Monday, November 17, 2014

What INTERSTELLWAR WAS NOT ABOUT: CLIMATE CHANGE! SIGH!

When INTERSTELLAR was shooting last year in Alberta, Canada, where much of the movie's first-hour scenes were shot, the local newspaper -- The Macleod Gazette, the local newspaper of Fort Macleod, Alberta -- ran some tantalizing details about ''Interstellar'' as Nolan and company were shooting on location in the Canadian town. =========================================== The Gazette followed the rundown of the movie as was then known — scientists who travel to a different dimension — and noted that the film centered on the tremendous destruction climate change had wrought on world agriculture. ================================== As a result, these time/space-tripping scientists are seeking out a place where crops can be grown. This was the first that the media has said anything about Interstellar involving climate change, but but it turned out to be wrong, since INTERSTELLAR is NOT ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AND WHAT A PITY THAT IT DIDN"T GO DOWN THAT ROAD. Big fail!============================ ''Canadian locals spotted Interstellar crew members pouring sand all over Fort Macleod’s Main Street, setting the stage for the following day’s shoot. On Wednesday, McConaughey and John Lithgow were spotted driving a pick-up truck down the street in a manufactured dust storm, which within the film is likely the result of climate change. The many takes involved crew members manning fans to blow dust that created billowing dust clouds above the area that could be seen at a distance," the newspaper reported.======================= Btw, Paramount Pictures has refused to comment on ''rumors'' that Matt Damon had been added to the production.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Inventing ''Cli Fi'' Literature

How to write about what we’re doing to the planet? In what genre, what form? I grew up outside of a small town in northwestern Colorado, and in recent years spruce and pine beetles have devastated forests throughout the Rockies, turning evergreen slopes a dead maroon. Beetles have always attacked and killed the trees there, just as the Atlantic Ocean has always bred hurricanes and droughts have scoured California. The difference—which we give the name ''climate change'' or global warming —lies in the new frequency and intensity of these events. A 2013 study from the University of Colorado found that drought and warmer sea-surface temperatures best explain the trees’ increased susceptibility to the beetles, and warmer and drier conditions are almost certainly what the coming decades have in store for the American West. Meanwhile, on a drive through the mountains, great bristling stands of living green- and blue-needled trees alternate with brittle dead zones, and the mind slips among memory, evidence, and anticipation: landscape I saw as a kid, landscape I now see, landscape that I foresee. The experience itself is a bit like hesitating between literary genres. There’s the novel of memory (and couldn’t “À la Recherche du Temps Perdu” be translated, if you didn’t know better, as “In Search of Lost Weather?”); there’s the satire of contemporary life, complete with hand-wringing ruminations on the environment from the driver’s seat of a non-electric car; and there’s the work of science—or climate-science—fiction, set in the not-too-distant future, in which the coniferous forests of the West are no more.
Climate change has occasioned a lot of good journalism, but it poses as tremendous problems for imaginative literature as it does for electoral politics, and for many of the same reasons. The worst effects aren’t yet here, and even when global warming is the suspected culprit behind a hurricane or a drought, its fingerprints are never to be found on the scene of any particular disaster. Fictional characters, like flesh-and-blood citizens, have more urgent concerns than the state of the climate twenty years hence. Nor is it easy for people, real or imaginary, to feel any special moral relationship to the problem. Oil-company executives may be especially guilty, and environmental activists especially virtuous. The rest of us, in the rich countries, are culpable to such a similar degree that we might as well be equally innocent. So it is that a crisis at the center of our collective life exists for us at the margins of individual consciousness, as a whisper of dread or a rustle of personal implication. The main event of contemporary civilization is never, on any given day, the main event. It cannot be imagined as a punctual occurrence, like the “airborne toxic event” that hangs over DeLillo’s “White Noise” or the nuclear war, remembered as “a sudden shear of light and then a series of low concussions,” in the background to Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.”
Perhaps this is why climate change hasn’t yet left a literary footprint commensurate with its historical weight. [NOTE TO BEN: IT WILL IT WILL, AND IT'S CALLED ''CLI FI''] MATE! Ecological anxiety, to be sure, belongs to the atmosphere of plenty of realist fiction, and warmer, crazier weather darkly adorns many futuristic novels whose primary catastrophe has been unleashed by genetic engineering, peak oil, viral plague, or class warfare. Novelists not generally regarded as sci-fi authors have even set a handful of works in the drowned world of tomorrow. But few imaginative writers have dealt with the present-day experience of global warming in a direct and concentrated way. [BEN: please see the relevant pages for this at Wikipedia, there are TONS of cli fi novels out there now, from Nathaniel Rich's ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW to Barbara Kingsolver's FLIGHT BEHAVIOR. Please do some more reading, sir!]
The strongest work of cli-f -- to use a term t“10:04,”hat is trending now --  I’ve read is Ben Lerner’s novel  in which the significance of daily life—the books people write, the personal relationships they try to sustain—threatens to dissolve in the face of what is, for the narrator, “a future I increasingly imagined as underwater.” By the end of the novel, the underwater future has materialized, for a time anyway, in the shape of Hurricane Sandy, which in the fall of 2012 battered New York City and submerged its lower-lying districts. Even so, Lerner’s narrator, whose neighborhood and apartment are spared, feels that this future doesn’t quite include him. “Another historic storm had failed to arrive,” he says, then adds:
Except it had arrived, just not for us. Subway and traffic tunnels in lower Manhattan had filled with water, drowning who knows how many rats; I couldn’t help imagining their screams. Power and water were knocked out below Thirty-Ninth Street and in Red Hook, Coney Island, the Rockaways, much of Staten Island. Hospitals were being evacuated after backup generators failed; newborn babies and patients recovering from heart surgery were carried gingerly down flights of stairs and placed in ambulances that rushed them uptown, where the storm had never happened.
The passage is the exception proving the rule that the contemporary experience of climate change has so far eluded the grasp of literature. Lerner can write a novel, set in the present, that deals with the subject head-on, but only by becoming essayistic, journalistic (the narrator is aggregating news stories in his head; he is neither evacuating a hospital nor being evacuated himself), and, even then, only amid the heaviest weather yet visited on New York City this century. If climate change has, to date, proved hard to write about, that’s because it exists for most of us, to date, as something that afflicts different neighborhoods, distant cities, or future times.
A number of Octobers ago, I spent a few weeks in a cabin in Colorado that was also hosting an abundance of black flies. (The cabin was built, it so happens, from beetle-kill spruce, a form of lumber that is more available these days than before the beetles knocked off so many trees.) The buzzing of the flies persisted throughout my stay, in spite of energetic fly-swatting campaigns, and some time after leaving the cabin I had the thought that the noise of the flies, in my ears all day without often becoming the main thing on my mind, wasn’t altogether unlike my daily awareness of climate change. A sense of what we’re doing to the planet accompanies me all the time, but mostly as a distraction, a morbid static in the air. You try not to listen; sometimes, you can’t help it. Or so I found myself thinking, coming up with the idea for a play. It may say something about the difficulties involved in writing about climate change that I could figure out no way to face them other than by deploying the disreputable technique of allegory and the outmoded medium of the theatre.
An urban couple lives in an apartment thronging with flies. As the play opens, they’ve hired exterminators to rid their home of these bugs, these irritants. That was the explicit premise; the implicit part, gradually to become clear to the audience, was that flies have infested not only this particular dwelling but the world at large, and that their presence is a symptom of climate change. The couple’s effort at pest control fails, and the flies return. The couple resume their old routine, sometimes swatting at and sometimes trying to ignore the minor presence in their lives of what is arguably the world’s major problem. I liked the idea that, because this was a play, there would be no flies onstage. The reality that they intimated would thus be, in another sense, unreal. Because we are aware of climate change and, also, we are not.
It’s somewhat embarrassing, in the 21st century, to produce an allegory on any subject; the technique strikes us as both antique and naïve. I was able to keep writing and, above all, revising, because it seemed to me that climate change was such a vast development, with so many of its consequences available only to the imagination, that I had to deal with it allegorically or not at all. And I told myself that it had to be a play for the stage, instead of a novel or a screenplay, because the theatre, being confined to the use of a few actors and a handful of props, is a natural medium for allegory: the inherent poverty of its technical means allows for symbols and ideas to remain the abstractions that they are, even as the theatre grants them a certain invisible concreteness. The filmmaker or novelist, on the other hand, will be tempted to visually portray or physically describe just those things whose very nature is to exceed our capacity to depict them.
But was my cli-fi play, which I ended up calling “Buzz,” really a climate-change allegory? In writing it, I often forgot about my troupe of invisible flies, much as the characters do. At other times, I felt like they were more suggestive of perennial human problems like aging, disappointment, or decay. There was something intermittent about the meaning of my rather heavy-duty symbolism, and about whether the flies signified anything at all. But this, too, I thought, could work in the play’s favor. Objectively, almost everything we do is connected to climate change; subjectively, almost nothing. Except that from time to time the objective situation becomes a subjective truth.
In the end, I found that what I was writing had to be a comedy even more than an allegory. The scale of our planetary crisis dwarfs us as individuals and has so far defeated us as citizens, which meant that the efforts of any single household to confront the problem could only be joked about. “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness,” Nell says to Nagg in Beckett’s “Endgame.” Helplessness is a species of unhappiness, and my unhappy play about our deteriorating climate has at least had the merit of making me laugh more than anything else I’ve written. It’s sometimes suggested that peoples with especially calamitous histories —the Jews, the Irish— have especially comic sensibilities. If so, climate change may afford writers of all nations the chance to become comedians, even as they do not lack for tragic material. [BEN, again, please read Nat Rich's ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW. It came out two years ago...]
Benjamin Kunkel’s ''cli fi'' play “Buzz” is being performed in Brooklyn until November 22, 014. It was published in book form earlier this year.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"To Honor the Earth: Reflections on Living in Harmony with Nature," by Dorothy Maclean and Kathleen T. Carr

a USA woman wrote===================== "For the past several years, I have been looking for environmental literature to incorporate into a college course class called "Nature, Animals and Humans: the New Paradigm." ========================== When I read "To Honor the Earth: Reflections on Living in Harmony with Nature," by Dorothy Maclean and Kathleen T. Carr, I realized I had finally found a dramatically evocative and useful core textbook, not only for the college course, but for high school and middle school curriculum as well. ======================== Although this gorgeous book was published in 1991, its words grow more timely and powerful as we perceive more clearly and respond more actively to the warnings Nature has giving us for the past 25 eyars about the deterioration of our planet's health. ===================== The last chapter, "The Promise of Ccoperation," is extremely healing and can help readers of all ages deal effectively with the despair they feel while witnessing the destruction of natural systems.========================= It shows them the avenues of spirit and action that can lead them to trust themselves to make a difference.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Doomsday climate lit and ''d-fi'' (pronounced as "DEFY")

A new genre has been emerging on the edges of ''sci fi'' and ''cli fi'' and it is being dubbed ''d-fi'' -- a genre that defies expectations, defies settled convictions, defies climate denialsts and defies gatekeeping literary critics. D-fi pulls no punches and tells as it may very well be: we are doomed, not now, but in 500 to 1000 years, 30 to 50 generations from now and what writers and movies need to do now is help prepare future generations -- our descendants -- for the dire and unspeakable fate that awaits them: the mass die offs of humans in those distant days due to major climate change and global warming impact events, and d-fi novels and movies will prepare readers in future times to prepare to die spiritually, mentally and physically, perhaps with designated mass suicides at certain meaningful times of year, such as Christmas, Easter, Passover, Summer Solstice, July 4th, Boxing Day, Thanksgiving.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Print books, even ebooks, are dead; movies still work their magic


by Staff Writer & News Agencies


NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES - September 1, 2014

With films like "Noah" and "Into the Storm" and "Snowpiercer" -- and
"Interstellar" coming in the late fall -- Hollywood has seen the
handwriting on the wall and embraced climate themes in full
technicolor. Call the movies ''cli fi'' or disaster thrillers,
whatever. There's more to come in the film world.

But while Hollywood and studio marketing people (and online social
media reporters covering new film releases) have welcomed ''cli fi'' into
the fold, the entrenched powers in the literary world controlled by
book editors in New York and London seem to be aloof to all this and
show little interest in the rise of the cli fi genre term.

I am not sure why, but maybe it has to do with literary critics and
book section editors feeling that literature is a ''sacred calling''
and only the all-powerful editors -- as ''gatekeepers'' -- can decide
what's real and what's not in the literary world. So be it.

The more I thought about the disconnect between the literary world of
the book industry compared with the open arms in Hollywood, the more I
began to realize that the print novel is basically dead -- in the
rising waters of global warming -- and has little power anymore to
influence people or impact society.

The New York and London book review section editors are for the most
part just a bunch of gatekeepers
and the gatekeepers don't seem to care about climate change. They have
their own agendas. Like
being cool and trendy and avantgarde and the like. Climate change is
apparently not on the menu at the hip restaurants where they dine in
Manhattan and London.

So I now feel that the real power of cli fi to change the world, to wake
people up lies in Hollywood and world cinema, indie cinema as well.
Print book are basically dead in the water, dinosaurs. And Hollywood
and the media covering Hollywood, much more than the
literary gatekeepers in New York and London and Washington and Los
Angeles, are getting the cli fi message much better and much more
directly than the print media gatekeepers.

A sea change is happening: Hollywood and the media covering Hollywood
have really embraced cli fi and that is where the real wake-up call
power of public awareness now lies.


Novels about climate change still will have a place in our culture but
a very limited one, and one getting smaller day by day in this digital
world of 500 channels and multiple YouTube distractions. Speculative
fiction and eco-fiction novels still find readers. Look at Margaret
Atwood; look at Barbara Kingsolver; look at Kim Stanley Robinson; look
at James Vandermeer; look at David Brin.

I've noticed this sea change as Hollywood directors and PR mavens have
recently become much more with it, in terms of "getting" the cli fi
message. When Time magazine did a three-page cli fi spread on summer
cli fi movies in its May 19, 2014 issue what went worldwide, I began
to notice the way the print and online media were handling the new,
mushrooming cli fi genre.

After the Time article by Lily Rothman came out, the New York Times
''Room for Debate'' forum picked up the Hollywood angle for cli fi
movies, assigning academics and experts to talk about films such as
"Snowpiercer" and "Into the Storm" and the upcoming "Interstellar."

So I came to realize that Hollywood is where cli fi can have its
biggest impact, since print novels are dead in the water (see above)
and the few that do get published by the major publishers are reviewed
only by the gatekeepers at the New York Times and the Guardian in
London.

I see a big future of cli fi movies in Hollywood. Big.


Look around in the social media world: From Time to the New York
Times, from Mashable's Andrew Freedman to the New York Post's Page Six
gossip column, there has been more ink about Hollywood and cli fi than
anywhere else.


The Big Six book industry is blind to cli fi. Books are dying. Few
people read anymore, on a large scale. Novels have little impact
anymore. Movies reign supreme, and this is where I see cli fi blooming
now: in Hollywood. Hollywood players get it, the Hollywood media gets
it, and books are dead and movies rule the day now. Publishers Row is
dithering. London, too.

So I am following my gut instinct and my media radar and hoping to see
cli fi genre turn into a real bonanza in the realm of Hollywood film
directors and producers and writers. There is a big future for cli fi in
Hollywood.

Movie directors get it and they want to wake up the world. And make a
little spare change along the way, sure. It's a business. So cli fi
has found its true home not on Publishers Row in Manhattan but in
Hollywood, and just in time. And this is a good
development.

Cinema has the power to impact the world over important issues of
climate change and global warming. Novels have no such power anymore.
Print is dying, cinema is alive!

Of course, speculative fiction novels and eco-fiction novels still
have a place in our culture, and many of these novels will be adapted
as screenplays and see the light of day as popular movies, so writers
still have a role to play in all this.

As a climate activist and PR guy, I take the cli fi genre very
seriously, and I now see that Hollywood is where cli fi belongs, front
and center.

Do the math: movies reach millions. Most midlist novels reach 3,000
people, if that many.

CLI FI NOVELS OR CLI FI MOVIES? LITERATURE OR CINEMA? BOOKS OR FILMS?


CLI FI NOVELS OR CLI FI MOVIES? LITERATURE OR CINEMA? BOOKS OR FILMS?

A professor in Florida tells this blog:

''It’s not either/or. Popular culture is extremely important and influential — hey, it’s “popular.” It reaches everyone, cuts across all strata of income and education and age and cultural background. But even the producers of pop culture need to go somewhere to refill the wells of their imagination, as a poet  once said.


I have had this conversation many times with friends and colleagues. I have friends in Hollywood who tell me I should stop writing academic stuff and try to go on TV with my ideas about environmental literature. 

I recall a conversation with a colleague, a prominent literary essayist, who is proudly a mid-list writer, but whose extraordinarily thoughtful work often reaches key thinkers in more mass-audience genres. So  again, we’re not talking either/or. I prefer to believe in ''a ripple effect''. We need ways of reaching the broader public. We also need people who are trying to push the limits of science and art in ways that may not be of immediate interest to general audiences.

I enjoy reading on an e-reader, I prefer to teach mostly paperless classes here in Florida (to the extent that that’s possible), and I like listening to popular culture and watching movies.
But I also persist in finding print culture, even physical books, to be meaningful, useful veins of communication. It’s not all about sheer numbers of readers, viewers, or listeners.''

Christopher Nolan's film ''Interstellar'' is a cli fi movie set for Nov. 7 release



WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE CLI-FI GENRE and INTERSTELLAR:

1.
BREITBART NEWS

Sept 5, 2013


The plot for the upcoming Christopher Nolan film ''Interstellar'' is a
hush-hush affair. All we know is that it will star Matthew
McConaughey, be set in the future and likely flash some serious
special effects.

A small paper out of Canada smuggled out a bit more concerning the
film--it's anotherclimate change scare piece.

So Breitbart News checked in with Paramount Pictures, one of the
studios behind the project, to see if it could confirm the information
or squash it like a silly Facebook rumor.

Paramount would prefer not to comment on this one.

Hardly a squash.
========================
2.
COMMENTARIAT: ''Even if Nolan is a good director, this kind of cli fi
movie would greatly fail on its premise alone. As it is nothing more
than a generic ''climate change fear monger piece'' with good CGI, in
other words BORING."
==============================

3.
''I read the first draft of the 2008 script by Chris' brother. And
INTERSTELLAR not ''a preachy climate change'' film. But it is a cli fi
movie, for sure.'' - MORE COMMENTS ONLINE

==============

4.
''Another climate change movie.

I have seen enough of these damn movies and they say the exact same
thing over and over again while being completely wrong. Even Asylum
films knows better than these moronic Hollywood fear mongers.

Here is a clue for them, people only watch the disaster movies for the
destruction of everything, not the shoehorned message in the movie.
After all, no one watches these movies for their lame meaningless fear
mongering message.'' - COMMENTARIAT

==========================
5.
''A simplistic global-warming fear film? Let's be honest, folks: that
is NOT the Christopher Nolan we know.

Even the unverified Canadian story said NOTHING about man-made climate
change...it just said "climate change". For all we know, an asteroid
hits the earth, or something.

Nolan is not a man to make simplistic trash. We should really have
more faith in him, by now.

 I think it is likely going to be something that will remind you of
inception. Climate change will likely be an undertone as business was
in Inception, but that will hardly be what we remember from the
movie.'' - COMMENTARIAT
===============

6.


Hollywood loves environmentalists/climate change films so... shouldn't
"no comment" by the Studio PR people be inconclusive?

I can see it going either way:

1) It is a traditional climate change cli fi movie, which Paramount
will happily market as such in due time. No comment means "We are not
ready to admit this yet!"

2) Nolan will surprise us by bucking the trend (no idea how likely
that is) by addressing climate change differently than most of
Hollywood... and "No comment" is Paramount trying to prevent angry
activists making things harder before it needs to be.

=============

7.
''I won't see it.
Nolan just blew his credibility with me as a film maker.
Who do these people think they are to preach to me about their climate religion?
Paramount is going to bite it with this one.''
==============

8.
''I read the 2008 draft, it has nothing to do with liberal global
warming. In the draft it's a dystopian future, there was a war with
China, the word is being rebuilt with robots and there's a bacteria
killing crops and causing climate problems (which would cause climate
problems). IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PRIUS LOVING VIEW OF GLOBAL
WARMING!''

===========
9.
''If the plot is "hush-hush"...why the heck would Parmount comment on
it to BH (as if they're hiding a damaging secret)? Even if the story
is accurate, you can be pretty sure keeping the plot under wraps has
nothing to do with Hollywood-of all places--being embarrassed about a
climate change story. More plausible is they don't want ten direct to
video knock offs to hit production this early.''
==================
10.
''They can build a ship that can enter a wormhole, but they can't
build a greenhouse to grow food?''
==================
11.
''World renowned scientist, and genius, Kip Throne, is an executive
producer on the film. Originally Interstellar was going to be made by
Stephen Spielberg and Jonathan Nolan, Chris’ brother, was set to write
the script. Spielberg ended up backing out and Chris signed on to
direct, keeping Kip Throne on as an EP. In an interview with Mr.
Throne in 2007, when Spielberg was still scheduled to direct, he
talked a little about the movie and said that the story is about the
warped side of the Universe. He also said he was made an EP on the
film to bring good science into it and make sure that everything is
realistic and does not stray into the absurd. This should make
Interstellar one of the most realistic time traveling movies to date.

Last summer other details of the movie were released, saying the movie
has to do with ****climate change****. The world, apparently, can not
grow enough crops because of the changing weather and scientists must
leave the planet to find somewhere else to settle.''

-----------------------
12.

Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Will Tackle Climate Change

www.inquisitr.com/930259/interstellar-climate-change/

2013年8月31日 -
Director Christopher Nolan's upcoming sci-fi flick Interstellar will
reportedly deal with climate change and its effect on the future of
mankind.

==========
13.

On November 7th, the movie "Interstellar" will be released in the
United ... First, the film has a realistic issue in that climate
change could be our ...

For his next film "Interstellar," director Christopher Nolan has done
a ... "Set in the future, the movie details the toll climate change
has taken on ...

14

There needs to be a conflict or challenge in a movie in order for
there to be an uplifting moment right. If the story was "oh hey, we
invented a thing and traveled" it's not a terribly interesting story.

Global warming is a real issue .....that can cause food shortages.
Over-population is a real issue that defies political leanings.

As long as Christians have the book of revelations and Scandavians
have Ragnarok, and Buddhists have endless cycles of suffering and
want, there will be doom and gloom from every angle.

15
What we know of the plot so far is that crops have become infected due
to climate change, in turn causing a crop famine. Like all intelligent
sci-fi movies....

. ... the rest of mankind from starvation and climate change side effects.

A good thing, too. Climate change is running out of control, and we
may need a new planet soon.

16.
The trailers add context to all that by showing a world ravaged by
food shortages where people are still trying to hold on to a semblance
of normalcy (i.e., going to baseball games). At Comic-Con McConaughey
described it as a world in which "civilization is basically just
sustaining. It's about growing food, having clean water, that's it."
When it becomes clear that, as Michael Caine's character says in the
trailers, "nothing in our solar system can help us," McConaughey’s
Cooper is recruited to go to space on what McConaughey called "the
greatest mission mankind has ever taken."

17. 
From both the shots of corn in the trailers and a report from the
small townFort MacLeaod Gazette, we can assume corn is the most
important crop in the film. The small town Florida paper, which
reported on Interstellar when it was shooting there, says the “movie
details the toll climate change has taken on agriculture, with corn
the last crop to be cultivated. The scientists embark on a journey
through a wormhole into other dimensions in search of somewhere other
crops can be grown.”