I went to see Prometheus last night. There were moments when it was brilliantly exciting, with articulate Peter O’Toole quoting psychotic robots, very nasty monsters, some Cronenburgesque gore and hints at some interesting, (if totally cobblers to a strict Dawkinsoid like me), story about human origins and super aliens from outer space.
And then it just sort of ended. It was all sort of yes, yes, yes YES, YEs,…. oh sorry, that’s never happened to me before….
And on reflection it was just a little bit rubbish. I won’t spoil the plot, although I can tell you that there is one.
What did strike me as odd is that it appears that there are going to be inconsistent technological advancements in the next couple of hundred years or so. There are five Alien films now, (sorry if this is a plot spoiler, but Prometheus is definitely set up as a prequel to Alien), taking place over a 200 years time span, (I’m not counting the Aliens V Predator films in this, they were just silly…)
Firstly the space suits worn in 2069 in Prometheus look to be better and more fashionable than the ones worn in than the chronologically later Aliens films, but the real issue is with the weapons our bad ass space travellers have to hand.
In Prometheus someone gets dispatched with a flame thrower! In Aliens which is something like two hundred and fifty years later, 300 years from, now they are still using bullets and mortars and nuclear explosives! I mean come on, what happened to the lasers we were promised? Even Star Wars had lasers and the light sabre and that was “a very long time ago”!
Its stinks of a lack of creative imagination that Ridley Scott couldn’t come up with more interesting and, slightly more efficient in terms of xenomorph control, weapons. I don’t believe that the Military in any country, especially the USA is going to be happy to have a nil budget weapons development program for the next 300 years, which would mean that even though we can now traverse the stars, build almost human robots, and bring Stringer Bell back to life so that he can fly a space ship, we will still have to make do with bullets and nuclear bombs.
But of course if the weaponisation program had kept up with the, for example, light speed technology then there wouldn’t be much of a film would there? If each member of the crew had instant access smart clean killing tech with lasers and suchlike, called up from their bio-cryogenic interface implants, available as soon as danger reared its ugly domed nasty pointy toothy head, then there wouldn’t be any danger would there? If the space marines had acid-proof-hard-light-flexi-super-shields-with-built-in-nano-killer-bots surrounding them on every mission then the poor old unarmed aliens wouldn’t have stood a chance.
In fact the Alien series of films rely for the sense of jeopardy on the company that employs most of them equipping them with hopelessly inadequate supplies before sending them into extreme danger.
Which it seems is exactly what happens in real life given the stories we hear about the rubbish equipment soldiers are sent to fight with in Afghanistan etc.
Perhaps this is Ridley Scotts real mission here, to remind us of the importance of good Health and Safety and Risk Assessments before setting off to unknown territory.
It was all a result of the Health and Safety Officer has been made redundant. Or more likely in 300 years time they will be employed by SERCO and have to do the health and safety for every goddamned ship in the fleet…, there is just no time in the day for an adequate risk assessment any more. This bit isn’t sci fi either of course, because SERCO already probably employs the Councils H and S person, or will do soon.
So there you go the whole Aliens pantheon is really just an over blown Health and Safety manual.
Next Week: why the Godfather Trilogy is an extended metaphor for the failures of the Big Society…..
I know plenty of good people who are moved by their religious faith to do astonishing good work. The Street Angels project in Halifax and several other towns and cities in England is a case in point. The staff and volunteers of this project get on with it, they prove their worth by doing what they do and they don’t attack others.
Oh that our leaders, especially those that are religious, were like this.
On the same day that Baroness Warsi says “Britain is being overtaken by militant secularists” The Guardian reports on the Abu Qatada affair, Abu Qatada being a fairly Militant religious leader; and the Yorkshire Post reports that “the Roman Catholic church is to launch an inquiry into how it dealt with allegations surrounding a priest who was ordained despite being previously sacked for sexually abusing boys at a Yorkshire children’s home”.
Faith, says the Baroness has a “key role” in bridging divides. I take it that the faiths she is talking about aren’t the ones trying to deny homosexual people the same rights as straight people in terms of marriage? These can’t be the same faiths the adherents of which are calling for the death penalty for “apostasy”? Or the same ones that get their knickers in a twist over women or gay priests? and certainly not the same faiths as those who routinely denied, covered up or just ignored years of systemic abuse of children.
I get so annoyed by these divisive comments by religious people. Baroness Warsi outrageously accuses others of the things that religious leaders propagate, i.e. marginalisation, abuse, violence, dismissive attitudes, judgementalism and intimidation.
Why does religious belief somehow warrant protection from criticism or challenge? why do people who practise no religeon and in this country we are the majority, have to put up with having the various conflicting, unyielding, unscientific, divisive beliefs of religious people rammed down our throats as if they were special because they are called religious?
When catholic church gets its own house in order about child abuse, when the church of England can stop its childish denials of equal rights to women and gay people, when the Muslim faith can stand up against the apologists for terrorism in its adherents, then religious leaders can tell the rest of us something about goodness, righteousness, community, and the importance of faith.
Another scrappy win for the Arsenal today, this time making Sunderland look good. Honestly Arsenal are becoming a Social Enterprise with the objective of giving those who’ve lost their confidence, like Blackburn, Sunderland, Birmingham etc, that winning feeling again; its good that an outfit like Arsenal are doing their bit for the nations rubbish footballers mental health.
Arsenal lack leadership we are told, (normally by someone like Glen Hoddle, which is a bit like being told you lack a backbone by a mollusc). Robin Van Persie is Arsenals captain and leader on the pitch. He’s of the “lead by example” school. I don’t think he does much verbal encouragement, although “come on Theo, get a grip you Dombo*”, would have been useful today.
Other than that Robins other method of communciation is a range of facial expressions to convey:
a) disgust with the ref, (although it could also be constipation);
b) existential crisis (again it could be constipation)
c) His relief that the constipation is over, (the psychological release of scoring having had a physical effect, as I am sure Freud would have predicted)
Arsene Wenger does not like his charity. His team have all the possession, and then they let the other frankly useless team in by being wide open at the back.
In this sense Wenger has much in Common with David Cameron. Theres David and his team busy taking the country to bits, taking the game to a frankly rubbish opposition, and his Defense Minster leaves him wide open at the back.
David C is of course “A strong leader, (who) actually recognises you have to take time to get all the information, answer all the questions, and then actually make a decision,” although in this case i think the truth is probably that David made some facial expressions, fidgetted a bit and then someone else told Liam Fox he had better f*uck off quick.
The situation is similar to the trouble poor David had with Andy Coulson. The evidence piled up against Coulson in relation to phone hacking and other naughtiness, but David couldn’t make the decision to make him leave, then Coulson left of his own accord just as the rozzers were closing in.
So do the Tories lack Leadership just like the Arsenal? do they keep the ball but then let themselves down at the back, just like Liam?
Poor Liam Fox, he hangs around with these Pisvlek** American neo-cons like Grace-Marie Turner (see her her Galen Institutes thrilling proposals for health care privatisation: http://www.galen.org/content/home.html , Michael Goves her mate too…); and his former chums the Atlantic Bridge ( see here the “Back towards the locus” blog http://bensix.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/notes-on-the-collapse-of-the-atlantic-bridge/ about these lovely people).
I bet the Americans take the p*ss out of Liam and the others, calling them wussies for not just going the whole hog and prvatising the NHS, the education sytem and giving the Army to Haliburton. Mind they’re going for it in the case of the first two.
So is it here where it all unravels for the tories? just like Arsenal they’re riding high and then some Eikel***goes and fox it up…
*Dombo: Dutch for “stupid head”
**Dutch for something rude
***Eikel: Dutch for something also rude
I got involved in bit of a twitter debate (twit-bate?) with a fellow Arsenal fan recently about what the causes of the riots were.
My main twittering subject (twit-subj?) is Arsenal and this is mainly, as you might expect if you were bothered about these things, about the porous nature of the Arsenal defence; the perdu nature of the Arsenal midfield and the piss-poor Arsenal attack. Apart from these minor details Arsenal are of course number 1!
Anyway the twit-subj on this occasion was my twit-chums assertion that the riots had been caused by the liberal media,the Guardian, the Independent and the BBC who have pandered to scum and that this has been the way society had evolved since 60s. My view was that the cause is rampant materialism and the me-culture and the monetarist greed is good , no such thing as society, everyone’s in it for themselves and that’s ok philosophy bestowed by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
We did agree (twit-gree?) that the rioters needed a slap. Me because they were anti-social louts who need a lesson in being good members of the community and my twit-chum cos they are scum. I did feel righteously socialist about being angry but was irritated by various lefty commentators going on about it all being about poverty and unemployment. To me burning down next doors house or work place isn’t what Che had in mind.
Anyway around about the same time The Apprentice Tv show had reached its end. The series was as ever very entertaining but I did get worried about whether the contestants were representative of young entrepreneurs these days. Because they all had a mean streak as long as the Nile. A lot of them professed this ruthless, ambitious, focussed, gonna get what i want, screw everyone else in Business, philosophy, and would turn on each other under the slightest pressure and especially in the Boardroom. Sir Alan loved it of course, he even saw it as positive seeing lauding one of the contestants as “a tiger, she fighting to win”.
It’s all very Thatcherite to my mind, just like the rioters.
More recently we had the economist Bridget Rosewell, and others telling us that the 50p income tax rate was hitting Britain’s tax competitiveness.
“This is a damaging tax which will deter investment and deter growth”, she said.
“This actually hits, and has an effect on the incentives to, people who can create jobs and who can make the kind of investments that we need.”
At the same time of course we have pay cuts, pay freezes, benefits cuts and cuts to services which the poor rely on.
The message being you incentivise those who have a lot by giving them more. You incentivise those who have little by giving them less.
It is of course the super rich, the bankers and investors who have crippled the world economic system. it wasn’t the public sector or the Guardian. It is those people who Bridget thinks need to be given more money, who’ve taken already billions of euros, dollars, pounds, yen and any other currency going, in bailouts, and yet haven’t created much growth that I can see anywhere.
No doubt the nasty little business people who feature on the Apprentice want to be just like the super rich who wrecked the economy and who Bridget wants to give some more cash to. They have that ruthless ambition, that tigerish win at all costs mentality, compete or die. Unrestrained greed.
None of which will help Arsenal tomorrow against Blackburn….