The Time Machine (2002)

Not rated yet!
Director
Simon Wells
Runtime
1 h 36 min
Release Date
4 March 2002
Genres
Science Fiction, Adventure, Action
Overview
Hoping to alter the events of the past, a 19th century inventor instead travels 800,000 years into the future, where he finds humankind divided into two warring races.
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Crosswalk2
Cross Walk



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Machine Might not be the Best Use of Your Time
    Movies The Time Machine - PG-13Best for: Mature young teens.What it's about: When scientist and inventor Alexander Hartdegen (Guy Pearce) loses his fiancee, Emma, to a tragic accident, he invents a time machine to go back in time and change the future. At first his experiment proves successful, but when tragedy strikes, the grieving professor jumps into his time machine and sets off for unknown lands, hurling 800,000 years into the future. There he meets an Eloi tribesman who takes Alexander in and teaches him how to survive with Mara (Samantha Mumba) and her brother Kalen (Omero Mumba). Orlando Jones plays a hilarious computerized hologram named Vox who escorts Alexander through time. Jeremy Irons plays the head of the Morlocks, who feed on the Eloi for food and sport.The good: This is pure popcorn entertainment, with a little bit of romance, lots of action and plenty of special effects. A couple of scenes will have you jumping out of your seat. The time machine looks like a magical work of art that wouldn't disappoint H.G. Wells himself; I just wish we got to see more of it. The sets are unique and colorful, but it's the creepy Morlocks, with their ghostlike demon leader, that will give you the biggest thrill. Wells was a man ahead of his time, weaving into his story issues of futurism, class-consciousness and socialism.The not-so-good: The story feels incomplete. Certain scenes work, but the film just whets the appetite for adventure. Two scenes depict a woman's violent death, but the audience I watched the movie with laughed at the circumstances of the second death. A couple of characters are hit by blow darts and dragged under the earth by the demonic-looking Morlocks.Offensive language: None that I caught. The Time Machine is an English classic.Sexual situations: A couple of kissing scenes.Violence: Morlocks attack the villagers and eat human bones.Parental advisory: Nathan (my son) and I were grabbing each other all the way through the chase scenes. I must have squeezed his hand too tight because he teased me afterward. If you think your little ones can handle demonic-looking monsters who hunt humans (grabbing a few women and children) and jump into sand pits to take them to the center of the earth to eat them . . . be my guest! But I predict your kids will have bad dreams for weeks.Bottom line: This is a good movie, but it's not a great one. A more extensive script, with more scenes of time travel and more scenes of Irons battling it out with Pearce, would have taken it to the next level. Nate and I agreed that the ending could have been better. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The Time Machine
    Movies from Film Forum, 03/14/02Enough about the last year at Film Forum. There are other backward-looking endeavors to consider. One of literature's most beloved sci-fi writers, H.G. Wells, has given us The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, and the often-adapted The Time Machine. The story remains popular, its influence evident in numerous big-screen and television favorites, from Back to the Future to Star Trek to Quantum Leap.This new big screen adaptation introduces drastic revisions. The scientist-inventor-hero (Guy Pearce) is now crushed by the loss of his sweetheart. So he employs a time travel vehicle that's part gyroscope, part cockpit, part Harley-Davidson—a whirligig that hurls him backward and forward, first in an attempt to prevent the death of his beloved, then in a quest to gain understanding from a future world 800,000 years away. In the future, he discovers the Eloi, an above-ground people caught up in conflict with monstrous subterranean Morlocks. The Morlocks are orc-like beasts led by a ghostly psychic (played by Jeremy Irons, who must have slept in a tub of bleach to achieve his ghastly appearance.The film is directed by Wells's great-grandson Simon Wells (The Prince of Egypt). But Wells departed the project near its completion, and Gore Verbinski (The Mexican) took over. The result is a fusion of smirking comedy and action/adventure that became the weekend's box office champ but scored very few points with critics.Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) complains that the directors "straddle between two genres and ultimately satisfy fans of neither." The silver lining: "One thing the film does depict well … is the truth that no matter what man does to ruin this planet for himself, God designed it to endure."Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) calls it "an amusing B-movie … a mindless popcorn flick. The movie raises issues of conformity, guilt, and deciding when it's appropriate to accept one's fate and when it's better to fight it." googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); Although she too liked the film, Holly McClure (Crosswalk) warns worried parents: "I predict your kids will have bad dreams for weeks."Ted Baehr (Movieguide) writes, "Although it is too violent for young children and has a few gaffes in the story, The Time Machine is an interesting, fun diversion which makes some good, moral and even redemptive points."Douglas Downs (Christian Spotlight) recommends the film, calling it "a compelling drama," and says, "Most sci-fi fans will be pleased with the trip."Several other religious press critics vehemently disagree. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' critic calls it a "misguided effort with average special effects and forced performances in a spotty, convoluted screenplay that devolves from sci-fi to horror to action without entertaining."[Warning: Minor spoilers ahead! Click here to go past them.]Steven J. Greydanus (Decent Films) says the film is "pitiful entertainment, succeeding neither as spectacle, as action-adventure, or as love story." He's bewildered by the fact that the hero "works for years to save the love of his life, then gives up after one try." He poses other challenges to specific plot points, like, "How do you sucker-punch someone who's telepathic?"Similarly incredulous, film critic Peter T. Chattaway stacks up further challenges in a comment at the onFilm dicussion list: "How on earth can a holographic library system survive 800,000 years after the city has been destroyed by falling moon debris and after an ice age has covered the earth and melted away ... what sort of power source is this thing running on? And how is it that the time machine can be turned into an explosive device ... and how does [the hero] know what sort of explosion the time machine will create? Arrrrgh. These are just the first inexplicabilities that pop into my head."Mary Draughon (Preview) faults "a few mild crudities and one exclamatory profanity" and a "bleak view of a Godless universe."Mainstream critics were bored and bothered by Time Machine. Jeffrey Wells (Reel.com) writes, "The failure of The Time Machine is unqualified by mediocrity; its awfulness achieves a kind of splendor." He describes the Morlocks as "totally unthreatening. Not for a millisecond do you believe they're anything other than computerized creations, and unoriginal ones at that. They look like blond cousins of the Orcs from Lord of the Rings."Mary Ann Johanson (Flick Filosopher) is reminded of Einstein's description of relativity: "Spend an hour with a pretty girl (he said), and it feels like only a moment. Put your hand on a hot stove for a moment, and it feels like an hour. The Time Machine is like spending time with the hot stove, not the pretty girl. I'll grant that it doesn't cause actual physical injury, only mental numbness." googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Charles Taylor (Salon.com) offers a frail compliment: "It's not much praise to say that The Time Machine is the sort of diversion that's better than you expect it to be. But we're almost a quarter of the way through a year that so far has offered no genuinely entertaining mainstream movies." ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

Devon Stack1
Black Pilled



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

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  • The Tale of Two Time Machines
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    (Review Source)

Plugged In1
Focus on the Family



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • What’s New and Streaming for Families In May (2019)

    May flowers. May Day. Maypole. May I please have another? May is one of those wonderful months that fills us with thoughts of renewal and fresh springy goodness. We go to festivals in the park, work in the garden and take bike rides in the soft sunshine in May. Things that’ll keep us outside and […]

    The post What’s New and Streaming for Families In May (2019) appeared first on Plugged In Blog.

    ...
    (Review Source)

Counter Currents Staff2
Counter Currents Publishing



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

⚠️ EDGY 🔥 CONTENT 🔥 WARNING 🔥 (NSFW?) ⚠️

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  • Apathy & Fake News: The Murder of Kitty Genovese
    (”The Time Machine (2002)” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    [1]1,663 words

    The Witness (2015)
    Directed by James D. Solomon

    Before working out at the gym became my religion, I grew up attending church every Sunday. The first sermon I recall hearing was related to the “apathy” of those New Yorkers who were in their apartments overlooking a street where a 29-year-old woman named Kitty Genovese was murdered on a cold, dark night. Fighting “apathy” was, according to our minister, a big moral deal and meant all sorts of politically correct moral things that I’ve now come to believe are not so moral. The morality tale resulting from the murder of Kitty Genovese regarding “apathy” was created in a now-classic New York Times article [2] dated March 27, 1964. The article leads off with the alarming line, “For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law‐abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens.”

    Kitty Genovese’s murder and the alleged apathy of her neighbors impacted American society like a well-aimed barrage of eight-inch artillery shells [3]. Television programs referred to the events for decades, even altering the details to imply the neighbors callously went out of their way not to get involved. The original [4]Death Wish [5]alludes to the Genovese murder when Paul Kersey pulls down his window shades rather than stop a mugging of a woman outside his apartment complex. For the next two decades, every few years, reporters would track down a Kew Garden witness and attempt to carry out an interview-by-ambush. The murder was the inspiration for a theory called the “bystander effect [6].” According to this admittedly plausible theory, one is more likely to get help if there are fewer people around rather than more.

    The actual events of the murder are unearthed in the 2015 documentary film, The Witness, which presents findings in the case by Kitty’s brother, William Genovese. William lost both legs while serving in the US Marine Corps in Vietnam. Will’s decision to volunteer for ‘Nam was based on his desire to fight against “apathy.” After watching this documentary, this author realized that instead of an inguilting morality tale about “apathy,” the story around Kitty Genovese’s murder should really be interpreted as a call for further white advocacy.

    A more accurate view [7] of the Kitty Genovese murder first bubbled up into the public consciousness in 2004, when an amateur historian named Joseph De May, Jr. decided to create a historical Website about the Kew Gardens apartment complex, where he lived. In doing so, he was forced to examine the area’s most notorious crime. After reading the original New York Times article, De May realized that the story presented therein was not accurate [7]. The inaccuracies began in the first sentence. De May was able to prove that there were two attacks on Kitty, not three. Additionally, one resident had shouted at the killer from his window, causing him to temporarily flee. Kitty walked away, and the person who had shouted assumed the attack had been thwarted.

    Assuming it was not completely invented by the New York Times, the idea of “38 witnesses” probably comes from a list of names of those the police interviewed as part of their investigation – not people who saw anything during the attack. At any rate, the records show that most witnesses heard, and did not see, something, and didn’t realize there was a murder happening. Several residents also claimed they had called the police; in 1964, however, there was not the efficient 911 system we have today. One had to dial an ordinary number, and calls weren’t recorded, either. One also had to call the police precinct responsible for the particular area where a crime was being committed instead of a central dispatch office. The Kew Gardens residents were thus ineffective, not “apathetic.”

    [8]

    The map [9] of Kew Gardens and the crime scene.

    So what can a white advocate take away from both the documentary The Witness and the overall story of Kitty Genovese? The first thing that jumps out is the Jewish Question. The editor responsible for the original New York Times story was Abe Rosenthal, and the reporter who wrote it was Martin Gansberg. The Jewish aspect of this case will be further discussed below, but it needs to be mentioned up front. The second thing which jumps out is the media’s framing of the story. It appeared on the front page of the New York Times at a time when that paper still held unquestioned credibility across American society as a whole, when the news media in general was still widely believed to be a neutral, honest institution merely reporting facts. The 1964 article was intended to shape public consciousness, and was thus an example of metapolitics in action. In fact, in present-day terms, it was both metapolitics and fake news.

    Although this is not discussed in the documentary, it’s possible that Abe Rosenthal and Martin Gansburg themselves could have been influenced to talk about “apathy” by contemporary pop-culture works. The first is The Time Machine (1960). In this film, the blondish Eloi sit passively while a woman in danger screams for help [10]. The second, more directly applicable film is the Alfred Hitchcock classic, Rear Window (1954). In a scene which moves the plot to its climax [11], a woman whose dog has been killed by the movie’s antagonist cries out, “Which one of you did it? Which one of you killed my dog? You don’t know the meaning of the word neighbors. Neighbors like each other, speak to each other, care if anybody lives or dies. But none of you do.”

    [12]

    “Apathy” didn’t kill Kitty Genovese, an Afro did. Kitty Genovese’s murder should have been a teachable moment about black crime and the destruction of America’s cities.

    Lost in all the shouting about “apathy” is what President John Quincy Adams’s grandson Charles Francis Adams, Jr. called [13]The Everlasting Nigger-Question [14].” Kitty Genovese was slain by a black serial killer and life-long criminal, also 29, named Winston Moseley. In a just world, the message of Kitty Genovese’s murder should not have been “apathy,” but a teachable moment about the escalating black crime wave across the great cities of the North. Which brings us back to the Jewish Question. It is a well-known fact that Jews supported black aspirations during the “civil rights” revolution of the 1960s – which was a black revolution, not a campaign for “rights.” In order to advance “civil rights,” newspaper creators suppressed the facts about black crime. The story of “apathy” was a look-the-other-way dodge to keep popular support for the Jewish-led MLK/desegregation efforts going.

    One aspect of black crime which is plainly demonstrated in this movie is the black community’s inability to self-police through effective moral instruction or moral action. In a very tense scene, William Genovese meets with Winston Moseley’s son, who is a minister. The killer’s black, preacher-man son believes that his father “snapped out” of his evil later in life and insists that Kitty had used “racial epithets” towards his father, thus deserving to be attacked. The black preacher-man has a hard time pronouncing the word “epithets,” and there is a sense that he is using a word he doesn’t fully understand. Regardless, even if Kitty had used racial epithets against Moseley, this did not give Moseley the right to stab her to death in two separate attacks. This should be an important lesson regarding the black community – even their ministers can’t morally police themselves or their community. Christianity [15] has made no impact upon blacks.

    [16]

    This famous photo of Kitty Genovese from 1961 is a mugshot. Kitty was the manager of a bar and was arrested in an anti-gambling sweep.

    Another thing one can sift out from this documentary is the idea that crime – meaning black crime, of course – was already bad in America’s cities by the 1950s, contrary to the myth of an American ’50s whitopia. Because of what was going on, all the Genovese family but Kitty had left New York City for Connecticut in the 1950s. Since discovering Counter-Currents and reading many of its articles, I’ve come to conclude that African pathology didn’t arise in the 1960s, as is popularly believed. It has always existed. There has never been a time since the end of slavery when the black population was anything more than a menace to the whites who live near them.

    Part of the viral reaction to Kitty Genovese’s murder was the fact that she was a “you go girl” trying to “make it on her own [17].” The documentary shows that Kitty had been briefly married to a man, but that after their annulment, she had moved in with another woman in a “Boston Marriage [18]”  arrangement (today she has been declared a lesbian). With that in mind, Kitty’s death underscored the old truths that nothing good happens to someone who is out and about after midnight, and that a woman away from her adult male relatives is especially vulnerable. It is not a coincidence that the horror genre [19] of film really took off in the 1960s, and that most of the genre’s fans were, and still are, women [20]. It remains to be seen for just how long the horror show of Africans living in the great cities of Western Civilization will continue.

    The final notable thing about this film is the clear sympathy that Shannon Beeby showed for William Genovese after she acted out Kitty’s final moments. I can’t be certain exactly what Shannon Beeby’s heritage is, but Beeby [21] is an English name, and variants of this surname can be found in the genealogy books of the first New England Puritan settlers [22]. During the nineteenth century, there was considerable tension [23] between native-born Protestant whites with names like Beebe/y and Catholic immigrants from Europe such as the Genovese family. Indeed, American Protestants in the Know-Nothing Party of the 1850s saw blacks as being less alien than Catholics. It is clear, however, that this situation has long since ended. All whites are in this together, no matter how many sacraments you think is the right number. We’re all Kitty Genovese.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Ever Sacred, Ever Vexed:Getting Down with the Lord of the Codes
    (”The Time Machine (2002)” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    3,618 words

    [1]Erik Davis
    Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica [2]
    Portland, Or.: Yeti Publishing, 2010

    “I find the internet-driven pressure to make pieces short, data-dense, and crisply opinionated — as opposed to thoughtful, multi-perspectival, and lyrical — rather oppressive, leading to a certain kind of superficial smugness as well as general submission to the forces of reference over reflection.” — Erik Davis[1]

    Nomad Codes collects about twenty years of Erik Davis’ essays and journalism. Some has appeared in rather obscure ’zines and websites, but much of it comes from mainstream outlets like the Village Voice, Wired, Salon, and Slate. That, along with titles like “The Technofreak Legacy of Golden Goa,” “UFO Epistemology,” and “My Date with a Burmese Transvestite Spirit Medium,” might lead you to pass it by, but that would be a mistake.[2]

    What’s distinctive about Erik Davis’s journalism is a unique combination of immersive reportage from the most eccentric subcultures — think Tom Wolfe among the Pranksters or Hunter Thompson riding with the Hell’s Angels — with the kind of profound insights derived from a lifetime (at least since the release of Led Zeppelin IV[3]) of practical study of the mythological and esoteric realms that Wolfe or Thompson could only dream of.

    A Klingon Con, for example, is revealed to me rather more than a sad collection of acned-scarred basement-dwellers — an awful lot seem to be drawn from law enforcement or the army, which Davis notes is a hotbed of Neopaganism as well; he quotes one Klingon saying that “The Klingons are very similar to the Norse” and then draws back to offer some commentary:

    But as good myth-weavers know, the potency of myth lies in the magic of ambiguity. . . . No matter how much you allegorize Klingons, as Russkies or black nationalists or creatures from the id, they are compelling because they retain a certain nomadic volatility — what the ’zine Katra calls “outliness”

    Further along, after observing a Klingon ritual and noting that everyone is aware that it’s “not real,” he neither scoffs like a Huffington Post secular bigot nor sniffs about “inauthentic pagan reconstructions” but makes the same point we have been arguing from in our own reviews of pop culture:

    Both fans and witches share a very concrete sense of the power of imagination, seen not as an elite realm restricted to “artists” (or TV producers) but as a vital phantasmic faculty that links the realms of fantasy with the here and now. . . .

    By performing their spiritual sensibilities in the trapping so a TV show, Karizans also revived the oldest derivation of the word “fan:” fanaticus, a devotee of the ancient mystery cults.[4]

    The term Davis likes to use for this kind of intersection of the sacred and profane is “occulture”:

    the place where popular culture meets the underground and very real currents of magic, mysticism, and the esoteric — a stream that has always been with us, but which was rediscovered and reaffirmed, in not always healthy ways, in the ’60s. “Occulture” is also a way to claim the occult or the religious fringe as a kind of cultural identity or playground, rather than an overly serious and hidden realm.

    I try to look at the mysteries from both ends — I think its important to look at, say, the contemporary ayahausca scene as a scene, with dress codes and slang and rock stars, not as a sacred separate realm.[5] (Even though sacred things can and do go down there.) At the same time I think it is important (or at least more rewarding) to look at our often junky[6] world of late capitalist culture as a place where the seeds of insight and vision might be found, if only you look at the landscape in just the right way . . .[7]

    Davis unpacks this idea right from the start by opening this collection with what he (or his editors) dubs a “Prolegomenon” in the form of an autobiographical account: “Teenage Head: Confessions of a High School Stoner.”

    [P]ot also gave me something that has stuck with me far longer than the urge to bake the brain: a love of slippage, founded in the realization that altering perception alters the claims reality makes on you. The various social agendas of parents, teachers, and the ghost of God could be sidestepped not only by sullen monosyllables and the worship of unwholesome heavy metal guitarists but by tinkering with consciousness itself. What greater rebellion than rewiring one’s experience of the world?

    Davis then adds this intriguing note:

    It’s no accident that many kids start taking drugs at about the same age when children in traditional societies are tossed into a terrifying rite of passage, often involving some freaked-out combination of blood, darkness, self-sufficiency, and secrets. For better or worse, acid, ’shrooms, and massive bongloads now perform this rite, leaving marks that are both scars and the deep patterns of change.

    That’s where subculture steps in, collective identities which can shore up the threat of dissolution and excess.

    Teenage cults of drugs and music (psychedelic, heavy metal, trance, as opposed to the squeaky-clean world of pop and the thug culture of [c]rap) are the modern equivalents of the traditional adolescent rites of passage, where drugs, music (and sex) are used to break the bonds of childhood and forge new ties with the adult world, or perhaps a “subculture” such as the Männerbund, the military, or the priesthood.

    [T]hat aimless and reckless quest for the silliest of grails (a party, pot, a parent-free abode)

    The particular role of drugs (to an extent shared with music and sex) is to produce a state Michael Hoffman has called “loose cognition,” where the tight bonds of what passes for common sense (Kuhn’s “normal science”) are loosen or broken, allowing new combinations to arise (Kuhn’s “new paradigm”).[8]

    Phasing between the reveries of a bookish childhood and the hormone-fueled angst of teendom, my mind liquefied, running through the cracks and creases of a suddenly unfolded world.

    For some, the shamanistic, shall we say, a lasting taste for such adventures in perception is retained, ideally combined with some ability to maintain an ability to function in normal society. The point is not to gain some new dogma, but to retain the ability to see.

    Acid doesn’t give you truths; it builds machines that push the envelope of perception. Whatever revelations came to me then have dissolved like skywriting. All I really know is that those few years saddled me with a faith in the redemptive potential of the imagination.

    It produces a bubbling, crackling connection-machine which quickly sinks into the mire. Trivial objects, words, and glances stitch together webs of deep and intense meaning that uncomfortably thicken—once a Greek salad in New Haven set off a rumination on the flows of Western history which overwhelmed my puny mind like a tidal wave.

    But I take great satisfaction in the fact that many people acquainted with either my writing or my person assume I’m a total stoner.[9]

    But Deleuze and Guattari are fairly down on drugs themselves. To quote them quoting Henry Miller, the point is to get drunk on a glass of water.

    Or, to quote William Burroughs, the self-styled “master drug addict” himself, “Learn to make it without chemical corn.”

    This is somewhat like what Peter Lamborn Wilson, subject of another fascinating piece — “The Wandering Sufi” — calls “sacred drift,” which Davis calls “a magical mode of writing: recombinant, luminous, fragmentary.” Even so, as Davis notes, “for an anarchist, he has a remarkably traditional respect for rigor and cautious argument, as well as a real love of the dusty bibliographies and arcane disputes of classic scholarship.” (He was, after all, part of Seyyed Nasr’s Iranian Academy of Philosophy, and remembers their patroness, “Mrs. Shaw,” with great fondness).[10]

    Unlike the kids, not everyone likes the Drift; for example, H. P. Lovecraft, who even though he was dead in his forties, had long since taken to referring to himself as “Old Grandpa.” In “Calling Cthulhu [3],”[11] Davis describes the then-nascent cult of pop-Cthulhu, and noted that Lovecraft’s “dread” and “horror” seemed to belong to a 19th-century materialist confronting vast new vistas opened up by science, not unlike those opened by the ’60s drug culture; as he describes it in a later article on Cthulhu porn:

    In this tangy bon-bon of nihilistic materialism, Lovecraft anticipates a peculiarly modern experience of dread, one conjured not by irrational fears of the dark but rather by the speculative realism of reason itself, staring into the cosmic void. . . . This terror before the empty and ultimately unknowable universe of scientific materialism is what gives the cosmic edge to the cosmic horror that Lovecraft, more than any other writer, injected into the modern imagination (though props must be given up as well to Arthur Machen, William Hope Hodgson, and, in the closing chapters of The Time Machine at least, H. G. Wells). While many secular people proclaim an almost childlike wonder at the mind-melting prospect of the incomprehensibly vast universe sketched out by astrophysics and bodied forth by doctored Hubble shots, Lovecraft would say that we have not really swallowed the implication of this inhuman immensity—that we have not, in other words, correlated our contents.[12]

    Or, as Davis says in “Teenage Head”:

    Whether or not the sense that everything fits together is perceived as a holistic liberation or a dire trap depends a lot on how tightly you are clutching to your frame of mind.

    “Calling Cthulhu” also explores the “curiously literal dimension” of Lovecraft’s cult, “made all the more intriguing by the fact that Lovecraft himself was . . . philosophically opposed to spirituality and magic of any kind.” Yet in his work, thanks to the “tension between fact and fable” called magic, “ancient and amoral forces violently puncture the realistic surface of his tales,” drawing the reader “into the chaos that lies ‘between the worlds’ of magic and reality.” Davis calls this “Lovecraft’s magical realism” but we have elsewhere suggested that it also resembles what has been called “archeofuturism,” the continued accessibility of the past in the future, now.[13]

    The resurgence of weed as cultural icon may not be a matter of returning to nature but recovering its flow in the urban milieu: how to slip through the cracks in the concrete,[14] how to grow wilderness in the most degraded or rigidly stratified of circumstances. That’s not a spoon or a needle or a bottle on all those caps around town. It’s a leaf.

    Speaking of Cthulhu, and theurgy (acting on the gods) in general, Lovecraft, in “The Call” and elsewhere liked to bring in voodoo cults and other darkie woo-woo to suggest parallels, or equivalents, to his fictional cults of the Elder Gods; Lovecraft the Village Atheist no doubt also liked to imply this was the real nature of more respectable religions like Puritan Christianity.[15]

    Here again, once you make the connection, you can’t really control where it will take you (“sacred drift”); perhaps there’s more to those “primitive” cults, perhaps as much as the White man’s fancy theology? “Trickster at the Crossroads” explores African cults that may make the White “neopagan” uncomfortable, but may have something to teach us moderns.

    Perhaps that discomfort arises not (only) from “a lingering afterimage of colonialism” but from an uncomfortable similarity:

    As one Neopagan I know put it, “why be interested in these grotesque and parasitic deities?” You could answer that these deities are not so much grotesque as rich with character, not so much parasitic as deeply and reciprocally bound up with the daily lives of their devotees.”

    Though they possess godlike powers, the orisha are not transcendent beings; rather, they are idiosyncratic personalities thoroughly bound up with ritual, practice, and the sort of exchanges that define human community.

    In short, rather more pagan than the alien Christianity imposed on us.[16] Traditionalists like Guénon and Coomaraswamy scorned the whole notion of “primitive” peoples,[17] either as vertigoes of a past left behind by religious or scientific “progress” or as role models to be emulated, considering them rather as degenerate traces of lost primordial civilizations; but the degenerate culture, by definition, bear some connection to the healthy, unlike the deviationism of Judeo-Christianity and Modernity.[18]

    In fact, in the spirit of archeofuturism, the orisha suggest not merely the past but the present future:

    In our wired world, Eshu can also be seen as the spirit of the network, nomadic lord of the codes and protocols that tie movement and trade, images and perspective, data and sex. Of all the orisha, he perhaps speaks most forcefully to us today because he is about the very process that we engage in order to understand and recognize him: the tangle process of communication itself, ever sacred, ever vexed.

    [4]

    Erik Davis lecturing at Burning Man in 2003

    Now, I know what many of you are thinking: this Davis cat is just another aging neo-hippie, and no doubt some kinda eco-friendly anti-Westerner, peddling more new-age pap. Admittedly, there are times when Davis does seem to lean perilously close to becoming some kind of Burning Man trendster (see “Beyond Belief: The Cults of Burning Man”)

    or just another fruity California nut (see the section on “Kalifornika” as well as his historical/spiritual/psycho-geographical travelogue, The Visionary State: A Journey Through California’s Spiritual Landscape [5][19]).

    But at his best, which is most of the time, Davis is made of sterner stuff. Take “Snakes and Ladders,” an important Gnostic manifesto that echoes, not only in the title, James Hillman’s “Peaks and Vales.” Here the “tension” we’ve seen is abstracted into

    two contrasting modes of spiritual movement, two pervasive “styles” or religious impulses. One the one hand, the desire to establish an intense, deeply wedded connection with the imaginative matrix of the natural world; on the other hand, a desire to overcome desire, to ascend towards virtual light, to escape the demands of matter and wake up to a new order of knowledge and being.

    This wariness of what Ken Wilber might call “premature unity” leads him to suggest that

    the impulse to transcend—the Neo-Platonist’s ascent through the spheres, the Gnostic’s sudden awakening, the desert monk’s rejection of the élan vital—is not simply a philosophical error or the mark of patriarchy, but is fired by an intensely lucid yearning for the highest of goals: liberation.

    Davis avows that he distrusts

    [A]ny easy attempt to shove them under one roof. It’s too simple to paper over their real differences be appealing to the supposed unity of mystical experience or the clichéd notion that various religious languages describe the same truth from different perspectives. What if the truth itself is multiple?

    Like Hillman, Davis sees that polytheism is not — or should not be — just another dogma like monotheism:

    The polytheistic alternative does not set up conflicting opposites between beast and Bethlehem, between chaos and unity; it permits the coexistence of the psychic fragments and gives them patterns in the imagination . . .[20]

    On the other hand, Davis is admittedly given to the usual knee-jerking; he can’t help but interrupt an account of his first encounter with the OnStar system — when he sets it off accidentally in a rental car — without wondering not just what the cops in Skokie would do if they had arrived and he was black. (The answer, of course, is “Nothing as bad as the brothers would do if they found you in Compton.”)

    But even so. Constant Readers will find his positive take on “The Matrix Way of Knowledge” — “the Wachowski brothers realize that the cybernetic problem of control reboots the hoary old struggle between freedom and fate” — to be an interesting contrast to Trevor Lynch’s disgust,[21] and his musing over

    What, then, is the proper rejoinder to determinism? The Oracle tells Neo that “You are here to understand why you made the choice, not to make the choice.” I take this to mean that, to an awakened one, events and decisions have always already occurred, but that understanding and compassion can still dissolve their karmic hold.

    intersects nicely with our own obsession with finding the rather more amoral “passing the buck” motif — escape from karma through a scapegoat or “sucker” — in genre flicks.[22]

    “Intersection” is really what it — and Erik Davis’ writing — is all about. Knowledge may be fragmentary, but Wisdom arise from the intersection — ever repeated — of the fragments. This collection will expose the intrepid spiritual adventurer to many of those “Shards of the Diamond Matrix,” from jazzbo Islamic heresies, to the hash-addled surf epiphanies of California teenagers, to “Scratch” Perry churning out dub from Switzerland. Like another one of its own topics — how appropriately fractal — it is truly “a mighty bizarre volume known as The Secret Museum of Mankind.”

    Yeti has done a great service to esoteric adventurers by bringing out this collection. It has a great personal introduction by Marcus Boon, but one does miss — in the spirit of Peter L. Wilson, and Davis’s “bookish” boyhood, if not Melville’s Sub-Sub Librarian[23] — a list of first appearances rather than just dates; moreover this sort of writing calls out for an index to guide the reader who is sure Davis mentioned something about something somewhere.

    But perhaps they hope the reader with enter into the spirit of the thing, and just dive in and wait for the sacred drift to take them . . . somewhere.

    Notes

    1. Klint Finley, “Erik Davis – Technoccult Interview,” November 23, 2010, here [6].

    2. In the interests of full disclosure, our paths first intersected through mutual interests in lectures given at the New York Open Center when Erik was writing for the Village Voice; in the Wild West days of the Internets I passed for something of an expert, believe it or not, and lent research assistance to a piece, post-Oklahoma City, on neo-Right websites; later, as guest editor of an issue of FringeWare Review, he solicited an article on my involvement with the Da Free John sect.

    3. See his Led Zeppelin IV, #17 in the “33 and 1/3” series (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2005).

    4. See Greg Johnson’s “Interview with James J. O’Meara,” here [7] and reprinted in The Homo and the Negro: Masculinist Meditations on Politics and Popular Culture, ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2012), where I discuss Jeremy Reed’s appropriation of the pop culture “fan” as a model for the intense awareness of the “mundane” that characterizes the poet, and the relationship of this notion to Archetypal psychology (Moore, Hillman) and Sufi mysticism (Peter Lamborn Wilson, to be mentioned later); see also Michael Hoffman’s egodeath.com for research on, among much else dear to the hearts of Davis and myself, psychedelic rock music as modern mystery rituals.

    5. Compare my discussion of the role of dress codes and themes as constitutive of anti-modern zones in “Mad Männerbund?” and “Fashion Tips for the Far From Fashionable Right” in The Homo and the Negro.

    6. He means of course “filled with junk” (in “The Technofreak Legacy of Golden Goa” he refers to “junky speakers”) but the link to Burroughs’ Junky, his one piece of hardboiled realism, is interesting.

    7. Antonio Lopez, “Follow your Weird: A Conversation with Erik Davis,” Reality Sandwich, here [8].

    8. For drugs, sex and the Männerbund, see the work of Wulf Grimsson, generally, and my review of his Loki’s Way here [9] and reprinted in The Homo and the Negro; for drugs, music and loose cognition, see the work of Michael Hoffman collected at his egodeath.com.

    9. I too have had this ambiguous pleasure: “Reading James O’Meara is a psychedelic experience.” — Jack Donovan, jacket copy for The Homo and the Negro.

    10. Wilson is another seminal influence on my own writing and research, as noted in my interview with Greg Johnson.

    11. “Calling Cthulhu: H. P. Lovecraft’s Magical Realism” in op. cit.

    12. Erik Davis, “Cthulhu is not cute [10]!”

    13. Thus Ed Wood’s Grade-Z films, an equivalent genre to Lovecraft’s pulp fictions, paradoxically produced real effects in the present day (“Future events like these will affect your lives in the future, as Criswell predicts) due to the principle that “any endeavor pursued with sufficient vigor [e.g., magick, even performed by a non-believer] will achieve results, those results potentially surpassing the endeavor’s original intentions.” Lovecraft might be compared to the bogus psychic is Wood’s Night of the Ghouls (a rather Lovecraftian title) whose fake séances actually raise the dead and bring about his doom. See my “Getting Wood: Closely Watching the Cinematic Alchemy of Ed Wood, Jr.,” here [11].

    14. Cf. the Situationist slogan from ’68: “Beneath the pavement, the beach!”

    15. E.g., “The Dunwich Horror” as a blasphemous reworking of the Incarnation and Crucifixion; see my “Knowing All the Angles: the Lovecraftian Fiction of Don Webb,” here [12].

    16. See the essays of Collin Cleary, here and collected in Summoning the Gods: Essays on Paganism in a God-Forsaken World, ed. Greg Johnson (San Francisco: Counter-Currents, 2010) and most recently “What is Odinism” in TYR 4 (Ultra, 2014) reviewed here [13]; also, Greg Johnson’s “The Philosophy of Collin Cleary,” here [14].

    17. Tellingly euphemized in Canadian PC-speak as “First Peoples.”

    18. See “Shamanism and Sorcery,” chapter 26 of The Reign of Quantity (Ghent, N.Y.: Sophia Perennis, 2001), especially the cautions expressed on p. 181. In the same way, the stoner culture Davis emerged from is a degenerate modern version of the ancient rites of passage, and so more valuable than mere bourgeois normality.

    19. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2006.

    20. Davis quoting James Hillman, A Blue Fire (New York: HarperCollins, 1989), p. 44.

    21. “About twenty minutes into The Matrix Reloaded I was feeling sick to my stomach — literally.” See his review here [15] and in Trevor Lynch’s White Nationalist Guide to the Movies (San Francisco: Counter Currents, 2013).

    22. See the discussion in “Getting Wood,” above.

    23. Melville, of course, was a pioneer of the esoteric methods of linguistic warp and woof; see Harold Beaver’s 300-page commentary attached to the Penguin English Library edition of Moby Dick (New York: Penguin, 1972), and my recent comments here [16].

     

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