‘Gone Girl’, a TV Series that was born as a Novel

The Spanish publisher and editor Jacobo Siruela says he doesn’t like young writers because all of them write as if you were watching an American movie.

Today, novels are written as movies and if the first five pages don’t have enough drama or action to grab you, the book is out. The market is wild and publishers want immediate conflict and huge hooks to hold the reader, who at any point may throw the book away and watch Netflix or see a short coming from Beavis and Butthead’s brains in YouTube.

Gone Girl, a novel by Gillian Flynn is a well crafted thriller plagued with more twists that it needs and a weak ending where the bad guys prevail. But it  is also a light and easy reading. A good best-seller.

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I was curious about it because I got an email from Gandhi, my Mexican bookstore, it said: “Gone Girl. You have not read anything like this…”

And so I thought: “Hum, I haven’t read anything like that? Innocent or aggressive publicity for a best-seller?”

Critics from Salon.com, The Huffington Post, and Entertainment Weekly pose the novel as literary fiction. I have serious doubts in thinking of Gone Girl as a piece of what Americans call literary fiction. Supposedly, it is literature because it shows fragmented pieces of narrative that fit together at the end while introducing different narrators, which are deceitful.

Want to read a literary novel with a bunch of doubtful narrators? Go grab My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk. Want another with an unreliable narrator (written originally in English)? Get the Third Policeman from Flan O’Brien.

In Gone Girl the narrators are traitors, but they do not deceive the reader. The narrators are totally 100% reliable, they say true stuff. It’s different to portray a character that betrays other fictional characters than having a narrator hiding information to the reader on purpose and making the reader think at the end about the validity of his word throughout the whole story. That doesn’t happen in Gone Girl, you can trust the characters. They are deceitful for other characters, but not for you, the reader. You won’t end the novel doubting if Amy and Nick are good or evil of if they really did what they did for love or lust. You’ll know both of them are human beings capable of betraying whoever they meet, that’s it.

The bookstore was right about Gone Girl: “You have not read anything like this…” because it isn’t a book, a novel, it was thought and designed, as Jacobo Siruela says, as a screenplay, Gone Girl is a TV series —not even a movie. Each chapter was built as a TV chapter of 40 minutes, it would be better seen every Thursday on screen than read on paper. The tension and the fun would arise slowly with weekly chapters and the twists it has are enough for at least four seasons.

I wish Reese Whiterspoon god luck in taking Gone Girl it to the movies next year, but I still think it would make a better sitcom than a film.

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Solar by Ian Mcewan

Ok, first thing this is not Ian McEwan’s best novel and second this is not an apology for solar energy. Even though the publisher and many critics state that the novel is about climate change and its dangers first, and then that it is McEwan’s best I’m sorry to spoil you, Solar is neither.

The third thing and the reason I’m writing this is because the novel is fun and I would recommend you, my dear blog followers to read it. It is fun and humorous, and let me tell you that’s something rare in McEwan’s writings. McEwan had always been tragic and sad, and well, that’s why I like him! But this novel is different and that’s the only reason why I recommend it.

It’s divided in three parts and each part has two or three long scenes. Of course, it is still a drama, furthermore, it’s a tragedy. I can tell you things are not going to end up well, but it´s worth reading.

Solar is not a collection of arguments favoring solar energy or against climate change. It is about a man, Michael Beard, a Nobel prize, a winner in every sense of the word, an Alpha Male, a prestigious guy, money is not a trouble for him, women aren’t either. He may be a kind of boy with autism but as he pushes forward in his life he creates more and more trouble around him.

He’s a jerk and basically that’s it. So not only the jobless guy with no education is an asshole, Nobel prizes also suck. So although tragic, it’s fun. At least I like it, but at end, I could have died without reading it.    Image

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Life Sucks in Grimms’ Tales

For the Grimm brothers the raw, inevitable, injustice of life keeps coming back and forth is. This may be weird for some of us because after the Second World War, the US and Europe have insisted in promoting an idea of the world where injustice and unfairness are bad, are not correct, are a deviation from the norm.

In Grimms’ stories of the early nineteenth-century —derived mostly from Medieval tales— justice was not the norm or the point to be made. Moreover, unfairness in life didn’t have to be explained or justified, as it’s today, in Grimms’ tales shit simply happens.

When we read their tales we wonder about the reasons of the characters: Why is this cat/man/step-mother so mean? Why is this disgrace happening to this so cute little animal? Why is there no good ending for the main character? The tales transcribed by the Grimms didn’t want to explain why the world is not just, they only let us know that irrespectively of what we do, things can go wrong, that life’s unfair.

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Nobody has the duty to help an inferior being. In “The Death of the Hen” the hen doesn’t share a nut with her rooster partner and starts choking. Two persons that could have help denied the aid to the rooster, and so the poor hen dies. Six mice, a lion (what he’s doing in the forest is not explained), a deer, a wolf and a fox helped the rooster hauling the hen (don’t ask me why). When they were about to cross a brook they all fell, drown, and died (what a massacre!) The rooster remains alone with the hen’s body, digs a grave, and also dies. Inferior beings are not worth a rescue, this is the lesson. Don’t expect help from somebody on a better position.

Men are crap, and you should never trust them. In “Cat and Mouse Partnership“ we see an uneven relationship –an allegory to wife and husband(?) The mouse (female) and the cat (male) are partners and live together. They keep a pot of fat as provision for winter hidden in the church. The cat lies three times to the mouse and eats the fat. At the end she (the mouse) complains to the cat about the betrayal, but he threatens with eating her if she keeps grumbling. Men are so mean and hold to much power in a relationship that you cannot even protest, if you do then it gets worst.

And the Grimms were right, we need to remember from time to time that “that is the way of the world”.

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Why are Dungeons and Dragons movies so bad?

Why are Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) movies so bad?

First, because they have not portrayed an original plot, and second they have tried to represent D&D play-rules instead of showing an exciting adventure. Just read one of the close to 100 novels based on D&D to find a good script for a movie.

In Dungeons and Dragons [2000]. Jeremy Irons appeared as the bad guy, a crazy wizard that wants to get rid of red dragons and get political control. We have to add a teenage princess that goes bananas and wants to promote democracy in the realm! Democracy in a Dungeons & Dragons world? What’s next? Human rights for goblins? Animal rights for carrion crawlers? Freedom of speech for druids and sorcerers?
It’s indeed a boring, boring movie, but when you add an atmosphere copied not from Tolkien, but from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace [1999] it’s an insult to the intelligence of the viewer: a duel of two metal swords that for some strange reason have red and blue gleaming lights, a girly princess, dressed and acting as Queen Amidala speaking to an assembly about democracy, and an evil wizard mimicking Palpatine in speech and gesture. Finally, there’s a bad taste inclusion: a black young guy acting and speaking with the stereotype of the perfect African-American teenage jerk, named Snails and being, yes, a thief! I’m not sensible about racist stereotypes to have a laugh in the movies, but Star Wars influences and a making fun of black people in a D&D movie is simply bull-shit!
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The second movie was produced five years later: D&D Wrath of the Dragon God [2005]. This time instead of copying from other movies the producers decided to create a movie based on the canonical classes, races, spells, limitations, and usages of classic and updated D&D. Unfortunately they forgot to throw in an interesting plot.

If you want to have a nice evening do yourself a favor and don’t watch these movies, play D&D instead.

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Why are DnD movies so bad?

Why are Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) movies so bad?

First, because they have not portrayed an original plot, and second they have tried to represent D&D play-rules instead of showing an exciting adventure. Just read one of the close to 100 novels based on D&D to find a good script for a movie.

In Dungeons and Dragons [2000]. Jeremy Irons appeared as the bad guy, a crazy wizard that wants to get rid of red dragons and control the state’s assembly. Strange plot because we have to a teenage princess that goes bananas and wants to promote democracy in the realm! Democracy in a Dungeons & Dragons world? What’s next? Human rights for goblins? Animal rights for carrion crawlers? Freedom of speech for druids and sorcerers?
It’s indeed a boring boring movie, but if you add an atmosphere totally copied not from Tolkien, but from the Star Wars movie Episode I [1999] it’s an insult to the intelligence of the viewer: a duel of two metal swords that for some strange reason have glomming red and blue lights, a young, girly, princess, dressed as Queen Amidala talking to an Assembly about democracy, and an evil wizard mimicking Palpatine in speech and dress. Finally, there’s a bad taste inclusion: a black young guy acting and speaking with the stereotype of the perfect African-American teenage jerk, named Snails and being, yes, a thief! I’m not sensible about racist stereotypes to have a laugh in the movies, but Star Wars influences and a making fun of black people in a D&D movie is simply bull-shit!
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The second movie was done five years later: D&D Wrath of the Dragon God [2005]. This time instead of copying from other plots the producers decided to create a movie based on the canonical classes, races, spells, limitations and usages of classic and updated D&D. Unfortunately they forgot to throw an interesting plot.

If you want to have a nice evening do yourself a favor and don’t watch this movies, play D&D instead.

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EPN a New foreign Policy for Mexico 2012-2018

Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico’s Elected President, visit to Guatemala first, and then the South American tour to five countries gave an incipient but small sign of a switch in the Mexican foreign policy. We can divide the visit in three sections: Central America, South America and the not visited countries.

Background
International tours as Elected Presidents were inaugurated by Vicente Fox in 2000 and later continued by Felipe Calderón Hinojosa in 2006. Fox tried to promote a new policy towards Latin America that would reinforce trade and collaboration, but the appointment of Jorge G. Castaneda at SRE left aside any impulse towards the region and concentrated in the US until 9/11. From that point onwards the role of Mexican foreign policy deteriorated under the eyes of Mexican analysts and politicians. It became silently but not explicitly pro-American, while Mexicans did not notice any economic or political benefits for been supportive of the US after 72 years of exercising an independent foreign policy. Felipe Calderón took a similar approach traveling to Latin America as Elected President but crowned his tour by visiting George W. Bush.

Central America
Visiting Guatemala in the first instance and asking the other Central American leaders to attend aimed at reinforcing Mexico`s bonds and influence with its immediate neighbors. For the last 12 years this relationship has been relevant only in the desk with two big named policies that lacked budget: Fox`s Plan Puebla Panama and Calderon`s Mesoamerican System that did not deliver any relevant result in policy or social terms. Nevertheless, EPN was not able to get together with the five Central American presidents because El Salvador`s Mauricio Funes never confirmed his attendance due to the tense relationship with Guatemala and Nicaragua`s Daniel Ortega complained and criticized the means by which the visit was planned, while at the same time let the world know that he is not interested in renovating links with a Mexican non-leftist government. In conclusions, the signs of a new policy of more collaboration towards Central America still need to be seen and the Guatemalan position of legalizing drugs would and Ortega not help.

South America

The visit to Peru was a sign of the increasing trade and Mexican private investment in the country, while EPN avoided Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela, ie, Latin American Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA) countries. Colombia and Chile have been the great Mexican trade partners in South America since the 1990s and for historic reasons there are friendly political ties between the two since the 19th century, this axis has lots of leeway for development.  Brazil and Argentina are the two largest economies of the region, in the case of Brazil it is of the outmost importance for Mexico to get into its market and have a free trade agreement signed. Whereas the Argentina visit focused on restructuring the fractured relation that Calderon left by criticizing the nationalization of the Argentinian national petroleum company YPF. In conclusion, it seems that there is no interest in fostering a relationship with ALBA’s countries, keeping the good stand with Chile and Colombia, a concern in entering the Brazilian market, and adding Peru and Argentina to Mexico’s allies in the region.

 

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Mosley’s The Man in My Basement

Normally I do not talk about the personal life of the writers or about who admire them, but  Walter Mosley is an exception. First, he is a black-jewish best-seller writer. I can’t think of another author fulfilling these conditions. As a result, his narrative is embedded in race tensions, could it be different? Second, President Clinton said Mosley is one of his favorite writers.
The Man in My Basement is a strange novel. It seems it would be a kind of fantasy or postmodernist work, but it ends up being modern and realist. The protagonist, Charles Blakey is broken, about to loose his house, unable to get a job and a 39-year old alcoholic with difficulties in managing his personal life. It seems he’s going to hell when a small white man knocks at his door and offers to rent Blakey’s cellar for the summer. He wants to be down there, imprisoned, alone, unbothered and fed by Blakey.
The white man is only able to get into Blakey’s cellar by the middle of the novel and the tension is built from the dialogues both men have, their conceptions of evil, what they have done, what they are, what they want to be and why are both of them right now right here. From these discussions I extract the quote: “More often than not men make the decisions that lead to their own deaths.”
This is a strange novel, far from the common as its author and joyful to read in a couple of nights.

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1984: The power of words

I’m happy I just read Orwell’s 1984. As always I should have read it younger, but I feel I read it at the right time. I’m going to speak about two themes of the book, the ones that make it one of the best novels of the 20th-century.

Why is 1984 a science fiction masterpiece?
The first theme is not just relevant for the novel, literature or politics. It is innovative for humanity, though at first sight it does not look like: Why we call it science fiction if there’s no novum?
The novum is the thing, the element, the condition in a science fiction story that changes something, generates conflict and provokes tension. There are classic examples of novum as the spaceship Enterprise, a laser sable, a robot or time-traveling. The novum is not always material, it can be a condition like the force in Star Wars, the software in The Matrix, or time-traveling in the Time Traveler’s Wife.
So what’s the novum in 1984? What is the innovative thing that generates conflict in 1984?  If we do not pay much attention it seems that the novum is Big Brother, the ubiquitous leader. Or on any case, it seems to be the telescreen, the panoptic TV-camera device on every home that monitors every movement of the citizens. But none of these are the novum, the thing that differentiates this story from any other, what moves it and provokes conflict is the conception of power.
The novum in 1984 is a new conception of power, an understanding not identified before but always present.

The second theme is that what George Orwell discovered Michel Foucault dedicated his life to explain. I have never heard or read that Foucault read Orwell, but it may be truth. The frenchman asserts with clarity something the Englishman missed: who controls the language, who controls the narrative, who controls the speech is who exercises power (Big Brother) and in order to exercise it you need to have all the information available (telescreen).Orwell summarized this in the following implicit way: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past” (197).
The control Orwell is referring to, is the control of the history of the events that preceded us, of what make us what we are or what we think we are through the interpretation of events. The history is only made through language, only through the interpretation of the events. It is only through a discourse that we can construct ourselves, our past and our goals (future). If nobody describes and explains an event the event did not happen. Not only images, or nowadays multimedia, make history, we need to interpret the events, to explain them through discourse. In 1984 the government of Oceania has created a new language Newspeak—a variation of English containing only the basic number of words that need not to be interpreted, that do not allow any room for discussion because there should be not discussion.

This is the magic of 1984. The novum is the new interpretation of power; the novum is neither a machine nor a condition, but a whole interpretation of human relations under a new reality. Power is something to be executed as Big Brother (BB) does. It does not matter that BB is nonexistent, the fact that he exerts power makes him the only law and as all the people is subjected to him that makes him true. The “only” thing BB controls in reality is the language, the discourse, and no one is allowed to go against it, against its narrative, its interpretation of reality. BB is beyond any totalitarian system and has already created a language for discussion, he has not tried to control speech, he controls it from its roots. BB has the supreme power no one ever dreamt about, he controls language in an absolute manner, not only through interpretation but from its basic elements: the availability of words and their grammar. Therefore, BB controls what can be thought and  defines truth.
This is the Foucauldian Triangle of power: law-truth-power; it is flowing and feeding itself eternally in 1984, there is no way to jump out of the triangle because we would be under a false premise,out of the logical discourse, talking about something unconceivable. This is the masterly novum created in George Orwell’s novel.

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Evil in Mexico

Irrational. Absurd. Obscene. Pornographic. This is evil arising in Mexico in the last six years. The problem to solve in Mexico is not drugs trade, but a renovation of ethics. The state should not focus in controlling drugs traffic, but in reestablishing a community that cherishes peace and sees violence as abnormal.

Evil was here before, true. But it has evolved and reproduced since the Mexican state officially declared the war on cartels in 2006. Why? I believe evil reached new limits in Mexico because it was not halted at the very begging, at its origin, and so it became routine for criminals, citizens and authorities alike. It is now part of the regular mores. It ceased to astonish Mexicans; it doesn’t provoke surprises or shame within the community. Therefore, it is simply replicated across the country without limits. Looking at evil events became something like contemplating cars in the highway, doing evil is like cooking breakfast and henceforth suffering evil is just a matter of bad luck. Interacting with evil is now part of the day-to-day life.

Murder and rape are endemic to human societies; they exist everywhere a human settlement arises. The trick, I’m convinced, is not letting evil to become familiar, repeatable and constant. When we got used to murder we then saw concentration camps flourishing—remember Milosevic. When we got used to rape it blossomed—remember Rwanda. People don’t like evil but persons get use to the steady repetition of evil events. Families living in Northern Uganda know that any other day Kony’s Lord’s Army may arrive, rape all the kids and force the children to shoot and kill their own parents. It’s something like an earthquake or a hurricane, may or may not happen today or never at all, but could occur tomorrow morning.

The current events in Mexico show us the kind of evil that was unknown in this continent before. Here I briefly recount three examples that show extreme violence that is not always tied to drug gangs.  

1. On May 14, 2012 the maimed bodies of 49 persons were found. All of them were killed in the last 48 hours and none was shot. According to medical examinations, after being tortured, their hands were cut off and then their heads severed. How is this possible? How many people are needed to commit this atrocity on 49 persons? After the crime, did decapitators go and pick up their kids from school? How many were involved in this massive killing? This is an industry; this is a way of living, sure. It’s true, drug trade makes you rich, but how much money should a person receive to do this kind of evil?

2. In Nov. 2008 after kidnapping a six year old kid and realizing he identified them, the four felons decided to inject the kid a corrosive chemical producing a slow and painful death. What’s the meaning of this? Did these guys just go back home and watch TV? Could they ever sleep again? Should the state rehabilitate the death penalty for these cases?     

Third and last example: On May 24, 2011, a 13-year-old girl disappeared after leaving Junior High in San Luis Potosi City. Twenty days later her body appeared dumped in the freeway, she had no eyes and her intestines were pulled out. She showed signs of being raped; no one has ever been prosecuted. What does the assassin conceive women? How does this guy relate to others? Is this a serial killer committing another brutality now? Right now?       

The rise of evil in Mexico is dangerous for all humanity. It’s letting evil acts to become normal, to become routine. This cannot be. Writers, authorities, public figures, academics and media must constantly affirm that those evil acts are irrational and inhuman.

In Mexico the capacity to see humanity in fellow persons is almost lost. The 18th-century German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, affirmed that we should treat persons as ends and never as means: If as a person I am an end, other humans are always ends too. Considering others as ends because they are humans dignifies myself and dignifies the other. Ceasing to identify myself in others makes them not human and when we can’t see humanity in other people we are driven directly to Auschwitz. Let’s be emotionally hurt and ashamed by evil acts and keep our humanity alive. 

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Recomendaciones para hacer un blog atractivo

Un blog es un documento distinto a un artículo en un periódico, revista o libro, por lo tanto sus características son diferentes a las de los otros formatos impresos.

El objetivo del blog debe ser llamar la atención del lector, en primer lugar debido a su formato, luego por el título y subtítulos, y en tercer lugar por su contenido. Efectivamente, en un blog en línea el formato, título y subtítulos llaman más la atención que el mismo contenido. El blog debe ser rápido pues hay demasiado competencia en la Internet y sí el artículo es largo la gente se irá a otra página.

1. Fuente

La fuente en un blog debe ser redondeada para facilitar su fluidez y lectura en una pantalla de computadora, las mejores fuentes son: Cambria, Calibri, Book Antiqua, Calisto MT, Candara, y Gill Sans. La de moda hoy es Calibri.

Olvidate de: Arial, Courier,Times NewRoman y Times que fueron diseñadas para máquinas de escribir y libros impresos dónde los ángulos rectos dan confianza y firmeza para proseguir una lectura larga y que dispone de largo tiempo.

En el blog el tamaño de la fuente debe estar entre 12 y 16 para que su lectura sea atractiva, letras menores pueden ser simplemente saltadas si el lector está cansado o tiene una mínima dificultad en leer.

2. Títulos

Puedes utilizar viñetas o subtítulos en negritas y/o numerados para organizar el contenido, así como para afirmar las palabras relevantes de cada párrafo. El título en sí debe llamar la atención del lector por su originalidad, dramatismo o sentido del humor.

3. Párrafos

Es mejor utilizar párrafos no muy largos, deja un espacio sencillo entre cada uno y que no estén sangrados.

4. Extensión

Nunca menor a 400 caracteres y jamás arriba de 800.

5. Enlaces

Cada blog debe de tener por lo menos un par de enlaces a otras entradas en la misma página y otros dos enlaces a páginas externas que proporcionen mayor información o antecedentes sobre el tema.

Los enlaces relevantes son fundamentales para que los buscadores encuentren el contenido de nuestro blog y son otra manera de enriquecer la experiencia del lector. A medida que haya más artículos podrán crearse enlaces más interesantes al propio contenido de la página para mantener a los lectores en el sitio.

6. Estilo

La idea de las entradas para el blog es que tengan un tono personal y directo, pero con la formalidad y seriedad mínima que amerite el tipo de información que se maneja. Es recomendable utilizar la segunda persona singular (tú) para dirigirse al lector y obtener su confianza y cercanía.

7. Imágenes

Es muy importante añadir imágenes que rompan la monotoníay den brillo al blog y que tengan debajo su propio y particular título.

Bloguero trabajando

8. Compartir

Incluye botones de twiter, facebook y share para correo electrónico con la finalidad de incrementar el tráfico en el sitio.     

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