A Great Man has Moved on

My friend & mentor JACOB NEEDLEMAN Died. A beloved professor of philosophy at SFSU, he was author of one novel, “Sorcerers”, and many nonfic works on philosophy and spirituality. These include The Heart of Philosophy, Time and the Soul, What is God?, and The Wisdom of Love: Toward a Shared Inner Search. I recommend them all. He was very patient with me–not endlessly tolerant of my foolishness, but always compassionate. He was a man of profound presence.

The Great Dilemma of Our Time

The great dilemma of our time is the very real need to preserve freedom of speech, in direct conflict with the very real need to stem the out of control wildfire of LIES. The Big Lie and a thousand others from the far-right; from the vileness that is Qanon; from the Russians, et al. The lies were always there–cf antisemitism–but the internet, while doing wonders for us all on one hand, is also a gigantic magnifier of the power of lying. Lying kills people–eg, think of the antivax lies. People died because the misinformation about vaccines led them to refuse vaccination. Misinformation about LGBT has led to violence against them–five shot dead just a couple days ago. In time, the next “Oklahoma City bombing” will happen–driven by the disinformation, misinformation, and sheer lying flooding our social media, Fox News, and spurious news sites and shows like InfoWars.

We Refuse the Gift: the present of presence

The present moment, the now, is a gift that keeps on giving but strangely we tend to refuse the gift. The gift, when opened, contains a cornucopia that delivers self-knowledge, freedom from identifying with fear and anger, a deeper empathy, and a connection to something higher. Something lower manipulates us into spurning the gift.

The Worst Has Been Averted–And Yet…

“So far 173 Republicans who denied the 2020 election have won their midterm races” — Washington Post

Despite all the good news about Democrats keeping the Senate and stopping the GOP from taking over vote counting–there’s still that fact about how many election deniers are winning seats. Something to keep in mind. A generation ago I doubt if even two would have won. What it means is that LIES are an accepted currency now. Lies are the linguistic “cryptocurrency” of the right-wing.

Guillermo Del Toro’s CABINET OF CURIOSITIES -so far

The first three eps are all I’ve seen thus far but I thought they were all exceptionally good for television horror. Especially the one based on Michael Shea’s story “Autopsy”. That’s one of the best television adaptations of horror I’ve ever seen–and one of the best adaptations generally. If I had a list of top five in great television horror stories–it’d be number one. What makes it great, besides F Murray Abraham, is the presentation of Shea’s dialogue for the alien and the doctor, as the alien prepares to body-snatch the doctor. It takes a mere body-snatch story and makes it like a great exchange in Tom Stoppard or Dostoevsky. The writing is right up there with the big guys, in that exchange. And the actor playing the alien wearing a stolen body does a fantastic job–a British actor named Luke Roberts. He is superb. And the way that part was directed. Cunning, wicked–and that upside down shot of the face of the body-snatched guy, was used so incredibly well. Oh and the scene where the cam follows the alien’s pov in the invaded body of the doctor–the wonderful imagery there…excellent twist with the doctor’s triumph…Luke Roberts is vastly better than the guy playing the graverobber in the Kuttner story, who swallowed and babbled a lot of his lines. The Kuttner thing, though–big respect Del Toro for taking that on and really resonating in me, making me remember reading that famous story in a horror compendium fifty-five years ago! It’s classic horror classically don. All the sets were just great–the production values excellent. The atmosphere masterful. . .Tim Blake Nelson excellent as always in the first one. Good idea to have a horror story set in one of those old storage places…Not an unpredictable story, that one, but so well staged and carried out…..The only weak part of the show thus far is Del Toro’s introduction. He is no Rod Serling, no Hitchcock introducing Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He’s hard to hear, doesn’t articulate well–it’s not just his accent–and he has no timing, and no real charisma. Vanity, vanity Guillermo! Doubtless there are sycophants who won’t tell him he needs another ten or so takes for those intros to make them work…But so far it’s a wonderful show. Very interested to see how they present the two HP Lovecraft stories they’re doing.