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I'd rather have my brains scooped out with a rusty spoon...
8 March 2009
A little disappointed in the history channel.

This feature is an example of what happens when academic institutions graduate students with a low D average. In the grand tradition of Eric Von Daniken we explore the media hybridization of Gerry Springer and Pseudo Science. Stuffed full of "Machines that go Ping" and important looking props, it is an exemplification of how an illegitimate premise can be propped up by the manipulation of anecdotal faerie stories as though they represent actual scientific data. It manifests the descent of intellectual integrity in Public Television into a sort of Luddite reality TV.

There is no "Bermuda Triangle." The popular notion that this area has an unusual statistical incidence of accidents or loss of ships/ aircraft has long ago been dispelled by actual examination of records. Analysis of the disappearance of Flight 19, demonstrated that it was nothing more than pilot error, fog, and breach in protocol... not the boogie man or some supernatural time warp.

NO... there is no special magnetic anomaly in that area that sucks ships and aircraft to their doom and no "temporal rift." GAWD We are to believe that a black hole resides within our planet, and yet... after about 4.5 billions of years the planet has somehow managed to avoid falling into it. Yet we are to believe it must be so, because we are given to a false initial premise that the "Bermuda Triangle" is somehow "special."

Most of the legends surrounding this and other areas with similar reputations, date back to early sea faring and wooden boats... lost to attacks by sea monsters. (cue spooky music) Educated mature adults will likely find it extremely offensive to have something like this portrayed as science. It is a sensationalized deception and misrepresentation of scientific process solely for the purpose of production profits. Little more than the video version of vanity press.

I would sooner trust the theories held by the small hedge in front of my home, on why cabbage is the dominant intelligence on this planet. I believe it to be an erroneous theory, but that my hedge is at least earnest, and this video does provide a genuine argument for its case.

The History Channel airing this as a documentary? What next? Perhaps they'll broadcast "Herbert West: Re-Animator" as a documentary on advances in surgical medicine. This should in my opinion be run as an infomercial, not a documentary... immediately following the home colon irrigation system and those loonie "secret cures for cancer the government doesn't want you to know about" assaults against reason that populate 3AM network viewing.

This piece scores 10 out of 10 trans-orbital lobotomies.
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9 of 10 popcorn kernels for this 50's classic
15 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
(some of the details discussed my be considered "spoilers" for anyone unfortunate enough that they have not already seen this movie... several times)

The Crawling Eye is both excellent sci-fi and a study in the psychology of 50's culture.

Only the special effects suffer in this B&W classic, though not badly for the era. Produced in the atmosphere of the dawning nuclear age it was a pioneering effort, speculating on the possibility of life on other worlds. Special effects at the time were limited for the most part to chocolate syrup for theatrical blood and scaled miniatures and backdrops to add depth to a studio scene, and silly rubber costumes. The fact that the monsters seem a little artificial shouldn't spoil this film for anyone.

The storyline is quite brilliant for the era. Xenobiology and serious scientific speculation on the nature of life, what form it might take, how it might look, didn't exist yet. We had only our imaginations and the understanding that life on other worlds would likely be very different... a huge bulbous brain/eye with tentacles, was as valid at that time as any other guess, and it was creepy, gross, and unexpected. What the Crawling Eye was NOT, more than anything else... was a monster that looked like some poor guy dressed up in 50 pounds of latex.

Comments by scientific giants of the day that discounted the notion that intelligent life was unique to Earth as hubris, became the seed for the wonderful Sci-fantasy stories that followed. The possibility that we might not really be alone, but drama requires a villain. The bigger the threat, the greater and more dramatic the effort required to overcome it.

We had just finished a horrible world war, Russia had gone from our ally to our most powerful enemy almost overnight, unrest stirred in Asia as Korea was embroiled in civil war and we replaced these threats in cultural fiction with much more fearful threats. More terrible than Hitler and Stalin combined, alien life with advanced technologies beyond our understanding, space flight, tremendous intellect, and inhuman evil provided the antagonist. Once again the Earth was saved not by brilliance, or super weapons, but by heroism, stalwart character, and the refusal to submit to tyranny... The paragon of western values. Our fictional monsters had to be more horrible than life, because we'd already beaten Hitler... and we really had to dig down into our imaginations to find something more evil, more cunning, and more horrible to defeat... We found it for the moment in a tentacled abomination with one huge eye and the force of will to control men's thoughts, even onto death.

I suggest a large box of popcorn, a soda in a too large leaky paper cup and more ice than necessary, and a bit of gum or a milk-dud stuck to the seat for the full effect.
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