyes while the cute kid goes into the Sin Room. She follows. He grabs hold of her and starts kissing her passionately. "I love you," he murmurs. Then the lights come on. It's not the skateboarder at all, it's the despised Fatso. The whole thing was a setup. All the other kids stream in and get started on slutshaming Zoe. Some of them congratulate Fatso on fooling her so thoroughly.
"I really meant it when I said I love you," he says to Zoe as they drag him off, but she's not listening and no one else is either. In the middle of all this, Dad arrives home unexpectedly and finds his apartment being trashed by dozens of screaming kids. He makes one of his impulsive decisions.
"Okay, Zoe, that's it," he says. "I'm shipping you off to boarding school."
"But she's only 9," someone says uncertainly. Zoe goes out on the balcony. She has a sudden vision, rendered as a very lifelike fantasy sequence, of throwing herself off and dying, covered in blood, at the hospital. Dad and Mom, weepy and finally remorseful, arrive in time to witness her death.
On the final page, she's again en route from one apartment to the other, as usual carrying Dac and her suitcase. She faces the reader to say a few last words.
"I'm not trying to make out like I'm some kind of victim," she explains gravely. "I'm just hoping that hearing this might make you a bit nicer."
(view spoiler)[I lied: this is a shortened version of Asia Argento's new film Incompressa ("Misunderstood"). It's not the story of Les parents de Zoe se divorcent. But it could have been.(hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
We were lured by the advance hype into watching this extremely disappointing movie. Don't be fooled like we were: this is no 2001.
Yes, they have maybeWe were lured by the advance hype into watching this extremely disappointing movie. Don't be fooled like we were: this is no 2001.
Yes, they have maybe got all the science right, but that's not the most important thing in what's supposed to be a piece of entertainment. The story is stiff, awkward and sometimes just plain embarrassing. The characters are uninteresting. Oh, how we missed HAL! The visuals are okay, but nothing special compared to Kubrick's astonishing cinematography. Above all, they've completely forgotten the principle of show, don't tell. There were sequences where people would go on telling you things for minutes at a time; it was worse than George Bernard Shaw. The movie is interminably long. And I will never again be able to listen to Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle..." without cringing.
I honestly do not understand how this turkey can currently be running a 9.0 rating on IMDB.