This Week’s Frustrations Will Make You:
- spin the wheel, make a deal
- create transgressive art
- throw your controller
- cancel your sub
- do your job (nothing)
Thanks to scb0212 for soothing frustrations with his contributions. Send articles to ploughmanplods [at] gmail throughout the next week, post articles from the past week below for discussion, and Have a Happy Friday!
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is about the human tendency to make myths. Its centerpiece is the gladiatorial cage, the Thunderdome, where combatants enter, affixed to bungee chords as rowdy crowds climb around on its outside, and forced to fight to the death. Its heart is a scene where a group of orphaned children, making a society for themselves in caves in the Australian desert, tell a creation story they’ve manufactured from fragments scavenged from a plane crash and part of an old Viewmaster set, itself a plastic, consumer-grade updating of old stereopticon gadgets. And its soul is Auntie Entity, unbowed and thriving in the ashes of the past, rising from a literal pit of pig shit to create a society bound by equitable trade and instant accountability. It was never nothing that the most powerful unifying force in George Miller’s post-apocalypse is a Black woman — and not the queen of a compost heap, but a creator of a civilization with self-sustaining electricity, water, and organizing principles. The only oasis for miles, Max (Mel Gibson), after being relieved of his possessions, joins a long procession of traders and merchants desiring entry into Entity’s Bartertown. “People come here to trade… you got nothing to trade, you got no business in Bartertown,” he’s told. But he has his body so he trades it for 24 hours in exchange for what he’s lost. When Turner started her career anew in 1984, she asked for and received only one thing from her previous life: her name. She was learning who she was. Her name was all she needed.
This week also saw the passing of Kenneth Anger. Artnet’s Min Chen remembers him through his most “fantastically transgressive works:”
The film on which Anger made his name saw him play a “dreamer” who is set upon by a group of sailors while out cruising—a premise inspired by a scene the filmmaker witnessed during the 1944 Zoot Suit Riots. Filmed in black-and-white and without sound, Fireworks encapsulated the homoeroticism, surrealism, and fearlessness that would inform his later work. “It’s easy to be brazen when you’re 17,” he said in 2007, on the film’s 60th anniversary, “and know what you want to do and barely have the means to do it.”
The world’s finest news source The Onion reports on another controversial branding change from a major streamer:
Calling the rebranding an exciting way to unite its programming under one banner, streaming service HBO Max changed its name Tuesday to The Sloppy Sleepytime Television Engine: All Aboard! “Iconic series, unforgettable films, and the best reality television in the world—it’s all here on The Sloppy Sleepytime Television Engine: All Aboard!” the company said in a press release, emphasizing that the “All Aboard!” section of the name was not a motto and would need to be included each time it was used in branding or advertising.
Vulture counts down the 100 hardest video game levels of all time:
Cool, Cool Mountain, the frosty fourth stage of N64 classic Super Mario 64, is full of tasks that are formidable when you possess limited mobility control: carrying a screaming baby penguin down the mountain, leading a rolling snowball down the same mountain (without getting crushed), jumping off the mountain and floating to a hidden ledge below. But the most maddening element is the Big Penguin race, in which you must beat a Big Penguin down an ice ramp. Whoever decided that races should be a staple of ice levels is a sadist.
At Vox, Emily Stewart reports on the “jobless employed,” the sect of white-collar workers who have jobs basically doing nothing:
Tom, who works in sales, appears to be a bit of an expert in getting paid for work he’s not doing. His boss at his last job forgot to inform HR that he’d quit, so he collected a paycheck from the company for a while before anyone figured it out. Now, at his new job, the company doesn’t even know where he’s based — he’s in the United Kingdom, they think he’s in Kentucky — and there’s minimal oversight. “I’m able to slip through the cracks most of the time,” he says. If someone asks what he did over the weekend, he’ll say he went to the Kentucky Derby or something, because he doesn’t want anyone getting suspicious.