6/28/2005 08:07 PM PST
Those who are much more rotten than I
will be missed much more when they die.
1/28/2004 03:02 PM PST
When I get enough clout, I want to remake A Clockwork Orange. Kubrick's version is all very fun and that, but it's flawed and it's a little too humorous, I think. Plus the ending was left off.
I'd cast Alex as someone who is obviously very young... in the book he's supposed to be fifteen when the story starts. I'd make sure all the droogs looked young, in fact. Maybe get a boy band. That's part of the shock of this, that they're just kids.
I'd make it more violent. At the same time I'd make the violence more cinematic and artistic, at least before Alex undergoes treatment... you want to get an idea of how Alex feels about it, after all. Plus audiences now are jaded. You can either go really gory or you can make it like ballet. Perhaps later, when Alex is undergoing the Ludovico treatment, the violence he's shown can be stark and flat. (There'd be kind of a multi-level irony there, because in the book, the violent movies are played up cinematically to be more effective, and here we're toning them down because the violence in our movie is so balletic.)
I'd somehow fit in that entire first evening out. From Kubrick's film, you don't really get a sense of how much they manage to fit into an evening, what a menace they are... he cuts out a lot. I also want to have the sense that you're traveling with them, from place to place, and in the movie it's just, you're here, now you're here, now you're there, and we don't know what happened along the way.
If I'm going to put in the bit where he picks up the girls in the record store (and I'm not sure it's necessary, that section doesn't have much to add to the story, but it may be necessary for transition purposes), they too should be young. In the book they're ten-year-olds. I think the point is to show how even the very young are accustomed to the violence in society; you get the impression that the girls are put out by being violated in this way, but they're resigned to it as something that happens from time to time.
Anyway, in general I want to adhere closely to the book, make it really strictly accurate to the original text. No milk bottle upside Alex's gulliver, no Deltoid drinking denture backwash, no tossing droogs in the harbor, straight razor for Alex instead of sword cane, Dim and Billyboy as police rather than Dim and Georgie, etc. And for Christ's sake, no "Singin' in the Rain."
The soundtrack will probably be periods of dead silence interspersed with loud, visceral music, both orchestral and industrial and hybrids of both. It will not be a parade of groups the music biz is pimping out at the time.
More nadsat. Kubrick cut back bits of it here and there for the sake of comprehensibility, since the viewers weren't immersed in a text which acted as a primer. If I'm packing more material in, I think I can go heavier with the nadsat and not lose people. Plus I'm assuming that at least some of the audience has been exposed to the original. Maybe not a safe assumption, but I want to find a way to make the dialogue more nadsat-heavy.
All the places in the book which are supposed to look run-down and derelict, would be. Kubrick went a little crazy with the futuristic furniture. Alex's parents' apartment is supposed to be utilitarian and dumpy... the modern furniture is okay as long as it looks old and beat-up and worn-out. The production design might want to be more something like Blade Runner.
Also, more scope, bigger sets. Except for a very few exterior shots, Kubrick's film was all shot inside single rooms with very little depth of field. That was probably due to budget considerations so it's not really his fault, and he had to find a lot of locations rather than build sets, but I think we can screw more money out of Hollywood to do this right. More camera moves, too. Most of his shots are static. At the same time, I don't want to rely on expensive sets and effects and stuff.
The futuristic detail should be throwaway. I'm not going to hold the camera on a prop for five seconds because it cost $100K to make. This stuff should be just there, and that's nice but we aren't that interested because it's just part of the world, so let's move on.
Have the police be less the guardians of order, and more like another gang, which is how they're portrayed in the book. These were not nice guys. In the movie there's an attempt to show that Alex provokes his beat-down in the police station, but in the book they just beat on him for their own amusement. Also, show the beating, at least in a fragmentary way, not just before/after. The rozzes are also capable of ultra-violence.
I would add in the original ending, where we see Alex back at his old pursuits with a new gang, getting bored with it, and eventually deciding to move on to something less violent and more fulfilling. I'd also include the meeting with Pete... meaning Pete has to do more than stand in the background like he did in Kubrick's film.
However, I'd cut out all this glurge about Alex having disconnected urges to get married and have children. Anthony Burgess' ending for the book is absolutely necessary, but poorly realized. It just isn't believable, at least not to me.
What is a believable transition for Alex? What is the central interest in his life, beyond going out and kicking heads in? It's music. And with such a deep interest in music, and an evidently poetic spirit, and this new urge to do something constructive with his life, it makes sense that he would then try to create music. He even talks about how accomplished many of his heroes were by the time they'd reached the ripe old age of eighteen, which is where he is when the book ends. His new direction is obvious, but Burgess seems to lose sight of his own characterizations. Maybe the final chapter was just a draft. Anyway, that's how I'd end it, with Alex becoming a musician with a mind to becoming a composer, channeling his violent instincts into the kind of music which he himself used to sharpen his own violent urges.
The book is really ambiguous when it comes to deciding what the 'right' kind of life to live is. The bulk of the population is characterized as passive drones living in fear, at least by Alex, our narrator; yet in the end of the book, this is apparently presented as the ideal, the thing you should become when you grow up and grow out of ignorance. Despite that, there's almost palpable dread and resignation on Alex's part when he realizes what's happening to him. Also, Alex characterizes himself and droogs in general as being the only really free people in his society, which appears to be sliding slowly towards totalitarianism.
I don't think there's enough emphasis on the fact that Alex is an exception in this case; most young thugs go on to become old thugs, dead thugs, or old cons. Alex broke out of the pattern, presumably because of his intelligence and his artistic urges. I don't know if I'd bother spelling that out in my film, but it's something I've noticed about the book.
So yes, we end with Alex the composer, maybe not totally peaceful and passive, either, living the rock star life, Mozart in mirrorshades as it were. And room for a totally meaningless sequel.
10/16/2003 04:43 PM PST
I was talking to God last night. He said He's sick of everybody shamelessly using His name to justify their own interests, and He's calling the whole game off. Until further notice, all departed souls are to be quartered at the Holiday Inn near the airport. Continental breakfast will be provided. Anyone claiming to be 'saved' or 'chosen' will have their mini-bar privileges revoked. Not my rules, dude.
9/22/2003 05:16 PM PST
Junkies everywhere breathe a sigh of relief as Afghanistan returns to opium as its primary source of income. A US official stated that money earmarked for rehabilitation of Afghanistan's economy would be channeled into rehab clinics "any day now." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld then interrupted, exclaiming "Mind your own goddamn business! How do you think Columbia's paying for itself?" before showering reporters with scalding hot Starbuck's coffee. A representative of Lockheed-Martin immediately submitted an $80 billion bid for a coffee-based defense system. Meanwhile, heroin-hungry addicts rejoice as cheap scag blows through the streets. "Thank god we got rid of the Taliban before the price went too high," said one. 'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh responded by stating, "I didn't go to join al Qaeda, I was just trying to cut out the middleman." A spokesperson for Wal-Mart replied to Lindh's statement by saying, "Our heroin prices, and in fact all our heavy drug prices, have remained consistently lower than the national average throughout the reign of the evil Taliban regime. It's just another way that Wal-Mart cares for the American family." The shade of William Burroughs declined comment.
In other news, Cat Stevens was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport today when he attempted to carry more than five pounds of weapons-grade patchouli onto a flight to New York. Stevens was charged with being ornery while Muslim.
8/19/2003 07:06 AM PST
I have this recurring dream. I'm in the ninth circle of Hell, and embedded in the ice up to their necks are Fred Durst, Henry Kissinger and Jerry Lewis. I'm ice-skating in the background, eavesdropping as I circle round and round them at a distance.
"I don't know why I'm here," says Fred... actually he says "I don't know why the fuck I'm here." He goes on to say, "I was only doing what people wanted me to do."
"Yes," says Kissinger. "That is also what I did in life. They were not easy decisions to make, but I chose what the ordinary man would have chosen, were he capable of making such decisions. What about you, Mr. Lewis?"
"A-HEY, with the yelling and the making like an idiot! For the laughs and the wa-HEY!" says Jerry, rolling his eyes, his tongue lolling.
Durst laughs. "Yer pretty funny," he says. He turns to Kissinger. "What'd he say?"
Kissinger shakes his head. "He can now only speak in that detestable imbecile voice," he says. "It's not even his character voice, but a grotesque parody. Mr. Lewis says he made a career of making light of mental illness because his audience laughed at it."
"Tards are funny," says Durst.
"Er, indeed," says Kissinger. "And his later exploitation of the handicapped to prop up his sagging reputation was a sort of repentance, in his mind." A sneer creeps into his voice, although his expression remains blank.
Lewis sputters, droplets of spittle crystallizing as they leave his mouth. "A-ho, hey, bite my crank, Kissinger! You're with the subversion and the torture and the killing... wa-HEY, three thousand Chileans can't be wrong!" Durst laughs.
Kissinger shakes his head as best he can in his icy prison. "No, no, that is not true," he says, "and even if it was, that was a dangerous Communist regime..."
"See, I never killed anybody," says Durst.
"Oh, is that so?" says Kissinger, eager to change the subject.
"Yeah, like, supposedly I'm here for 'contributing to the decline of art' or some fuckin shit. Which is, like, total bullshit. Cause I was up there singing about my heart, man, like what's deep inside. Like how my girlfriend won't do what I say, an' how that makes me feel. Or like how like I like didn't like feel anything for this other chick I was fucking."
Kissinger takes a deep breath and says nothing, nonplussed.
"An' then there was the thing where my lawyers made it so I got the rights to anything anyone played when they auditioned for me, but that wasn't ME, man, that was them covering my ass."
"Yes, yes," says Kissinger, "I quite agree, we cannot be held responsible for the sins of our employers, but your former point, that perhaps gives us insight into how our associate Mr. Lewis came to be in this place--"
"uh-HEY, smooch my rosey-red TUCHUS!"
"Hey man, I didn't work for them, they worked for me! Maybe they, uh, advised me on what to write about, but that's just them lookin out for me, lookin out for number one..."
At that moment I skate up to them, skidding to a halt and showering them with ice shavings. "Gentlemen," I say, "I couldn't help but overhear your conversation." My red woolly muffler flaps in the eternal icy breeze of Hell's bottom floor.
"Hello!" says Kissinger, his eyes widening in dumb hope behind the glare of his glasses. "Do you suppose you could let us out of this ice?"
"Welllll," I say coyly, bending at the waist, my tits pushing out the front of my down jacket, "that depends on how you answer some questions." Kissinger nods emphatically; Durst drools a little, having not been laid in several thousand years. Jerry was already drooling.
I fold my mittened hands behind my back. "Okey-dokey. Did you intend to help devalue talent and take art out of the hands of true artists?" I say to Durst.
"Hell no," he says immediately. "I just wanted to get paid and laid." I turn to Kissinger.
"Did you intend to cause the slaughter of thousands and the oppression of millions?"
Kissinger shakes his head weakly. "No. No, I did not. I was only concerned about America's security and her interests."
I give him a little smile, and turn to Jerry. "And did you intend to have a range of expression which runs from asinine to maudlin, while secretly loathing everyone you ever met?"
"Uh-uh, no way ho-SAY! Give the people what they want! Everybody loves Jerry!"
I nod. "Mmhmm," I say, and straighten myself. "I'm afraid I can't help you, gentlemen."
"What the fuck?" says Durst. Jerry just salivates, eyes rolling.
"But why not?" asks Kissinger.
"Well, you see," I say, starting to skate in tight circles around them, "this isn't an Old Testament Hell, where you get sent for disobeying God, or even a Dantean Hell, where you're punished for being wicked. This is the New World Order Hell, where we consent to punish ourselves.
"In the new-style Hell you're punished for the self-deception which led to your evil deeds. The deeds themselves are not completely irrelevant, but had you committed them with eyes open, there would be no sin. You won't find Hitler or Osama bin Laden here. They did what they did on purpose. You did it as a side-effect. You bumbled into evil, and here that's a greater sin than evil intent."
"That's... that's utterly insane," said Kissinger.
"That's fucked," added Durst, although he comprehended none of it.
"aHOY!" remarked Jerry.
I skidded to a stop. "In the Information Age, the greatest sin is false information," I offered, grinning. "No? Okay. I'll let you answer another question."
All three of them looked up at me hopefully.
I bent over them again, smiling brightly. "Hands up, who wants my mittens?!"
8/16/2003 08:21 PM PST
The current mission of the recording industry is to make sure that someone like Elvis Presley or the Beatles never, ever happens again. True superstars are a tremendous liability. They can't be controlled easily by the usual means, and more importantly, they can't be replaced. They throw into relief the sham which is the entire music business. Therefore they have to be suppressed; they cannot be allowed to surface.
8/12/2003 02:40 AM PST
The key is not to be a brute, nor to be overwhelmed by the majesty of all things; but to be both at once. That is transcendence. Unfortunately it's also a good way to lose your mind.
6/12/2003 04:39 PM PST
Wings of heavenspun haze, aircraft titanium in smog form, each feather a cutting wisp, imagined traceries of veins through mimicry of organic slough, a flow of alcoholic green, remnants of the last angst-laden binge. Clarity comes in the morning, or an illusion of clarity, with early rising. Everything is well in the morning hours, but fingers of doubt slip in to massage. When will these wings be revealed to the world? They remain furled through all the storms of self-loathing; perhaps they will rot in their sheaths, cobwebbed, welded together by age. Or vestigial, never meant to work at all. Their contours are explored in dreams. They may not be detached, no matter how they may pain their owner.
6/08/2003 03:45 PM PST
My shoulder hurts. I feel alone. My friends all sound like they're pretending. I want to get drunk but I can't get interested enough to do so. I give but can't accept. I'm going to die alone. I'll amount to nothing. I want to kill myself but I'm afraid I might miss something good. I can't remember what it was like to care about something for more than five minutes. I don't know how I got here. I'm afraid of people responding to this, and I'll feel guilty when it doesn't help. I can't make myself do anything. I don't believe any of you. I'm expected to soak up everyone's poison and want nothing for myself. I don't think I ever stood a chance. I have no purpose. Everyone wants me to serve them, and I usually go along with it. I feel my kindness is a weakness... each act of kindness kills me a little more. I am invisible. Being worshipped is the only thing that makes me feel alive. I feel sorry for everyone/I resent everyone. I don't know if it happened to me or if I started to notice it. I know I will fail but I won't allow myself to give up entirely. I think people who believe in me are misguided. I'm running out of time. I shouldn't blame others but I will. I see nothing to believe in. I don't feel my pain, I theorize that it exists. I know that you didn't ask to hear this. Everything that I am mocks me. I want to be cruel instead of thoughtful. I should be force-feeding myself to the world. I'm lost. I don't know who I am. I am the color of whatever is in front of me.
5/21/2003 03:17 AM PST
I'm sloughing off my skin
not just today but for good
I want to be an underwater thing
come visit me in my tank
look but don't touch
(you're not missing much)
what a way to spend an afternoon
5/16/2003 09:34 PM PST
Today I started to take apart a Speak 'n' Read in order to make it into an incantor. To learn what an incantor is, click here. I opened the case and brushed away dried insulation and baby puke, and a genie came up out of the main voice chip, all boiling blue smoke and greasy muscles, and he floated in the air above my work table.
He said, "You have freed me from the bowels of the infernal Texas Instruments consumer electronics device, and now I shall provide you with a wish, Master." And he squinted and said, "Is it 'Master?'"
And I said "Yeah, that'll be fine."
And the genie said, "I await your command, O Master."
So I put down the soldering iron, and after a few seconds' thought I said, "O Genie, I said, I wish that the population of the world was one large prickvixen-boot-polishing squad and people hug my legs adoringly, and I get to destroy civilization, too. That is my wish."
And the genie said, "Oh, you've got to be kidding."
And I said "What?" raising my eyebrows in surprise, for I was surprised and I did that.
And the genie said, "What do you want to waste a wish on that for?"
And I said "What?" again. "Is it not a good idea?"
And the genie forced himself to say, "It's a great idea, O Master," and then said "But it's already going to happen!"
And I, knowing this, said, "Yes, I know. So it doesn't happen because of the wish?"
The genie said, "No, O Master."
And I said, "Well," raising my eyebrows again. They'd lowered since the last time. I said, "I have everything that I need, then."
The genie said, "A wish, O master."
"Oh, all right," I said. "I wish I had a clever punchline for this entry."
"Done," the genie said.
And I said, "You call that a punchline?"