Time After Time, for those who have the bad luck to not have seen the movie and the good luck not to have seen the recent attempt at a television series, is the story of H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper transported from their time to the (at the time of filming) present. Conflict and out-of-time drama commences.

In the movie, Doctor Stevenson reveals to his good friend, H.G. Wells, that he is the feared and infamous Jack the Ripper. Shortly after that, and shortly after discovering that said friend has really designed a real time-travel device, he uses that time-travel device to escape capture by the police.

Again in the movie, the reason H.G. Wells creates his time machine, iconic to the very one in his story of the same movie, for the purpose of going to his predicted Utopian future. Instead, he has to go in pursuit of his... the word "frenemy" actually applies.

In that future they both come to, in the movie that being approximately 1979, both are surprised by what they find. They don't find the utopia, exactly. In fact, they find a world that has, in some ways, degraded. In both versions, the Jack the Ripper character expresses, to Wells, the line that "[Then], I was a freak. Today, I am an amateur."
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According to Orwell's thinking, the reason for the totalitarianism that's so much worse than what had come before was because people in power (whoever those people happen to be, it doesn't matter according to his theory) reacted for fear of losing that power in the face of the very real potential for total human equality. Different jobs need be done, but such vastly differing quality of life isn't, and with that loss of the need for such differentiation comes the question of, if the powerful aren't so different, why give them the power?

According to Orwell, there are four ways to lose power.

Either it is conquered from without, or it governs so inefficiently that the masses are stirred to revolt, or it allows a strong and discontented Middle group to come into being, or it loses its own self-confidence and willingness to govern. These causes do not operate singly, and as a rule all four of them are present in some degree. A ruling class which could guard against all of them would remain in power permanently. Ultimately the determining factor is the mental attitude of the ruling class itself.


Again, I'm going to disagree with, at least, Goldstein. At this point I can't be sure as to how fully Goldstein is a mouthpiece for Orwell, himself, or how deliberately Orwell may be playing around with limited perspective.
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No, I'm not talking about the cartoon. I will be focusing on the original. Yes, you can thank Barney Stinson.

"The Karate Kid", for those who have seen neither the original nor the remake, is the story of a kid with a single mother moving to a new location, having the social problems associated with being the odd one out and the new kid, as well as dealing with the trouble of a violently aggressive bully. Seeing that he's going down a bad path, one elderly gentleman of Japanese descent takes it upon himself to teach the lad Karate, the same martial art as said bully.

Barney Stinson, the character in "How I Met Your Mother", popularized an interpretation of the original movie and others have taken that to heart. In that view, the lead character, Daniel, is the bad guy of the movie. The real good guy is the one that the movie would have us believe to be the bad guy, one Johnny Lawrence, the bully who, at one point, violently beats Daniel. And, I'll go so far as to say that they're half-right.
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Winston Smith jumped around, so, once again, I feel free to do the same. We're still in Chapter 9. Julia returns and Winston reads the book to her.

Here we have Orwell massively oversimplifying human civilization and history.

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or another.


That's a sweeping generalization, but it's hard to argue the point... if only because it goes out of its way to be as general as possible. In fact, this can be applied to the vast majority of societies that have populations over, say, twenty.
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Last time I said the Past is not Past. Socially, that's true. The old civilization may have died, but you're not a brand-new species, here. If you are, by the time you've discovered and translated this blog, you may well be beyond the use of this advice. No, what you are is a group of people who likely lived in the pre-apocalyptic society. So, the social issues will follow you. You can't deny that.

You can, however, reasonably let go of previous ownership.

The idea of owning something is more complex than we like to imagine. In reality, your property is what you can keep others from taking. The idea of being the rightful owner of an object is the construct of a law that helps us all accomplish that "others not taking away" thing. It's certainly useful and I would advocate maintaining the basic concept of ownership in your new society.
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In Chapter 9, Winston finally has The Book. The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein. Winston takes this book deliberately out of order, and I will take that as an excuse to do the same with this chapter. I'll go back to the first part of the chapter, later, but I'll do as Winston does with the book and go first to War.

The least interesting part of the focuc on War is the fact of the three nations. Oceana, Eastasia, and Eurasia all exist and are, in terms of their purposes, their philosophies, and the experience of the common citizen, identical. We'll into the direct-politics later, but first to the very concept of war.
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Yes, I harp on listening skills quite a bit. It turns out more complex a concept than the initial focus on "listen". It has parts. It involves listening to what's being said, not over-relying upon a pre-defined script or formula, keeping context, both social and specific, in mind. It also involves being ready to hear what you don't expect to hear.

By example, some years back, in a conversation with a conservative Christian, I made the point of an issue I took with Christianity. (Christianity as I saw it at the time, to be honest. Though, my view of Christianity did, in case, match up with that of the Christian with whom I was discussing.) I took issue with a moral theory that reduced morality to rules that existed for the sake of rules. This, I felt, took all matter of actually caring about people out of issue of morality, leaving just a set of rules to be adhered to just because that's how one gets closer to "good".
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I actually watched this movie for this post. I watched this movie. I watched A Matter of Faith. This is a good time to note that I have a Patreon account*. If you like what I do, please share this page with others and, if you can, become a patron. Because, I repeat, I watched A Matter of Faith. My Netflix queue will now have "Because you watched A Matter of Faith" on it. I should be compensated, somehow.

I watched this movie because I've seen other reviews. The two over at The Bible Reloaded did an "Atheists Watch" post on it. The three at God Awful Movies gave it a full breakdown, as did Captain Cassidy over at the Roll To Disbeleive blog. And, they all make their good points. That means that I come to this movie with certain expectations and certain points already being made and expectations set ahead of time. Whether that means my suffering was prolonged or I didn't give this movie a fair chance is up to you to decide.
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Chapter eight, now. Here's where we get something important happening. Winston and Julia, approaching separately to allow for a potential thought that they both happened to be coming, coincidentally, at the same time, go to O'Brien's home.

As an Inner Party member, O'Brien lives in a gated community. He lives in a wealthy community. He has servants and access to things like real tobacco. More will come, but the most important luxury of the Inner Party is that O'Brien can turn off the telescreen.

This is immediately shocking. Julia is so taken aback that she can't speak and Winston is so taken aback that he can't hold his tongue. O'Brien can turn off the telescreen.
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In the Bush era, there was a consulting firm for Republicans that helped with communications. It had a slogan that read "It's not what you say. It's what they hear." Whatever your political position or your opinion on the influence of that firm, there is some truth to that slogan. What is said and intended isn't always going to be what's heard.

That slogan will be the basis of at least two different tips.

Here, the tip is about context. Way, way back at the beginning of this series, I made the point about passing the Turing Test. That was about keeping the conversational context in mind. What had been said throughout the conversation, not just the last line. Take that same basic idea and extend it to cover social context.
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Note: The next tip will be about leaving the past in the past. It may be confusing, but details will clear things up.

One of the reasons that this society that exists at the time I write this tip is a pre-apocalyptic society is that we long for a fresh start. In a part of our collective psychology, we have a desire to burn the whole thing to the ground and start anew, as though the whole thing never happened.
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Well, if I wanted to get through this deconstruction with any kind of speed, Orwell helped me out. In Chapter five, not much happens. Syme disappears, to be commented on by some on the first day, then not commented on at all. The rest of the chapter is focused on re-establishing what we already know.

The rented room is, psychologically, very important to Winston. The owner of the antiques shop likes to talk about the past and Winston has imbued the past with a spirit that I don't think it really deserves. We rehash the fact of Winston having, for a few minutes, had that picture of people who had been vaporized. Julia doesn't care about such things. Despite viewing the Party to be a bunch of liars, she doesn't think to reject what they say except where the Party touches on her life. Winston outright tells Julia that she's only a rebel from the waist down and she finds that brilliantly witty.

Most of that is told in somewhat florid exposition. In storytelling, there's "show, don't tell". Well, I get the impulse to tell. It's quicker. It's easier. In writing, it's hard to be exactly clear on what you want your readers and/or audience to know and to never actually tell them. But, what am I complaining about? I get to move on.
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Setting: Black and white small town. The snow is heavy and cold. On a bridge, a George Bailey stands looking over the edge and thinking dark thoughts.

A voice speaks behind him.: I know what you're thinking, Mr. Bailey.

Startled, George Bailey turns around to see a man in a work-suit and wearing sunglasses.

George Bailey: Who... who are you?

Agent Smith: My friends may, sometimes, call me Htreet. But, you might feel better calling me Agent Smith.
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Here we have another short chapter and even one where we can move quickly past the first bit. Winston rents that one room he thought about earlier and worries more... because that's what Winston does, now, worry.

From inside, his room, he hears a woman, working on some laundry, singing a song. With that, we get a bit more (absence of) color on the nation of Oceana.

The tune had been haunting London for weeks past. It was one of countless similar songs published for the benefit of the proles by a sub-section of the Music Department. The words of these songs were composed without any human intervention whatever on an instrument known as a versificator. But the woman sang so tunefully as to turn the dreadful rubbish into an almost pleasant sound.


There's a quick bit in which Julia informs Winston that they can't meet for "the usual reason. It's started early this time." Winston quickly cycles through feeling angry at being denied something he needs to remembering that this is a biological reaity to wishing that they had been married for ten years (perhaps, in part, so that he would be more intimately familiar with, and able to provide appropriate support, these kinds of issues). It's not much to note but, judging this on the curve you need to apply to Winston, this is pretty good social and emotional maturity.

Then, we move on to the bit that has me interested and, quite frankly, confused.
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No, I'm not saying you're a secret Christian any more than I appreciate others saying that I'm a secret theist. I am asking you to examine what beliefs would make sense in light of certain actions and motivations. We, the non-believers, do that examination. And, it doesn't always work out like you want.

By analogy, imagine you're new at a job working under one of two supervisors. One supervisor, the supervisor everybody claims is the supervisor, is a great supervisor. This supervisor knows who's being productive, cares to get to know ground-level employees as individuals, plays no favorites and is not susceptible to smarm or flattery. This is the supervisor everybody talks about.

Then, there's the supervisor that everybody seems to respond to. Most everybody is careful to, at any moment, look busy. Your fellow employees actually take this as a priority over productivity. Your fellow employees are so careful to avoid being caught saying something critical or insulting of the supervisor that they even refuse to acknowledge that obvious abuses of power or failures of management would be such abuses or failures if the supervisor did them.
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The Prophecy has a nebulous place in film-going memory. If you've heard of it, your primary point of interest is, likely, Christopher Walken. Why wouldn't it be? Christopher Walken has a voice and a cadence that... somehow works with almost any role he takes on. And, there are some lines, here, that work only because Christopher Walken says them.

Gabriel: Do you know how you got that dent, in your top lip? Way back, before you were born, I told you a secret, then I put my finger there and I said "Shhhhh!"

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In the last chapter, we learned that Julia is a more skilled and more experienced rebel at twenty-seven than Winston is at thirty-nine. This chapter picks that up and, in a surprising move considering what more allegedly progressive stories would have, fully admits and maintains that she is the more capable of the two on many a level.

She knows the guidelines. She knows how to have conversations a bit at a time. She knows how often an individual hiding place can be trusted. She knows the ways and the how-tos of having illicit meetings, illicit conversations, how to revel in the illicitness of it all and all for the purpose of illicit sex... (Wow, the porn parody of 1984 won't have to stray very far at all from the source-material.)

We mentioned part of how she gets away with all of this in the last installment. She shouts the loudest with the crowd. She volunteers her time. She presents the image of exactly that woman that Winston hated so much. And, she convinces Winston to do something of the same.
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A couple weeks ago, my brother posted this on Facebook.

Wanna know how to fix racism? Stop talking about it. - Morgan Freeman


I did a quick Snopes check and verified that, yes, Morgan Freeman did say that as he spoke out against Black History Month. Still, my response was as follows.

With all due respect to Morgan Freeman, bullshit.


Facebook isn't really the place for in-depth conversation. It's the place for one person to state one position and other people to react. (In this case, 94 variations on "like", one comment of "Amen", and my aforementioned response which got one like.) So, to make a case against what looks like a tide of support for the "Stop talking about it" method, here's why we have to talk about it.
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If you know the premise of "I Dream of Jeannie", you know the premise of "Bewitched". They're not identical. It's just nigh-impossible to have a conversation about one in which the other does not feature. "Bewitched" came first and "I Dream of Jeannie" came next, on a different network, copying for a similar concept.

Still, what came out is quite different. "Bewitched" shows something of a sense of a culture's understanding of gender norms and class norms (Thank you, Evan Tarlton, for giving me that.) in comparison to "I Dream of Jeannie"'s more aggressive wish-fulfillment (no pun intended).

"Bewitched" is the sit-com about Darren and Samantha Stephens. Darren is an every-day, ordinary, every-man (so long as you limit that to middle-class White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). Samantha is a goddess with nigh-unlimited power to create life from thin-air, invade minds, and subject mere mortals to horrific transformations... or, to use the show's language, a witch.
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Chapter 2 of Part 2 is a short one. We can get through it in one post. It starts out with Winston following his new lady-friend's instructions to the T. The narrator (which I take to be Winston referring to himself in third person) even points out that Winston would be more nervous if it weren't so obvious that she was so much more experienced than he.

...

There are some parallels between Winston and myself that I just hate. Then there are the ones I don't know what to feel about.

Winston and the woman stop at a grassy knoll ("No, it isn't dead, it's a Gazebo.") surrounded by tall saplings. Those saplings are important. Anywhere else, there could be microphones. They're not likely, but they're possible. Here, the woman knows that there isn't anything big enough to hide a microphone. So, by process of elimination, we have a safe spot.

And, here, we get the meat of the fantasy that this woman could represent.
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