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Showing posts from March, 2020

Running Wild

Thoughts on the book by J.G. Ballard
"In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom."
The problem with being prescient is that sooner or later the rest of the world catches up with you, leaving your predictions, once innovative and shocking, entirely out-of-date. It could be argued that such a fate has befallen "Running Wild."
Written by J.G. Ballard as a response to the Hungerford massacre, "Running Wild" outlines, in forensic detail, the peculiarities of a strange killing spree. The entire adult population of a gated, upper-middle-class, suburban enclave along the Thames valley, is dead, their children abducted. Over the course of the book, a psychiatric advisor from Scotland Yard will piece together the various clues and oddities surrounding the case until the shocking truth becomes clear.

Running Wild [J.G. Ballard, 1988]:
When Ballard wrote the book in the late 1980s, the concept of the "spree killing" was something of a rarity in the U…

American Graffiti

Thoughts on a film directed by George Lucas
Watch it as you might watch a "Star Wars" movie; as an adventure populated by alien cultures and customs that are fascinating to us precisely because they're so different from our own. The past here is not a foreign country, but a distant planet drifting in orbit. The planet Americana.
Against a twilight blue sky, the neon lights of Mel's Drive-In restaurant take on the appearance of a flying saucer. A vast space station giving refuge to weary rebels battling, not across the stars, but along the two-lane blacktop of suburban California. They stop here to refill and refuel, making connections, getting into fights, before climbing back into the leather-lined cockpits of their supercharged land cruisers, to speed away into the night.

American Graffiti [George Lucas, 1973]:
Like Lucas's later film, Star Wars (1977), American Graffiti taps into something mythical. The story, a loosely connected series of character-based vignette…