Archive | November 2014

Interstellar. Is it about human nature?


A clear day at the corn farm before the flight of fancy blasts off.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar begins in dust and dirt and gritty reality at an American farmhouse – could be anywhere, anytime. Reality gets grittier, we find we’re in the future and feeding people, lots of people, is getting tougher. A neighbour burns his okra and we’re down to corn and the wind blows the dirt off the world. The atmosphere is making people sick and the educators are making children ignorant. And from there, off we blast into a flight of fancy, rocketing Kubrick’s 2001 into 2014 with marvellous space spectacle and far-fetched wonder.

For fully corn-fed people these humans are able to wormhole through logic into a terrific entertainment. But. What of our relationship to nature? Why is blight about to eat all the corn? How comes the planet Earth to be in such a sad state? Any thoughts Dr Brand? “We must confront the reality that nothing in our solar system can help us.” Okay, let’s not go there. What hope can you offer Life, Dr Brand? “We’re not meant to save the world. We’re meant to leave it … ”

Planet trashed, move on. Oh, I can’t stop thinking, wouldn’t it have been good to get some understanding so that when the humans go out to find a new world, new solar system, new galaxy, they’re going to take with them some wisdom? Like maybe, don’t trash the next one? “Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.” Huh? Why not? Every other species is expected to! Where is it expected to die? The next one or the one after that?

Where is the sense of humanity learning from past mistakes? Oh, the fruit loop teacher who is the tool of anti-science revisionism gets to say, “And if we don’t want to repeat of the excess and wastefulness of the 20th Century then we need to teach our kids about this planet, not tales of leaving it.” How stupid and dull is that?

Instead Interstellar glorifies the continuing push to explore and conquer and leave a bunch of litter at every planet we can. Could it be ironic? Maybe. There is one appositely named character who gets his moralistic comeuppance but generally, the human species looks set to continue as it always has. Trashing this world, trashing the next world, trashing the next galaxy. Trashing through the wormhole. Looks cool, sounds amazing but Interstellar turns our backs on nature – apart from human nature and I guess that counts for something – but really people – pick up after yourselves!

I could go on complaining about the script, the casting and the nonsense but go see Interstellar – at the biggest screen possible – it’s surely not educational but it is extremely entertaining!

interstellar poster

Terrific response to Melbourne Cup

I mean terrific as in filled with terror. It’s the first time I’ve noticed public opinion rise against this bizarre pageant of money, cruelty and lust we call the Melbourne Cup. I congratulate Sam de Brito on his fantastic opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Cup – that will do me. Please read and share it.

Rubbish left over from the 2014 Melbourne Cup

Picture from the Illawarra Mercury of the remains of the day, 2014 Melbourne Cup

de Brito’s observations are balanced and passionate. It’s well worth the read. It evokes another wonderful article from some years ago by Marike Hardy, The Melbourne Cup: It’s a truly revolting spectacle published in The Drum.

I’ve been both heartened and surprised by the many posts in Facebook over the last few days as people describe their saddness at the death of two horses in 2014’s carnival. Yet so many horses die each year as a result of the racing industry. Have people never thought about how many horses are bred, how many hopes are pinned on how many hours of training? I’m only glad that people are starting to think now. What can we do about our relationship to horses? Where does the money go?

Here are some facts about horse racing in Australia

Here’s a link to an interesting blog about retiring horses. They don’t mention the wastage during the training period. Only a small percentage of horses actually make it to be professional runners, just like humans. Imagine all those Little Athletics Club children. How many of them become full time athletes? What happens to all those racehorses

But for the utter last word on The Melbourne Cup, watch Kenny.

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