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Fritz Lang, Hong Kong, time travel and more zines…

October 16, 2012


Here’s a list of thoughts:

Star Trek Enterprise isn’t as bad as they all said it was.

Fritz Lang really thought a lot about his films before he made them.

The homeless are still fucked [but we have 1-2 ideas to help…the first is a variation on the BIG ISSUE model, only the homeless guys write the stories themselves. The concept, I think, is: give people who are in the shit purpose, not hand-outs.]

There are a lot of writers around these days.

Cantonese is tough.

People lie the most about languages and if they can speak one or not.

If you’ve got a graduate degree, there’s always a way to make cash [as long as you’re not afraid to live in another country].

Scott Bakula doesn’t look like he’s ever had depression of any kind, good for him.

Tommy Lee Jones…same thing, but other way round.

Never judge people by expressions, only by how many times they try to fuck you over [their actions].

Fritz Lang
Some of his films are on youtube and that’s where I found ‘Destiny’. It’s black and it’s white and it’s got some pretty standard racist caricatures of Chinese and Arabs…
At least I think it’s racist…

Destiny – A recently wed woman finds out Death has taken her husband. He’s dead apparently. Death gives her three chances to save him. Her mission: Save at least one of the three men [from different time periods, including Ancient China and Ancient Persia] who are about to die.

If the Chinese and Arab characters are played by white actors in make-up then it’s usually seen as racist…but if it’s set in historical times, or ancient times, it’s forgiven?
Point One: Fritz Lang made the film in Germany, 1921. How many Chinese or Arab actors were available to him?
Point Two: The motif of the film is to have the same characters from the opening segment play other characters in all the other segments…I think it’s to show we’re all the same really, and the same stories and tragedies have been playing out in slightly different ways with people in slightly different face paint for centuries…
But still…

Actually, the more I think about it, the more racist it seems. It was a silent film so the actors didn’t need to speak German, they just needed to be able to move their faces in a convincing way…or a melodramatic way…
Lang could’ve got some from China or Hong Kong or Egypt…

But what about the motif?

I don’t know. I suppose Lang could probably argue his way out of it if he were alive today…

This wasn’t what I wanted to say…what was it?

The thing about the film was…after it was done, I forgot about it. I didn’t think about what it meant or what the director intended…it just evaporated and I started thinking about Planet Rasputin or that Susan Sarandon story I was working on [how to put Matt Dillon into it without losing believability…].
But then Le Sheek talked about the film and how the main female character got lower and lower in status in each segment [she started as the daughter of a Shiek and finished as a sorcerer’s apprentice], but her attempts to save the ‘doomed guy’ got more and more…advanced? Powerful?

The word I’m looking for has gone so I’ll use a sentence…in the Arab segment, she was the daughter of the shiek but had no power to influence anything, in the second one she hatched the plan to save the guy, and in the third one she used magic to try and keep him safe.
That was a long sentence, but it covers pretty much all of what I want to say.
When I thought about it a few more times, Le Sheek was right. She’d analysed, I hadn’t. It just went way over my head…how?

Why did I underestimate Lang? I saw the white people dressed up as Chinese and Arabs and it looked ridiculous…was that it?
Or the three segments the film was split into…as soon as I saw the structure, I switched off and started wondering how long each one would go on for…

I’m not sure, but I felt pretty dumb. Or pretty narrow-minded…limited…not as smart as I thought I was.

Man, never underestimate Lang.
A film lasts about two hours, but it takes months to make…you can’t spend that much time on something that’s meaningless. Only Michael Bay makes things he doesn’t think about.
Maybe Brett Ratner too. And Zak Snyder. Tim Story, F Gary Gray, Len Wiseman.
There are probably more I can’t think of…

Hong Kong
There are still no zines in this place…

I went into a bookshop the other day and saw a book called ‘Alien Invasion’ by Anson Lam.
Anson Lam is 9 years old [I think].

Positive: Good for him, I couldn’t write shit when I was nine. It’s his second language too. Over 100 pages done, with all the homework these kids get thrown at them…how?
Negative: Publishing children now? There were grammar mistakes all over it. It was bad. Story was bad, writing was bad.
Brutal: That kid’s parents have a lot to answer for. The book is shit. Worse than shit. What the fuck does a 9 year old know about alien invasions?

Time Travel
Three best films about time travel [according to Koo Tin Lok]:
12 Monkeys.
Back to the Future 2.
I’ve just caught up and seen Primer. It was good, but…was it, really?

I’ll try and reason it out:
If you think a lot about a film after watching it, it means something, the director did a good job.
If you don’t give a shit about the characters while watching it then the director didn’t do his job.
Which one is Shane Carruth [director of ‘Primer’]?

More zines
After the last issue of the Gupter zine, we decided once and for all that the real world has no relationship with the online world.

We’re trying to spread out a bit online. Sending stories out to places that don’t look completely shit, looking at other writers’ sites, seeing what else is out there.
Hopefully, if stories get published, we’ll get some more people over here, reading our stuff…we might even put some stuff by other writers on site.
So far, we’ve been on Bizarro Central and Spork Press.

Not sure what the endgame is…
The basics:
Make enough cash to keep doing the zines.
On a larger scale, make enough cash to print our novels as zines and put them in all the cities/countries we’ve put the Gupter zine i.e. Ljubljana, HK, London, Zagreb, LA, Brisbane, Bucharest, other places.
Ultimate scale: Get more writers and turn their novels into zines too.

There’ll never be any money in this, we know that. But we just need enough to keep this thing going, which means…
Selling the books on kindle so we can do the same books as zines in the real world.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense when I scrub it down to just one sentence…

The truth is…selling a book on kindle is shit, and selling a book as a zine feels a lot lot lot better. Also, we get to print and hold them and walk around and meet people in new places…you wouldn’t believe how well we know London and Hong Kong and Ljubljana and Zagreb now.
More effort = more chance of feeling half-decent about ourselves

Plan: Make more cash any way we can, print 32 page zines, put them in all the places we said above and feel okay about ourselves.

“Never give up, never surrender.” – Tim Allen, Galaxy Quest

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