What Cronenberg is moving toward is a more muted version of the exercises he’s always created. His new films just happen to involve gangsters rather than scientists and technological freaks.
What has not been left behind is Cronenberg’s capacity to shock and disturb an audience riveted by his films’ destruction of the human body. And in a world saturated with snuff films the likes of which Videodrome could barely imagine, he’s more than willing to take the less-is-more approach to physical violence.
“We’re in a very bizarre era right now, where snuff porn that never really existed before is now available,” he says. “If you want to see beheadings or stonings, you can see them any time you want on your computer. And it’s low-tech, too: not the internet, but a woman being stoned to death.”
He’s taken that cultural phenomenon to heart: The most advanced weaponry in Eastern Promises is a carpet knife.
(Disclosure: this review was commissioned by the R/evolutionary Culture Shop)
The Invisibles is a psychedelic sci-fi series about a team of anarchist freedom fighters who employ time travel, magic, martial arts, and drugs in their battle against the tyrannous Outer Church. King Mob, the group’s leader, explains: “We want to show people how to make their own exits, even if they have to use dynamite… We’re trying to pull off a track that’ll result in everyone getting exactly the kind of world they want. Everyone including the enemy.”
Grant Morrison, a Scottish comic book writer, is fond of explaining that he wrote the Invisibles in response to his alien abduction experience in Kathmandu in the 1994. He also calls it a “hypersigil,” a form of magical fiction. Morrison says that he strongly identified with the King Mob character and found that the by incorporating real aspects of his life in the series, he could make fictional aspects of the series bleed into his own life. When the series was almost canceled, he encouraged readers to use a chaos magic technique to save the series. Apparently, it worked and he was able to finish the series as planned.
The first volume begins in modern times, with the Invisibles recruiting Jack Frost – a teenage delinquent from Liverpoor who may be the next Buddha. Frost’s first mission involves accompanying the team back in time to rescue the Marquis de Sade from prison during the French revolution. Later volumes continue to sprawl backwards and forwards in time, with characters’ actions from different time periods reverberating throughout history.
Although the Invisibles begins as a romantic “good guys vs. bad guys” story, the lines begin to blur as Morrison deconstructs issues such as conformity, activism, and violence. Brilliantly complex and inherently mind altering, the Invisibles is a countercultural “must read.”
Buy The Invisibles: Say You Want a Revolution from the R/evolutionary Culture Shop.
“If there’s only one thing you’ll remember from 2007, it will be Britney Spears’ meltdown. But if there are two things you remember, it will be Britney and the thousands of data breaches that were reported in 2007, right? Right? Well, it’s what we’ll remember, and since we don’t necessarily do celeb gossip (unless you’ve got a good security angle…) we decided to offer up a review of the best and worst of Disclosure ’07.
Each breach gets rated on our nifty, unscientific “Class-Action Outrage Scale,” judging the likelihood that ambulance-chasing lawyers could have a field day. Look out Monster.com: We estimate nine of 10 lawyers are outraged on behalf of your 1.3 million victims. Our “D’oh! Factor” (thank you, Homer Simpson) reflects just how egregious and goofy the breach was. Take a look at how Swedish Urology Group earned itself five out of five Homers. Ick. Some breaches on our list are serious. Some are funny. And some are just plain sad. But all of them were probably preventable. Alas.”
“Consider someone who has just died of a heart attack. His organs are intact, he hasn’t lost blood. All that’s happened is his heart has stopped beating-the definition of “clinical death”-and his brain has shut down to conserve oxygen. But what has actually died?
As recently as 1993, when Dr. Sherwin Nuland wrote the best seller “How We Die,” the conventional answer was that it was his cells that had died. The patient couldn’t be revived because the tissues of his brain and heart had suffered irreversible damage from lack of oxygen. This process was understood to begin after just four or five minutes. If the patient doesn’t receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation within that time, and if his heart can’t be restarted soon thereafter, he is unlikely to recover. That dogma went unquestioned until researchers actually looked at oxygen-starved heart cells under a microscope. What they saw amazed them, according to Dr. Lance Becker, an authority on emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “After one hour,” he says, “we couldn’t see evidence the cells had died. We thought we’d done something wrong.” In fact, cells cut off from their blood supply died only hours later.”