The tin foil hat (misnomer for aluminum foil, which is the product actually sold in stores) is a pervasive metaphor for paranoia and conspiracy theorists, but there’s no record of any real life conspiracy theorist ever seriously fashioning some Reynold’s wrap into headwear. How, then, did this bit of absurd fashion come to be associated with paranoia and mind control prevention?
If aliens could land on Earth, a staggering feat it itself, what other technologies could they possess?
The monster in Kubo and the Two Strings is a toxic family. It feels like a very personal story wrapped in a beautiful allegory, a tool to deal with some harsh realities many people struggle with as they make their way into the world.
We all want to help other people. We all want a sense of purpose. Both of these things can give pleasure, peace, and meaning to our lives, but only in reasonable moderation.
“Do you really mean it when you say that?” Rinko asks her boyfriend before they say goodnight. She’s an empathetic, caring girlfriend, but she also has insecurities, flares of jealousy. She can be demanding and stay icy for days if you slight her, but she always forgives as long as you stay attentive. She doesn’t judge.
We all think we have full autonomy and sovereignty over our thoughts and actions. Sure, we have the hardware of our DNA, we are shaped by our upbringing and experiences, we are inspired by our heroes, and seek figures of wisdom to help us fumble our way through life – We learn from each other, we seek community, we share and grow. But, when it comes down to dire situations, someone couldn’t possibly “wash” our brains clean and fill it with new thoughts that go against our best interests and core values! That’s what it feels like, but psychological experiments like the 1961 Milgram study have proven that we aren’t always in control of our actions when we’re told what to do by an authority figure we trust.
The word demon usually isn’t taken literally anymore, but even figuratively, wrestling with demons is a serious issue. We’re usually talking about intense personal struggles with mental health issues and addiction that are robbing us and our loved ones of our selves, our identities, our peace, and our happiness. Many, though, believe demons are literal spirits that can overtake our bodies, turning us, unwittingly into puppet-type monsters.
A large component of our melancholy moods is a sadness and horror over how fragile we are. Our bodies, always betrayers in the end, are surprisingly strong, but vulnerable to any number of unforeseeable events that could attack us from without or within. Our emotional states, too, are susceptible to hurt and trauma. A way to describe heartbreak or shock from a devastating event is that we feel “shattered.”
Shannon Whisnant has always had a thirst for the spotlight, and the spotlight loves him right back. He’s a natural for reality shows; charismatic and hungry. When he bought a grill at a storage locker auction that happened to have somebody’s misplaced amputated calf and foot inside it, he thought he’d finally found his ticket to fame. He was right, and his obsession took him and the foot’s original owner on a stressful, dizzying, and somewhat redemptive ride. Independent documentary Finders Keepers, which is out in select theaters and available to be rented or bought on Amazon (which is what I did,) tells this strange, funny, and emotional tale with dignity and candor. Usually a leg is just a leg, but for these two men, it’s so much more.
The Bobby Fischer biopic Pawn Sacrifice implies that a brilliant mind obsessed with chess is at risk for madness: the threat is that closed system of logic with a massive amount of possibilities can bring you close to some kind of edge of sanity, a rabbit hole towards a maddening peak at the true vastness of the universe. Peter Sarsgaard’s Fr. William Lombardy ominously predicts Bobby’s unraveling by recounting a story about 19th century American chess legend Paul Morphy, who also had a short and illustrious chess career followed by a life of personal failures and mental illness. But, while Bobby Fischer’s antics were highly documented, extreme and political, Paul Morphy’s supposed madness is a bit more of a myth grown larger in the shadow of Bobby Fischer’s rocky life.