Sunday, November 29, 2009

Apocalypse Now: The Fantasy of Urban Decay Becomes Reality

The late 1980's Robocop series were much the like the mechanical protagonists of the current Transformers series: wildly popular and critical failures. As ridiculous as both of these movies' plots are, the setting of cybernetic Robocop is eerily relatable as it takes place in the "dystopian near-future, Detroit, Michigan is on the verge of collapse due to financial ruin and unchecked crime". Additionally, the criminals of the movie seek to force "the old City of Detroit todefault on its debt, so that they can can foreclose, take over the city government, demolish the old city, and put up a planned community (Delta City) in its place. As part of this plan, it forces a police strike by terminating their pension plan and cutting salaries by 40%." Regardless of the director's decision for picking the city, their fictional basis for the collapse of a city and system is mirrored by Detroit's present downfall as the heart of American Industry.
And surely enough, as of 2009, a downturn in the economy and unwise if not criminal acts based on the securtization of debt have caused Robocops outlandish foreclosure plot to be quite believable. While there is not a Delta city in the works, the Times of London writes of detroit:

The murder rate is soaring. The school system is in receivership. The city treasury is $300 million (£182m) short of the funds needed to provide the most basic services such as rubbish collection. In its postwar heyday, when Detroit helped the US to dominate the world’s car market, it had 1.85 million people. Today, just over 900,000 remain. The motor city that once boasted the highest median income and home ownership rate in the US is today in the midst of a long and agonising death spiral.
The theme of struggle seems to be highly relatable at this current place of time no matter what its specific context. The novel and film adaption of The Road, though written in 2006 will prove to be rather timely as the author sought to create a world for his characters of ""a world in severe trauma"". The film is a "post-apocalyptic tale of a journey taken by a father and his young son over a period of several months, across a landscape blasted by an unnamed cataclysm that destroyed all civilization and, apparently, almost all life on earth." While Robocop predicits a future yet to happen with sets, The Road directors were able to find enough post-apocalyptic setting in America's rust belt so that sets were not necessary, in fact much of the filming was done in
" Pittsburgh as a practical can be very bleak. There are city blocks that are abandoned. The woods can be brutal. We didn't want to go the CGI world." Filmmakers also shot scenes in parts of New Orleans that had been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina".
No critic could call Robocop prophetic, but no-one at this given point in time could argue with The Roads's setting, as it is not an interpretation, but a reality.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Intel is Thuggish, Oh Really?

The Attorney General of New york has filed suit against Intel, alleging that the company has been systematically bribing manufactures, effectively monopolizing the market through hundreds of millions of slush money:“Rather than compete fairly, Intel used bribery and coercion to maintain a stranglehold on the market,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Intel’s actions not only unfairly restricted potential competitors, but also hurt average consumers who were robbed of better products and lower prices.”

One could have predicted such a story much earlier by simply looking at Intel's ad campaigns. If you think a producer enjoys its consumers being a slave to its products, imagine how much money they could make if they had actual slaves working for them. Though tongue and check, what colorblind historiographically challenged idiot cued up this ad. "Oh lets have one geeky white guy to whom a non-unique photoshopped group of blackmen are bowing down to, oh lets also make the cubicles look like a galleon, or some ship thats really fast, our processors are fast, that will get the message across, by the way don't forget to send out those bribes to europe and south korea"!