Wednesday, September 15, 2004

the readership on Tarantino (and other thingies)

Mystery Woman writes in about why ole Quentin keeps wanting to prick Uma:

(what is it with Uma and needle scenes in Tarantino films?)

Want my theory? Fine. I'm giving it to you anyway.

My theory is that Quentin is secretly in love with Uma, but she kept doing things like marrying the insipid Ethan Hawke and popping out kids, regaining her heroin-chic/kick-ass figure in record time, dandling poor Quentin on the lap of his own lust.

So, since he loves her and can't have her, he's a little annoyed with her. Especially since she's brilliant and should know better. So he stabs her, his needle/prick fucking her in the only way he knows he can: transdermally, like a squid. For all we know those syringes might have contained a few drops of Quentin-essence, just in case. And we probably shouldn't even go into the size fixation involved.

Long story short, Quentin's a kinky boy, and he likes it rough, sharp, and bloody. But I note that Uma's character is eternally getting drugged or un-drugged with Quentin's tiny steel phallus-dart; a nod, perhaps, to his understanding that she'd have to be stoned to fuck him?

Unless, of course, she already had. (grin)

I thought I knew everything about squids. I now know they fuck transdermally. Do they teach this stuff in med school? (See here for tantalizingly partial confirmation of transdermal fucking.)

And Master of the Dark Side of the Force Justin Yoshida writes in about Carradine, Tarantino, and the goddamn flute:

"My reading of the flute's presence depends on who wanted it on screen."

Kev, you should take it on faith that this was Tarantino's desire without researching it. It's like the scene with the mother and daughter watching Shogun Assassin on TV or the Bronson poster on Bud's wall. References to other movies/TV shows is heavy throughout Tarantino's movies, as you probably know. They're not always props either - you remember the Top Gun monologue from Four Rooms, right?

Anyway, even though Carradine is a poser - he DID take the Cain role in Kung Fu in place of BRUCE LEE! Yes, this was mostly because the TV audience was not ready for a yellow protagonist... But how many other people can say, "I beat out Bruce Lee for that part!"

I never saw "Four Rooms," alas.

Anyway, Justin, you're asking the impossible: taking Matter X on faith isn't something I do well. I'm gonna have to dig around for the trivia.

Yes, it's true Carradine got the role originally intended for Bruce Lee, but I think one of the unfortunate side effects of Carradine's presence was the stereotype he abetted: namely, that inner serenity always leads to a distant, ethereal manner. This is a far cry from what I've encountered in Korea, and from what little I know about, say, Japanese Buddhist practice. Sure, there are some Asian ethereals, but people like Hyon Gak sunim or Dae Oh sunim are by far more common and more representative of the temperament of East Asian spirituality. I've met Westerners-- including some who've studied in Asia and should know better-- who adopt an ethereal manner as part of their new Buddhist pose. I'm certainly not placing the blame for this entirely on Carradine, but in terms of dramatic choices, faux ethereality was probably the worst of the alternatives in Carradine's limited range.

Carradine's Kwai Chang Caine feeds a pervasive stereotype. If I were to pick someone other than Carradine to blame for the stereotype, I'd actually point the finger at the tons of "gurus" who came over from India in the 1960s and taught the masses in that otherworldly, affected manner. Deepak Chopra is their spiritual inheritor (so is Bikram, that annoying asshole who brought "hot yoga" over to the US). Luckily, more and more Westerners are becoming aware that East Asian spirituality isn't all that ethereal-- that it is, in many respects, pretty ordinary and commonsensical as practiced by most Joe Lees, Jane Kims, and Gottfried Yoshimotos. Unfortunately, you now have Westerners who think they have to answer simple questions with riddles and pseudo-deep maxims while randomly smacking tabletops to make a point about "no-mind."

Two belated shout-outs, unrelated to the above post:

1. To the illustrious Party Pooper for pooping out a very thoughtful 9/11 post.

2. To Verbum Ipsum for an equally thoughtful essay on the same.

CENSORSHIP NOTE: The usual suspects remain BLOCKED at my place of work. No MuNu, no I also think they blocked the Marmot's new site (the .cc one, I mean).

A CONRAD SHOUT-OUT: Actually, a quote from one of Conrad's commenters to this post:

Fundamentally, I'm no great fan of Bush, but if Kerry can't even run a disciplined campaign, what hope does he have to run the country ? The difference between the two is one of temperament - Kerry has a temperament fit for a senator, which is deliberative and prone to looking at things from all sides. Fine. But he's running for an office that, especially now, requires decisiveness. Judging by the way his campaign is being run, that's in very short supply. Too bad for him, too bad for America.

Ultimately, blame devolves to Kerry for the bad choices he's made in picking his campaign team, who are also coming under fire for their lackluster performance. But it should be noted that the GOP has always been better-organized and more efficient at getting people "on message." Watch right-wing blogs and note how quickly people read from the same cheat sheet. This isn't to say that the Dems have no talent in this area, of course, but because the Dems are far more fractious thanks to their "big tent" nature, it probably takes them longer even to establish a coherent message for the people. In that sense, Kerry is actually a fairly apt choice for the Dems: a great symbol of unceasing internal conflict. The GOPs knows internal conflict, too, but they're good at keeping their people at least outwardly loyal, I think.


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