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Category Archives: Nihilism

Film Review: ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ – Good Times Weekly

Posted: October 27, 2019 at 3:43 pm





Zombieland 2: Double Tap has the soul of a shooter game.

It first reunites us with the four apocalypse survivors from the original film; now theyre not getting along, even with their fine new HQ at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The mad-cow-disease-ridden zombies have evolved into subspecies: plodding dumbos nicknamed Homers, and crafty Hawkingsas well as a new breed thats super-fast and hard to kill.

Holing up in the White House, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) is happy to be the king of America, digging up such artifacts as the .45 automatic Elvis gave Richard Nixon (this time, its Elvis that Tallahassee is besotted with, not Dale Ernhard). Wichita (Emma Stone) cant handle the nerdiness and neediness of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg). Even if he is more or less the only man in the world, she cant accept the Hope diamond he presents as an engagement ring. Interestingly, no one in the film seems to know that the gem is supposedly cursed.

Little Rock (Abigail Breslin, her Little Miss Sunshine days behind her forever) is now the bitter former-child-actor type incarnate: stocky, husky-voiced, seething and looking for a boyfriend.

The restless ladies steal the Beast, Tallahaeess antlered death truck, and race off for places unknown. The menfolk pursue. On their respective roads, the separated gangs encounter two new stereotypes: one is Madison (Zoey Deutch), a pink-clad and moronic blonde mallrat. Little Rock meets Berkeley (Avan Jogia) a Namaste-ing hippie who, now that society collapsed, can pretend he wrote Blowing in the Wind. Berkeley knows of a refuge called Babylon where people can be cool, vegetarian and nonviolent. Its a tower-top fortress that once was a 20-story hotel; of course they eventually need rescue by a John Wayne-like figure who is no stranger to violence.

On first sight, Little Rock almost murrays Berkeleywe learn thats the slang for killing a human when you think theyre a zombie. (Murraying references the best scene in the first Zombieland, if you dont count Little Rocks impatient explanation about how Miley can be both herself and Hannah Montana. In that scene, Breslin made the post-apocalyptic drive across a zombie-blighted U.S. the same as any other family car trip, asking Are we there yet?)

Before the gang gets back together, theres a detour to a pseudo-Graceland, a tourist motel run by Nevada (Rosario Dawson). Dawsons million-candlepower smile is a glad sight in a sunless and sour movie. Here also is an expansion of a keen gag in Shaun of the Dead (2004), where the squad of survivors, crossing through the North London backyards, sees their doubles heading in a different direction on their own zombie hunt. Director Ruben Fleischer (who did the original Zombieland) spins this one shock of recognition into 15 minutes of deadzone yack. A macho Luke Wilson (as Alburquerque) bumps his cowboy-shirted chest against Tallahassee, while his sidekick Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch) hangs with Columbus, comparing and contrasting their fussy rules, which appear in gold letters above them.

Those are the jokes, along with the alleged comedic-relief Zombie Kill of the Week awards, demonstrating creative way of mangling the walking dead. One, set in Italy, almost displays some wit while destroying a 846-year-old monument.

Nihilism and the movies referential mania wear you out. There wasnt enough energy in the first Zombieland to channel into a sequel, and there was little left undone. Moreover, it hasnt been 10 marvelous years of travelling that got us to this weedy Midwestern wasteland, with its ambulatory corpses spilling pixilated glore.

Its natural that Zombieland: Double Tap gives all its characters capital city aliases. The film is the product of a pissed-off and divided nation which can view the mindless, useless eaters as symbols of either the Demon-craps or the Trumptards: zombies, fit for nothing but two in the skull.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. (R) 99 minutes.

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A New Tom and Jerry Live-Action Movie Is Coming Next Winter, So Start Preparing Your Mouse Traps – Gizmodo

Posted: at 3:43 pm

Watch out, Jerry!Image: Hanna-Barbera

Cat vs. mouse, the most ancient of conflicts, a microcosm of the dark nihilism of nature. A harbinger of the cruel fate waiting for us all at the end of the line. Or perhapswait, no, its just a cartoon. One of the most well known and moderately beloved: Tom & Jerry, a series of Hanna Barbera shorts that has since turned into a series of bizarre adaptation decisions, bad reboots, and baffling crossovers.

Now, Tom & Jerry is back. Weve heard rumblings of Warner Bros.s upcoming reboot, one of those CGI/live action hybrids that were all the rage a solid decade ago, for a while, but now we know that its coming, and its coming sooner than we think. As the Hollywood Reporter explains, Warner Bros. has moved the release date for the film from its slated 2021 date to December 23, 2020. Which is a pretty surefire guarantee that, yeah, this one is actually getting off the ground.

So lets take a look at whats coming, which hopefully wont traumatize our writers the way the last Tom and Jerry adaptation did. Directed by Tim Story, the film is actually being made with an all-star cast including Chloe Grace Moretz, Michael Pena, Ken Jeong, Rob Delany, Jordan Bolger, and Pallavi Sharda. Itll tell the story of a hotel employee (Moretz) trying to evict Jerry from a hotel room, which he lives inas a mouse? Or as a mouse-person? Im somewhat unclear here on the level of realism. But to get Jerry out of the hotel and secure her job, she turns to Tom, that devious old cat. And thus does the dark cycle continue.

Tom and Jerry comes out December 23, 2020, and may God guide us free of the cruelty of natures bloodlust.

For more, make sure youre following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

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A New Tom and Jerry Live-Action Movie Is Coming Next Winter, So Start Preparing Your Mouse Traps - Gizmodo

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The Unexpected Similarities Between Venom And Joker – Forbes

Posted: at 3:43 pm

Joaquin Phoenix arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Joker." (Photo by Jordan ... [+] Strauss/Invision/AP)

Joker was recently crowned the highest grossing R-rated film ever, an unexpected success for the low-budget, non-traditional take on the iconic Batman villain. But theres another comic book antihero who was making headlines last year for massively exceeding expectations.

Octobers domestic and international box office records were first shattered by Venom, and now, Joker, both films wildly surpassing even the most optimistic expectations.

But the two titular characters share a surprising amount in common ...

Both supervillains are a dark reflection of their rival superhero

Venom and the Joker are intimately connected to their archrivals, Spider-Man and Batman, more so than most supervillains.

Venom is the anti-Spider-Man, sharing the webslingers sticky powers, but devoid of Peter Parkers sense of responsibility. Even his costume, a black, monstrous version of Spideys suit, highlights the differences and similarities between the two.

Likewise, the similarity between Batman and the Joker is often commented upon in the films and comics, as both are eccentrics dealing with trauma in their own way, Batman choosing a life of law and discipline, the joker embracing absurdity and nihilism.

In some depictions, the Joker is created by the actions of Batman (The Killing Joke), or vice-versa (Joker, Tim Burtons Batman), each entwined in their rivals origin story.

Same with Spider-Man, who traditionally creates Venom by discarding the symbiote that was embolding his worst qualities, enabling rival reporter Eddie Brock to take up the mantle of Venom.

Both were overanalyzed and judged before release

Most fans were very cynical about the prospect of a Venom-centered movie that didnt feature Spider-Man, viewing the superhero as integral to Venoms existence.

Sonys wobbly track record, combined with an amusingly unenthusiastic Tom Hardy interview, ensured that the film that was widely mocked before it hit theatres. After watching the film, the general consensus was that Venom was indeed a bad movie, but far more entertaining than it had any right to be.

Joker, on the other hand, was picked apart by thousands of think pieces long before the film hit cinemas, with critics proposing that the film was a work of unparalleled genius, dangerous and potentially inspiring to mass-shooters, or a silly, self-serious story about a depressed clown.

The conversation quickly turned hysterical, sparking genuine security concerns, and igniting audience interest, who couldnt ignore a film that had proved so divisive. Im still confused over the pre-panic; the film proved not to be an ode to incel anger, as some claimed, but a clear condemnation of austerity. And frankly, not worth the fuss.

Dont judge a movie by its melodramatic early reviews.

Both are mediocre movies carried by a charismatic star

Neither Joker or Venom are great movies, by themselves; Venom plays like a forgettable superhero flick from the early 2000s, much like Daredevil, while Joker has a confused, half-hearted theme, so vague that critics and audiences all had their own, wildly different interpretations.

Joker wasnt an example of clever, ambiguous storytelling, but a movie that wanted to make a strong political statement and was too timid to say anything of substance. Not to mention, the story of Arthur Fleck isnt nearly as tragic as it tries to be; the sad clown schtick is pushed to the point where it becomes unintentionally amusing.

That being said, both Joker and Venom were extremely entertaining, primarily due to Joaquin Phoenixs fantastic performance, and Tom Hardys caricature of a New Yorker. Both men are dancing to the beat of their own drum, elevating their otherwise-dull movies by their larger-than-life presence.

Without Hardy, Venom would have surely bombed; the eccentric actor didnt let a flat script and silly plot hold back his bizarre interpretation of Eddie Brock. And without Phoenix, the audience would have seen right through Jokers thin veneer, and realized that it was little more than a homage to superior Martin Scorsese films, with a comic book label slapped on the cover.

Both movies prove that charisma can elevate mediocrity, to an almost supernatural degree; just look at how Marvel built an entire universe out of Robert Downey Jr.s personality.

Both tell the story of a societal outcast accepting, and embracing, their differences

Theres something strangely wholesome about both of these movies; Venom is the story of a man who loses his job and his girlfriend, due to his difficult and abrasive personality, but forms a brotherly bond with an otherworldly creature who lives inside him.

Joker tells the story of a powerless man who inspires a citywide riot, finding solace and identity through meaningless violence. Unlike traditional superhero movies, which see a normal person embrace a new strength, Joker and Venom tell stories of outsiders accepting their hideous flaws.

Eddie Brock is now a permanent host to a parasite that like to tear peoples heads off, a relationship which makes him look as though he talks to himself. Arthur Fleck decides that his outbursts of laughter and violence are something to be proud of, and while he might be deranged and delusional, its hard not to root for his twisted triumph toward the end of the film.

If cinema is going to be flooded with superhero movies (much to Martin Scorseses dismay), its nice to see the stories of antiheroes, and outright villains, doing well at the box office.

Despite what certain critics seem to believe, unlikable and immoral protagonists are not harmful; theyre a fun fantasy.

Both characters fall under Rule 34

If it exists, there is porn of it.

The trailer for Venom wasnt just viewed with derision; the glossy, salvia-soaked creature proved oddly appealing.

I dont know if its the orca-esque pattern, the flexible tongue, or the animalistic attitude, but the monstrous Venom somehow managed to ooze sex appeal. At least, for some people.

Amusingly enough, Joker provoked a similar reaction, the films pop culture footprint even extending to Pornhub, with no less than 741,000 searches involving the word "Joker" in the first 4 days following the film's release, proving once and for all that Phoenixs Joker is not an incel.

If anything, hes a chad.

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Attack On Titan Meets Studio Ghibli With This Impressive Crossover –

Posted: at 3:43 pm

For most Attack On Titan fans, they couldn't imagine the anime being handled by anyone other than Studio Wit. The studio in question has been with Attack On Titan, helping to deliver stunning visuals that have assisted in propelling the franchise to the top of everyone's minds during its current three season run. However, Studio Wit is hardly the only legendary animation house around, and one fan artist asked the question: "What if Attack On Titan was brought to life by Studio Ghibli?"

Reddit User Pluma91 shared this amazing fan art that imagines what Eren Jaeger in his Titan form and Historia would look like if they had been brought to life by the legendary studio responsible for such classics as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Howl's Moving Castle:

Hilariously enough, this crossover would have zero percent chance of happening, mostly because Attack On Titan simply doesn't fall within Studio Ghibli's normal workload. While most of Ghibli's output has been life affirming, uplifting stories that ultimately share the charm of both the magical and the mundane, Attack On Titan is full blown nihilism. The story of the remnants of humanity within the walls is so bleak and dire that it can be difficult to watch!

While Attack on Titan has wrapped up its third season, a brand new season following the story of Eren Jaeger and the other members of the Survey Corps will be dropping next year. In the manga, the war between Marley and Eldia continues to heat up, with the events and story beats continuing to get darker and darker with each passing installment. We don't foresee the Studio Wit production crossing over with Studio Ghibli any time soon, but we've certainly seen crazier things in our life times!

What do you think of this amazing crossover piece between Attack On Titan and Studio Ghibli? What anime crossovers would you like to see happen in your lifetime? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy

Attack on Titan was originally created by Hajime Isayama, and the series has since been collected into 23 volumes as of 2017. It's set in a world where the last remnants of humanity live within a walled city in order to escape the danger of the Titans, a race of giants monsters that eats humans. The lead character, Eren Yeager, ends up joining the military with his two childhood friends Mikasa and Armin after the Titans break through the wall and attack his hometown. Now Eren, Mikasa, and Armin must survive in a world where they not only have the Titans to fear, but the very humans they are trying to save. You can currently find the series streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Saturday nights on Adult Swim's Toonami block.


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These Newlyweds Exchanged Vows With Berserk In Mind –

Posted: at 3:43 pm

In the world of Guts, Casca, and Griffith, weddings don't tend to happen that often. The world of Berserk is one that is rife with pain, suffering, demons, and more blood and guts than nearly every other anime franchise in existence. The series, which has been running since 1989, is a cult favorite with fans begging to see how the tale of Guts finally comes to an end. Recently, fans managed to incorporate Berserk into their wedding ceremony in an ingenious way!

Twitter User Wooflings shared the hilarious pictures from the wedding where the officiant decided to slip in a copy of the Dark Horse Berserk manga release, with the hardcover release managing to replace a Bible that was otherwise going to be used in its place, and most surprisingly, no one noticing:

As mentioned earlier, Berserk can definitely be a rough franchise to follow. The amount of blood and gore, and nihilism, that permeate the lives of Guts are almost overwhelming with the "Black Swordsman" attempting to get his revenge on Griffith, following the Eclipse wherein the latter sold out his army of mercenaries, the Band of the Hawk, for power.

The relationship between Guts and Casca was originally one of the bright spots of the series, with the pair fighting battles alongside one another and, slowly but surely, discovering their feelings for one another. Of course, this all changed during the Eclipse, where such terrible things happened to Casca that the former member of the Hawks lost her mind. Following Guts on his journey of revenge, it was only recently that Casca regained her faculties and managed to become the character that fans one grew to know. Though her mind is restored, it's clear that the horror of their past is still haunting Casca.

While the anime ended with the second season of the revival, it's unclear when Berserk will be returning with a new animated series, though the manga is continuing to run strong, having finally ending its long hiatus.

What do you think of this hilarious Berserk easter egg in this wedding ceremony? Will we be able to see the final volume of Berserk worked into a future wedding in our lifetimes? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and Berserk!

Berserk was originally created by Kentaro Miura for Monthly Animal House magazine (now Young Animal) in 1989. The series follows Guts, an immensely strong warrior who is known for his massive sword. Guts lives his days fighting in a demon-infested medieval world where corrupt nobles rule. The hero is plagued by demon assailants thanks to a curse he had branded on him, and Guts continues to fight in order to keep a vow. The man promised to slay a former friend of his who became a demon and ripped away Guts former life.

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It’s taken me a lifetime to understand Thomas Kempis – Catholic Herald Online

Posted: October 24, 2019 at 11:04 am

It has long been a theory of mine that, like film classifications, books could carry a kind of age-appropriate rating. This wouldnt be to classify books as potentially damaging to the sensibilities, but rather to stipulate the age needed to obtain optimum sensibility for appreciating the wisdom of the book.

I have long thought it absurd, for example, to expect teenage schoolboys to appreciate the subtlety of Jane Austen. The nuances of ladies being wooed with nice manners and houses are lost on minds for whom ladies being wooed has only Carry On film connotations. While Alain Fourniers Le Grand Meaulnes played glissandi on my 17-year-old heartstrings during A-level French lessons, had I discovered the book first in my 40s, the idea that ones adolescence was somehow the peak of emotional experience, and a lost domain to be forever rediscovered, would have left me bewildered.

I am increasingly discovering that the same best before or after applies to reading spiritual classics. As a pious youth, I thought I should read The Imitation of Christ and, having then read it, I wondered what all the fuss was about. It seemed full of foreboding and heavy on the All is vanity, death to self stuff, and I simply wasnt ready to hear what it was really saying.

It is not natural nor indeed in one sense healthy for a young person to believe that all the world is vanity and that no one is to be depended upon, for such a view would be a kind of nihilism, a rejection of life. Its the tritest analogy, but had Thomas Kempis said, You know what? Big Macs are delicious. But they also contain things that will make you fat, and, if you think about it, the purpose of eating is to keep you healthy. Yet even knowing this will not affect how delicious they continue to taste, I would have more readily appreciated what vanity is. Its something that will temporise and dilute the very value it seems to enshrine for you.

The life of asceticism is not a rejection of pleasure, but a purifying of the appetite to make it serve something less immediate and more nutritional than pleasure alone: to learn to crave what is life-giving rather than what is pleasurable as the priority for my action.

Similarly, the alarming-sounding death to self of which the Imitation speaks sounds strange to the ears of someone who is still at the age when it is natural to be preoccupied with questions about what that self is. On reaching a certain maturity, the sense of disquiet or incompleteness can no longer be displaced as simply the lack of that elusive maturity.

At such a point the Imitation begins to speak across the centuries. Set before you the image of the Crucified, comes its advice. In the holy life and Passion of the Lord will you find all things useful and necessary. The image of the Crucified disabuses us of illusions about what imitating Him will involve. Any progress comes from a willingness to be like him in humility and suffering; so too any transformation of the world. It is an awareness of a weakness which cannot attain true happiness any other way which cries out to Him: Turn all earthly things to bitterness for me, all adverse things to patience, all created things into contempt. Do you alone be sweet to me from this day for evermore, who alone are my food and drink, my sweetness and all my good.


It's taken me a lifetime to understand Thomas Kempis - Catholic Herald Online

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‘Zombieland 2’ and How Zombie Media Evolved Beyond a Fad – Hollywood Reporter

Posted: at 11:04 am

Its a small wonder that Zombieland: Double Tap not only got made, but got made the way it did with Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernickand director Ruben Fleischer all returning. And not only that, they returned to a world different from the one that brought audiences to theaters a decade ago.

Double Tap has the challenge of proving its relevance and necessity in a pop culture landscape when theres at least half a dozen other forms of new zombie media that audiences can find to fill their time. This factor is even referenced by Eisenbergs Columbus in the opening of the film. In part, its the films meta commentary, an awareness of the past decade of zombie content that makes Double Tap work, better than an immediate sequel would have eight or nine years ago. Zombieland doesnt have to reinvent for its sequel, but it does have to be more clever at finding a way to engage audiences and give them something that subverts the expectations of what may be horrors most familiar and thoroughly explored subgenre. What sets the Zombieland films apart from so many other z-films is that they arent about the inevitability of death, but the chance for life.

When the first film, Zombieland (2009), hit theaters, it wasnt exactly ahead of the curve when it came to our modern zombie media. 28 Days Later (2002) kicked things off as patient zero, and the infection only spread with films like Dawn of the Dead (2004), Shaun of the Dead (2004), [REC] (2007) and Planet Terror (2007). Zombieland came during a high point in zombie media, and mere weeks before the outbreak became an epidemic with the premiere of AMCs The Walking Dead, based on the comic series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. Fleischers film relied on audience familiarity with the horror subgenre, bolstered not only by the aforementioned contemporary entries but George A. Romeros Dead trilogy and the comedic irreverence of The Return of the Living Dead (1985) which found a new generation of fans. Zombieland didnt reinvent the zombie movie, but it wore its heart on its sleeve and operated with a clever sense of self-awareness and rulebook survival guide that felt not entirely unlike Wes Cravens more vicious examination of the slasher genre in Scream (1996) and its subsequent sequels.

As the possibility of a sequel to Zombieland got further and further away and its cast and crew became involved in other projects and the awards attention that came from themthe more it seemed that a Zombieland sequel had missed out on the fad it was born into. But contemporary zombie media has proven to be more than a fad. Horror often comes and goes in cycles: slasher movies, remakes, Asian horror remakes, vampires, exorcisms, all having their time to run the night before being put back in the ground, when our social and personal concerns shift to another sphere of intrigue. But the zombie film has remained steady and strong throughout the 21st century. Even recognizing the fact that some audiences have grown tired of the subgenre, theres still plenty of room for the dead to walk the Earth. But our human characters may choose to survive a little differently.

The biggest takeaway from Zombieland: Double Tap is that its not interested in the shock value of killing off characters. The film even plays with this idea through Zoey Deutchs breakout character Madison, before revealing a different outcome. This feels pleasantly against the groove of zombie movies and sequels in general. Weve gotten used to waiting to see who dies next and placing bets thanks to The Walking Dead, currently on its 10th season and already renewed for an 11th. Double Tap works as a refreshing antithesis to The Walking Dead in its optimism and refusal to dangle the lives of its characters in front of us. Theres a real sense of danger, sure, but theres also the reward of our optimism paying off and the recognition that character depth and change doesnt have to be predicated on the question of who dies next. Zombieland is the humane alternative to the apocalypse.

Humane may seem like an odd choice to describe a zombie film, especially one that doesnt spare on the blood and guts. Theres plenty to be gained from the bleak nihilism that punctuates so much of our zombie content, but the humane option fits with where we are as audiences. Theres little doubt that the enduring popularity of 21st century zombie movies is reliant on our own global fears about the declining state of our environment, the spread of diseases, the questions of whats in our food, consideration of our own ability to survive in a drastically changing world. Its scary stuff. Double Tap recognizes that, but whats more is that it reminds us that survival doesnt mean letting go of humanity. In fact, its the opposite that holds true. Weve seen this notion paid lip service before, but few actually dare to follow through with it. The most popular zombie media relies on the notion that we are the walking dead, but that doesnt have to be true. Double Tap beats back the inevitable doom and gloom of the zombie apocalypse with exaggerated characters and strong personalities that remind us that the living are far more worthy of our investment than the dead.

Double Tap isnt the first zombie film to take this approach, but it is the most recent one with the highest profile. This year also gave us the domestic releases of the Japanese film One Cut of the Dead (2017), and the Australian film Little Monsters (2019). Both use their zombie narratives as a means to explore the meaning of family, and the bonds between people searching for normalcy in abnormal situations. The bonds, those formed and broken, have always been a part of the zombie movie, as far back as White Zombie (1932) and as celebrated as Night of the Living Dead (1968). And that search for normalcy make up some of the best parts of Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985), though their endings posit uncertain futures in that regard. But these newer films that Double Tap counts itself among, feel more forgiving in their examination of humans inherent flaws and more lasting in their promise of a kind of normalcy.

Shaun of the Dead (2004), the forebearer to Zombielands brand of horror-comedy, feels like its ultimately working in service to the idea that people are unshakably stupid and ill-advised. Theres the happy ending of Shaun (Simon Pegg) ending up with Liz (Kate Ashfield), and getting to play video games with his now-zombified best friend Ed (Nick Frost), but theres also something damning and dark about the fact that the remaining zombies are being used for entertainment and labor. Filmmaker Edgar Wrights ending can be read as a contemporary reflection of European colonialism, which gave currency to the lore of the original zombies of Africa and Haiti. And this possibly intentional and possibly not socially conscious ending of Shaun of the Dead is also in step with Romeros possibly intentional and possibly not reflection of police brutality and racism. Both films have an underlying subtext that humanitys past is its future. Yet One Cut of the Dead, Little Monstersand Zombieland: Double Tap utilize characters that dont ignore the personal and communal errors and atrocities of the past, but come to a conclusion in which they can move on from them in certainty that they wont be repeating the same mistakes.

Zombie media has proven to be more than a fad. Its a way of life, one that not only mirrors our own fears and insecurities but also our hopes. The undead are still good for a jump scare, of which Double Tap delivers on, but perhaps theyve become too exposed to really scare us. The zombie, at least in the form it has taken now, may no longer be our nightmare but our driving force, the very thing that allows humans to connect and recognize the humanity in others while successfully outrunning the cyclical nature of our horrors.

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A throwback to times before relativism – The Irish Catholic

Posted: at 11:04 am

Irish Catholic readers should be able to wallow in a bit of nostalgia! On Wednesday of last week I happened upon The Dick Powell Theatre on satellite movie channel Talking Pictures TV (TPTV). It was an innovative TV drama show in its day (early 1960s) a TV series of one-off dramas.

This particular episode didnt date that well it was melodramatic, with awkward close-ups and music that unsubtly telegraphed meaning.

For its time it was probably edgy, with a storyline that featured adultery prominently but this was a moral universe, with none of todays relativism or even nihilism.

The main characters adultery had him seriously conflicted and was seen as demeaning and objectionable with several characters trying to persuade him to give it up. A journalist character was entirely upstanding and studiously professional.

By contrast the moral climate of new drama series Dublin Murders is more muddled. It started last week Monday and Tuesday on BBC1, Wednesday on RT1. I just cant warm to it with its bunch of characters that run the short gamut from unlikeable to obnoxious, along with the most gratuitous foul language Ive heard for years in a mainstream drama series the worst offender was a senior Garda character.

Theres a very dark plot about the murder of children (the camera lingers way too long on the corpse of a murdered child) and a peculiarly voluminous amount of cigarette smoking.

I found the script rather stilted and the acting often stiff, while my distaste was heightened by the dubious use of child actors in such unsavoury material, an all too common practice.

Religion didnt figure much in the first two episodes, though there were lots of statues and holy pictures in a home where child abuse is hinted at. Hmm

Back in the muddled real world, after the excesses of the extinction rebellion protests, last Thursdays Drivetime (RT Radio 1) reported that Dublin City Chief Executive Owen Keegan was annoyed that the climate protestors had been allowed to camp overnight in Merrion Square at the height of the protests. No one else is permitted to do this (though the homeless might have a more urgent claim on the facility) and it is against the relevant bye-laws.

I thought Keegan was being professional, supporting the rule of law and the neutrality of state bodies but Paul McAuliffe, Lord Mayor of Dublin, thought that climate change was such an important and unique issue that it was acceptable.

Ironically this is the same geographical area where other arms of Government and other lawmakers want to bring in exclusion zones and rule out lawful and peaceful pro-life protests at Holles Street. Inconveniently (for the Government) Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was reported recently on RT News as saying that such exclusion zones were not necessary and that existing powers were adequate.

Owen Keegans approach could well be copied by other officials and bodies funded by the State, and by journalists, but this kind of professionalism is unfortunately declining, e.g. as current affairs presenters show their political and ideological biases.

Lines are crossed in divisive ways, and my compliments for Commissioner Harris do not extend to Garda cars covered in rainbow colours and Garda stations raising rainbow flags as happened recently in Kerry raised higher than the national flag in contravention of respect-for-flag protocol.

Media-related examples abound one of the latest happened on Newstalks Breakfast show last Saturday when Susan Keogh was reporting on what Bishop Alphonsus Cullinane said about yoga in Catholic schools. Instead of just reporting it in her newspaper round-up, as she did with all the other stories, she editorialised with a few rather dismissive comments, among which: maybe we should let schools teach children what they want to teach children maybe we should let the medical profession decide how young people should be kept safe [no mention of parents] and maybe bishops and priests should do what they know what to do [sic] but maybe thats too much common sense.

Finally, lest I end on a complaint, I must say I enjoyed Andrea Corrs interview on The Late Late Show last Friday. She didnt get to talk about her religious faith (outlined in last weeks cover story) but did speak about her faith in humanity, how blessed she was with children despite several miscarriages and was particularly moving when speaking about when her parents passed away.

Live Pope Francis celebrates Mass to conclude the Synod of Bishops, which discussed the Amazons religious and ecological pathways.

Singers Jordan Mogey and Andy Calderwood explore the life-changing power of music and faith.

David Kerr talks with students from St Ninians High School near Glasgow about commitment to spreading the Gospel of Life.


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A throwback to times before relativism - The Irish Catholic

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Boris Johnson, Scott Morrison: are the Generation X leaders stuffing this up? – The Guardian

Posted: at 11:04 am

With their lank hair, in their dank sharehouses, wearing a bong-water scented flannel shirt, listening to woozy opening chords of some Nirvana song, there is an image of Gen X fossilised in amber.

But of course its not like that any more. Gen X, which includes former and current prime ministers Boris Johnson, David Cameron and Scott Morrison, have flown under the radar as millennials and boomers engage in decades of tedious generational warfare.

This invisibility has so far meant that blame for the climate emergency has not been directed at Xers. But that is changing. Gen X is in power and it is obvious that this cohort has squandered 30 years where they could have taken action at a structural and personal level.

The question is why?

Part of it is the underlying DNA of a generation that came of age in a time of high irony and profound nihilism, and partly it is because of good old-fashioned self-interest. Just like boomers, it turns out that Gen X also wants all the things.

Its not that Gen X didnt take the streets and protest its just that when they did, the protests were either cannibalised or cauterised.

Anti-globalisation protests raged throughout the late 1990s and into the early 2000s, bringing attention to global human rights issues and systems that needed structural reform. But these protests were interrupted by 9/11, the so-called war on terror, and never really got back on track.

And in more subtle ways, the protests and Gen X culture were cannibalised by the market. Brands started interacting with the counterculture sponsoring music festivals and working with street artists, Nike marketed environmentally friendly shoes and CK One with its low-key packaging and downbeat models was the choice of fragrance for the No Logo generation.

Then there was Iraq.

When millions took to the streets around the world, something curious and unsettling happened leaders discovered they could dismiss the protesters without any significant electoral blowback.

As hundreds of thousands of people gathered in central Sydney in 2003 to protest Australias involvement in the Iraq war, the Greens senator Bob Brown told the Sydney Morning Herald: This is going to send a message to our Prime Minister (John Howard) that he cannot ignore.

But he like governments around the world did ignore it, saying at the time: I dont know that you can measure public opinion just by the number of people that turn up at demonstrations.

He was re-elected for a fourth term in 2004.

It would be 16 years until the climate strikes led by Gen Z eclipsed the number of people marching against the Iraq war, an indicator that a generation that should have maintained their rage had lost its steam, or perhaps had just lost heart.

Published in 1996, the ultimate Gen X novel was Alex Garlands The Beach. There was something allegorical in the story, like a 1990s Lord of the Flies. In it, a British backpacker in south-east Asia tries to find somewhere unspoilt, not tainted by that ultimate boomer invention: The Lonely Planet Guide.

Of course what happens is when he does find a hidden tropical paradise, it is inevitably spoilt by selfish humans.

In a way, that is what Gen X did to the world taking pride in exploring and being an independent traveller rather than a tourist but in the end, wrecking what they loved.

The decade following the publication of The Beach would see an explosion of cheap travel that Gen Xers quickly took up without question.

Ryanairs profits over this time tell the story: rising from 231m in 1998 to 1.8bn in 2003 and to 3bn in 2010.

Gen Xers became and remained addicted to cheap travel even when we were made aware of the damage that emissions from flights did to the environment. Personal escapism remains more highly prized than collective responsibility. Alex Garland summed up the mindset in The Beach: Escape through travel works.

Travel around the outer edge of any city to the newer estates and youll see housing that is in a way representative of the mess we have found ourselves in.

These houses are built right up to the hilt of the block, with no trees, little green space or shade and sometimes overlapping gutters with their neighbours. They rely on air conditioning rather than smart design to keep cool. In the quest for ownership, personal space and comfort (all individual quests) Gen X have continued an ignoble boomer tradition of squandering an opportunity not only to make housing more equitable and affordable for all but to embrace building sustainability in a way that lessens the contribution to climate change and ameliorates some of its effects.

Rob Sindel, the managing director of construction materials provider CSR, told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2018 he estimates most of Australias 9m homes would have just an environmental one-star rating.

Gen X cant claim ignorance on environmental destruction we grew up worried about CFCs and the hole in the ozone layer. The climate emergency has been a long time coming, yet rather than act in our younger years to reform systems that cause the problems we have followed the baby boomers into an unsustainable way of life that prioritises personal comfort and personal wealth creation (often through the acquisition of private property) over the collective good and the health of the planet.

Gen X fell asleep at the wheel during the last decade or so when structural change could and should have happened, in part because of the surge in distraction. The internet became mainstream in the 1990s and smartphones and social media in the mid-2000s. Like everyone, Gen X lost their shit. After all this is the generation that still had a lived experience of using telephone boxes.

The focus and drive that is needed to fight for and implement major structural reforms to prevent a climate emergency were dulled through weapons of mass distraction and box sets followed by streaming culture.

But then again, Gen Xers martyred saint, Kurt Cobain, gloomily predicted this for our generation Here we are now entertain us.


Boris Johnson, Scott Morrison: are the Generation X leaders stuffing this up? - The Guardian

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Attack On Titan Fan Just Made the Series Simple with One Handy Summary –

Posted: at 11:04 am

Are you missing out on the hard hitting, nihilstic action of Attack On Titan? Are all your friends talking about the wildly popular anime franchise but you haven't caught up on the adventures of Eren Jaeger and the rest of the members of the Survey Corps? One Titan fan has you covered as they give an insanely well detailed synopsis of all the events that have taken place during the franchise, in both the past and the present, filling you in on the events that have happened before Attack On Titan takes its final bow before ending its run in both the manga and the anime.

Reddit User H-K_47 created an intricate Attack On Titan synopsis that breaks down the entire time line of the franchise, following the events of the story long before the arrival of Eren and the story beats that took place during the numerous installments of the series afterward:

Attack On Titan is ramping toward its conclusion in both the manga and the anime, with the latter taking place later next year with the fourth and final season of the series. In the manga, the war between Marley and Eldia rages on with Eren and his brother Zeke using their Titan abilities to travel into the past and actually make their presence known with the residents they come into contact with, including Eren's father Grisha and the first Titan, Ymir. If nothing else, the final installments of Attack On Titan will continue to hold the same level of horror and nihilism that has been seen throughout the series.

With Eren Jaeger taking a much darker path as the series continues, it will be very interesting to see if we get a happy ending for Attack On Titan or if the ending of the series will be just as dour as its entirety up to this point.

What has been your favorite moment in the Attack On Titan franchise? What are you hoping to see before the series finally calls it quits? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and all things Titans!

Attack on Titan was originally created by Hajime Isayama for Kodansha's Bessatsu Shonen Magazine in 2009. It's set in a world where the last remnants of humanity live within a walled city in order to escape the danger of the Titans, a race of giants monsters that eats humans. The lead character, Eren Yeager, ends up joining the military with his two childhood friends Mikasa and Armin after the Titans break through the wall and attack his hometown. Now Eren, Mikasa, and Armin must survive in a world where they not only have the Titans to fear, but the very humans they are trying to save. You can currently find the series streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.

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Attack On Titan Fan Just Made the Series Simple with One Handy Summary -

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