July 10th, 2011
Part 1 here
Back to this, then.
Maybe I was too hard on Geofferson Aerojohns in my first post. Maybe “Bollocks” was an appropriate response to a room covered in blood and the stink of the supernatural. Bollocks might often carry with it a low level sense of levity, but then John Constantine has had to weather some pretty terrible things in his time. Things worse than a few pints of the red stuff and a black magic chaser. Perhaps, for Constantine, a bit of sardonic humour helps him manage his emotions. Perhaps he just doesn’t respond to scenes of hideous violence in the way that you and I would, his emotional responses deadened after one too many trips to Hell.
June 20th, 2011
Bullshit ain’t about lying, not according to philosopher Harry Frankfurt from Princeton University. It is, however, still concerned with falsehood.
It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.
Great, an’ all, and all very right sounding, but it’s not the definition you’ll likely get from the man on the street. So if we don’t fully grasp bullshit, then God help foreign readers when it comes to its close cousin “bollocks”, that most British of swearwords.
September 26th, 2010
- The phantasmal Bat-Signal of Nolan’s films with it’s spooky overtones works, somewhat counter-intuitively, with a drive towards a more realistic Batman, both in the aesthetic sense in that it marries with new colouring techniques in the comics, capable of rendering more precisely the qualities of light, and in the conceptual sense: it’s more plausible than the erstwhile cone of light, and gestures in the direction of a Batman more constrained by a realistic set of rules. The symbol’s ambiguous presence can also work to stake out an ultra-noir view of the character, less superhero more urban myth. The citizens of Gotham don’t know who or what this Batman stands for, or what he is or even whether he’s actually real, in much the same way as they don’t know whether that light does in fact constitute a signal or whether it’s, in line with the official explanation given in Nolan’s films, just the product of faulty equipment. This Batman is inherently mysterious, a creature of the shadows, someone (something?) to be unsure of. This isn’t a Batman who has much use for the golden chest emblem.