the emperor’s new clothes

IdleRich

IdleRich
Have you read this, Rich?


It's been on my to-read list for years, but I really must get round to buying a copy.

I think I remember you telling me about the general premise (the men being drugged with a huge dose of hashish, so that they "die", and then reawaken in "paradise" - a gorgeous walled garden with hot naked girls all over the shop, basically - and become these fearless, fanatical fighters because they they've died already and come back as avenging spirits and therefore can't be killed again) but couldn't remember whether you'd read the novel or had just read about it, or come across the idea somewhere else.
I've never read that novel but I've heard that story from several sources.
 

mvuent

Void Dweller
Coincidentally I actually was listening to autechre the other day. Didn't really get it, though. Not convinced there's anything there, to be honest.
I mean I like abstract bleeps and bloops as much as the next person, but I have no insight at all into the thought process that goes "after precisely this bleep, let's have precisely that bloop, and then a sort of swooshy, smushy sound made by mixing the spectral signatures of the two sounds together, only just for a twentieth of a second before we introduce the next blorp". I can't distinguish it from randomness. I made a short piece a week or so ago which actually was entirely random, and found it pleasing, but it also felt like I was cheating somehow.

so you're saying their music might be a case of... the emperor's new clothes?
 

version

Well-known member
A bit like the bit at the end of a really hectic BSDM porn video where the performers talk about how it was all really consensual and fulfilling and they'd totally do it again, especially the bit with the foreskin clamps, my god, so hot.
Apparently it's not uncommon for payment to be withheld until the performers have agreed to do this, so it isn't really a guarantee of consent.
 

suspended

Well-known member
"Emperor's New clothes" AKA "Gaslightism", as practised by Trumpo, Zuckerberg, bosses,

interesting to read that fb's pivot to video was basically bogus, despite it's drastic effect on older media, wow
Its a fair reinvention of the "reflexivity" idea in social theory—representations exert pressure on reality, cybernetically, which is the idea "hyperstition" comes out of—but re the ongoing Musk bashing that lefties trade to gain social points and fistbump each other—the entire car and AI industry was bullish on autonomous vehicles in the mid 2010s, including academic and technical experts, and it is only in recent years that the remaining problems have become clear. Pointing out in 2021 that it will require a big computational leap is like pointing out there's something fishy with US mortgages in 2010, two years after the crash. The blind lecturing the sighted about the visual landscape based on things they heard from sighted people.
 

poetix

we murder to dissect
Apparently it's not uncommon for payment to be withheld until the performers have agreed to do this, so it isn't really a guarantee of consent.
One of the weirdest things I ever saw was this completely horrible misogynist comic, full of absolutely brutal and sadistic sexual violence, which ended with a page of the main characters talking about what a hot consensual fantasy it had all been. Maybe this should become a convention in all fiction - Winston and O'Brien take a bow together, Winston talks about how hot it was to have his ultimate humiliation fantasy realised, O'Brien joshes with him - "did you really see me holding up five fingers there?" - "oh yeah, you had me seeing all the fingers, bro!"
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
The other thing, while I'm taking over this thread to talk about Friends, is that after years of not being able to watch it because it all seemed so played out, and I had learned to hate the characters, it is now actually funny again; at least the first season is. There is sufficient distance that the nagging homophobia and anorexia-inducing weight-loss contests between lead actresses now seem like historical quirks rather than active toxins. I'm so old that it no longer seems like it's meant to be a reflection of, or an attempt to reshape through the power of mimesis, my own life. Perhaps the reunion show performed a purgative or distancing function. The players take off their masks. They, too, are older. They reassure us that they enjoyed making the thing, had human feelings (David Schwimmer really had a thing for Jennifer Aniston, OMG!) at the time, have in one way or another integrated those past roles into their sense of themselves. A bit like the bit at the end of a really hectic BSDM porn video where the performers talk about how it was all really consensual and fulfilling and they'd totally do it again, especially the bit with the foreskin clamps, my god, so hot.
Are we still talking about Friends or has this thread moved on yet again? Anyway, I think about Friends at lot. More than I really should.

What's Friends about? That's the question that nags at me. Because it definitely ISN'T about a group of twenty somethings living in New York. It's nothing about being in your mid twenties and it's nothing about about new York. These characters don't even make the slightest effort to act as a group of people in their mid twenties living in New York would act. This cognitive dissonance really gnaws at me. The almost fuck-you arrogance of it- the complete disinterest in paying any regard to the ostensible real world that the show is meant to be in. WHAT THE FUCK.

so I've been thinking about this for, I dunno, 15 years or so. Dwelling on what on earth this show is meant to be about, and why it tells us it's about one thing and then does something entirely different.

The best I've come up with is that it's a child's view of what adult life is like. This is a show written by children, or at least adults who are stunted in some way, emotionally, intellectually, so they are in effect children. Funny children, but children none the less. And this is what these children think will happen when they grow up- they'll hang out playing table football with their best friends and their jobs will either be working for a famous fashion designer or working in a DINOSAUR museum, and may be they'll get drunk once but never again because eurgh getting drunk is gross. And then they'll have babies but they'll still get to play with their friends all the time so nothing will really change.

So what we have is the spectacle, creepy and paedophilic, of grown adults pretending to be children, for years at a time.

And then, as a direct result, those adult ballpits and playgrounds open up in East London and the march of progress has stopped and, as a civilisation, we are basically fucked
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
It is a childish view of New York but then it is a sitcom. They need stuff to happen constantly so showing them at work or doing other mundane adult shit is out. (Although of course this mundane stuff became the material for comedy particularly in 2000s with the Office etc.)

Also, it's a comedy, so adults acting in childish ways is kind of par for the course. It's funny (or funnier) to watch a grown man act like a child than a child acting like one. It's like when a cat tries to jump somewhere and completely stacks it – its dignity is immediately undermined.

Not disagreeing with you ofc it is a fundamentally dumb show and becomes more and more queasy as it goes on.
 

Simon silverdollarcircle

Well-known member
Was Friends the first sitcom to take this child's eye view? My memory of US sitcoms before this was they were generally about a kind of jadedness that comes with adulthood. Roseanne, Cheers, even the Cosby Show. They all seemed kinda weighed down by life. And then Friends comes along and it's just constant bantz with yr pals.

Even when you hate Friends, you're still living in its world.
 

WashYourHands

Well-known member
Watching Friends with a lass so you could tap a ride is the only conceivable excuse

Men Behaving Badly traumatised me. I fuckin despise Clunes et al even today, rubber faced Pob cunt
 

poetix

we murder to dissect
Friends certainly is about arrested development in some way - a holding pattern, from which there is no possible escape until the end of the show, where they all leave together. Some of that is sitcom convention, some of it is the way Friends was targeted as a sort of screen memory, covering not the past but the present. What are the specific realities it effaces? Precariousness of housing, income, social connection. You lose a job, the rent goes up on your flat, you have to move, you lose touch with a bunch of people; it's the same for everyone you know. So the jobs are fantasy jobs, or fantasy versions of real jobs, and it's the same with all the other furniture of that world: apartments, sexual relationships. Friends has almost nothing of substance to say about friendship, as such. And actually I don't think its world is that of childhood, either: childhood friendships are intense, rivalrous, dramatically changeable. Your bosom pal one day becomes your venomous nemesis the next. Friends is a drama of the ego, of reliable gratification, from which both the tumult of the id and the violent interjections of the superego have been banished, or converted into bants (everyone is "neurotic", but no-one really suffers from their neuroses). Everything constantly circulates back to the lever that keeps dispensing warm fuzzies: the central perk.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
You lose a job, the rent goes up on your flat, you have to move, you lose touch with a bunch of people; it's the same for everyone you know.
That one in particular would have been a major issue for the central premise of the show.
What always strikes me about Friends when I see it on telly now is how wooden it is, how you have a line of people positioned for a scene and then they take it in turns to step forward and deliver their line - almost as I imagine Shakespearean actors proclaiming their speeches like oratory, before acting as we understand it now had been invented.
Perhaps was no different from anything else in this respect, it's just that I remember seeing it after an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm and the way that they talk over each other, say things like "er" and so on just highlighted the stagey-ness of Friends. I suppose that in that respect Friends is a victim of its own success, it's always on, always being repeated and so you will see it next to all kinds of other stuff, plus it does invite you to think "why?": I'm sure that there were millions of sitcoms in the 90s that were based around people living an impossible lifestyle, an issue which was cunningly dealt with by totally ignoring it, loads of other sitcoms were stagey, had stunted manchildren as their main characters and so on but we're not discussing them cos we don't remember them.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Has anyone seen How I Met Your Mother? A bunch of.... I dunno twenty-somethings who were probably forty-somethings by the time it concluded cos it went on for fucking ever. This bunch of people are essentially the same people as in friends, the main character who is the narrator telling his kids about how he etc is a hopeless romantic type with soft crying eyes and the dream of a perfect woman, a guy with surprising academic qualifications and so on. In short, he is Ross from friends, right down to his physical appearance.

Ross

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Ted

f040bbc629d9c43a70f5f481bc9059a9.jpg


And, I could basically go through the characters and explain why they are all the same (although there are five instead of six so I guess they share characteristics at times) as those in Friends.
In fact, the whole thing - despite its post-modern gimmick of it being a narration and the tiny number of jokes they glean from that (eg when they are smoking joints he censors the story cos he's telling his young kids and he will talk about eating a sandwich and then it hilariously stops making sense as the sandwich and its successor make him increasingly confused and hungry) - is an unashamed and shameful rip off of Friends, to the extent that they should have just called it Chums and had done with it...
Someone above (@Simon silverdollarcircle I think) said something about how, despite being set in NY, Friends has nothing to say about it, less than nothing, and it's the same here, it frustrates the hell out of me that they always go to the same bar? Every day they go to the same bar and sit at the same table, and why is it they do that? NY has loads of bars, some of them are pretty good, is this one the best, the most convenient, one where they are friendly with everyone, what? They might as well just say "We are paying these guys hundreds of thousands each per episode, we need to save some money so we are only making one bar scene and by having them always at the same table we never even have to move the camera, ker-ching" - and sometimes when you read a review of something and it says "it really makes Tokyo (or Paris, or Llangefni whatever) a character" and sometimes I'm not sure if I like that idea, it feels a bit like the reviewer is scrabbling round for things to say; who cares if the location matters, if it seeps in to the plot and the feel and the.... well, I totally take that back, I was wrong, the location should be a character and she/he deserves some good lines and a bit of fleshing out cos the alternative is something like this where you just have some wankers floating round in nowhere as though it was an experimental novel in which you slowly realise that the characters are merely empty simulacra created to populate this dimensionless prison, doomed to repeat for all eternity the events of lives which were not even theirs in the first place, forced to re-enact Ross's love for Rachel with all passion removed by the fact that they don't know who Ross or Rachel was - and there was no passion to start with.
In short, they tried to write a sit-com but came up with The Invention of Morel instead by accident. And, worst of all, the shagger guy, what's he called, fuck my brain, he's called Joey, anyway in How I Met Your Mother, he is played by Dougie Howser and he is a massive massive prick, so that even if the programme was amazing, even if that whole splurge above was about how good it was, the programme as a whole would still be unbearable cos it has this cunt on it and i'm getting angry just thinking of him so I will stop there.
 

martin

----
Watching Friends with a lass so you could tap a ride is the only conceivable excuse
Yeah, guilty as charged. Though can sleep at night knowing I didn't fake-laugh. I actually have a worse 'watching garbage' anecdote but it's too shameful to share.

despite being set in NY, Friends has nothing to say about it, less than nothing, and it's the same here, it frustrates the hell out of me

Ditto 'Notting Hill' or 'Trainspotting'. Whereas 'Minder' is a beautiful time machine back to early '80s West London. 'Friends' was cack, but surely not as despicable as 'Sex And The City'?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Ditto 'Notting Hill' or 'Trainspotting'. Whereas 'Minder' is a beautiful time machine back to early '80s West London. 'Friends' was cack, but surely not as despicable as 'Sex And The City'
You're right of course, I suppose like with pretty much everything it's probably a spectrum, I reckon most programmes have a kinda average relationship to the place where they are set, you are kinda conscious that it is taking place there but it's not hugely evocative and you wouldn't really be able to say that it swept you away and deposited you there. Workmanlike, gets the job done type thing. I'm afraid I am having a big of an "example block" but you know what I mean.
Then at the bottom end you have those discussed; Friends is a perfect example - do they ever go outside, how do we know it wasn't shot in a studio in China? As I recall, they barely acknowledge NY; they don't go to places, they don't talk about trends, places, getting mugged... I don't know, any of the things that if you were a New Yorker would make you feel NY. You would think it couldn't get worse than that but there are things like Notting Hill as you mention or Sex and the City for that matter which have the place's name in the title so if they don't get something of the feel in there then they have failed even more spectacularly. Though very often things with the place in the name are acknowledging it but it's almost certainly gonna be a sanitised version - Notting Hill certainly does take place in an area they refer to by that name but it's nothing like the NH I know, the same could be said for all the later Woody Allen films such as Roma or Vicky Cristina Barcelona which takes place in somewhere that looks like Barcelona but where as soon as you go to a bar a passionate and crazy genius artist approaches and offers to fly you in his plane to his favourite town where "We will eat wonderful food and make the passionate and crathy love". Another one is Morse which, I dunno, if you were really concentrating, you may have noticed is based in Oxford - except with all the boring streets edited out so that the most beautiful streets all join up to create this olde worlde paradise of pubs and puvery nts... although sometimes they might need a bit of grit so occasionally the other streets are called into action.
And then some like Minder which perfectly take you to the place in question, enticing you into reverie, a smile playing on your lips as you see that very alley where you got a blow.... sorry, I digress. And it's incredible that some things can have that effect on you when you have never even been to the place in question. I'm never sure about that though... is it just a load of cliches falling on fertile ground that has been ploughed by other cliched films? Can this kind of evocation ever avoid cliche.... maybe they can't be avoided but can be transcended.
 

WashYourHands

Well-known member
Yeah, guilty as charged. Though can sleep at night knowing I didn't fake-laugh. I actually have a worse 'watching garbage' anecdote but it's too shameful to share.



Ditto 'Notting Hill' or 'Trainspotting'. Whereas 'Minder' is a beautiful time machine back to early '80s West London. 'Friends' was cack, but surely not as despicable as 'Sex And The City'?

Terry and June? Juliet Bravo? Bergerac? On the Buses?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I would be keen to hear people's thoughts on this..... suggestions of the following
1. Programmes/films that totally fail (or possibly choose not) to have any grounding or link to the pl/aces where they are supposed to be set. And, especially if anyone can suggest any of these that are good.
2. Programmes/films which unquestionably succeed in evoking a time or place or both - and is that always a good thing?
 
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