Archive for the ‘Disney’ Category
After my article a few weeks ago on the soft drink, Mello Yello the marketing team noticed and contacted me to let me know they appreciated my dedication to their product. You can see their comments from that first contact at the bottom of that posting.I have only ever drank one kind of soft drink, and that is Mello Yello, so I was particularly impressed to come home on Friday to a box from the Coca Cola company in Atlanta, Georgia. Inside the box were a number of Mello Yello marketing items that the company had sent me that made a good day even better.
They sent me a T-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a hat, a pen, a notebook, and a thank you note, which meant a lot coming from a company that I have silently been very loyal to for a number of years. I had just enough time to open the box and scan through the items before getting ready to take my kids and their significant others out to the movie theater to see the long-awaited Prometheus. So I put on my new Mello Yello T-shirt, and my Mello Yello hat, and I grabbed the Mello Yello notebook with pen to give to my oldest daughter, and we left for the movie.
Of course I looked like a walking billboard for Mello Yello when my daughter let me into their townhouse where I gave her the notebook. She tends to write almost as much as I do, so I knew she would put it to good use. I also knew my kids would get a kick out of seeing all the Mello Yello gear, because in our family, it’s well known my love of Mello Yello. We don’t all get together as easily as we used to because we all have busy lives, so getting the Mello Yello clothing in time for our long-planned movie was a nice addition to a wonderful evening.
For Prometheus my wife wanted to see it on the IMAX screen at Showcase Cinemas in Springdale, which I think is the best movie screen in the Cincinnati area. Of course the film was in 3D like they all are these days, just like film producers promised when they flew me out to Los Angeles a few years ago to do a fire whip sequence and prove out the use of a 3D camera system for Real D 3D with Peter Facinelli. I had at that time a lot of skepticism that audiences would flock to theaters to put on 3D glasses and watch a movie with just a little extra thrill factor. Women who go out on dates spending a lot of time fixing up their hair just right I didn’t think would be interested in putting on glasses that would smear their make-up. People who naturally wear glasses have to now look through two glasses to see anything in a 3D movie, which is a pain in the neck. But Hollywood was committed to the idea of 3D just prior to Obama becoming president because they were pushed by theaters owners all over the United States to justify their investments in state of the art projection systems, giant theaters, and comfortable seating.
Hollywood like the education industry is facing the same kind of economic bubble that the housing industry has already experienced, and it’s bursting. In Hollywood, it was the films of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in the 1980’s that set the modern idea of what a “blockbuster” was. Every year since the release of E.T. and the last of the original Star Wars films Hollywood has tried to copy the box office numbers of those films by pushing for larger stunts, larger and louder explosions, and faster paced film techniques driven largely by the music video generation created by MTV. Most of the films Hollywood produce each year falls short of executive expectations, but the pressure has been on for quite some time to get larger box office totals as the entertainment unions have driven up the financial expectations higher and higher. Leading actors now for a picture make between $20 million to $30 million, so budgets for a typical summer blockbuster are now up over $150 million dollars routinely. Hollywood has increasingly had to rely on overseas sales to complement their box office take domestically in order to justify their massive up front investments. Revenue streams are changing for the industry as well, as ticket prices have went up to compensate the increasingly high budgets for films, technology has made it so people can often watch films at home more comfortably than at a movie theater. Just the other day I was at Wal-Mart where I looked at a beautiful 70” big screen LCD television that was just over $2,000 dollars. Hollywood now has to find a way to give people an experience at the theater that they can’t get at home, so 3D is their solution. And it’s failing.
I say 3D is failing not with pleasure in my voice, but sadness. I love the movie theater experience, which is why I made a tremendous ritual of taking all my kids to a movie and spending $100 on tickets that cost over $15 each to see Prometheus with my Mello Yello gear on to create memories that will last a lifetime. I wanted them to have a great night out at the movies where going to the theater is like going to a sacred mythic temple as modern mythology is bestowed upon the moviegoer.
Prior to our film beginning I watched the previews for the newest rendition of Spiderman, and Batman, and half a dozen 3D extravaganzas that I could see will end up in the same scrap heap as Battleship and John Carter. It’s not to say that those films are bad, or don’t have a market niche to fill, but studios are forced to spend over $100 million to make those films because of expectations, and ticket prices are simply too high, most people will wait to watch those films on video, or Netflix. Every movie cannot be Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, or The Avengers. Most Hollywood producers are fearful to attempt these days to develop original material because the risk is simply too great. Even a popular book like John Carter may not be enough to guarantee success. As I watched the previews prior to Prometheus, I knew that 75% of those films would be box office disappointments. They were dead before they have even arrived, because of the laws of quality described in Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The Hollywood producers and entertainment agents more than ever are chasing dreams like the founders of California’s gold rush. They are digging for gold where it’s been discovered instead of looking where nobody has discovered it yet, because they are functioning in the back of the “train” so to speak.
Needless to say the film I took my family to Prometheus was spectacular, and it should have been for $100 bucks. I had no regrets in seeing that movie especially since everyone enjoyed the film tremendously. But as I stood in the lobby of Showcase Cinemas afterward in my bright yellow Mello Yello gear a wave of sadness swept over me realizing that the financial structure that made the whole movie theater business run was about to bust. Prometheus represented the best that Hollywood had to offer, and at $15 dollars a ticket, it barely seemed worth it. I can’t image paying that kind of price for a lesser movie, yet the movie industry is counting on it, and they will be disappointed.
The same holds true in the movie industry as it does with President Obama not understanding that European economic models built around socialism is the cause of their failure, and The United States allowing for a mixed economy of a little socialism here and there sprinkled with bits of capitalism is what has caused Obama’s failed economy during his presidency. He’s as clueless as the typical film executive who will find themselves out of a job in a couple of years because their films failed to meet the market expectations. Hollywood is looking for the Justice League to fill the market void of George Lucas retiring. That was on my mind because just a few days before Mello Yello sent me all that merchandise I received a press release from Lucasfilm stating Lucas was officially retiring, and that Kathleen Kennedy was stepping in to help fill the void at that billion dollar film company. Kennedy is a long time assistant to many Spielberg films and now she’s going to work full-time at Lucasfilm. This is a serious indication that Hollywood’s creative core is aging, and moving on to other things, and the next generations of Hollywood filmmakers and other above-the-line talent are functioning from the back of Pirsig’s quality train, and will fail under the heavy expectations.
I thought it was appropriate that I was wearing a Mello Yello T-shirt on a night when I was having all these thoughts. Way back in 1994 and 1995 I wanted to buy a Mello Yello T-shirt, but then frustrated executives at Coca Cola were upset that the soft drink did not perform equivalent to Mountain Dew, so they pulled the drink for a bit and changed it to the soft drink “Serge,” so I didn’t get my Mello Yello shirt. This went on for a while until executives at the Coca Cola Company realized that this would not boost their sales, so they had sacrificed a very good drink just because it arrived late to the marketing gate, and if they had held strong, they might have made real gains through the late 90’s into the next century. Mello Yello made its triumphant return slowly, and is just now beginning to be purchased in the northern states of America. The same day I went to Wal-Mart to see the big screen television, they had three 12 packs of Mello Yello on their shelf. My wife bought all three of them. A couple of years ago, Wal-Mart in Ohio did not carry Mello Yello at all.
Mello Yello has always been a great drink, but it was judged based on the blockbuster success of Mountain Dew, and it suffered as a result. The same thing is about to happen in the film industry. Many films will suffer as film executives lose their jobs in the years to come due to the entertainment bubble collapsing under the enormous weight of expectation. And like Mello Yello, I have my brands of filmmakers that I support valiantly, and Ridley Scott is one of them. When my “brands” make a film that I know they poured their heart and soul into it, I go and see them. The next film I feel passionate about will be Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. I will pay top dollar to see that movie as a kind of vote for what I think success in a movie should be, to help curb the disappointment from an industry that expects too much, and is collapsing under inflated opinions. Twenty years from now, like my previous twenty years of supporting Mello Yello, I’m sure some of these very good film studios will re-emerge from the wreckage that is about to become of the film industry, and I’ll be there to support them as I was to see the great film Prometheus and one of the great offerings of the year from 20th Century Fox.
I proudly put my Mello Yello gear away when I got home that night and contemplated all that you read here today. And because of that, it means more to me than the moment that I opened it. In capitalism, whether it’s a movie, or a soft drink, the idea came from the mind of a capitalist, and millions of people enjoy the results of those thoughts—and every instance is a thing of beauty. I cherish Mello Yello because it’s been through so much as a company and even with all that, they still have the swagger about them to send me a box full of Mello Yello fun on the eve of taking my family to see the film Prometheus. It was an evening of ideas, and capitalism, and crushing expectations. But at the end of the day, it is the ideas that burn not so much brightest, but longest that survive. And Mello Yello survives, in the same way that many others will endure as great minds who think at the front of the train emerge to give great ideas a place to materialize. Each time I wear my Mello Yello T-shirt, it will not be out of blind devotion to a soft drink, but out of reverence to a company that I cherish because it makes a great product, and has had the tenacity to weather the storms of economic betrayal to arrive at a day when it can please the taste buds of millions.
For anyone who doubts even a little that capitalism is the ultimate economy of a free people, one only as to look at the great amusement parks and roller coasters from Central Florida. Below is a recent video from Attractions Magazine which begins in my favorite amusement park in the entire world, the Epcot Center.
The Star Wars Weekend just opened at Hollywood Studios and here are some clips from that opening ceremony. Star Wars as an idea could never have manifested in a country like Russia, China, Greece, France, or any African country not because of skin color, or even financial viability. The key is in the ability to think and appreciate freedom, allowing fans to participate in a living mythology as evident in this parade where people from all over the world come to pay tribute to their favorite Star Wars characters both as a participants and as spectators.
And in a capitalist oriented culture it is in the freedom of musical expression, and theatrical expression that pop culture merges with myth in the very popular dance-off that was shown on opening night.
As many people these days are confused as to what kind of politics they should support, it is only capitalism that makes all the dreams and talents of Central Florida come to life. And what a wonderful culture we have because of it. I am thankful every time I get the opportunity to see the latest and greatest of entertainment in Central Florida.
This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon
Sometimes the best way to see something clearly is to back up so you can put it in focus. It also helps to not view the world exclusively through one particular specialization of which one makes a living. Living life should be a constant adventure of always learning and expanding ones viewpoint, and not relegating a perception to just those within the field of one’s occupation. This is the role of philosophy and story tellers, people I enjoy spending time around more than any other, because they often see the bigger picture of things, excel in this skill and do society great justice when they share the fruits of their labor.
This is also why I have been spending some time talking about the new film The Hobbit by Peter Jackson, because stories like this are much bigger than the small issues that surround us on a daily basis, so in placing our energy onto such projects metaphors of our own reality can be analyzed. So let me share with you dear reader a clip from the video blog of The Hobbit hosted by Peter Jackson before we plunge into a bit of darkness in our discussion today. When watching this clip it reminded me of two things—first I am happy to see that Jackson is filming The Hobbit, for the first time in 48 frames a second and in 3D. I had the privilege of working with Real D 3D a few years ago on the development of a new camera system they were testing for the 3D market which is very similar to the version seen in this clip, so it excites me greatly to see this kind of technology being utilized to the furthest extent of artistic interpretation. Second—for the reasons that have held up The Hobbit as a production and almost prevented it from being filmed in New Zealand are the same that I will probably never get the chance to do work in Hollywood again, because of my stances against unions in my written work.
The dark story of making The Hobbit is one that has held the project up for years and is yet another story about how labor unions are corrosive organizations. And its statements like that which have blacklisted me from any future work within the Hollywood community. I made this choice consciously knowing that I will instead shift my attention in these middle years of my life to writing novels instead. So I am happy to let my whip work and other entertainment talents drift into the nature of that independent task of authorship. Because there is no going back now, I’ve said too much.
But what I said needed to be said. It’s the things that Peter Jackson doesn’t want, or need to say. It’s the things that the distributors at Warner Brothers can’t talk about even if their opinions are harsh on the matter privately. This is because a subtle harness is placed upon the entertainment industry and that harness is the exact same gag that exists on public education, and is preventing the open learning and creativity of millions of children from realizing their full potential. It is that of the labor unions.
During Lord of the Rings, the production could be said to be very successful because Peter Jackson as a director is extremely personable, grounded, and fantastic at multitasking. He kept his set fun which allowed for a bonding to occur between his technical staff and his actors which showed up on-screen in a tremendous way. It is unlikely that Lord of the Rings would have been such a great production if Jackson had not been the director, or if the entire film had not been shot in New Zealand.
My wife and I made serious plans to move to New Zealand in the early years of our marriage and live on a sailboat. So I understand the appeal of a country that as of now prides itself on rugged individuality. When one thinks of New Zealand government of any kind does not come to mind, just big open fields, mountains, horses and–sheep. But the one great thing that I’ll say about New Zealand that the film industry can’t say is that one of the reasons Lord of the Rings went together so impressively, and all members of the crew got along unusually well, and communication worked at all levels was the absence of a labor union in New Zealand involving the actors and technical unions. Before Lord of the Rings came out there were only a few major films to come out of New Zealand, The Man from Snowy River films, and the George Lucas spectacle Willow. So the labor unions didn’t protest too intensely when New Line Cinema aligned with Wingnut films to produce a massive three film adaptation to the Tolkien classic, the unions didn’t pay much attention. Jackson wisely shot the films back-to-back while Fellowship of the Ring was still in post production and had not yet hit theaters. The Lord of the Rings films were able to be made outside of the chaos of the usual Hollywood production without a lot of union influence in an almost campfire style production where everyone bonded on the set.
However, success breeds the looters, and after multiple Academy Awards the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance union from Australia decided it wanted to move over into the New Zealand market because they feared that such high-profile big budget films in the future would go to New Zealand instead of Australia where the Star Wars films were shot over similar concerns. These big productions could not be done in the United States, because there is too much hassle these days over labor disputes, so film companies run from unions out of necessity, and in this case New Zealand is the last far-flung corner of the globe without one of these labor unions controlling the industry, so The Hobbit will be the last of its kind. The unions took action against The Hobbit production joining with the Screen Actors Guild and four other international unions to boycott the production.
You can read an article about this mess here:
Peter Jackson in an effort to save his home country of New Zealand the thousands upon thousands of jobs The Hobbit would bring to craftsman and film personnel refused to buckle under the union pressure and called the union what it was, a bully looking for money, membership and power. He threatened to take the production of The Hobbit and its $300 million budget to Europe in order to make the film. You can read that article here:
Thankfully the whole situation settled as thousands of New Zealanders protested to keep The Hobbit production in New Zealand, so the unions backed off socially, and Jackson was able to go and make the film the way he likes to make them. For me personally it is very nice to see Peter walking around on his sets casually without all the egotistical authority that so many of his predecessors displayed. It’s Jackson’s directorial style to be very open, fair and forthcoming in his dealings with his cast and crew. Jackson is certainly a director who would suffer from too much outside control on his projects which is what the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance union was trying to do. They saw Jackson’s success and they wanted to loot off his back, off his creations, and his relationships so they could get a piece of the pie for themselves.
This is what teachers unions have done to our schools. It’s no different in any respect. A school cannot pick up and move like Jackson threatened to settle a union dispute. A community has a school and it’s fixed in place. So if a union infests it with their looting tendency, the community is forced to deal with the extortion measures they employ.
The Disney Company deals with the unions by tossing more money at the problem which is why the Pirate films are so expensive. Disney has the advantage of generating a tremendous amount of money through their subsidiary companies, so they can play that game. They are too big to fly under the radar like Jackson does today, or Spielberg and Lucas used to. Notice that as Spielberg became bigger and more successful over the years, that his films seemed to become more and more bogged down. He still makes pretty good films, but nothing like his final year as a master filmmaker in 1993 with the release of Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. I know people get angry with Spielberg and Tim Burton (who I think is a fantastic director) for sucking up to the Obama administration now, and the Clinton administration’s back in the 90’s, but at the heart of that evil is a desire for creative people to make their movies as a wall of opposition known as the entertainment unions stand in the way. The union influence shows up in the final product and it does rob the production of some magic. The audience can tell the difference and it does affect Hollywood’s bottom line. They respond by making more comedies, and easy productions that aren’t overly complicated and can be shot around Los Angeles or Las Vegas–easy set ups. The creative minds behind the movies attempt to keep the protesting communists who run the labor unions at bay with appeasement. Disney throws money at unions to advance a project which works, but prevents smaller film makers from being able to compete on equal footing, because the unions hold all producers to the same standard as a company like Disney. Unless the filmmaker makes the film out of the country like Jackson has, they find themselves encumbered needlessly both creatively and financially.
As I see the previews and clips coming in from The Hobbit I am starting to get excited, because such films—stories of such depth are rare for all the reasons described, and are true treasures of our culture. I desire a world where people can speak and do business with each other without the looters standing in the way trying to make easy money for themselves. And yes, my comments here about the education unions have blacklisted me in entertainment which will go on forever. But I have other talents and I’ll use them to tell the story of how human beings get themselves into these fixes. It’s a difficult thing to balance out the need to make a living and then to make a living that is honest and true. Because the chances are, even if you are a wealthy film maker, if your love is to make movies you still need the industry system to make them, so you do your best to shut your mouth and put up with the parts you don’t like. You give money to the Obama administrations as a payoff to a mobster thug and hope they leave you alone politically. And the same holds true for the teaching profession. Or any profession that is controlled by labor unions, it’s hard to come out and speak against it, and to call it what it is, because the system is designed to exclude any voice of dissention. But I will do it, because I’ve already started the process, so I might as well see it through. And in the meantime, I will cheer with much vigor the upcoming film The Hobbit for all these reasons and more. Great stories are so few and far between, and I’m so excited about this one that I may just go get in line for it right now.
Check out Rich Hoffman’s favorite website, (besides this one):
A long time ago I used to be the guy who fed the string of exploding fireworks from the top of a Chinese restaurant that I worked at while the owners of the establishment put on an epic dragon dance like the one seen below. The fireworks were coiled up in a box that had over 50,000 tied to it and I’d have to stand on the roof and feed the lit explosions just over the dancing dragon below as it performed for a massive audience. My task was to keep the fireworks about two feet above the action but to protect anything from igniting the feed box, which was very dangerous work on my end, that I loved.
As I witnessed many oriental dragon dances I contemplated the difference in how oriental cultures viewed dragons and how the Occident, (western cultures) viewed dragons. They are very different ways of looking at the same thing. In the orient, dragons are a symbol of life renewing aspects. The dragon sheds its skin, and is seen as a serpent and life-giver in many respects. In the west, the dragon’s breath fire, are meant to be feared and usually sit on top of huge piles of treasure and are sought after to be slain. But why was this?
It was that primary question that sent me on a ten-year study and provoked me to quit college three times because nobody had a satisfactory answer for me in the field of philosophy. That might not have been the case if I had been able to attend Sarah Lawrence College where Joseph Campbell taught comparative mythology, or Leonard Peikoff’s philosophy classes at Long Island University, had I known about them when I was 18 to 28. But the books of those men were available, and I scooped up the work of Joseph Campbell and devoured them for the next ten years trying to figure out what was wrong with this whole problem of dragons in human society.
I spent many late nights at Waffle Houses all over Cincinnati reading till 4 to 5 AM over breakfast omelets pouring through all of Campbell’s classics meticulously, and it was this action that catapulted me into a lifelong study of myth, philosophy, and human culture that extended beyond the realms of classic anthropological and archeological study. The study of dragons in our culture actually is the skeleton key to understanding the conflicts of our age and it all begins with the grace of that dragon dance from my youth and the hypnotic fireworks I was tasked to feed during the ceremony. And it ends with the reason why I am so excited about the new Peter Jackson film translation of The Hobbit, which I so enthusiastically support at my site here.
My wife’s birthday was last night and my daughter, son-in-law and I went to our favorite Chinese restaurant in Liberty Twp to get my wife the only food she truly likes, Chinese from Panda King. My entire family loves the oriental family who run that restaurant and we’ve known them for years. The man and woman who operate Panda King are two of the hardest working people I know and their son grew up much like the sons I knew in my teenage years, working with the family business, doing their homework between orders and displaying a fantastic work ethic. It is that work ethic that I admire so much in the people of the orient. They have no fear of hard work and cannot be stopped once set in motion. So my wife wanted food from The Panda King for her birthday dinner and nothing else.
As we placed the order I showed my daughter the new preview to The Hobbit on her cell phone which she hadn’t seen yet and we mauled over the idea of how cool Peter Jackson’s version of Smaug the Dragon would be from that literary classic. As we spoke about it I looked all over the walls of The Panda King at the dragon decorations and thought about the dragon dances again. The difference between the eastern view of dragons and the version from the west displayed so vividly by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit is quite astonishing. The only thing the two cultures share in their view of the animal is the category of dragon as a mysterious creature.
About that time a young man who I had fired from his job about 7 months ago came in to order food and appeared to recognize me. There was that tension where words cannot cross a void and nothing is said as a result. He didn’t know what to say to me, and there was nothing I could say to him to bring comfort. Asking how he was doing would have been inappropriate under the conditions of his termination, and asking for an appeal to me would have been degrading. So he avoided eye contact with me, ordered his food and left unceremoniously, as my daughter and I continued to talk about Smaug from The Hobbit.
Running into former employees that I’ve had to terminate happens a lot. It happens when I get gas, and at various shopping complexes as I am out and about, so I’ve learned to shift into the proper gear when those encounters happen. Firing an employee or letting them go as a reduction-in-force is difficult, but the situation is always in their control. It is a failure in job performance that does them in, and they either accept that fact or they don’t. So the choice to be angry is entirely in their control.
This guy in Panda King chose not to be angry and took responsibility for his actions, so his lack of desire to be confrontational to me earned some respect that he had won back just a little bit from how I felt about him upon termination.
When the food was done cooking the owners put it all in a giant box that it took to carry it all home. I joked to them about coming home with us to eat it all. The couple gave me an odd look not comprehending what I was saying as the thought of leaving their work in the middle of the evening was not even a consideration, even joking. And there-in-lies the fundamental difference between the east and the west, as much as I admire the oriental work ethic and their very dedicated preservation of strong families in their culture, they do not function very independently. Independence is not important to them culturally. The people of the orient think in terms of collectivism, as a complete organism of which they are but a single cell. They are naturally altruistic by their cultural heritage and as much as I admire them as a social organism, they think very different from the way I do. This is why their dragons are revered as life-sustaining, because the dragon to them is the state. This is why oriental cultures tend to fall toward communism. This is the case certainly in China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and if the politics is not literal communism, then it might be monarchy, feudalism such as what is found in Japanese cultures or an out-right dictatorship. The people of the orient are prone to sacrifice their individual lives for the benefit of the collective whole.
When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings he set out to bring Great Britain a proper mythology for their culture, which England did not have. England through their reign of empire had a hodgepodge of many cultures as they imported the King Author legends from France, which had its roots in the troubadours of romanticism. But England lacked an authentic myth to unify its people, so Tolkien set out to give it one with his characters in the literary classics of Middle Earth. As a professor at Oxford he saw firsthand the spread of socialism throughout London society and as a veteran of World War I he had some very unique perspectives into the progressive conditions that spread after the Treaty of Versailles. Tolkien the intellectual kept his mind free from politics like many creative people and instead delved into creating his own world mythology which reflected the concepts of our actual life. Walt Disney and George Lucas have done that in the United States and in England Tolkien was taking his observations of human behavior and painting them against stories such as The Hobbit in 1936.
Tolkien was so prone to withdrawal from contemporary politics that he lashed out in anger at those who declared his Lord of the Rings as an anti-communist parable comparing Joseph Stalin to the Dark Lord. Tolkien saw his work as reaching beyond the politics of the day even though he was clearly reacting to the events through the mechanism of myth.
The Hobbit is in essence a treasure hunt, not too unlike that of Disney’s beloved pirates from Pirates of the Caribbean. Bilbo Baggins was conscripted from a group of treasure hunters led by Gandalf seeking to take back their kingdom and the treasure guarded there by the dragon Smaug. This takes the home-loving Hobbit Bilbo on an adventure of the lifetime and lead directly into the events that become Lord of the Rings, which is a much more sinister story about evil and the nature of its influence. In The Hobbit, Smaug is the perfect embodiment of the classic occidental dragon motif as seen in this clip from the 1977 cartoon adaption of The Hobbit.
Notice Smaug is a pompous, arrogant creature who uses brute force to guard his treasure taken from the surrounding kingdoms. And he sleeps atop it guarding each and every item. Bilbo the Thief, the (pirate) has been tasked to steal an item from the dragon’s lair. The dragon in these stories represents The State, the institutional control of an organization that takes and steals by force the wealth of the people who have their rights to their creations. So the dragon is the villain in occidental mythology where the creature represents a destruction of individual liberty, and the right to their personal wealth. The dragon does not have a right to hoard the looted wealth of the people in its lair. This makes the dragon slayer, the thief of Bilbo Baggins a hero in this case.
However, if the same story were told in China, Bilbo would be the villain and it would be the dragon who would be the hero. Because in that culture the dragon is the revered creature, the state and the survival of the culture is the paramount concern. But in European post renaissance mythology, before Karl Marx spread his disease across Europe, it was the individual desire for conquering one’s personal dragons that become the concern.
I put the quality of J.R.R. Tolkien’s thinking in line with the Founding Fathers by way of intellectual capacity in what he was trying to achieve. Tolkien had the ability to behold very large ideas much the way Ben Franklin did, and was able to see beyond the political trends of his day to tell very powerful myths in an attempt to hold his culture together. Tolkien was creating a mythology which directly leads to philosophy, two ingredients that are paramount to holding a culture together.
Political science and other feeble attempts to bypass the process of myth always lead to social decay. Mythology is needed in order to form complicated social concepts which give context to large ideas. This is why the new documentary called Finding Joe, which is about the power of Joseph Campbell’s scholarship in creating a new field of endeavor called comparative mythology which will soon become a major field of study like anthropology, sociology, and even physics is now, because there is power in myths and the words that form them. So much so that societies will rise and fall based on the strength of their mythological messages.
But that is the difference between the east and the west and these ideas are in open conflict with each other. The hippie movement of the 60’s and into the modern-day sought to study the east as the premier mode of thinking using examples of India, Tibetan Buddhism, and Japanese Zen to challenge the thinking of western thought. It was even Jane Fonda who basically made love publicly with communist North Vietnam using her sex appeal to win over millions of American’s into communism.
But it cannot be disguised what lingers in the heart of mankind. And all the open conflicts of our day could be seen in Panda King where my daughter and I were buying my wife dinner for her birthday. My friends who run the place genuinely enjoy seeing me when I come to place an order and our friendship exists completely in respect. But they do not understand my motorcycle riding, my cowboy hats or my outlandish dress on occasion. They do not understand my strong desire for individual liberty. And I do not understand their blind obedience to collectivism, or their selfless natures. I admire it in some respects, but I do not, nor do I wish to understand it. When I see a dragon I wish to slay it and mount it’s head on my wall so I can hang my bullwhips from its teeth. When they see a dragon they want to do a dance and celebrate its nature.
And the fellow who I fired was a young fellow who was confused by all this stuff. He thought that work was optional, that he could show up when he wanted. He often wore symbols of the Yen and Yang on his jewelry and had a fascination with the Peace symbol. He thought that he could make up his own hours and that if he lost his job he’d just collect unemployment. So I gave him directions to the unemployment office and told him to get in line because he was now on it. He huffed and puffed and bragged on Facebook about how was going to stick it to me and what a bad guy I was, but in the end he had lost his job because he did not perform the tasks he was hired to do. He was functioning from a faulty philosophy. He wanted the collectivism of the east without the hard work, yet he still wanted the individuality of the west, again without the work. That young man is a victim of no mythology, but rather a grouping of broken symbols that had lost their meaning leaving his mind vacant of resolution. This gives him little social value in that he cannot even be hired like Bilbo Baggins to steal treasure from a dragon resting atop a pile of gold.
If you want a long sustaining society that will always hold itself together, the orient has the problem licked. They are a stable people who can have a continuous society that lasts for generations, but they are willing to give up individual liberty to have it. The Occident, (the west) tends to burn itself out quickly in the absence of strong family values since the innovations of one generation to the next die out as the great minds of one age find the descendents of the next one much like that guy I had to fire. Without the work ethic to sustain an idea, they quickly die out and the culture disintegrates. But, it is in individual endeavor that innovation thrives, and it is in the Occident that we developed aviation, computers, the internet, electricity, and virtually all technological marvels. Because the keys to a good life, the treasures of mankind are underneath the dragons of society and those dragons must be killed to gain those treasures. You cannot dance around them and throw sacrifices at those dragons and expect the dragon to give you treasure. Instead the dragon will only ask for more. So the dragons must be killed, so that society can prosper and advance with each slain monster.
American society will thrive once it stops feeling guilty for the dragons it kills, because we are not like those in the orient. We are unique, and it is our task to kill dragons and steal their treasure for our use. That is the mythology of the west, and one that at a subconscious level, we all understand.
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Barack Obama came to Disney World and did what he does everywhere he goes in the United States; he shut down Main Street USA. I’m sure the intentions of this visit were not to indicate the more metaphorical limerick described in that opening sentence, but that is the perfect summation of the President’s 4 terms in the United States Executive Office.
Everyone who knows me understands how much I love Disney World, and what I think of Walt Disney. While it’s clear that the more progressive caretakers of the Disney Company in recent years seem perplexed as to what made Disney such a successful company they have been wise enough to keep the original intents of Walt Disney alive well after his passing. Disney is one of those I would term as being an overman, a person who thinks beyond the conventions of the learned. One who can see clearly what is still invisible to everyone else. In fact, Disney World as a complex is a major portion of Florida’s economy. To understand just how important Disney is to Florida and the United States in general, have a look at this link of an article I wrote quite some time ago. You’ll learn some very interesting fun facts about Disney World:
There is a part of me who finds the Disney Company very misguided in shutting down Main Street U.S.A at their primary amusement park just so Obama can give a speech. It is a bad move on behalf of management to recognize the value of certain human beings. But they are not all at fault. The management at Disney World are in good company when they host the President. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have done similar events for President Obama, and much has been said about Tim Burton hosting the secret Halloween Party at the White House. Heck, even one of my favorite human beings on the planet sent the Chewbacca costume from Star Wars to appear at that same Halloween Party. This is baffling to me, this whole premise of creators, which film makers are, being seduced by politicians of little worth like Obama.
If I were the management at Disney aside from the fact that I think Obama is a worthless President with no management skill, I would tell the President that he was not welcome to shut down a portion of my amusement park to give a self-serving political speech. I would do that because the average customer at Disneyworld has far more value than a politician of any caliber. However, the behavior of these successful filmmakers and entertainment tycoons does not exempt them from poor judgment. I know many people who are of above average income who attend fundraisers for presidential candidates and other politicians that are anywhere from $50 per plate to $5000 a plate and this is the fundamental trouble with our government. People, who actually have the ability to make money and pay $5000 a plate for a meal to put money in a politician’s pocket, misplace the value of a politician. They don’t seem to have the ability to turn off in their minds the aptitude to not become star struck with politicians and treat them with celebrity instead of servitude. Politicians are public servants, not celebrities. They should never be held up as a celebrity under ANY circumstance at any level.
Politicians learned from Hollywood how to build their image into a celebrity appeal, and the same Hollywood producers and image makers who create the images we see, seem to not recognize that the looting politician is simply using the Hollywood strategy against Hollywood itself to gain money, and political influence within the organization.
If I were Hollywood I would be angry at those looting politicians, and I’d abandon the progressive politics that looters like Obama are trying to slide under the door, because Hollywood is being scammed. Wasn’t it Lenan who stated that if he could control Hollywood he could control the world? Well, they’ve tried to implement communism into Hollywood for years and many actors and producers looking for money for their projects to green light from financiers like George Soros steer scripts in a noticeably leftist direction. The result is that box office results for 2011 are about $500 million down from what they were a year ago. In fact, they are so bad that they are down to the 1995 levels.
It is not internet piracy that is causing films to fail, so the new SOPA and PIPA bills won’t save Hollywood. Piracy is up because the quality of films are down. People are not willing to pay good money for socialist propaganda. They might watch those films for free, but they aren’t going to flock to the theaters to see them. All anyone has to do to measure the sad state of depravity that Hollywood is currently in is examine the James Bond franchise of late. Compare the Bond films of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s to the 90’s and the now the dismal 2000’s. They’ve lost their way with the Bond films. Where are the Bruce Willis films? Who are the new tough guys; because that’s what people want to see. That’s what movie goers are willing to pay for. Who are the new Clint Eastwoods, Harrison Fords, Steve MacQueens? Hollywood has Johnny Depp but he’s more of the type of actor like Dick Van Dyke used to be, who is so talented that he could cover any role. Captain Jack in the Pirate films is an iconic role, but Depp is not an iconic actor that sells a type of film. He is such a fantastic actor that he can play anything. Films are hungry for male studs and women who like to be women. The political agenda that the media companies have signed up for and imposed on their employees, the producers, actors, and writers, are being rejected by the typical American who think the product coming out of Hollywood is so worthless, that they either don’t go, or will only watch the films if they are pirated. If SOPA or PIPA takes away all piracy the American people will just blow Hollywood off all together.
Hollywood is losing money because it got into bed with Bill Clinton in the 90’s, it worked against President Bush, actively and now it’s back in bed with Obama, and half the nation hates these presidents, so Hollywood has isolated it’s market share to only half the nation who are stupid enough to blindly accept the progressive images Hollywood has been trying to sell. So like everything that touches government, who is made up almost exclusively of looters, people who have no ability to produce on their own, but can only steal their worth from others, the relationship Hollywood has had with politics has hurt it desperately.
So it is quite appropriate to have President Obama shut down one of the most successful tourist destinations on the planet with his looting presence. The current managers of the Disney Company have only Uncle Walt to guide them, because they don’t have new ideas, or the ability to produce them. And Obama is in the same boat, he has no new ideas, he’s a pawn for the global socialists, and he looks to looting presidents like Woodrow Wilson, F.D.R, and L.B.J, for guidance. But he’s not an original, yet Hollywood treats the president as such and falsely makes Obama believe he has value where he is simply a looter who has turned the Hollywood image machine against the image makers themselves. But as Main Street U.S.A shuts down to qualify a token king of America so he can speak about programs to promote tourism, to the company that is best at it. The elemental ideas of Americana hover like smoke at such speeches only to be seen but unable to be touched by the looter mind. They can only describe what they see, but cannot feel it, let alone maneuver it.
The reality of the situation is that tourism will increase if the president could lower taxes so taxpayers had more disposable income. Yet Obama is intent to loot more money for more government programs and believes that by shutting down the most popular tourist destination in the world is the way to increase tourism. It’s the same mentality of shutting down energy sources so that American’s will buy into the President’s Green Policies. But none of the people involved in this epic meeting know what to do next. The President is a looter of the public, and the Disney Executives are looters to the estate of Uncle Walt.
But the real America and the answers it can provide to all these modern problems exist just outside the roped off area the President occupied in the closure of Main Street. It’s over near the Liberty Tree and is above the Liberty Tavern in a window above the Christmas Store, it’s a lone gunman with his barrel sticking out the window standing guard for the tyrants who might come and rob the town of its liberty. You see, Uncle Walt knew what all these modern pinheads have forgotten, that the spirit of America is in that window, and is reflected in the Liberty Tavern itself, and is under the Liberty Tree overlooking Tom Sawyer Island. It’s not at the podium of a pathetic king who wants to exercise his looted power to stand in front of a castle with the same immature ambition that a young girl hopes to meet Cinderella in that very castle. And it’s not in entertainment executives who have allowed a looter to appeal to their celebrity desires. The answers to all America’s problems are in the people who were shut out of the ceremony, and this is why Hollywood and Disney specifically is facing financial setbacks in not performing to the expectations of their market share.
Movies are ultimately about ideas not special effects. And theme parks are built on treasured ideas from movies that touch the soul. The desire for a family of four to travel to Disney World or Universal Studios is to relieve the magic of the movies they love. At Disney it’s Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Toy Story, and at Universal Studios it’s Terminator, Twister, The Mummy, Jurassic Park, Jaws, Spiderman and The Hulk. Tourists won’t flock to a theme park to ride a MILK roller costar or the latest George Clooney political flick. And until Hollywood gets it, and stops bending over for looting politicians like Barack Obama and putting money into the thieves pockets, the Hollywood market share will continue to plummet.
Hollywood, you will have to choose, will it be progressive reform where you play the role of the propaganda machine for a corrupt group of looting politicians, or will you choose the way of the dollar and pursue the avenues that audiences are truly hungry for, values established in “Old Hollywood,” as modern progressives term it, in a day when movies meant magic and hope, the ideas that built Main Street U.S.A in the first place?
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Avast there matey’s. As my daughter returned to her abode after a full night of retail work, a 22nd birthday awaited her and it is the duty of her family to usher in these festivities with the kind of rhythmic tempo demanded by her upbringing. To understand what follows for those of timid nature, please refer to these past articles.
It was her husband who carried on a tradition that has become a part of our very souls…….savvy. For my daughter has been raised to think as a good and just person, as her sister has been as well, by my wife who is as good and just a person to ever breath air. However, I had my hand in their upbringing also and presented to them a firm distrust of the law, and a wit to survive no matter what the social conditions or government circumstance and that if injustice befalls my children at any point in their lives, that the pirate life would be the only life for them. And so the most treasured prize she desired on this birthday of hers was the recently released Blue Ray edition of Pirates of the Caribbean’s 4 film treasure chest that her husband bought for her, and hid in her home to be found with the aid of a treasure map seen in the video below.
But our love of pirates goes far deeper than Pirates of the Caribbean, for we have spent many nights and days indulging in pirate lore as I taught all my kids the valiant efforts of Henry Morgan and a host of real and unreal mythical pirates which have populated the dreams of my daughter and reside deep in her soul which will overlook her through a life time on earth and a life which will extend into the ever after. It is without doubt, these figures of my stories passed through my daughters exhausted 22-year-old mind as her fingers gripped her steering wheel on her journey home after 12 hours straight of work and no sleep until her final destination and the treasure hunt that found her at the day’s conclusion.
My daughter might say that in her recollections of my stories she sees me most in the spirit of Captain Montana Mays. May’s military commanders disliked his wild and reckless ways: he lost seven ships chasing sea monsters and other cursed ilk. But they admit that he always finds a new ship to sail, even if she doesn’t meet Navy specs. His crew and the American press love him, and extol his exploits every chance they get.
Her mother, my wife emits the essence of Calico Cat, being too successful in the Atlantic; the “Cat” became a target of every nation that sailed there. But it was treachery by her own crew that nearly led her to the gallows. Disguised as a widowed Puritan she escaped to the Pacific, where she has but one goal: to amass enough power to return for her revenge.
Her own husband the heroic Jack Hawkins at the wheel of the Dauntless! Her sister Bonny Peel, mentored by Calico Cat, she saw her opportunity to command when the Cat mysteriously disappeared. Tough on her crew she’s rumored to be kind to those she captures sometimes even ransoming them back for nothing more than the right to dock at their ports.
But that’s not all, Duque Marcus Vaccaro, also known as the “Golden Tongue,” is Spain’s most important negotiator. He alone can interrupt the king at any hour, and his imperatives often become reality. He has been dispatched to the Italian city-states, the Knights of Malta, and even to England and France. Devereaux, the French privateer, has lost his sanity to his obsession with finding the Dragon’s Eye, a gem that legend says grants the owner immortality. The beautiful Lady Baptiste, considered both a hero and a scourge, she has even been asked by Madame LaFontaine to be one of her girls. Her allegiance remains true to her ship and crew. Madame LaFontaine is the proprietress of Chateau Fontainebleu, a burlesque house in New Orleans. Her girls report everything they hear to her which she can then sell to the highest bidder. Guy LaPlante born in New Orleans has never seen the France he defends. Both Madame LaFontaine and Vicomtesse Richelieu covert his new-world attitude, but he desires only one treasure: Lady Baptiste. Luc Savard watched Canada become a pawn and forgotten territory while the upstart United States thrived, Savard grew increasingly dissatisfied. Starting life as a pirate preying on U.S. ships was a start, but when he was outlawed by Canada, he vowed to fight on his own until he controlled the entire hemisphere. Tabatha McWarren was run out of Providence. Two months later she arrived in New Orleans with a crew devoted to her life. To join her crew, a sailor must drink a mug of her home-brew of cursed blood. Geoffery Flores signaled his resignation from the French Navy with the dead body of his superior officer, who referred to him as a half-breed. Captain Flores is ruthless to his prey but generous to his crew. Gaston de St. Croix might have damned his soul, but Crimson Angel has shown him the gates of heaven. Jonas Richman knows the seduction of evil only too well. The loss of his family to violent predators left him with a single motivation: the destruction of any servant of evil! Brent Rice has always been signed on with the American Navy; he’s just always been there. Although he has no rank, his stories of ship engagements are so exact, and his knowledge of naval strategy so advanced, he is sought after by every military commander. And finally, Sammy the Skull! While Sammy Skulow was alive, he was considered one of the most brutal and insane captains. It is only fitting then, that his hatred for everyone damned him to living even after his flesh rotted away upon his death as his body roams the seas with his sails set for destruction as a phantom ghost and recruiter for the gates of hell!
These are but a few of the characters which populate the childhood mythologies of my children and my oldest daughter is particularly deeply embedded in this lore which gives me great comfort in the knowledge that her survival is not dependent upon the souls of mankind. So to celebrate her 22nd birthday it is appropriate for all of her family to recreate the mythology of her youth so the spirit does not die as her age advances. For it is a rule we all established long ago, that so long as the rules of man could provide a reasonable living, that we would be kind to our enemies and live by a justice generally agreed upon by the collective minds of man. However, should the looters of living continue to rob and pillage our existence to the point where our own lives no longer have any quality, then plan B is already on our minds. I’ll crush ye barnacles matey…..savvy……….for there are far more things to fear than the spirit of those who are willing to leave the static patterns of society and the rules that come with them to defeat the enemies of freedom……..no matter what the cost. Shiver me timbers the sweet trade is what comes next when all else fails. And birthdays are a not only a celebration of what years have passed, but what the years have yet to show.
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