Wednesday, August 15, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Pauline Kael

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It would be very convincing to say that there’s no hope for movies — that audiences have been so corrupted by television and have become so jaded that all they want are noisy thrills and dumb jokes and images that move along in an undemanding way, so they can sit and react at the simplest motor level. And there’s plenty of evidence, such as the success of Alien. This was a haunted-house-with-gorilla picture set in outer space. It reached out, grabbed you, and squeezed your stomach; it was more gripping than entertaining, but a lot of people didn’t mind. They thought it was terrific, because at least they’d felt something: they’d been brutalized. It was like an entertainment contrived in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World by the Professor of Feelies in the College of Emotional Engineering.

 
Pauline Kael

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What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions". In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

 
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Intelligence amplification refers to the effective use of information technology in augmenting human intelligence. It will lead to a brave new world of dating – a positive change, mind you, unlike Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World.

 
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It would be pleasant to believe that the age of pessimism is now coming to a close, and that its end is marked by the same author who marked its beginning: Aldous Huxley. After thirty years of trying to find salvation in mysticism, and assimilating the Wisdom of the East, Huxley published in 1962 a new constructive utopia, The Island. In this beautiful book he created a grand synthesis between the science of the West and the Wisdom of the East, with the same exceptional intellectual power which he displayed in his Brave New World. (His gaminerie is also unimpaired; his close union of eschatology and scatology will not be to everybody's tastes.) But though his Utopia is constructive, it is not optimistic; in the end his island Utopia is destroyed by the sort of adolescent gangster nationalism which he knows so well, and describes only too convincingly.
This, in a nutshell, is the history of thought about the future since Victorian days. To sum up the situation, the sceptics and the pessimists have taken man into account as a whole; the optimists only as a producer and consumer of goods. The means of destruction have developed pari passu with the technology of production, while creative imagination has not kept pace with either.
The creative imagination I am talking of works on two levels. The first is the level of social engineering, the second is the level of vision. In my view both have lagged behind technology, especially in the highly advanced Western countries, and both constitute dangers.

 
Dennis Gabor
 

In the sixties, the recycling of pop culture — turning it into Pop art and camp — had its own satirical zest. Now we're into a different kind of recycling. Moviemakers give movies of the past an authority that those movies didn't have; they inflate images that may never have compelled belief, images that were no more than shorthand gestures — and they use them not as larger-than-life jokes but as altars.

 
Pauline Kael
 

The film that's leaked onto the Internet is not taken at a movie theatre with a little home video camera, right? The way it's usually done? This is an inside job... Now, if you were a police detective, one of the first questions you'd ask is motive. Who has a vested interest in destroying the opening weekend's box office of this movie? If I were the police or the FBI investigating this felony that's taken place, that's where I would look.
Having said that, I'm glad that people were able to see my movie. ... I'm not a big believer in our copyright laws. I think they're way too restrictive. ... I've never supported this concept of going after Napster. I think the rock bands who fought this were wrong. I think filmmakers are wrong about this. I think sharing's a good thing. ... They said television would kill the movies, it didn't. They said VCRs would kill the movies, it didn't. Now they're saying this is going to kill the movies. It won't. People want to get out of the house and go to the movies! Nothing's ever going to kill that, and I really hope people will do that on opening weekend.

 
Michael Moore
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