Saturday, October 13, 2007

58; Color paradoxes, B&W movies

Well, the Nobels are all but over. Technically Economics hasn't been dished out, but, eh, its economics.

Never read anything by Doris Lessing, so I can't really say anything about her taking the Lit prize. I thought the Chemistry and Physics awards were interesting and worthwhile.

Peace? Al Gore? I mean, he only got half the prize, but, really? It's hard for me not to think the Peace prize is just a political thing anymore. I think the other half, to the UN committee on climate change is deserved. I'm just wondering how the current administration will respond to Gore. I think the prize may be desserved, but perhaps conservatively, awarded a few years down the line.

There's no real doubt to my mind that we are affecting the climate, but I wonder if An Inconvenient Truth is worthy of a Nobel prize. I know Gore has done more than that, but if he were to be hit by a bus that would be one of his biggest legacies.

In other media news, since I don't linkspam, a few quick movie reviews.

Man with the Movie Camera, by Dziga Vertov, 1929. Absolutely amazing. An incredible tour d' force that should be watched by everyone with a brain. Really, probably the best peice I've seen so far in my quest to watch the great movies. It instantly shot into my top five, perhaps top three. It completely reinvents, in a way I've not seen duplicated, the grammar of cinema. And it's on DVD with orchestral accompaniment based on the director's notes which really is fabulous.

Metropolis, by Fritz Lang, 1927. Oh sweet Jesus. Why has this film garnered such a high reputation? It's so bad! Like, really, really, awfully bad. With all the subtlety of a brick to the groin ("THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN THE HANDS AND THE HEAD MUST BE THE HEART!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND!? IT MUST BE THE MEDIATOR!! HANDS, HEAD, HEART, MEADIATOR, MUST BE!!") The pancake makeup expressions, the ridiculous socialism and Biblical overtones, undertones and betweentones, the absurd scenes. Perhaps it was revolutionary when it came out, I don't doubt it. It has some great cinematography. But it simply has not stood the test of time, in my point of view. The acting is silly too. Only watch if you plan to MST3K it.

Also discovered in the past few days of tremendous entertainment: Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law. What happens when you buy the rights to all of Hannah Barberra's cartoon creations and make your own surrealist humor show with them, voiced in part by Stephen Colbert? You get a full load of amazing incredibleness.

So that covers media and real news. Personally little to report. Bennington is going swimmingly. The habit of life back on campus has finally set in. The house is still predominately cool. Fire alarms are still going off randomly. Everything back to normal.

Here's a paradox I used to worry about as a kid. What if you visual light receptors in your eyes processed colors in negative? What I mean is, what if physiologically I saw red as blue, for example? I'd have no objective menas of knowing that what I saw as red and was taught to call red everyone else saw as blue. How do we know we see the world the same way, if our means of seeing may be reversed. In the red-blue scenario objective red (viewed blue) would always be seen as blue, with corresponding shades and vice versa. If someone asked me what color a lobster is I'd of course say red, since that was what I'd been taught that shade as it appears to me is called, even though it is objective blue.

Of course, blue lobsters exist. So that settles that. Right?

Breaking news! Nobel Prize in Economics goes to 1920's silent film actor for studying the economic ramifications of viewing green sunsets as green instead of orange as means for raising awareness about climate change.

1 comment:

Max Cantor said...

I've engaged in the "subjective color" debate before. I think there's an explanation for consistency between people, though. I don't mean to step in and dash the possibility of the romantic sense of universal ambiguity in the debate, but really, colors are consistently quantified as consecutive wavelengths of the visual light spectrum. I think that if there were physiological differences from person to person that altered their subjective perception of which color was which, we would be able to observe those differences in our examinations of the human eye and brain. I think there would have to be significant mechanical differences between eyeballs to result in different color experiences. Furthermore, since color is quantified on a spectrum, "color-swapping" would result in the spectrum being essentially shifted around, which doesn't seem like it could happen.