Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Oscar Nominations

I actually, personally, think the Oscars and certain other awards shows are really contrived and meaningless, but anyway....

Announced today were the nominations for the 79th Academy Awards.

I've not yet seen any of the films nominated for best motion picture - I shall try to see them in the month before the awards, though, so that I will have an educated opinion to yell at the TV when the award is announced. :)

In fact, I've only seen four of the films on the whole list of noms - Dead Man's Chest (Art Direction, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Visual Effects), Cars (Animated Feature and Original Song), Marie Antoinette (Costume Design) and Happy Feet (Animated Feature).

I'm really pleased to see that three of the 5 "Actress in a leading role" noms - Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep - are from the older end of the scale. It does get a bit boring seeing all the young thin people all the time! Happy to see Kate Winslet there too - she is one of my favourites, not just for her acting but her values and truthfulness in life.

A nice surprise in the live action short film category is The Saviour, by Peter Templeman and Stuart Parkyn from the Australian Film Television and Radio School. Well done to Peter and Stuart!

And how exciting to see Abigail Breslin as supporting actress - imagine being nominated for an Oscar at age 10! But from all reports, she sure deserves it.

Anyway, I'm sure that if I'd seen more of these films I'd have more to say about the noms - mind you, that would require all of them being released in Aus by now!

7 comments:

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Nic and Beren said...

Go away spammer !!

Ive only seen 1 film on that list "The prestige". It was good, but not oscar worthy really. Oh and oscar at age 10, how special.

Sumara said...

The problem is, it's not really a film's quality that makes it Oscar worthy - it's the quality of its marketing, hype, scandal and "gifts". I really don't think the Oscars mean very much anymore other than publicity and glamour.

Yes, spammer, go away! I knew I shouldn't have removed the word-recognition thingo. *sigh*

merlin said...

Sumara,

1. How in the world are you? long time. How is Jo, she doesn't seem to post much, at least not that I see when I wind up popping around her blog and yours every few months to see what you all have been up to down under. but if you see her, tell her I say hello and hope she and her family are doing well.
I enjoy your film critiques whenever I pop around. I haven't been up on much recently as far as the film industry ... mostly have been watching stuff from my own collection, which means it has been out for a while ... although Christmas yielded several gift certificates, so increased the collection some (which is now Only DVD except for a few select VHS ... and all the DVD's in one big wallet thingy ... portability and all that)
Let's see: Some of the new style martial arts stuff (finally got a DVD of Crouching Tiger, so I have that set ... of which House of Flying daggers is probably my least favorite, Hero probably most fave ... I also got Jet Li's Fearless, which I liked) ... picked up a copy of Blues Brothers because it was cheap and no serious PoMo movie collection is complete without it LOL. Other than that I got a few actual DVDs from friends: One friend gave me "Broken Trail" (not to be confused with "Brokeback Mountain") because he was really into it and we're both big Duvall fans, and I thought it was really good. I put it that some actors like Duvall have a pretty standard schtick/character (another would be Harrison Ford, after Star Wars and Indiana Jones, in which there was a little bit more diversity) which, in Duvall's case is pretty much himself, but the roles he puts it in are good roles and a good fit and I really like it and their work (the "standard schtick" would be in contrast with somebody like Thomas Haden Church, the other lead in "Broken Trail," or Joe Pantalioni [sp? Cipher in the first Matrix, Kosmo Renfrew in the fugitive and US Marshals, Teddy the cop in Memento] - I also think Hugh Jackman is fairly diverse, and then when you see him in interviews/DVD-extras, you think "is that the same guy?" and Depp is even more interesting because he has such diversity in his characters but when you see him "live" you can kinda feel how his own personality was part of the particular roles ... but not like he's schitzofrenic - what I mean is that you can feel how the fairly unified personality of this guy Johnny Depp gets applied in these fairly different character types)
the other friend buy was Oliver Stone's "Nixon" which I thought was really good (despite the fact that I was totally confused most of the time because I have no grasp whatsoever of the past few decades of my country's history before I was a teenager)... but then I'm a big fan of the continual critiquing of the "us" or "we" (here, me and my fellow Americans) which I saw in the end of the movie when Nixon is looking at the portrait of JFK and says " when they see you, they see what they want to be, when they see me, they see what they really are"

Oh yeah, also picked up "Night Watch" a recent Russian noir good-vs-evil epic type movie ... was interesting, not what I'm used to or able to process really well but I think was good (NOT dualistic I think, as in good and evil being simply two sides of the same coin, but was maybe a little overly-sympathetic to the evil side, but in the pursuit of critiquing how the good side, the "we," fouls things up sometimes, hampers its own honorable ends through its own foibles ... but this is also supposedly the first in a planned trilogy ... so who knows where they will take the theme in the following movies)

Last semester's aquisitions were primarily the Wachowski Bros "V for Vendetta" which I liked, and John Woo's "Face Off" which I also liked (some of liking that was a standard male thing, in that one of the story/character-based first-person-shooter video games I played, Max Payne, was heavily based on "Two Gun John Woo's" film style, some of it very heavily from Face-Off, which I realized in watching the movie ... in fact, at one point in the video game a thug you are following to get into one building has to give Woo's name as a password ... but the film also had interesting imagery and thought of the role of the face and expression in one's sense of identity and particularly in relating to others such as family) .. oh, yes, of course last November's aquisition of "Dead Man's Chest" was also a very key moment, but that goes without saying :)

This semester, now that some money has come in, the aquisitions, thus far, have just been ordered and are on their way:
I have "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" (Tim Roth, Gary Oldman, Richard Dreyfus) on VHS but the last time I checked if it was out on DVD was more than 2 years ago and so I did not realize til recently that they had released in that format in 2005, and that is one that is definitely worth investing in the DVD of.
A friend recently lent me Wim Wenders 1987 "Wings of Desire," by which I was heavily affected (for many reasons and on many levels, but one of which is that my father, who died last March, used to like to watch a lot of mystery/spy kind of shows [I ahve and love the DVD releases of both BBC miniseries of John Lecarre's George Smiley novels, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and "Smiley's People" with Alec Guiness as George Smiley, because of Dad], and the Columbo stuff was a favorite he and I would sit and watch sometimes [especially loved Johnny Cash's role in the one he was in], and I loved what Wenders did with Falk and the Columbo theme in Wings of Desire ... I also liked some of the little references to other stuff Falk has been in ... like when he is trying on different hats and the costume lady says of one, "there, that is good, you look like somebody's grandfather" refering to Falk's role in "The Princess Bride," which is another favorite I picked up years ago from my sister, who used to go by "the princess buttercup") and so that is on order, as well as Wenders 1993 sequel "Faraway So Close"


Anyway, there you have it ... my every-so-often digressive ramble :) I hope you and your husband and your girls are doing well ... down there in the warm weather :) (I have recently been re-visiting my highschool and college music listening, via a friends extensive MP3 collection, including "Bly Sky Mining" and "Deisel and Dust" by Midnight Oil ... "Beds are Burning" was the number one song on the alternative radio station I listened to in high school for like 3 weeks right around the time I started listening to it ... I used to listen to those two albums constantly in those years, so used to have names like Warakurna and Warburton always floating through my brain, and when, a few years ago, I was reading Bill Moyers' interview with Joseph Campbell [published in print as "The Power of Myth"] and Campbell was mentioning the Aboriginal rite of passage where the men come in swinging the bullroarers, I thought "hey, wait ... I know those")
(here in the Bronx winter has recently re-asserted itself with a vengeance, not much snow but DAMN HAS IT BEEN COLD! Bone Chilling - even for me, and I used to do new-house framing in 20 degree weather in the winter in Pennsylvania)
And be sure to tell Jo I say hello and send my regards to her and her family and hope they are all well.

(Oh Well ... time to get back to reading up on Form Criticism in Old Testament studies)

Brett (Merlin)


Oh yeah, almost forgot the point two I was going to throw in

2. the way to keep out the spammers is the word verification thing ... I think they have automatic programs that monitor posting ... ie monitor bloggers list of most recent posts (that scrolling list on bloggers front page), ie such programs are set up to hit every new post and go through the motions, and the only way to keep them out is the fuzzy/warped word that the imge tanslators (or whatever the visual virtual scanning stuff is ... I just assume that they have such "recognition" software along pretty well and that the distortion is the thing that prevents them from completing going through the motions, fouls up their recognition so they can't translate it into the (which seems to me to be pretty advanced if they can translat accurately from an image file that has no ASCI text in it, as long as it is straight in how it looks, regardless of font etc ... I would have thought simply using an image file would be enough to put it into the category of "can only be translated by something with an imagination, like a human mind" but I guess the technology is getting pretty advanced if they even have to distort it to keep the automated programs from being able to translate it)

I have a black-helicopter consppiracy theory that such ad campaigns are not run by the people who it seems they are run by, but rather a few people with very deep pockets and stock in things that, when over-used, technicaly qualify as substance abuse ... the theory goes that they simply flood cyberspace with this stuff basically just to drive up what I would call the "despair factor" ... just the simple feeling that more and more of life simply has absolutely no meaning(before I turned the spamgaurd on on my yahoo account, one of the million types of messages I used to get had not subject line and no content ... so who's even potentially making money there? .. which is what makes me think that the end goal is not direct sales, but rather simply to drive up the frustration level in life [day after day, month after month, year after year, it feels like all you do is clean compeletely meaningless garbage from your inbox ... that or, once you have spam gaurd turned on, continually check your "bulk" folder to make sure nothing got accidentlly dumped in there that was NOT spam but an actual inter-personal communication from a freind who actually wanted to communicate with you ... when I had a hotmail account, I had their spam gaurd turned on and continually had stuff still appearing in my inbox that did not even have my email address in the "to" field, while stuff was getting dumped in trash folder that did have my addy in there, because it was in the midst of a number of addies, from list mail updates from some groups that I kept up with, and all I could think was "you pieces of ... how do you expect me to believe that you aren't making money from the spam operators for letting their stuff through" while putting up all this BS promotional stuff on your site "here's this and that we have provided that you can do, because we're looking out for you and working hard to help you alleviate spam from your email account"])

Like I said, it is black helicopter, but I 'm sticking to it until I actually meet some pimply-faced buffoon who can show me the actual books on his online-degree-program/penis-enlargement-pill-business/replica-watch-business/weight-loss-program (etc etc and so on and so forth) and verification that email/blog spam campaigns actually brought in sales for him (that would be right before I punch him very hard)

... anyway, long and short, the funkily printed word verification seems to be the only thing that stops the auto-spam comments effectively (but then, it is me you're talking to ... I could be enitrely behind the times and have no clue on how things actually work)

Sumara said...

Merlin! Brett! Hi! Thanks so much for dropping in. I am well thank you and the girls are great. Actually egtting along with each lately which is wonderful! Noel will be away for work for the next 6 weeks so that's going to be weird.

Your theory about spammers is very very interesting. You think a lot, don't you! lol. I definitely do wonder how anyone could possibly be making any money from all those stupid schemes.

Some of the movies you mentioned are ones I really like too... Face/Off is great, that was the first "action" movie I ever really liked. (And Noel used to play Max Payne a lot, although I am so NOT a fan of those kinds of games). I love V for Vendetta. I studied Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in high school and didn't realise there was a film of it. I shall have to look that up.

I totally agree with you about Hugh Jackman and especially Johnny Depp. My thoughts on acting are that the best actors are those who truly use aspects of themselves to underpin their characters. Actors who try to completely "become somebody else" just end up looking shallow and fake, but those who honestly and bravely bring out aspects of their own self, look real and believable because they *are* real.

With some actors like those you mention, every character they do is pretty much the same person, because they're acting and that's the only way they know how to act. Johnny is fascinating because so many of his characters have similar personalities, mannerisms etc but you could never say they were the same character like you could with the likes of Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, etc. And then you see Johnny as himself and he has the same things in common as his characters do. It's weird because you would think, theoretically, that using and repeating similar character traits would make the acting bad, but you actually don't really notice because it's so natural and truthful, and it actually makes the acting more believable than if the characters were all completely starkly different from one another.

Eh. That was a long sentence. I know what I mean, anyway.

Yeah, Jo doesn't really blog anymore. Perhaps she'll pick up a little when the hype really gets going in the next few months for book 7. I keep in touch with her a lot though. I'll tell her you said hello.

Thanks for reminding me about the word verification, I'll fix that back up.

Speaking of Book 7, what's your theory about who's going to die? Noel really confused me the other day by saying that Rowling had said Harry Potter will die. I was glad to find out that Noel had it wrong - not because I don't believe Harry might die, but because it would totally suck to know who's going to die before the book is out. I'm kind of drawn to the idea that Ron might die, that seems the most logical, but I can't think who else might. I was intrigued when she said she's written in final chapter in about 1990. So she's known for that long! Although she did say that one character who was originally going to die has been given a reprieve... anyway I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Sumara said...

Hey again Merlin,
Jo says hello and that she misses you. I think she misses the long posts and even longer comment threads on MM. :) Hope you can find some time in the next few months for some more posting over there.
~Sumara.

merlin said...

Sumara,
Tell Jo I miss chatting with her too (especially things like hearing about her son wanting to be a wookie, an aspiration very dear to my own heart :) ). I mention it below, but for reasons too complicated to really go into, I have found it less complicating and distracting for me in my present situation to disentangle myself from the MM site. For a bit I popped around on other sites regarding HP, just interested in finding out what people were saying ... but then found myself again posting long comments in the comboxes (I know, you're saying "who? you?" ... as if you have not experienced the phenomnenon first-hand in your own comboxes :) ... apparently my verbosity knows no bounds [that is modeled on/borrowed from one of my favorite character portrayals of all time in film, Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in "Tombstone" - at the end where, after earlier in the movie having removed Wyatt's badge from his own chest and placing it on the chest of Johnny Ringo, whom he has just killed, and said "my hypocracy can only go so far", he is lying in the hospital bed and tells Wyatt that he and the priest had just been discussing the "mysteries of the Church of Rome" and then says "apparently my hypocracy knows no bounds"). Anyway, I decided that I should be more considerate and not consume so much space in people's comboxes (I mean, with you it is different, because I know you like talking to me ... but with those who travel in the "official realms" of Potterdom and whose oppinion I do not necessarily know on my rambling style ...)
Long and short, I started another very low level blog as a place just to throw some stuff up every once in a while:

www.musingmerlin.blogspot.com

I mention some of it below but I have a post up recently on the Title of the 7th Potter book (which was originally a comment in a post on somebody's blog, but I have cleaned it up some and put headings in and organized it a bit better)

Anyway, what follows below is what I typed up last night in response to some of your comments , but it got kind of lengthy and I still wasn't finished so I saved it into a Word file and went to bed :) (this also facilitated me going through and putting in some heading when I just now copied it back into here, hopefully making it not so much of ramble)

On Video Games

Yeah, those games are sometimes escape from reality for me ... some of them have been entirely too much of an escap and I won't embarass myself with the specifics of my longest stints in one sitting playing them. I got the second Max Payne game and didn't like it as much as the first ... but I don't really play any of them much anymore ...I tried twice in the past year or so to play a new one but it is probably best it did not work out ... I could never get the game loaded right on my pc (It was half life 2: episode 1 ... instead of the "long awaited new game" which was the cased with Half Life 2, they have gone with a shorter turn-around time for "game 3" by putting out smaller "episodes" that pick up where the second game ended) ... but I was sort of interested in this one because the female character from the second game with whom your male character is paired is supposed to have a LOT more dialogue and character development via your character working in tandem and coordination with her through most of the game (the makers specifically stated that in the episodes they want to bring out a lot of the actual character development possibilities that were latent in the second game, although they still had to keep some things in the straight ahead FPS genre [they were going to have your character using the flashlight to light the way for the female characters actions {she can't shoot what she can't see} but figured people would be disgruntled if it was that way through the whole game. because of the mechanical restrictions of the genre as established in the first two games they could not take it all the way to the level of something like the KOTOR games, which have actual dialogue options [see below on that series, which is technically more of a combo between an FPS game and a strategy game] but they wanted to take it as much in the character development direction as they could within their genre)

A few of the games are really excellent though - mainly the "Knights of the Old Republic" series, of which there are two (with a third planned, although in the meantime some private individuals are doing a "reconstruction" ... pulling out stuff/scenes that is in the actual code of the second game when you buy it but is incomplete because Lucas arts was rushing the producers, and has no in-game access, and so these people are rebuilding it, pulling the code out [including whole dialogue sets with wave files of dialogue performances that the voice actors did but the stuff couldn't be used because of the rush] and finishing the construction, which I guess the game-makers will actually produce as a modification for the second game)
... the dialogue options and character building aspects are actually pretty good writing(in something like Half life 2 you only really have the basic story of the freedom fighter motif going against the big bad agent of hegemony ... even in Max Payne, where your character does says things, it is all present with no options ... the dialogue games though are more intersting and at least the KOTOR games have this whole thing of options for how things go/turn out. In the second one you can gain influence with different members of your party that open more dialogue options, and the dialogue writing in the games kind of reveals what a hack Lucas himself is at it in the Star Wars prequels ... the game writers are much better ... of course, you can also wind up pouring a LOT more time into the games, because you have a choice of whether to go light or dark side, different dialogue options and action options that gain you light or dark side points [eventually, for your powers to be more effective you want to be full-bore one side or the other and then use the powers aligned with that side]and that affects the characters in your group differently and opens up different dialogue options, ranging from the simply humorous to the very dramatic, and also there are gaurds in the programming whereby certain levels of options can only be accessed on successive plays, all of which yields the temptation to play over and over again to experience all the options [plus you can play as either gender, so the first four basic options - each option taking an unreal amount of time to complete the game even if you play straight through - are male-dark, female-dark, male-light and female light {depending on gender different characters in your group will have different dialogue options connected with the romantic ... nothing scandalous, just that you have more influence for accessing certain character driven dialogue and the "romantic option" will be different depending on which gender your character is} - and then you can go half the game building one side to acces certain options/paths but then switch to access others, which diminishes your powers some but also opens up certain options)

In general I'm with you on the basis of how much the games can consume time and energy, which is why I largely stay away ... however, I'm not with certain other of my acquaintances who have pointed to games like "Grand Theft Auto" and others that are based in illicit/illegal activity and are fairly pro-gangland-mentality and say "these video games are all bad" - which to me is like pointing to a particular movie's gratuity etc and saying all movies are intrinsically bad (actually the main frustration in that "conversation" was that it really was not a conversation at all: the issue was brought up out of the blue, it being known that I spent some time playing some FPS games, the statement was made in a pretty clear tone that that pretty much "settled" things and that was it ... to wit the reply I felt like making was "congratulations, you 'won the argument' in that I'm not going to be able to psychologically out-maneuver your self-assured stance etc ... but you got not one inch closer to to any truth in life or the world ... congratulations" but it wasn't even worth going into)

It's interesting though, the creativity that some have in it, the KOTOR writing is pretty in depth ... to the point that I only played the second game (Sith Lords) once through, light side male, and at a certain point the one female character who had been the apprentice of one of the Sith you have to conquer, has a sort of reconciliation moment, is kind of cleansed of the darkness or whatever and finds some peace, and the dialogue is pretty gripping and I asked my friend whose copy of the game it was what happens at that stage if you are going dark side and he told me some of it and I was like "I just couldn't do it ... I don't think I could play the game dark side, it would be too emotionally draining" ... which was, in the end, much better for my studies etc LOL (although this friend manages to play the games in a more even-keeled way ... not detached and calloused, but he's able to go through it and access some of the more interesting points from the aspect of philosophy/religion ... these particular writers have some pretty good development of the whole Star Wars mythos, much better than Lucas himself, on the mentality/world-view/philosophy of the Sith vs some of the mistakes and short-comings of the "light side" as it is espoused by the Jedi establishment ... with a pretty clear latent possibility for a path that is "good" and the actual "light side" without the Jedi establishment's conscription of it into their own "meta-narrative" (sorry, I am currently in a course on contemporary theology and philosophy and have also been reading a bit over the break from John Granger [www.hogwartsprofessor.com] about the PostModern elements of JK Rowling's work and how they inter-weave with her use of pre-modern symbolism from the Christian medeival period, so my mind is full of thoughts of "post-structuralism" and "deconstructing meta-narratives" and the works of the likes of Lyotard, Derrida and Heidegger ... my friend who is into the KOTOR games, and also attempting a private rewrite of at least the skeleton of the action and dialogue for the Star Wars prequels, [as he puts it "I grew up with Star Wars, and in the prequels Lucas killed the myth ... I want my myth back!"] is pretty much an orthodox Catholic Heidegger jr - which some might call, by definition, schitzophrenia, but I think he has some good points)


Harry Potter

ANYWAY ... Harry Potter: yeah, she is pretty tight-lipped and I expect no real revelations until the book is on the shelf, it would be completely unlike her, especially something of that magnitude (whether Harry lives or dies) on which there has been so much discussion
In addition to the reprieve for the one character there are also two who she originally thought she would have live but it became necessary to kill them .. but no word on who (I have this overhwhelming fear, based on the seeming factor that the decision to kill these two was a simultaneous decision, and thus more likely that they are connected, that my boys are not going to make it to the end ... but I have no doubt that if Fred and George die, it will be one hell of a fight and they will go out in as grand style as they left Hogwarts in book 5, putting a huge dent in the death eaters' forces ... I'll be sad though ... but it seems entirely likely: For as little time as Voldy spends talking about it we can see from the dialogue that he does have about his name that he does take the issue of his name VERY seriously, and that he probably views the fear of the name in the wizarding community as a very valuable weapon, as well as a matter that is even sacred to him. I'm afraid Molly's concerns when she sees the "you-no-pooh" poster ["they'll be murdered in their beds"] is actually, and unfortunately, a very well-grounded fear. I'm not predicting that it will be them for sure, but I do think they are definitely in for some heavy action in book 7 either way

[In one of the few posts I have put up over on a new blog I opened up at www.musingmerlin.blogspot.com just as a place to throw stuff up, I wrote on the whole name thing ... drawing on some great work presented this past summer in Vegas at Lumos by a lady, PhD candidate in literature, Jeanne Lahaie, on the issue of Voldy's name and medeival Jewish name magic as a possible source ... my post/comment on this all was in reference to the obvious element of the "sacred" evident in the name of books 7]

Another possibilty is, unfortunately, Lupin and Tonks, as well as Arthur and Molly Weaseley, and Bill and Fleur ... I think Hagrid and Grawp are also a possible duo that fit the "duo death" [but I have thought for a while that Hagrid will die in book 7 because his name means "red" and the three stages of Alchemy are, in order, black, white and red, and Sirius died in book 5 and Albus [white] dies in book six, so ... but I tend to think Hagrid is not one of the "late-date" kills ... all of these just listed are candidates for the two she said she hadn't anticipated killing off but wound up doing so ... the timing and manner of the release of that info just puts me in the frame of mind of distinct duos and, as I say below, not as central a duo as Ron and Hermione, but I could be entirely wrong about any of the above theories])

I think Nevill will be the student from Harry's year who returns as a professor ... of herbology.

I hadn't really thought about Ron dying, but I have trouble seeing him dying without Hermione dying, I also have trouble seeing that being a late-writing decision (as in the 2 characters who didn't make the grade once she got writing it ... but that wouldn't mean they live, even if I am right, just that they were slated from the beginning to die and aren't the pair that got snuffed in the late stage of writing) ... I kind of tend to think they will make it, just because they seem so central to the themes. They're the "quarelling couple" of alchemy (sulphur and quicksilver/mercury) that are united, on the horizontal axis, in the golden soul (Harry ... seeker of the golden snitch, of which there are actual images in alchemical texts, of a winged golden orb etc)in the alchemical crucible, and it just seems to me most natural that they survive to live out the unity in familial life (I loved the hints of it in book 6, at the end when Ron says something like "just let me go back and hit him ... it'll make me feel better" and Hermione tells him no) ... but like I said, I could be wrong (wouldn't be the first time) ... until the 7th book is actually out a lot is still open to interpretation and guess as to how things will pan out in her particular melding of pre-modern elements such as alchemical themes and structuring and Post-Modern literary concerns and elements such as deconstruction of prevailing "meta-narratives" and the rebuilding of a new one based in love as the deeper magic etc (I think that is her real strength as a writer, the ability to work with a very traditional model but do so addressing very real concerns and themes/tenets of post-20th century life in the real world - and that that is what yields such great, tense and psychologically real dialogue and themes and elements)

On a personal theory concerning "personal things" (this originally directly followed the last comment on psychologically real dialogue, themes and elements, but I decided to set it off on its own)

... I have some personal theories which, who knows, I may get around to writing up but also may never see the public light, concerning issues in what I would call "the world behind the text," issues that I do not think have to be gone into in order for one to be really edified by the "world of the text itself", but issues that I think are very real in the world behind the text [by which I would mean that part of Rowling's thought, whether conscious or sub-conscious, that directly affect the writing of the works] and in the "world in front of the text" [ie we the readers in what we bring to the experience, from our culture and lives, and how that impacts how we are affected by it] and are also concretely present latently in the text itself

... Like I said, I don't think one has to have these issues raised consciously in reading the text to be affected by them and thus one is sort of free to encounter the "world of the text itself" without consciously being aware of them [there are those who have used these terms in regards to Biblical texts who seem to see the text itself as not really having meaning without uncovering such elements and bringing them up concretely, with which I disagree ... I think the text is also a world of its own and has a life of its own, but that these elements are a deeper or simply more latent level of that world and one can experience the world of the text without going into them ... I say all that to say that, if I am accurate about the presence of these things, I think it shows in her writing of such works a great deal of courage in addressing some very poignant real life themes ... I suspect that there is some awareness on her part, even if only on the subconscious level, of the level to which these themes and issues surface in the text but she has not let the weightyness of them or the fact that, once you enter that level of publice, presence and people studying what you're writing, some things might come to public light that, as anybody would, you might not want to have that public ... not that, as I say below, they are scandalous, or things one would try to hide from everyone ... but given the level of popularity of the works, we're talking pretty much about the world stage here - the fact that she does not let those considerations hamper her writing or her letting those things flow into the text on the level that they do, in some of the images that she uses, shows, at least to me, a lot of courage as a writer, because some of those images that might indicate some of those directions also give the works some of their real power for speaking to contemporary life[there was some "public knowledge" information included in some of the talks at Lumos this past summer, which I am not faulting those presenters for including, but would not be comfortable myself speaking on them in public forum without personally at lest seeing somewhere in print that she is ok with people discussing them ... not that I am saying that I think my thoughts on them would be conclusively powerful or "prove" any point in any debate ... everybody may read it and say "you're crazy if you think that is in there" ... it's more a matter of respect: The things I am talking about, I do not see as "negative" on her, I see them simply as issues of some things that happen in our real world, and like I said, I think it is a mark of courage, even if only on the level of a subconscious decision, not to impede these things from making it into the text in latent form, and thereby putting out a text that I think is really powerful and speaks positively to some very difficult issues in life ... but not everybody might see it that way and unless I were to see somehwhere that she has specifically addressed that information having been made public knowledge and is all right with people discussing it, I wouldn't want to invade privacy ... the particular things aren't even "scandalous" but just things I think a person has a right to privacy on and not have everybody discussing them unless they say it is ok, a right that doesn't get negated simply because somebody steps into the public arena and becomes a celebrity ... as far as I am concerned she has lived up to the requirements demanded by that simply by giving us a really enjoyable story that has some really positive things to say to us about life no matter what level you read the text on])

On Acting

I agree. Sometimes when I see actors that are SO diverse, I sometimes wonder if there is a certin level of schitzophrenia necessary ... I don't mean that in a way of painting them in a bad light (and I say it mostly jokingly, at least as regards any real psychological condition), just that I always wonder, "man, how do you shift your mannerisms and presentation of personality so drastically?"