We are like machines?

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I am writing a 10,000 word Dissertation about the cultural and psychological effects of technology [Embodiment, Prosthesis, Cyber Culture]. I’m adopting the attitude of an author, just acting like I’m releasing a book soon, and my publisher has tightened the deadline. And who knows, maybe if it’s good enough at the end I can make it an Internet PDF eBook that you’d like to download?

On my reading list, number 8), the author Joanna Zylinska, is the lady I met last week to discuss my writing. She will be personally supervising my Dissertation, so it’s nice to know I have the advice of a well published author. Her topics on our relation to technology, as well as the ethics and issues, are completely relevant to my interests. But I want to attempt a fresh angle, not mimic the authors below.

My reading list so far:

1) Materializing New Media: Embodiment in Information Aesthetics (Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture) – Anna Munster

2) Facebook and Philosophy (Popular Culture and Philosophy) – Dylan E. Wittkower

3) How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics – N. Katherine Hayles

4) TechGnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism in the Age of Information – Erik Davis

5) Internet Culture – David Porter

6) The Body (Key Concepts) – Lisa Blackman

7) The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future – Marquard Smith and Joanne Morra

8) The Cyborg Experiments: The Extensions of the Body in the Media Age (Technologies: Studies in Culture & Theory) – Joanna Zylinska

9) Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man – Marshall McLuhan

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

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Dear John, sob stories don’t ensure a great movie

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Despite my reluctance, I just watched Dear John (2010), directed by Lasse Hallström. This is because my friend Katie insisted.

It’s not entirely fair for me to slate the filmmakers just because I did not enjoy it at all. My lack of enjoyment came mainly from the fact that I’m not a stereotypical girl who falls for the lead male every time, or dreams of that kind of thing. I have everything I need in that department. I do like films about love, but they must have something more to offer.

So, aside from getting people to relate to the smushy love scenes, what else does this film have to offer?

Well, my favourite aspect was John’s father, played by Richard Jenkins. He has always had an affinity to play loner roles, and fatherly ones. Six Feet Under, the Television series which ran from 2001-2005, is a good example, with his role as Nathaniel Fisher.

I loved his fragility, it evoked more feeling from me than Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried‘s love scenes ever did. His coin collection made a great metaphor throughout the film, and was like another character.

Sympathy tactics are not enough to make a great movie for me though, it did not change the fact that the film was predictable, relatively shallow, and did not fully convince me. Despite all-round acceptable performances, Richard Jenkins was the only fully convincing part.

Seven Deadly Sins, I must be purified

Last night I knocked back a few gins and stumbled across Seven Deadly Sins, the Canadian mini TV series that first aired on Lifetime Movie Network. Set in two parts, it’s meant to be based on the popular Seven Deadly Sins novels Lust, Greed, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth and Pride by Robin Wasserman.

I have to admit I was expecting to hate it, and part of me does. But overall I just can’t resist the comedic indulgence into their teenage “highschool” dramas; love triangles/pentagons/octagons, especially where the twists got dark. If I had been the director I would have loved to have made it darker, like when *censored* character dies, I would have them haunt deliciously like in a Japanese horror movie.

Rachel Melvin was great as Kaia, and Dreama Walker worked well as Harper Grace. Overall Seven Deadly Sins was well cast, nicely made and paced, and it isn’t trying to be anything that it is not.

If I had to sum up the mini series with one description  I would say it’s a very loose hybrid of Mean Girls meets Murder by Numbers. Remember I said very loosely! This is really not my usual style, but it’s worth a watch when there’s time to kill and you’ve had a few drinks.

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