health update, wim wenders flick & reading a digital age comments

So I got up and had much lower Blood Pressure readings this morning (134/80). This is down significantly from the spike at the doctor’s office this week (150/100). I apologize dear reader if you are not that interested in this, but I’m pretty sure if any one reads this online journal it is my adult children and they are probably interested.

Also I weighed in less (118) (Post post script: noooo, I mean 218! 218! thanks to lovely wife for pointing this error out) than I have weighed for months. I have been monitoring my BP & weight daily since my doctor looked at me and pursed her lips on Tuesday and said succinctly (about my BP) “This is not good.”

We live in the age of the image.
Today, no other realm of culture displays so much power
than that of the image.
Words, music, literature,
books, newspapers, rock’n roll, theatre…
nothing comes even close
to the authority of moving images, in cinema and television.

Wim Wenders, “Giving Europe a Soul” a speech he made in 2006 [link to text]

Eileen and I watched the 1984 Wim Wenders flick, “Paris, Texas” last night. It was based on a screenplay by Sam Shephard (who is a writer I admire).  I have to agree with a review I read last night (after seeing the movie) that it sort of takes an odd turn about half way through.

Also the music was done by Ry Cooder (who is also someone I admire as a composer and performer and producer — he produced the music for Wenders’ lovely Buena Vista Social Club movie).

I really was all set to like the movie.

The review attributes the movie going a bit off its tracks to Winders and others tampering with Shephard’s inability to sustain the collaboration necessary to pull off a movie script. As opposed to the sustained effort of writing a play which is what Shephard has done a lot of.

I pulled out my two volumes of his plays. I started reading one the reviewer mentions as being a bit related to the first part of the movie.

At the beginning of movie, the view pans (from an angel’s point of view apparently… get it? Wings of Desire?) across desert and prairie that is obviously in the U.S. This brings to mind Wenders love affair with America (that has gone sour since).   The camera cuts to a hawk and you get the idea the first shots were what the hawk was seeing. Then to a man in a red hat and dusty suit and tie walking alone.

He is the main character and one of two brothers that the above mentioned reviewer says fits into some of Shephard’s other plays which use brother tension, specifically “Fool for Love.” This is the play I will probably read today or tomorrow.

Anyway, I can see I’m rambling. The man is a mystery man who doesn’t respond to the people who end up rescuing him. He has a story and it is an interesting one. I guess I won’t go into it here. Watch the flick yourself if you are at all interested. I think even though it’s got some weaknesses, I like it better than most commercially made movies. But of course…..

I’m beginning to think I just don’t have what it takes to suspend my disbelief for a lot of the rubbish of popular culture. Not that I am above rubbish by any means. It’s just that I think I might no longer be the audience targeted. Just a thought.

Yesterday I played the DVD “Brand Upon the Brain” in the background as I did stuff around the house. I haven’t done this much before, but it worked with this movie. I am considering purchasing the soundtrack. One can select different narrators on the DVD for this essentially silent film.  I liked the music initially and it is growing on me with each new listening (with a different narrator… I think there are around 6 or 7 available).

Winder’s observations on image relate to Svern Birkert’s article in the new Harpers “Reading in a Digital Age.” [link to article]Images and words are something I think about quite a bit.

In a nutshell, Birkert thinks that the Internet is eroding human imagination and what he sees as the fixed form of the “novel.” He talks like a professor stuck in an idea struggling to use his mind to try to get out of his stuckness and not quite succeeding.

Right off the bat he misses the mark by contesting the idea of mind as function of the brain and body. I find the neurological mapping of consciousness exciting and not at all contradictory to my own notions of imagination and even the gestalt of ideas referred to as “soul” by religions and romantics.

Ironically his use of the novel Netherland, his own exploration of Google and commenting on the “triple decker novel” (by which he presumably means a story that is long and convoluted are resists being apprehended on a screen) contradicts his own prejudices and even the points he is seems seeking to make (like internet is killing imagination and sustained thought).

I was particularly taken with his movement from the novel’s (Netherland) paragraphs about a character’s use of Google satellite to stopping reading and checking this out for himself:

“I confess that I stopped reading after the first passage and went right upstairs to my laptop to see if it was indeed possible to get such access.”

This charms me and makes me much more sympathetic to Birkert.

To me this god like panning via Google satellite is reminiscent of Wender’s angels and hawks mentioned above.  Also a perfect metaphor for how the noisy plentiful data of the internet becomes pertinent meaning in a human way.

Recently my daughter Sarah traced every house she ever lived in via the same dealy. She posted a picture of each and walked the reader through them. [link to her blog] Very cool.

Since beginning this blog earlier this morning I have randomly ran across two sites that reinforce the idea that there is a new literacy that has evolved and is still evolving utilizing the internet.

First an online book on graph-theory-algorithms-book by David Joyner, Minh Van Nguyen, and Nathann Cohen.. [link]

Then a novel an author is writing online with comments at the end of each chapter from readers as he puts it up and they read it.

Found by Erik Rickstand [link to chapter 1]

I keep not finishing this blog. I started this morning but keep getting distracted by stuff like taking Mom to hospital for CT scan (she made it fine), lunch with her at Dennys, funeral, emptying then filling the dishwasher, and finally grocery shopping.
The doctor asked me to take my blood pressure in stores I guess to sort of double check my home unit. At meijer’s my blood pressure was just 116/77 …. yikes. I hope that’s right. It’s pretty low.

I keep thinking about the movie, Paris, Texas. I think it might be two plays/movies in one: the first part an excellent treatment of the main character’s relationship to his brother and his family, the second part an intriguing take on the communications between the brother and his ex-wife (mostly through a peep show two way mirror with some pretty cool camera work…).

I’m too tired to add pics to this…. I know it’s too wordy. If you read this far, I thank you.

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0 thoughts on “health update, wim wenders flick & reading a digital age comments

  1. As blood pressure goes, I take two different medications and neither seem to work very well. Have taken to the idea that reading your blog is therapeutic. Not sure of that, but am hopeful. Humor seems to help, and your artistic drawings are very very very……

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