Recently I had a casual exchange with contributor Bruce of Newcastle on the OT.
The guts of our remarks was the number of wars fought by Russia and how this had shaped their national psyche. Further, that Western attitudes and policy towards Russia will continue to be largely ineffective, if not counterproductive, until the West at least accepts that Russians don’t think like us. Their beliefs have been baked-in over hundreds of years and formed their protective stance towards Mother Russia.
This led me off on the tangent of wondering about loyalty. The Russian populace in Australia is relatively small and certainly by comparison to the Chinese, Indian and Jewish communities and of course, those from the assorted Middle Eastern and Asian nations.
Therefore, I wondered, if push really came to shove, who would leave the relative safety of Australia to fight for their birthplace? The question is predicated on the person being born overseas and armed conflict between their birthplace and another nation was either commencing, or imminent. Moreover, any reasonable assessment concludes that the military forces of your birthplace are very likely to be overwhelmed.
Imagine it is all but certain that your birthplace will cease to exist as the nation you were born to.
And if you were to leave to fight, would you do so only as a member of the regular military forces or, would you engage as a guerrilla? Or, if incapable of bearing arms, would you instead act in a direct support role?
Those thoughts naturally lead to a question about an Australian born person living overseas. There are several Cats living overseas or who travel overseas extensively for their work. Would you return to Australia to defend her if necessary, or remain in the relative safety of the country you were in at the time?
Rightly or wrongly, I don’t have any China born friends of whom I could ask the question. Overwhelmingly my friends are Russian born and for several, I could reasonably guess their response without even asking. But, I do have a couple of Indian born friends and rang them to test my question.
Both said they thought it was extremely unlikely (impossible) that India would be militarily overwhelmed and thus their services would not be required. Fair enough and almost certainly true. But when pressed, one of the two said that yes, despite being an Australian citizen of some 26 years (slightly more than half his life), he would take whatever steps he could to protect his birthplace even if that meant leaving his wife and children in Australia. He did, after all, still have some extended family in that country but if nothing else, would be ashamed of himself if his birth country was effectively destroyed and he had done nothing.
So, what say you Cats? If your birth nation was facing almost certain annihilation from an aggressor, would you depart (or return to) these shores to defend your birthright?
I was struck by a particular sequence in the movie the first time I saw it (on the TV, I’m have to confess) two or three years ago. WolfmanOz’s commentaries on movies brought that sequence to mind again. If you haven’t seen Parasite, it is probably best not to read this post, which is certainly a spoiler. I apologise for the quality of the video clips, which come from screen captures.
I know nothing of pre-Christian Korean religious practice or folk lore, but a cursory search yielded a whole Pantheon, represented, for example, like so.
It’s easy enough to see which ones are dangerous, and the convention that is used. It may be that all of the elements of Parasite can be accounted for in terms of Korean mythology. Nonetheless, major elements of the movie strike me as being specifically Christian.
The two main families of the story are the Kims – father Ki Taek, mother Chung Sook, daughter Ki Jung and son Ki Woo – and the Parks – father Dong Ik, mother Yeon Kyo, daughter Da Hye, and young son Da Song. The Kims are scroungers living in the lower reaches of the city in a sub-basement with windows at street level. The Parks are wealthy, living on the heights in a house designed by a famous architect. A successful contemporary of the Kim children is going overseas, and recommends the son to take over his tutoring of the Park’s daughter. This friend brings to Ki Woo from his grandfather a scholar’s stone, for no obvious reason. It’s a grace. Scholar’s stones, or landscape stones, are microcosms of mountainous landscapes; a kind of bonsai mountain.
Daughter Ki Jung’s talent for fraud begins to shine through as she expertly forges qualifications for Ki Woo, who, unlike his contemporary, is not attending university. Ki Jung is subsequently represented by Ki Woo as an art therapist for the Park’s son, Da Song. She immediately exerts iron control over both the son and the mother, showing an enviable ability to bend others to her will. This young woman is CEO, or at least, Vice-President (Human Resources), material. Mrs Park, obsessed with all things American, calls Ki Woo Kevin, and Ki Jung, Jessica.
By similarly polished deceit and manipulation, the Parks’ driver is replaced by Kim the Elder. The housekeeper, Moon Gwong, was inherited by the Parks from the original owner, the architect himself, so she is a tough proposition. In elaborate choreographed interactions, the Kims manoeuvre Mrs Park into dismissing her without notice. She is then replaced, of course, by Mrs Kim.
The whole family is now employed by the Parks, who then leave for a camping holiday to mark son Da Song’s birthday. The Kims are sprawled over the living room furniture enjoying the Park’s food and booze, as the rain begins to come down more and more heavily. Then Moon Gwong rings the doorbell and begs to be let in for something she has forgotten. Beneath the basement, hidden behind shelves and a blast door, is a deeper basement bomb shelter, and living down there is Moon Gwong’s husband, Geun Se, who has been emerging at night to get food ever since the Parks moved in.
The couple discover the family relationship of the Kims, and after some slapstick, they are restrained by the Kims in the shelter, when Mrs Park calls to announce they will be home in a few minutes. Only Chung Sook is supposed to be in the house. More slapstick. At this point, as father, son and daughter scatter into hiding, Mrs Kim serves dinner to Mrs Park, and Bong Joon Ho begins to reveal his purpose.
The three are trapped until the Park parents fall asleep on the sofa, when they escape from the house and into this startling sequence.
The colour keys in this are critical. As the descent begins, the dominant colour is green, most noticeable in the place where it changes – the road tunnel. As the Kims descend we see the green stripes on the walls and green characters on the footpath lights. The first bright burst of red is from the taillights of a car turning at the end of the tunnel as they shuffle towards it. From that point, the colour key is red. It seemed to me on first viewing, and does still, that this sequence is a descent into the Inferno; paradoxically, in the context of a flood, yet nonetheless obviously. Notice the son’s momentary reluctance to be swept down by the flood.
All of the reviews and commentaries that I have seen insist that the movie is built around class divisions and tensions. The division is deeper than that. It is the division between the earth-dwellers – the Parks – and the denizens of the underworld. The flawed earth-dwellers, snobbish, supercilious, gullible, live in the green world of the Parks’ garden, whose lawn and trees are the background to most of what happens in the Park home.
In Bong Joon Ho’s universe, it seems, the underworld is populated with demons, ghosts, the restless dead and lost souls, all of whom interact with the overworld and its people. When the Kims arrive at their flooded sub-basement, the correspondence of the underworlds is reinforced by intercutting the scenes as they recover what they can, with scenes from the underworld of the Park home, where Moon and her husband are bound, and the wife is dying from injuries sustained when she was kicked down the stairs by Mrs Kim.
Through this appalling chaos run themes of conscience and repentance, focussed on the mysterious scholar’s stone, which is what Ki Woo rushes into the sub-basement to rescue, and which rises through the floodwater to meet him.
Up to this point, the Kim family has expressed its optimism through its “plans,” as seen during the descent, and where the “plan” is often a plot or scheme. The refugees from the flood sleep in a gymnasium, and the son asks the father what the plan is. Ki Taek’s answer reveals a resignation of despair; Ki Woo’s reveals a resignation of optimism and the significance of the stone.
For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.1Corinthians 10:4
The Rock clings, follows, nags the conscience and, when necessary, leads, even into the valley of the shadow of death.
Despite two attempts, Ki Woo cannot be killed, or even permanently injured, with the stone. Note the spreading pools of blood and what looks for all the world like water on the floor from which Geun Se picks up the stone the second time.
Mio caro bene!
Non ho più affanni e pene
no ho più pene al cor.
nel seno mio già sento,
che sol vi alberga amor.
I no longer know suffering and pain,
I no longer have grief in my heart,
Seeing you happy,
I feel that in my heart
Now only love abides.
Handel Rodelinda Mio Caro Bene
The flies settle on Geun Se’s body as soon as he stops moving. The final trigger for Ki Taek’s rage is Mr Park’s disgust at Geun Se’s smell. This theme runs through the movie. The Kims’ scheme is almost brought undone when the son, Da Song, announces that all four smell the same. Back in the sub-basement, Ki Jung points out that their common scent comes not from common soaps or deodorants, but from where they live. As the Kim family waits under the table to escape the Park home, Mr Park muses on Ki Taek’s smell. It’s a bit like boiling a rag, and is sometimes smelled on the subway. The flies know, though, the smell of the dead.
Bong Joon Ho’s underworld is an eclectic Purgatory; one in which destinations are yet to be decided; to which redemption may come; from which resurrection is possible. It is the spiritual basement of the world. Looked at another way, this is the most sophisticated zombie movie ever made.
Ki Woo and Chung Sook survive the carnage, and return to their familiar underworld. Ki Taek retreats to that other underworld beneath the basement of what was the home of the Park family.
This final scene is filled with the most extraordinary joy. I think everyone feels it, and the credits close on this sense of spiritual elevation, whatever unsolved puzzles Bong leaves them with. The Good News is like that.
It was clear during and following the public discussion of gay ‘marriage’ that there was no in-principle argument among the majority of its proponents that could present a stumbling block for polyamorous ‘marriage’. If people could not recognize that marriage was a union of the opposite sexes, given its ends, how could they further recognize it was also an exclusive union?
So it’s not surprising that the Economist, no less, is gently suggesting, in much the same way it and other outlets did re gay ‘marriage’, that polyamourous arrangements face discrimination, are misunderstood, and so on. There is, of course, an acknowledgement that marriage is in many respects institutionally inapt for polyamorous arrangements,
Triads and quads are what Laura Boyle, a relationship coach, calls “poster-child polyamory”: comprehensible to monogamous people who can grasp the concept of a closed unit living together. In fact networks are often more complicated, represented by v- and n-shaped configurations that don’t imply mutual attraction among several people. Ms Boyle lives separately from her three partners; she co-parents with her ex and his wife. She calls polyamorous people “folks with a scheduling kink” and thinks they are more willing to accept some fluidity in their relationships, for which marriage is a poor framework,
but the recognition is nevertheless sort in order to obtain the tax, workplace, health care, immigration benefits and the like that marriage affords. What is often missed in these discussions is that marriage includes these benefits because the institution itself was understood as a public good and thus worth promoting through these benefits, not because of its benefits to individuals. It’s not clear at all that these relationships (polyamorous, gay, and so on) that fall outside of the nature and form of marriage confer the same or similar public goods typically associated with it.
But this will likely be ignored, and the focus will be on whatever ‘discrimination’ is faced by those that want to engage in polyamorous arrangements. This will be the case both at the juridical and political level. The only likely impediment is the absence at present of a victim class. Gay ‘marriage’ was aided by the category of ‘sexual identity’, there ‘homosexual’; whereas, polyamorous arrangements can involve hetero/ homo/ bi- sexual individuals. Of course, given the propensity to multiply the number of sexual identities by the variety of sexual inclinations, there is nothing to stop the creation of the sexual identity ‘polysexual’; in fact, it is already with us.
The only way to stop and reverse this slide is to ask what marriage is for, and any failure to do so allows for the continued dissolution of marriage as a meaningful institution, which may be the point.
I was stooged again by the missus and ended up at Southland Shopping Centre on Sunday. She’s got a way of making lunch not seem like shopping and I fell for it again like the pasty I am.
So there’s a new Japanese that seems nice and the missus told me about the robots that bring the food like its a good thing. We went there. Bad move.
This joint’s automated and the first thing that happens is we get instructions from one of the humanoid kiddies:
1: select from the touch-screen 2: add to the cart 3: send the order 4: your food will be delivered 5: and pay at the counter when yr done
Then she gestures with an open hand to the cash register where there’s another possible humanoid with a permanent grin.
No immediate threat, I thought to myself but that was when I noticed what was behind her on the shelf. One of those Asian gold cats with the kitten-eyes and an arm that’s waving waving … always waving.
So while waiting for food and with one eye on that freaky cat, I watched.
All the actual human kiddies stood around essentially doing nothing until a robot arrived and then they unpacked the food dispassionately. No visible emotion, it was almost like they were trying to out-robot the robots.
Cold like the pot-stickers ultimately were.
A returning robot smacked straight into the chair leg of the table beside us. I’m sitting there smiling at the farce and saying “stupid bloody robots” … just a little bit too loud.
And the missus is cringing because she knows that I could equally be commenting about: a: the wait staff b: the machines c: the customers d: the sheer absurdity of it all
But this old Polish bloke beside me at the next table is chuckling because he can overhear me.
Looking at him and smiling, I peck peck pecked the touchscreen for more food. Raising my eye-brows I said, “I feel like a chicken”, and exaggerated the pecking motion with my hand.
The bloke’s wetting himself while his wife is pretending to search her hand-bag and mine is pretending that this isn’t really happening.
Maybe its my weird sense of humour but I think its hilarious that I was actually ordering more chicken at the time.
In a desperate attempt to convince their idiotic readership that the fetus in early pregnancy is just a clump of tissue, the Guardian has published an article involving a series of images, provided by a pro-abortion group, of “pregnancy tissue” in a petri dish. They do this while also dating the ’tissue’ therein from the last menstrual period (LMP) rather than by the date of fertilization, usually two weeks later.
The article and the site play on a number of pro-abort tropes. Firstly, the one above, that the fetus even at this early stage is simply ‘pregnancy tissue’ and not a unified whole that is in the early stages of development. Secondly, it employs the trope that because the fetus is not visibly human it is not human, either because it is too small for the human eye unaided to see human features, or because these features are the marks of humanness and their absence speaks against the humanness of the fetus at this stage of development.
Each of these tropes are involved in their curious claim re fetal heartbeat. Here is the question and answer provided on the website the Guardian article relies on:
Does this tissue have a “heartbeat”?
There is no “heart” at 6 weeks of pregnancy, but there are cells that will come together to form the heart, and those cells already “beat.” This is the motion that is seen on ultrasound and that people refer to as a “heartbeat,” but again there is not yet a formed heart.
Notice the curious claim here. There is no heart here yet, only cells acting in concert, ‘beating’, but this unified action by a selection of cells within the ‘pregnancy tissue’, identified by an ultrasound, is not yet a formed heart. You would have to be in the grip of an ideological stupor to believe their attempt to explain away this ‘heartbeat’.
Here is an image of the fetus at nine weeks LMP, once removed from its mother’s womb:
Here is a video of the fetus in utero at 10 weeks LMP:
I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what is going on here.