A New Threat

I found the following article interesting…#mce_temp_url#

When I first watched this news on TV, I thought it related to our class not only because we covered the Cold War not too long ago but also because there is a new fear involving nuclear weapons. During the Cold War it was Russia the threat, now the threat is even greater. We are afraid of nuclear weapons or materials landing on terrorist hands. Now, this could be devastating! Not only is this a problem, but also it is scary to know that Pakistan and India are involved in an arms race. I feel there is anxiety coming from the US more because it can’t do anything about it. During the Cold War the two countries involved were Russia and the Unites States, the US had direct control and responsibility if a war were to break out as well as Russia, but now the “fate” of the world could be in the hands on these nations who are obtaining nuclear materials. They have not reached an agreement and this is the frightening part! It is easy to feel scared when one is not in control. It is also hard to reach an agreement when many nations are involved. I was surprised to read they found materials in Chile. I feel this meeting is beneficial, but it’s not addressing the problem of Pakistan and India, it is just “seeking ways to better secure existing supplies of bomb-usable plutonium and highly enriched uranium.” This is great, but I fee it is not enough. I understand it is hard to reach an agreement, because each country looks out for its benefit. It is hard to convince a country to take a certain action. Honestly, I was surprised to hear about this summit meeting because I took it as a warning sign but it is presented in a friendly and subtle way. Should we be worried? I didn’t really think about nuclear destruction since we discussed nuclear apocalypse in class but it didn’t really create anxiety in me since the threat with Russia was around sixty years ago. But today it is a different story because it is the present age and it is a new kind of threat, more vicious when it comes to terrorist attacks, but with the same consequence: destruction.

Fear of Ourselves

“Zombies r us” really struck me.  I found this bumper sticker on http://www.zazzle.com/zombies+bumperstickers , and even though there are other quotes such as “I love zombies”, “I hunt zombies” and “In case of zombies, follow me!” I found this one to be the most significant, while the others are more comical.

I feel we have all become zombies.  We live in New York City, a city that is constantly in motion and never sleeps.  Everything is a routine and just like zombies most people don’t think, they just act.  Zombies are constantly chasing the living for their flesh, and humans are constantly on the go to get where they need to be and carry out their day’s functions. We don’t see what is going on around us because we are so busy with our lives.  There are no questions asked.  We see this in Shaun of the Dead, in the opening scene where all the people are mechanized and seen in lines working, they all look alike too. In another scene, Shaun goes out to get a coke and an ice cream cone and he doesn’t notice the zombies on the street.  The streets are obviously wrecked and isolated, but this doesn’t alarm him. What is most shocking is that he doesn’t even notice the blood on the refrigerator door.  This movie is making fun of this state of blindness.  I am not saying we are like this because we choose too, but more because our way of life makes us like this, just like zombies behave the way they do because they have been bitten and can’t really do anything about it. Even though we don’t have a physical transformation, we are acting more or less like a zombie.  This idea is tied to Romero’s criticism of consumerism in Dawn of the Dead.  Dendle says capitalism is fuelled by the need of continual growth.  In the movie the characters decide to take over the mall because they enjoy the pleasures available to them.  They don’t settle for just the essential; they want more, just as zombies want more and more human flesh.

Part of why we are scared when watching a zombie movie is the fear of becoming this “corrupt” unmoral being.  We are scared of what we can potentially become influenced by our environment.  Before being zombies, they are human beings.  Once they become zombies, they act on instincts, primarily the instinct to eat.  Humans have instincts too, but unlike the zombies we have a conscience that prevents us from acting out our instincts (well most people anyway).  We have rules and live under an established system.  Capitalism is what drives the economy, and it is scary to know that under it’s influence we can become mindless and corrupt. Greed is what can make us act out our instincts, just as a bite makes zombies devour humans.  While watching a zombie movie we subconsciously hope we don’t get “bitten” by our society because deep down we don’t want to be this corrupt person, but once bitten “self is lost irrevocably” (Boon pg 35).

“Double Indemnity”

I really enjoyed watching “Double Indemnity.” It captures the theme of film noir, which is darkness and shows the “bad” in people. Film noir means, “black film” and typically there is some kind of corruption, deception and crime. In this story there is definitely a lot of that happening. Mrs. Dietrichson doesn’t love her husband and wants to murder him but only after making sure he has an insurance policy. She uses her beauty and seduces Mr. Neff, since he works at an insurance agency, to get him to help her with the insurance. At first he doesn’t want to get involve, but eventually gives up. I found this kind of funny. He has just met her and is “mad about her.” He even comes up with the plan of the murder, betraying his morals (since at the beginning he opposes the idea) and even the people he works with, especially Keyes whom you could see appreciates Neff. It’s sad, but it’s a reality I guess of that time and even now, that people will go after their self-interest and don’t think about how it will affect others. I am not saying everyone is like this, but it just reinforces what film noir is all about.

One could feel the anxiety and fear that goes on in this film and even paranoia, in the process of planning the murder and after. Neff is very cautious and it’s on the constant lookout for any error. Though he doesn’t get caught, one can feel the intensity of all the events, especially after Keyes is convince it wasn’t an accident and figures out how everything happened. Neff is afraid that the truth will be revealed. He is also afraid of what might happen to Lola, Mr. Dietrichson’s daughter. He cares for her since he gets to know her well. He wants her to be happy. One could say he becomes paranoid, just by the fact that he decides to confess. After killing Mrs. Dietrichson, he could have just gone away. There wasn’t any evidence against him. He also narrates the story in a strong tone and even though he is somewhat composed, there is still a feeling that he has lost it. Overall I liked the movie, but I expected to see more elements of film noir that Schrader talks about, “in film noir, the central character is likely to be standing in the shadow” (219). Yes, there was darkness in some scenes, especially when Neff was hiding in the bushes, but I feel like it could have been more stricken. I say this thinking about “Gilda” and especially a scene in which Mr. Mundson’s profile is shown in complete darkness and covers half of the screen. That really struck me because that’s what I pictured film noir to be like. I think it has a great effect.