‘Best Worst Movie’: So Bad it’s Good?

“Best Worst Movie” is a new documentary about one of the worst movies ever made: Troll 2. This particular 1990 movie has achieved cult status due in large part to the qualities that cause it to rate as one of the worst films ever produced. The movie review website Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 0% freshness rating (a rating that indicates terrible reviews across the board).

In a recent New York Times article documentary director Michael Paul Stephenson, who was 10 years old when he starred in Troll 2, claims that the cult following of the movie shows that despite the bad reviews the film is valued. Stephenson acknowledges that as a movie it was a complete failure “The acting – we were horrible. The directing, the writing, special effects. But it did not fail to leave an impression.” He also acknowledges that the movie doesn’t live up to its narrative or aesthetic goals. Nevertheless “Twenty years later you have hundreds of kids coming to a theatre to have a shared communal experience. How many films, really, would kill for something like that?”

The director of Troll 2, Claudio Fragasso has a different view of the quality of the movie. Fragasso claims that “In Italy you need to die before people can really admit that your movie was good. In America people can change their mind and then appreciate the movie.”

So how do we make sense of these differing interpretations of the movie? Continue reading “‘Best Worst Movie’: So Bad it’s Good?”

Altruism – a ‘timed’ trait?

In a recent article in the New York Times, a study published in the PNAS was discussed, that looked closely at altruistic behavior in the face of a catastrophe. The events in question were the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and of the Lusitania in 1915. The former sank in the course of three hours while the latter only needed 18 minutes. The outcome of the study was that on the Titanic, more women and children were saved while on the Lusitania more men were saved. So, on the Titanic the ‘women and children first’ was heeded. The conclusion seems to be, that altruistic behavior has something to do with time. Nietzsche claimed Continue reading “Altruism – a ‘timed’ trait?”

Super Bowl, Baby?

Oh, the Super Bowl! Unique among sporting events in the States, this annual tour de force remains incomparable. Long after the final minutes, the critical question lingers on – Which will be remembered, the game or the commercials?

However, this year, even by Super Bowl standards, the prospects of these ‘epic’ ads are already drawing more than their fair share of publicity. Continue reading “Super Bowl, Baby?”

Our trust in science

The argument that something is “scientifically proven” is, in most cases, enough to persuade most people of the validity of the argument. Since science is deemed to be exact, it seems to be clear that if it gives its approval to research, the outcome will be exact. An article by the New York Times shows how easy our trust in science can be shaken. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Report about glacial melting in the Himalaya contains a fundamental mistake. The report about the Himalayan glaciers from 2007 predicted that these glaciers will be melted by 2035. The year was taken from a scientist who had used it in an interview but had never explained nor published the date. Dr. Syed Hasnain had given the interview in question ten years earlier and says that he never claimed 2035 to be an exact date. Now Mr R.K. Pachauri, the Chairman of IPCC is under scrutiny because the IPCC simply used the date without questioning its validity. A mistake in scientific practice and unfortunately a mistake that had raised anxieties in the area of the Himalaya were people are dependent on the glaciers to provide them with water in spring and summer. The anxiety was raised because people believed in the data of an organization like IPCC, especially because the reports of the IPCC are used to influence global policy implementation in the area of climate change and preservation. It is evident that the IPCC did not use false data deliberately to confuse politicians and scare people. But what is evident by the news coverage that the mistake has, that trust in the IPCC, and therefore in the science it represents, is damaged. We have to understand though, that science is ever changing and that mistakes can happen. We still have to believe in science, because if we don’t, we don’t believe in the very thing that makes us and influences every step we take.

Related Articles:

Environmental Ethics: An Overview
By Katie McShane, Colorado State University
(Vol. 4, May 2009)
Philosophy Compass

By Douglas W. Portmore, Arizona State University
(Vol. 4, February 2009)
Philosophy Compass

Tiger Woods and the Right to Privacy, Again

The edifice of perfection surrounding Tiger Woods gave way on Thanksgiving Day last week. Not only did Tiger inexplicably crash his car into a fire hydrant and tree outside his Florida home, but he did so after an alleged fight with his wife about his now confirmed philandering. The resulting media frenzy has been both intense and constant: causing Tiger to issue an initial plea for people to “respect his right to some simple, human measure of privacy.” Tiger’s plea raises many important and interesting philosophical questions–some of which are discussed in this NY Times “Room for Debate” commentary. Continue reading “Tiger Woods and the Right to Privacy, Again”

What’s in A Signature?

UnderwoodKeyboard Does the medium of pen and paper allow for a greater intimacy than the keyboard? Is the distance between the author and the ‘written word’ somehow smaller than that of ‘typed words?’ In a lecture course on the Pre-Socratics, Martin Heidegger poses similar questions. The late German thinker suggests that the advent of the typewriter marks a clear transition towards a kind of ‘sign-less’ writing, a writing cut off and ‘concealed.’

But have such concerns become vastly outdated? Modern technology has prompted a new set of terms, a new comparison of ‘distance:’ the ‘typed’ versus the ‘cyber.’ The New York Times recently posted a ‘running debate’ on the positive and negative aspects of ‘E-books.’ The many perspectives offered especially focus on questions concerning the ability of E-books to meet the educational ‘needs’ of the ‘human brain.’ Continue reading “What’s in A Signature?”

The LHC: a victim of sabotoge from the future?

The New York Times recently published an essay about a new theory in physics, according to which the Higgs Boson is so abhorred by the universe that the future is conspiring to prevent the Large Hadron Collider from going online.  The physicists Holger B. Nielsen and Masao Ninomiya argue that what looks like simple bad luck (or the expected complications with such an enormous project) is really evidence of the future arranging itself so as to prevent the experiment from testing for the Higgs particle.

Nielsen and Ninomiya point out that the fundamental laws of physics (at least those of Einstein and Newton) are time-symmetric.  They argue that this symmetry allows for influences from the future as well as the more familiar influences from the past.  We can contrast their view Continue reading “The LHC: a victim of sabotoge from the future?”

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