Pondering the palimpsest and panoply of the planet.

Archive for the tag “monolith”

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 Revisited in 2011

My experience with Atari 2600 has taught me how to deal with these things.

This evening, asteroid YU55 will pass by Earth, coming so close as to actually cross into the Moon’s orbit. I have seen the asteroid described as “the size of an aircraft carrier” (why not “the size of an average Wal-Mart”?). This event (which apparently presents no danger to life on Earth) is really quite amazing, in my opinion. It lets us imagine the type of mass extinction-level event that killed the dinosaurs and paved the way for the gradual rise of the mammals (including primates like you!). It is also a reminder of how tenuous life can be on a lonely little planet–we don’t even need anything from outer space to threaten us; we continue to do that to our own planet ourselves from within, even though it is the only one we have.

Frame from the Prelude to Melancholia

Also slightly disconcerting is how reminiscent this situation is to that in the film Melancholia, which I only viewed two weeks ago. [Disclaimer: I must say that I never imagined that I would ever again have any recourse to watch a Lars von Trier film after struggling through his previous horrifying fraud of an “art film”, but the lure of yet another treatment of an apocalyptic scenario was too strong to resist–the genre is somewhat of a delectatio morosa (or, perhaps, a gusto picaresco) for me.] The film, in any case, was so visually stunning and emotionally jarring that I felt that it at least warrants mentioning in reference to something. The maelstrom of the Richard Wagner soundtrack added to its intensity as well. I am not sure whether this film would be helpful or harmful for a person struggling through depression or related issues, so I best leave my tentative recommendation to those who consider themselves to be in possession of a robust state of mind.  Read more…

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