Scrooby's Musings

Started by Scrooby, March 08, 2022, 12:28:53 AM

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"We fought against the day and we won."

What does this mean?

Rewritten by yours truly : "Only those who sail against the prevailing winds reach their destination."

Now what does that mean?

Whatever the world is thinking and feeling, don't think or feel that. Be Yourself and Stand Strong.

But don't take my word for it. Take the Master's.


Double Indemnity (1944).


Quote from: Scrooby on January 03, 2023, 09:40:38 PM"We fought against the day and we won."

What does this mean?

Rewritten by yours truly : "Only those who sail against the prevailing winds reach their destination."

Now what does that mean?

Whatever the world is thinking and feeling, don't think or feel that. Be Yourself and Stand Strong.

But don't take my word for it. Take the Master's.

It feelz pertinent to note too that Pynchon has used this phrase as well
Interestingly this phrase applies to photography, too!

QuoteContre-Jour is French for "against the day" or "against the daylight" and is a photographic term, as well, a technique where the photographer shoots into the light so that the subject is in silhouette.



Do we understand what this means here? When the Master extols the taste of the cigarette handed him by Freddy, following their first recorded session together?

1. Taste is of the physical world. The Master is of the mind. (Freddy appeals to the Master, for one reason, because Freddy takes the Master out of his head and into the physical world. (Note, for example, how after the Master meets Freddy, he goes "A-roving".))

2a. It is very funny, a spectator getting a "backstairs peep" of a genius : a personal taste, an intimate exchange, something that will never reach history books, a snapshot of the quiet personal life of a larger-than-life character : A moment that reduces a titanic mind down to a pleasantly ordinary human being interacting.

2b. "Why am I funny?" (a) the contrast between titanic and ordinary; (b) the titanic mind is just another person equal to the next (consonance : with the spectator).

3. Of mildly amusing interest to this site : We agreed that 2007 was one of Hollywood's last greatest years. One of the major movies of that year features this line of dialogue early on : "It was minty."


We Gotta Get to Sophocles : a comedy starring Sophocles

Scene 1

Ancient Greek audience leaving outdoor theater after a performance.

A : What did you think of it?

B : I was bored, but at least I was sitting by a beautiful woman. You?

A : Holy shit, I want a copy of that play! I need a copy of that play!

B : How do you expect to get that? You don't just walk up to Sophocles. He's one scary bastard. He's as liable to kill you as smile.

A : Really?

B : You heard of the drama critic Clytas?

A : No.

B : Of course not. Sophocles killed him.

A : Oh.

B : He's the cruellest motherfucker you ever met and he's one of the good guys. Why do you want the manuscript of Oedipus? You just saw it.

A : How can I get that manuscript?

B : Why is it so important to you?

A : You'd never understand.

B : What?

A : My wife says she's leaving me if I don't write the next prize-winning play.

B : What does the manuscript of Oedipus have to do with that?

A : I told you you wouldn't understand.

B : Make me understand.

A : I study that play in detail, word for word, I write next year's prizewinner!

B : Okay.

A : So how do we get our hands on the manuscript?

B : What about the actors?

A : No. Once they commit it to memory, Sophocles burns all the copies. Everyone knows that.

B : You got to get into his house.

Sophocles walks up briskly, talking to a circle of fans. A and B join the moving crowd.

S : Some dumb bitch said to me, "You can't tell me how to raise my kids." So I answered her, "Why the fuck not?"

C : Very wise, master.

S : Just think of it. When you're kissing a woman, really tonguing her, she might have a long strand of fecal matter coiled up in her like a stinky fetus.

D : I see, master.

S : Don't forget the road of Right is reckless.

D : I hear, master.

S : Doesn't matter, though. You're fighting for survival for a position you've lost anyway.

E : Thank you, master.

Z : Any advice, great Sophocles?

S : Do what you want, then kill yourself before the regret sets in. Thereby you'll have a happy ending.

G : Extraordinary wisdom, master.

S : Fuck you and your "extraordinary". I'll put you in a place where sympathy doesn't matter.

G : Thank you, master.

S: Something's chasing you and it's up ahead. Thank me for that, too, asshole.

G : Thank you, master.

S : Why is man cruel? Life makes us cruel, because life kicks us until we lose our wits, and we become as cornered dogs.

H : We're dogs, master.

S : Since we're smarter than dogs : want nothing—then you can have it all.

I : We'll have nothing, master.

S : Always remember what Homer said : People are full of shit.

A interrupts.

A : Master—

S : Fuck off.

A : Please!

S : Get the fuck away from me before I kill you.

A : Hear me!

S : I've heard everything.

A : But—!

S : I'm killing you.

A : Okay!

A stops, and Sophocles and crew recede.

A : What a foul-mouthed asshole.

B : We caught him on an especially bad day.

A : I need that manuscript!

B : You got to get into his house.

A : How do I do that? The man doesn't want to know me!

B : You're good with the ball, aren't you?

A : What are you sewing in your head?

B : He's always at the gymnaseum on Thursday mornings. Perform well with the ball and he might challenge you to a game.

A : Good idea.

B : Here's the thing. Beat him.

A : What? Beat the great Sophocles?

B : Beat him. Then he'll respect you. Lose, in his eyes you're filth.

A : How am I supposed to beat the guy who's known at the best ball handler in Greece?

B : I don't know. But if you beat him, you get the manuscript of Oedipus. Maybe.

A : Maybe?

B : What do you mean, "maybe"? Once you're in the house, you got to get the manuscript, get it out of the house, then return it before he finds it missing.

A : How do I do that?

B : Why do I have to figure out everything? But if you get it out, bring it to Jeff, he's the fastest copyist in this part of the city. I've seen him work. He can copy two plays at once, one in each hand.

A : A pencil in each hand, writing two plays?

B : And not at the same rate of speed either—I've seen it.

A : All right. That's the plan.

to be continued

A comedy starring Sophocles : We Gotta Get to Sophocles


The following is randomness about The Master. Initial thoughts "before thinking". One has to start somewhere.

1a. The two male characters are two sides of the Artist. Freddy is the outlaw (freedom). The Master must operate within a complex of societial irritations (i.e., "people").

1b. Such as a film director. "Freddy" can write the script on his own. "The Master" is the Director of the production.

2. These two characters, while seemingly polar opposites, may each contain more of the other than one might think.

3. There are a number of shots/moods conveying the isolation of the Master (even within his tight social surround). This may be one aspect (of many) of his consonance with Freddy.

4. Freddy is a Hero without a Destination. "Hero Without a Cause". The Master has a "Cause". But what is his Destination? (Especially when he seemingly takes a step back, by publishing old work.)

5. Freddy consciously / continuously ruins situations for himself. Ruins, or threatens. What Freddy doesn't do is protect his position. This recklessness is, well, Artful : Worthwhile Art results from Recklessness. (Theory : Recklessness is antinomical to the Second-Rate?)

6. Recall Freddy and the Master in jail. One is destructive; the other, practical : Two sides of a person, in Tyranny.

7a. Why care about the "practical" when swamped by Tyranny, except that one has a family to protect? At first, the Master creates his work to Move Knowledge Forward; then the creation of Art becomes a fight for survival.

7b. Freddy follows his own path. Similarly, at the end of the film, the Master will even leave his family, Freddy–like, Roy Neary–like, and head off to China. Apparently Freddy is an "alternate" path The Master could have taken in life. (Intensifying the point that Freddy is an aspect of the Artist.)

8. Colossal point to consider : the final words of that 1930s star-song : "all to myself alone".

Best wishes, all. Be strong and stand tall. This is ἀλήθεια. Thus spake the Master.


"The Ultimate Sacrifice"

First to fall of the Achaeans as the Trojans forced their way
forward toward Patroclus was a leader of the Boeotians,
Peneleos. He had never failed but to fight at the front,
but now he was sent out of the field with a wounded shoulder.
A spear thrown by someone had incised a bloody scratch there,
then wild-fighting Polydamas had leapt in with his sword,
and with one hammer-blow deepened the scratch all the way
to the bone. Polydamas sprung away to wound the next man,
and Peneleos returned to the ships, passing by Hector
grappling with Leitus in close combat. Leitus' two hands
fluttered around his body as he sought to ward off the blows
from Hector's fists : then Hector drew sword. Leitus' eyes grew wide,
but he still didn't see the strike come to him, so quick it was.
But the wound he received seemed trifling. Yet this smallest of wounds
on his wrist left Leitus unable to brandish a weapon;
and Hector smiled at his little victory, and left Leitus
alone after that. So Leitus, great-hearted Alectryon's son,
had to sheepishly withdraw from the battlefield, scurrying
in fear on his way to the ships, for his right hand was useless.
And while Hector was smiling, a tremendous spear struck
him in the chest, thrown from the hand of mighty Idomeneus.
The spear-point bounced off Hector's breast-plate and the shaft shattered
into pieces, and all Trojan fighters nearby shouted in inextinguishable fury.
A Trojan then tossed Hector a spear, and the moment he caught it,
Hector cast it at Idomeneus, who was coming straight
for him in a chariot; but the driver turned the horses,
and took the spear himself, even Coeranus, close friend
of the bloodthirsty one Meriones, whom Coeranus
had followed out of the city of Lyctus to come to war.
Just moments before, Coeranus had seen mighty hero
Idomeneus on foot, and invited him into the chariot-box.
So when the spear came in, which would had unhappily given
Hector the victory, Coeranus knew what he had to do.
The warrior made the ultimate sacrifice for the good
of the army, and fell at the hands of Hector Man-Killer.
The spear shattered his face, and let no more be said about it.
So he tumbled backwards out of the chariot. And before
even Idomeneus knew what was what, Meriones
had leapt into the chariot-box beside him, grabbed the reins,
and turned the sleek-muscled horses round. And he said to his friend :
"Whip the horses all the way to the ships! We need more armour,
more men, and more weapons. How can fortunes keep changing
so quickly? What is going on?"

To this Idomeneus could offer no answer. So they
rushed off the field of battle, with fear falling on their hearts.


Entire book here absolutely free (attachment not working) :


The film Being There (1979) is a major work, equivalent (in the words of Hunter S. Thompson) to "an eerie trumpet call over a lost battlefield". Coming near the end of the film is a moment of striking nihilism, which might, therefore, be otherwise called Truth. The moment involves the character type of the Onlooker. The Onlooker is a story fundamental (not to say the Onlooker character appears in every story). The Onlooker sees events from the side of things, and the Onlooker's summating understanding will never enter history, but die with that character. With the death of that character, all the evidence required for understanding the story at hand is lost forever. In Being There, the Onlooker is the character of the Doctor, who says little, but, as a Doctor, and therefore a symbol of Logic and Reason, sees "all", and continuously calculates it. In the moment in question, the nihilist moment of Truth near the end of Being There, the Doctor, responding to one last witnessed action of the main character of the story (Peter Sellers), says to himself, "I understand." Now, this "I understand" is in the vibe of "Yes! Finally! All the pieces are put together! VICTORY!" But—then, like a character in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, the Doctor hears himself and reevaluates his position; and repeats his words , but now in a vacant manner : "I understand." What does this second "I understand" convey? The second "I understand" conveys that the doctor knows that no one else will ever understand (because only the Onlooker has "all" the pieces), so : Understanding is Useless. Understanding means nothing. (Get over it.) What a moment. You either understand this moment in Being There or you don't. But, good news : Time teaches a person about life. So if you don't understand Art now, let's say you're not supposed to understand now. But maybe one day. That's one amazing aspect of Art, a source of its Colossal and Endless power : you don't have to understand it too soon. You can keep returning to it, and you gain in power as you go. And this recollected moment physically hurt (for only a fleeting moment, thank god) because it made this author think of what sort of artist Hal Ashby was, and the world he represented : the same world the late Owen Roizman lived through, but in less wacky and tragic circumstances.


"What the hell is it about?"
"Are you a special agent sent here to ruin my evening and possibly my entire life?"
"Do you have a gun?"
"Stop playing this game!"
"What precisely is the nature of my game?"

What the going on here? An argument between a man and a woman. Between Authentic Artist and not-Authentic Artist. What is going on? Too much is going on. But let us pick out one or two items to think on, because one must start somewhere.

1. "Do you have a gun?" Let us put aside the WW2 motif, because I am not allowing its integration just here. So :

1a. A gun kills. ("You here to kill me?") If we approach the narrative as a construction of the strongest contrasts possible (making for the most dramatic scene possible, arguably, theoretically, and following the structure of Oedipus), then we hear this line, at least in one way, as ingenuous of true fear of utter elimination : true fear of death by murder.

1b. This could be defined as "paranoia". But it is not so simple. There is nothing simple of the mind of the Authentic Artist (weird syntax intentional). The Artist has a fear based in fact: there will be enemies, or whatever, who will rejoice if his entire world collapsed. After all, the story takes place in London. So, the fear itself of destruction from the outside is not paranoia, but a reality for the Artist.

1c. At this moment in the narrative, the real, ongoing irritation called "people" and their imbecility-threat to the Artist rears up at its most real to him : he fully faces the threat of his destruction. (Whatever it is, it's looking him in the eyes.) At other times, this threat is a low-level irritation, something academic, even ordinary (ha); and so on. But sometimes, like here, "sh*t gets real."

1d. But. What is the mind? Silly question. So the Artist's fear, while real, yet conveys the Child in him. The Child enduring as component of Authentic Artist. So, somehow, while the Artist believes what he is saying : ("You here to kill me?") (btw, 1930s utterance) : at the same time : everything is a "game". (This last phrase obviously requires explanation elsewhere.)

1e. Game. . . . Regression. . . . Mother. . . .

1f. Everything is mixed up. Prose as intricate as space shuttle engines is required to explore this scene.

2. Alma has no idea how the Authentic Artist's mind works. None. Zip. How could she? Can anyone know someone else's mind? Obviously the answer to that question is "no".

3. Random :

3b. "nature" : interesting word, considering Alma is connected with "nature" throughout the duration of the narrative (e.g., wallpaper in her room; the Artist feeling "butterflies" in the hours before their initial meeting).

3c. "Are you a special agent sent here to ruin my evening and possibly my entire life?" = "It could cost me my life, and possibly yours." (EWS) (Theory : this equivalence is no coincidence.) When you integrate with a mate, you learn, possibly too late, whatever you learn. Hopefully you learn you have arrived at a good marriage. A good marriage is one is which the one person reinforces the best in the other person, day by day; and thereby both get stronger endlessly. Any other integration is destructive. At the start, every marriage is a gamble.—Or, why not just say : any move is a gamble. Each human move is a degree of a gamble.

3d. The comic element in Phantom Thread : "Are you a special agent sent here to ruin my evening and possibly my entire life?" Consider the striking contrast in this line. This humor is part of the wondrous triple-tone vibe of Phantom Thread. The triple-tone (explained above) is a product of the first-rate, absolutely no question.

3e. Reticent to continue. What a scene.


3f. "Hell" : recall the skylight (the Oedipus Eye-light) crowning the Establishment : shining high. The passageway with the creepy self-opening door (as in Hitchcock's Harry, and Shampoo; also recalling a running joke about a squeaky door in Tati) may, therefore, just for the sake of it for now, be designed a "Hell" (e.g., the exit into a backstairs world of dim glum brick alleyways, haunt of the whatnot of the economically challenged and the droning and the lost to history).

3g. "special agent" : recalls : WW2 : a Child's game : espionage pictures, such as Hitchcock's Secret Agent (1936) and Fritz Lang's Spies (1928). But let us return to "a Child's game"—regression. Panic destabilizes; panic is regressive. Ah, the End of Part 1 of PT : there, anxiety and tension wreck control (in a measured English manner, tee hee). Ah, the two sequences (fashion show / surprise dinner) are closely associated by the appearance of anxiety, tension, panic, etc.

3h. Within the infinity of interpretations of what we see, one is : Woodcock is simply "having her on" : simply playing a game. This simplest of paths is absurd, considering nothing in life is "only one thing". Yet if we follow this reductive thinking anyway, since we're not watching life, but a movie, we might still pump up the volume of the simplicity by imagining the Artist losing his way amid his game in his head, due to panic, until he reaches a point in which he realises he has no idea what he is doing. He becomes lost in his own labyrinth of "Who am I?" Or, "How many people am I?"

3i. The use of the word "possibly" might be heard as a reasonable suspicion of the "sane", or a panicked apprehension of the not-"sane", or . . . 

3j. Contrast of "nature" and "game".

3k. "Stop playing this game!" Who might articulate this demand the most times in a person's lifetime? A mother?

3l. General point of the commentator : All effort into understanding first-rate dialogue is blazing a pathway into the Unstated.


What the hell is it about?
What is "it" precisely? What if the Artist is speaking to himself? (Isn't all speech always also a speaking to oneself?) We will never know the "it" on the mind of the Artist. We can, however, theorize to our heart's content.

Are you a special agent sent here to ruin my evening and possibly my entire life?
The Artist is regressing. What if by regressing the Artist is welcoming the return of the Child in him? (Such as, for example, when a certain climate steers a person's recollections to a sweet time of the past.) So, here, the Artist, while outwardly antagonistic and whatever else, somewhere inside him is welcoming this anxious regression to the past, because it was in that enchanted time, now forever lost, where he lived with his mother, and learned his trade, and all was new, and so on and so forth. Forever lost : but here is a mother-surrogate staring into his eyes, and giving him license to act the child.

Why are you so rude to me? Why are you talking to me like this?
In organizing the surprise dinner, Alma was endeavouring, in her mind, a sweet, loving intervention. But her "sweet, loving intervention" is also a sudden, utter upheaval of Structure. Structure to an Artist is Air to a Heart. Can what she herself did in any way also be defined as "rude", regardless of however else it might be defined?

Is this my house? This is my house, isn't it? Is this my house?
Good question. Might it be the haunted house of his mother? (Is the Artist trapped inside the fairy-tale palace just as Alma is?) Or might the house be the business establishment of his sister, who employs the Artist, so that the Artist lives at his place of work, so to speak, and is not King there, but Slave? Or : The Artist is both king and slave together. And so on and so forth. 

BONUS : Insert "mind" in that last line of dialogue to create "Is this my mind?", and the necessity for complexity of thinking and writing "carefully" on the Surprise Dinner Scene intensifies.


Or did somebody drop me on foreign soil.
Cancel Woodcock, cuz this line can be heard as a slur.

What a question!
A nice line. So simple and real; Greekly nice. Real life in Literature.

Behind enemy lines?
(a) "lines" : as in, say, "lines of dialogue"?
(b) Perhaps Woodcock was captured, too, just as Alma's parents were, by the Nazis? Alma's entire post-WW2 afterlife is one long ever-changing PTSD. Perhaps Woodcock's is the same! We the Spectator know nothing of his war years except that he rescued lace.

I'm surrounded on all sides.
(a) That's true enough, whatever the degree of "sanity".
(b) sustains genre (e.g., war movies, those espionage pictures).
(c) The "I" is surrounded by everything mistaken for the "I", for a lifetime.

It's you who brought me here.
Yeah, but no. Like everything in life.

When the hell did this happen? Who are you?
Dissociation. "Mask of Sanity" falls, knocked away by anxiety, revealing Abyss. An Abyss that is empty until it is filled by Definition. (hell : a wisp of his world—pious London.)

Do you have a gun? You here to kill me? Do you have a gun?
(a) 1930s. (b) Regression. (c) Paranoia. (d) Intensification of True Concern/Fear. (e) Gun : WW2. (f) (Superior Force Reduces Other Regardless : and so it is.)

Stop it!
"You started it!" a child might say. She turned it on, now she wants it off. Clap on, clap off. 

Where's your gun? . . . Where's your gun?
Reduced to repetition. Like a lobotomised HAL-9000. Repetition compulsion.

Stop being a child.
(a) What a line! This is a human Speech Act in action, for sure. Consider : the speaker Defines, then Denunicates. The denunciation is founded in the confidence of the definition, which, however, is based on nothing substantial.
(b) A child loves treats. Isn't this what this dinner supplies . . . for both?
(c) A child loves dress-up. Isn't Alma the one dressed for a party?
(d) A child loves surprises, such as surprise parties and Christmas-morning presents : this dinner party might be an analogue of, wow, think of it, an Alma birthday party!

Stop playing.
The first tells the other to stop doing what the first is doing : such is life, moment by moment, person by person.

What precisely is the nature of my game?
An authentic Artist? The answer is Destiny. That's the only confident answer (ha).


In EWS, the "end of the rainbow" is Death. This thematic meaning is communicated through a two-minute-long lens flare. All this has been spoken of here. Also previously spoken of here is the appearance, therefore, of a rainbow lens flare at a significant moment in PT. But have we all noticed how many rainbow lens flares are in this consequential scene?

Watch the film (hard to see them here) and start counting!

What inspired me to post this was the following amazing shot : as complicated a shot that Hollywood can produce!

PTA has now entered the contemporary Amazing Lens Flare shortlist!

Awesome. Best wishes.


This editing :

demonstrates, absolutely no question, right off the bat, PTA really understands what he's doing.

And reminds me of this editing moment in The Departed :

but for the interesting effect of the precision geometrical progression to work in these cases, these moments need to be watched within the films. Point to wonder about? : The wondrous editing effect is completely effaced in jpg.


think about the metaphors :

A seeker falls into a deep hole and is damaged. He looks up to the light. Perhaps for a moment death becomes a very real possibility. But then the gift of the Artfulness is revealed to him, and he finds the strength to rise, escape, and live.

Live all the way until the bowling alley. Wait a minute : . . . a bowling alley?

Remind anyone of a pool table?



Just as the monolith transitions from a vital seeking to learn and survive (in 2001: A Space Odyssey), to a pool table where one "knocks a few balls around" (idle nihilism),

so in There Will Be Blood

the progression moves from overcoming a life-and-death situation through force and will . . . to a desk ("You mean, sit behind a desk, chair-borne?" : James Stewart, Vertigo), and a Big Lebowski-type bowling alley.

("There's a bowling alley in the cellar." Sunset Boulevard)

New resonances. . . . Keep watching, keep thinking. . . .