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Kubrick's 2001: A Triple Allegory

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the your-eyebrows-will-hit-the-ceiling dept.

Space 170

Our veteran reviewer Cliff Lampe takes time from work on his PhD to give you the lowdown on one of the most unusual books about a science-fiction movie that you are likely to encounter. Ever.

The Scenario

There are times when you read a book and think the author has it dead wrong. Then are times when you suspect he is right, and that thought scares gives you the cold shakes. Wheat's analysis of 2001 is exactly like that. No, this is not another whiney look at the sad differences between Kubrick's vision of what this year would be like and the McDonald's sponsored nightmare of reality television, boy bands and public disinterest in science that we ended up with. This is much crazier than that. Leonard Wheat examines 2001 from the perspective of three different allegories: the Odysseus myth, man-machine symbiosis and the Nietzschean Zarathustra legend.

Wheat is a retired economist, who has a doctorate in political economy and government from Harvard. That in itself does not qualify him to review old movies, but it does say he's used to pretty rigorous analysis. His book is an examination of the movie rather than the book. He points out that the movie was based on a Clarke short story, and the book came after the film. This being the case, Wheat is very centered on Kubrick's vision of the story rather than Clarke's. He uses scripts, director's notes, and some interviews to provide evidence for some of his claims.

So what are those claims? Alot of it makes good sense. For instance, Dave Bowman relates to Ulysses (a reknowned bowman in the myths). He goes on a long voyage and loses all his crew. Pretty neat so far, but Wheat tends to go to far in some oif his claims. Here's an example:

"In the next scene, the moon monolith scene, it becomes evident that TMA-1 symbolizes the wooden Trojan Horse: hence, we are looking for hidden meaning that refers or alludes to the Trojan Horse. And that meaning can be found in TMA-1. Spell out the figure '1' and you get TMA-ONE. These letters, like the last nine in Frank Poole, can be rearranged to form an anagram. In this case, the anagram is "No Meat." A wooden horse has no meat on its skeletal framework."

You had me at "Bowman". *sniff* But the whole "No Meat" thing is just a skoach over the top. It stays pretty topsy-turvy. For example, in the discussion of the man-machine symbiosis allegory, Wheat claims that HAL represents a new type of human called homo-machinus. I don't usually quote this much in a review, but you need to hear this from the horse's mouth. In this next passage, he is showing the anthropomorphism of the HAL-Discovery by claiming the six rockets at the back of the ship, encased in three hexagonal casings, have meaning.

"But why the hexagons? Why not circles or squares or nothing? When I was growing up in the 1930's, which is the same time Kubrick was growing up, most reasonably modern houses had white tile bathroom floors. The tile, in vogue from the turn of the century through World War II, were hexagons, one inch across and fitted together in a honeycomb pattern. The rear-end hexagons are bathroom tiles! They symbolize bathrooms. Hal-Discovery has three bathrooms, one for each mouth. And what is the only being that uses bathrooms to answer the call of nature? Homo sapiens. Once more we see that the intelligent spaceship is a humanoid." Yeah, I know.

There's much, much more where that came from. The thing is, these allegorical statements do make sense. I can see 2001 on a level as being a retelling of the Odysseus myth, and on another level being a moralistic story about the dangers of increasingly blurred lines between the mechanical and the biological. Hell, science fiction is littered with similar stories, and Kubrick is not usually without some sort of moral framework. The Zarathustra allegory obviously fits as well. The death of God, the realization that all humans could become god (or Star Children) as well, the whole schmeal. The problem is that one gets so caught up in the loony evidence like that presented above that it becomes easy to lose track on how cool the idea really is.

It reminds us how good human minds, especially smart ones, are at finding patterns in crazy shit. Reading this book you are impressed with two minds: Kubrick's and Wheat's. Wheat has the premise that Kubrick was so wicked smart that these long strings of meaning are not only possible, they are a sure thing. You also come away with the sense that Wheat is a pretty smart man himself. This book goes too far at times, but is worth reading. One thing's for sure, you'll never watch 2001 again in the same way.

Note: There is a very nice Post-It on the book I was sent saying the cover showing the HAL2000 red eye is a cover designer's screw up. I believe that, since after having read the book I doubt Wheat could have ever missed something as simple as Hal's name. Must kill him every time he looks at the cover in fact.


You can purchase this book at Fatbrain.

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Even a broken clock is right occasionally (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#242365)

So okay, assume the guy is the numerologist-of-words (some would say here "post modernist") that he appears to be. I guess that poses a difficulty for Our Reviewer: how to reconcile cookiness with a few of his claims that seem to be genuinely insightful?

Not to worry. There are two convenient explanations for this, which you are free to adopt under any open content license of your choice. The first is the simple one alluded to in the subject I chose: if the author tosses out enough crazy ideas, it becomes almost a certainty that some will hit home. And now that I think about it, this blends continuously into the other explanation I'm offering you. At the other end, he started off with one or a few reasonable insights, then fell down the rabbit hole while looking for more. Or somewhere in between. Maybe he's mostly kooky but not so far gone that he doesn't see, in some fashion, that some of his ideas are more sensible than the rest (though that needn't be how he characterizes them), and so he has pushed them harder, making it look like he started out fairly sensibly and got weirder later.

Or maybe the slash-a-dot-a review just makes it sound much stranger than it is... though if the author actually said some of the things that were quoted that seems pretty unlikely.

A sweet retired professor goes quietly bonkers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#242366)

The most interesting concept that I see here is Homo-Machinus. Long ago, I noticed that James Cameron had tapped a Jungian vein in the robot design in the first Terminator movie. Now whenever see a semi-truck in my rearview on the I-696, I say "Uh, oh. The Terminator's on my butt." This symbolism is very common in sci-fi, with Data and Spock from Star Trek being just two examples. But there are other reasons why Clarke's HAL cration works so well. That's right, HAL is Clarke's. He wrote the screenplay for Kubrik. But I wish the reviewer had written more on the Nitzchean (is that spelled right?) parallel. It sounded like the juiciest of his three connections, and, since I know nothing about Nietzche, I could have gotten some good exposure there, too. But he just blew that part off. Guess he'd better not try for an English PhD, instead. As to he Odysseus parallel, I think that the similarities are superficial. Sure Odysseus went on a long journey and lost all his men, but he also had multple aventures along the way. Where's the cyclops? Where's the island of horny women? Sorry Mike, but it don't wash. Odysseus gets home at the end and wins back his wife. Bowman gets turned into god. No cigar... It turns out that the guy who wrote our freshman Mechanics book, Tipler, went kind of nuts in his bizarro psycho-physical insights, too. He wrote a book called "The Omega Point Theory," in which he said that the universe will end in collapse (ok so far), at which point we will all become one with god and be transformed into a gigantic computer. Riiiiightttt! But this anagram thing makes me think of a movement going on right now to extract hidden secret messages from the Bible. I guess these folks have written a computer pogram that reads every ith letter and assembles them into words. Somwhere in there they found "Hitler," so of course this means that the Bible predicted the WW II. Koff, koff... If you want to read more on these topics, buy a maazine called "Skeptical Inquirer." Martin Gardner is still doing a column for them. I would recommend the movies "Pi" and "X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes" for a litle, non-biblical, allegory on what happens to people who read to much into too many things. I won't tell you what the allegory is, because that might spoil movie, but I'll give you a hint. If you're stumped, look up the profession of Carl Jung. At least when I have a far out fantasy that I can't easily shake off, I have the good common sense to write it down and try to sell it to Marvel Comics. Dont'cha think these these guys have seen one too many episodes of the X-Files?

Just one correction... (3)

farrellj (563) | more than 13 years ago | (#242368)

The book did not come after the movie...it was written during the movie, and was finished before the movie was finally finished, that is why there is a difference between Jupiter and Saturn.

ttyl
Farrell

Acording to the short book... (1)

Karpe (1147) | more than 13 years ago | (#242369)

"Folha Explains... 2001: A Space Odissey" [siciliano.com.br] , published by the brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo [folha.com.br] to celebrate the entering in the year 2001, and written by Amir Labaki, this "three-keyed" interpretation is the more common and complementary. It's a very nice, cheap, short, easy-reading (if you can read portuguese ;-) ) book, that describes the relationship between the movie and novel, the reception of the movie when it was launched, how it was understood later, etc.

Re:Coincidence? I think so.... (2)

Watts Martin (3616) | more than 13 years ago | (#242372)

While I haven't seen any comments from Pink Floyd members about this, according to Alan Parsons, the recording engineer on Dark Side of the Moon, the "Wizard of Oz" thing is utter nonsense--they never talked about it during the recording.

(And, yes, that's Alan Parsons of the Alan Parsons Project.)

Re:what about Zarathustra? (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#242374)

Exactly. I can't understand how anyone can miss the Nietzsche references. Rambling about bathroom tiles is crazy -- noticing obvious references that Kubrick included is not. BTW, besides the music and the general theme of evolution to higher forms, there is also the idea of being "beyond good and evil" -- the newly created ape-men use their intelligence in a way that is not very nice but which increases their power -- they attack the less developed apes.
If Kubrick had made 2010, I bet Bowman wouldn't have beeen standing around saying "Something wonderful is about to happen" -- he would be making himself the leader of Earth or something.

Re:Just one correction (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#242375)

So you think ACC was the main person responsible for 2001? Then why did 2001 so resemble the other films of Kubrick in theme -- i.e. what does it mean to be "human", do we rule technology or does it rule us, etc. Certainly the short story "The Sentinel" was ACC's but that was just a small part of 2001.

Now 2010 was all ACC's -- and guess what -- none of the higher themes were there -- it was just a 1950ish pulp science fiction story more or less ripped off from "The Day the Earth Stood Still".

Re:How to over extend yourself: (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#242376)

Using this equation, it's been proven that Abraham Lincoln never existed historically, that in fact he was a mythological construct.

And they are right, if they mean the "Honest Abe" fellow who supposedly fought the South out of righteous anger over slavery, rather than a typical scheming politician who professed whatever beliefs he thought would get him elected. Even "historical" figures tend to become mythological constructs in time.

Re:(BOWMAN TMA-ONE = MAN, TO BE WOMAN) == Anagram (1)

Turambar (5226) | more than 13 years ago | (#242377)

This isn't off-topic, as an anagram was posted in the original story. Come on moderators - wake up!

Turambar
------------------------------
Common sense is not so common.
--Voltaire

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (2)

GypC (7592) | more than 13 years ago | (#242380)

Doesn't this sort of... meditative for lack of a better word, art ever happen to anyone else?

Yes, of course, I would wager that the best pieces of art usually happen this way. In music especially, for me. It's when I'm not even thinking of the key changes and my fingers seem to take on a life of their own that the best sounding riffs flow forth. Just tapping into the Universal Mind, man. ;-)

Re:Anagram for "rank poole"? (1)

Scooter (8281) | more than 13 years ago | (#242381)

I always wondered why she didn't simply do the heel after....

(and can you really die from being shot in the heel?) I guess Achilles was hit in the heel by a large bomb or something..

Re:thats pretty strange to me.. (3)

Scooter (8281) | more than 13 years ago | (#242382)

Oh this is right up there with dissections of Shakespeare (wrote some rip roaring yarns with lots of bawdy lines and the odd car chase/murder to keep the scum interested. OK I lied about the car chases but you get the point - he didn;t sit down and think "hmm time for another classic peice of fine literature" - he just wanted another hit play!) And those archeologists who find a body next to a bronze axe head and off the back of that decide he had 4 kids, his last meal was ground sparrow and he shaved every 3 days...

Stonehenge is a similar story - people ooing and ahing and scratching their heads over why the stones are arrmaged like that - til they realise some guys with big ropes and a lot of time on their hands put them like that in the 19th century.

Kubrick was making a film - not starting a religion - even though the story has western religious overtones. The hexagons were hexagons becuase they tesselate nicley to form a strong structure (and the model designer probably thought it looked nice).

As for all that winamp screensaver stuff at the end - I often wonder if film makers and authors just invent this stuff and let the auidience invent the meaning afterwards. Imagine the script meetings:- "hey lets put in some wierd lights and stuff with some footage of a unborn baby - that'll really throw them"

I wouldn't be suprised if bronze age man didn't randomly distribute axe heads just to confound Time Team.

I'm off to bury 4 elephants and a karaoke machine in my back yard. Let's see the Wheats of the far future figure THAT one out :)

thats pretty strange to me.. (2)

RAruler (11862) | more than 13 years ago | (#242386)

I just prefer to think of 2001 as a joke at IBM's expense myself. The whole trojan horse thing, or the homo-machinus is just something that happens when one over analyzes a piece of work/literature/art. One can draw any number of parralels between 2001 and Greek Myths as long as look hard enough. Why, Arthur C. Clarke lives on top/close to the top of Sri Lanka right? Well obviously he equates himself with some sort of greek god.

---

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (2)

Peyna (14792) | more than 13 years ago | (#242387)

Bradbury swears it off as a coincidence! But how do we know for sure...?

What do you mean he swears it off? He says specifically in a preface or something in one of the books I read where he talked about writing the book, and how hard it was with little money, and that he couldn't think of names for characters, and just happened to be using a Fabercastle (i think that's it) pencil and Montag paper. Ray Bradbury right out said that's where the names came from.

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (2)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 13 years ago | (#242388)

Oh, you're absolutely 100% right that Kubrick filled his movies with symbols. He was very concerned about having non-literal meaning in his work.

What i was trying to say was that while, yes, absolutely, artists use symbols and allegory (both consciously and unconsciously) in their work, its not ridiculously vague and disassociated the way the bathroom tile thing would be. Or the anagrams. Unless it's a pattern with that particular artist, I wouldn't buy an anagram. And there would be far more effective ways to call forth the image of a bathroom than through the shape of tiles in a certain demographics' homes at a certain time. To an artist, such a solution would be inelegant because it wouldn't trigger any subconscious response in the audience -- you can make people think of hell and the devil without being direct, but to think of a bathroom, you need more than the shape of a single tile. A PATTERN of tiles might do it -- and that would be interesting as a device, to make HAL vaguely resemble a bathroom wall. It would be something the audience would never quite put their finger on, but would bring out the idea.

But, as a rule, few artists would be so vague unless it was a private joke (and private jokes are usually the first "hidden" things to ever get found!) :P

---------------------------------------------

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (5)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 13 years ago | (#242390)

As an artist, I hate to admit that my high school english teacher was right -- there are often meanings hidden in works that even the creator didn't realize were there.

Its not at all unusual for another artist to look at some work and point out something to me that, once it is said out load, is obvious I put in there subconciously/unconsciously.

Once you've been doing it long enough, every writer and artist is doing half of their work without conscious thought -- its only afterwards that they realize they were subconsciously running a parallel to the Iliad or the Bible (at which point they will usually go through and clean up the references or eliminate them).

That said, its usually easy to tell what is REALLY there vs being coincidental.

For example, Mark twain, despite his protestations to the contrary, clearly wrote with meaning, and had social allegory and commentary, it was never simply "a tale".

I find anagrams HIGHLY unlikely to be meaningful unless the author is in the habit of doing them, as most writers pick names from people they know or from historical/literary sources. If you showed me that EVERY name in a story had an anagram, and that as a group the anagrams were meaningful, I'd buy it. One or two out of many characters? coincidence, especially when it comes up with something dorky like "no meat".

Show me another story by Clark or Kubrick with many meaningful anagrams and I'd be willing to believe they were hiding them here.

As for the hexagonal tile, geez, don't get me started. I don't know how much this Harvard guy has ever done creatively, but there are about a million hexagonal symbols that would be pulled up before bathroom tiles. If Kubrick had a meaningful story in his life with a bathroom tile, maybe I'd buy it, but without that evidence, I'd be much more likely to attribute the shape to a carbon atom (foundation of life!) or a honeycomb (bees) -- a hive mind, nature's workers, collectively peaceful and necessary for life, but with a surprising sting when riled! That's a lot closer to HAL in the story then a third-generation bathroom metaphor.

Geodesic domes are based on hexagons, and are usually the basis of sci-fi colony designs. The shape itself seems very "sci-fi" just because of this history, so maybe that's the only association. Compare that to round shapes (as the head of the Discovery), which are associated with Russian spacecraft. having both shapes might just be a visual way of showing the ship comes from more than one design sensibility, a collaboration between nations.

But I'd want to see something to indicate Kubrick was involved in that production design decision to even worry about meaning behind the arrangement of engines.

---------------------------------------------

Re:Coincidence? I think so.... (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 13 years ago | (#242391)

A better one, as discovered by my friend Sheri and I one drunken Sunday watching World Of Disney, is "The Wizard Of Oz" combined with Alien Sex Fiend's "Another Planet."
There are MANY times the beat of the music intersects with film cuts and/or matches up with the beat of the dancing on-screen. It still MEANS nothing.

Oh, and Devo's "Freedom of Choice" LP goes well with the old Snorks cartoon, too.

Pope

Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!

Re:kinda Twin Peaksy (2)

Surak (18578) | more than 13 years ago | (#242392)

In the X-Files, for instance, they love to have clocks pointing to 10:13 because Chris Carter's production company is named Ten Thirteen. They'll also name minor characters after regular posters on the X-Files newsgroup. That kind of thing is actually comparatively common, a kind of insider's joke.

The Star Trek series' do this too. For instance, on the TNG Enterprise's bridge, the names of the writers and directors and so forth are on the dedication plaque.

Or in a Deep Space Nine episode, there were two agents from Starfleet who were investigating a time travel incident. Their names were Dulmer and Lucsley. (Anagrams for Mulder and Sculley, of X-Files fame of couse ;-).

Speaking of anagrams... (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#242393)

I think this author's style of analysis is commonly called "blush lit".

--

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (3)

Pahroza (24427) | more than 13 years ago | (#242396)

You're right. This happens regardless of the medium that's been reviewed, analyzed, folded, spindled or mutilated. The only person who will ever know what was meant was the creator of said piece of work. Even then, sometimes he or she may not even know, and it'll just be what it is.

I think sometimes things take on a life of their own, and our input into the work is just a means to the end, where we really had no idea that the end would turn up as it did.

Sometimes when drawing or painting my mind will be a complete blank. I'm not always thinking that "this X needs to be more like N because of Y". Even when writing. The words sometimes flow out without my thinking much about them. I can look back at things I wrote 10 years ago and be uncertain whether that was really me who wrote that or someone else.

Doesn't this sort of... meditative for lack of a better word, art ever happen to anyone else?

The "Trojan Horse" might not be so far-fetched. (3)

IntelliTubbie (29947) | more than 13 years ago | (#242399)

WARNING: 3001 SPOILER BELOW.

While I think that the "NO MEAT" anagram probably takes it too far, there is reason to believe that the Monolith might symbolize a Trojan Horse. Anyone who has read 3001: The Final Odyssey might remember that the monolith was ultimately destroyed by introducing a Trojan Horse (the computer program variety) into its system. A lot of people are saying that the author is reading too far into 2001 -- but given the fact that "Odyssey" is included in the title, not to mention the "Bowman" name and the plot parallels, it's perfectly reasonable to draw Odyssean parallels. Writers don't do these things by accident, folks.

Cheers,
IT

Re:thats pretty strange to me.. (1)

odaiwai (31983) | more than 13 years ago | (#242400)

Now look here Scooter, everyone knows that Stonehenge was created when Xena destroyed the Temple of Dahak with her Chakram. Well established historical fact that.

dave "hmmph"

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

odaiwai (31983) | more than 13 years ago | (#242401)

Wasn't it Brutus in the original?

dave

Anagram for "rank poole"? (2)

Mignon (34109) | more than 13 years ago | (#242403)

The author refers to an anagram for "rank poole," but for the life of me I can't find anything [wordsmith.org] particularly interesting in that.

Anyone care to fill me in on the secret?

I just saved money :-) (3)

glitch! (57276) | more than 13 years ago | (#242406)

Thanks, Timothy! I might have been intrigued by the title and content of this book. Perhaps enough to actually buy it. Your short review, though, tells me everything I need to know...

For an author as "educated" as he seems to be (on paper), your review shows him pretty much inventing a lot of history, and on the thinest foundation.

So this fellow is an expert in economics and government, eh? If that is truly the case, that explains a lot about the state of our government and economy...

Allegory? (4)

PurpleBob (63566) | more than 13 years ago | (#242411)

Ah! If "allegory" means "making bizarre comparisons using three different abstractions", then I can do that too!

Ready? The reader's expected response to the author's "NO MEAT" hypothesis would be "GET REAL". The letters in "GET REAL" can be rearranged to spell "LARGE ET". This obviously signifies the subconscious expression that the author is, in fact, an oversized being from outer space.

Maybe I should publish a book called "Leonard F. Wheat's "Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey": A Triple Allegory": A Space Allegory".
--

Re:Coincidence? I think so.... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 13 years ago | (#242416)

I believe the point is, was the hidden meaning (if one acknowledges it) intentional, or just chance.

Your post's hidden message was intentional. To be more in line with the story, if every capital letter spelt your message that would be more intriguing.

> You can find hidden meaning in anything, if you spend enough time looking for it.
The book "Godel, Escher, Bach" talks about this: Interpretation lies in the intelligence of the observer. Are there universal meanings, or is it just symantecs.

*shrugs*

what about Zarathustra? (1)

netsrek (76063) | more than 13 years ago | (#242420)

OK, so he may have gone a bit far in his Ulysses allegory, but what about the Zarathustra side? There seem to be an awful lot of links between 2001 and Thus Spake Zarathustra, by Nietzsche.
There's the tone poem of the same name by Strauss played at the beginning, the whole Superman [ecu.edu] theory of those who have 'overcome' humanity to evolve to a higher consciousness.

Surely these analogies were better discussed in the book?

Re:what about Zarathustra? (1)

netsrek (76063) | more than 13 years ago | (#242421)

ah-hah! someone who gets it...
The 'will to power' is a really strong theme throughout 2001, along with the corollaries of 'beyond good and evil' and the whole ubermensch thing.

so many quotes that can seem relevant...

I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves. Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself. Behold, I show you the last man.
from Nietzsche's Thus spoke Zarathustra, p.3,4,5, Walter Kaufmann transl.

Re:Whoa there, let's get a grip. (1)

precize (83096) | more than 13 years ago | (#242422)

Reminds me of a website I ran across a few months ago. Read the first few, laughed a little, then realized there were 25 pages of the stuff.

The Numbers of God [greatdreams.com]

Re:Anagram for "rank poole"? (2)

kevin805 (84623) | more than 13 years ago | (#242423)

I don't buy shit like that. Yeah, symbolism of the umbilical getting cut works, but are we to believe that Clarke went through the trouble to say, okay, I need a name for someone who walks a tightrope. Hmm...look for something good in another language? Seiltaenzer doesn't sound good. Hmm...string, chasm, abyss, fall, ...I know, I'll make the last nine letters of his name an anagram for "alk on rope".

I think you have to just leave that one as a coincidence.

Right now, though, I'm reading that paper you linked to, and I'm kicking myself for so obviously missing it. I wonder if maybe I haven't seen the movie since I read Zarathustra for the first time.

Hey timothy ... (2)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 13 years ago | (#242424)

"A lot" is two words. I guess Hooked On Phonics didn't work for you?
--
Lord Nimon

Five words: (1)

CdotZinger (86269) | more than 13 years ago | (#242425)


"More teen bimbo hay time!"


(Or these five: "I emit mere booby anthem.")


(....so very, very bored....)


Pushing the Limits... (1)

Xenex (97062) | more than 13 years ago | (#242428)

This "looking far too deep for 'facts'" thing is something I've come across before, in a little joke with a friend of mine.

I've been known to get into the occasional mini-flamewar with this friend, one of the biggies: KDE vs. GNOME.

I am of the noble KDE blood.
He is nothing more then a GNOME.

Stemming from this is the enevitable GTK+ vs. Qt...

Anyway, one day, during one of our mini-wars, I studied his nick. His nick in 'kn'.

k, moved up six letters of the alphabet, is q.
n, moved up six letters of the alphabet, is t.

My god! A six letter shift, and my GTKing friend is really a closet Qt fan, and his nick just screams it in secret! Maybe he's a communist too! I better check his house for a copy of the book of Marx next time I'm there!

Well.... he's not really a closet Qt fan... or a communist... but it is fun to take a stab at him with it every once in awhile.

Anyway, the morel of this story is:

"You can twist anything into anything else."
AND
"Eventually, all flamewars stoop to very stupid levels."

(For the record: This story is true. If you want to check, both kn and myself are frequently on client.oz.org, in #megabytes)

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (2)

DeepDarkSky (111382) | more than 13 years ago | (#242430)

Methinks, perhaps, an example that predates Dragonball is more appropriate - Popeye.

Popeye was definitely vegetarian-oriented. Popeye the sailor - girlfriend's name is Olive Oyl. Eats spinach and gets strong. Popeye, if I'm not mistaken, is a kind of bean as well. Then there's Sweetpea, and ultimately, there was Wimpy, who eats hamburgers (a guy who eats hamburgers is called Wimpy, is fat, and constantly have financial problems, hmmm....)

Re:Anagram for "rank poole"? (1)

FTL (112112) | more than 13 years ago | (#242431)

"rank poole" == "oral pen ok"

It is symptomatic of the deep sexual meanings that runs through this whole movie...

[eep, I was going to start comparing rockets, monoliths and spacepods to anatomy, but this is getting too gross for me]
--

Re:Coincidence? I think so.... (3)

nirnaeth (117870) | more than 13 years ago | (#242433)

Dark Side of the Moon, not The Wall, sucka. I pity the foo who's never watched Wizard of Oz timed to Dark Side. It's nothing at all like these whacky theories discussed in the review. Also, the song Echoes, on Pink Floyd's Meddle, is specifically timed to the Jupiter and Beyond The Inifinite sequence in 2001. No coincidence there.

Re:The "Trojan Horse" might not be so far-fetched. (1)

snarkh (118018) | more than 13 years ago | (#242434)

3001 is a piece of crap that is difficult to spoil any further.

However, the analogies with Odysseus and Zarathustra are not far-fetched at all. E.g. the music in the movie is form Strauss's "Thus Spake Zarathustra" and also the three parts of the film can be though of as the three stages of development in Nietzsche - camel - the first scene with apes, lion - the bulk of the movie, and the overman - the very end.

The black monolith can be interpreted as a symbol of transition between these stages.

Re:Anagram for "rank poole"? (1)

CanadaMan (121016) | more than 13 years ago | (#242435)

It was a poisoned arrow- that's why the ankle wound was fatal. --CM

Cosmic One Night Stand (1)

joel_archer (124897) | more than 13 years ago | (#242437)

Jeez, a big long shaft of a ship with a bulbous head, spurts a tiny little pod with human life in it down a hole and a "star child" is born. I bet the support payments would be a bitch. Should have used a condom.

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

eviljason (133015) | more than 13 years ago | (#242439)

I'd think it more likely that the hexagonal symbols are supposed to be evocative of a mescaline experience than bathroom tile.

--

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#242440)

One assumes, though, that in Dragonball Z the names are intended to be funny, rather than allegorical. A better example, IMO, is the Wiggin children in Ender's Game. They all have saints' names, and their characters are (IIRC) linked to the saints for whom they were named. Of course in that case, Orson Scott Card deliberately draws the reader's attention to the choice of names. One character specifically mentions that the children were all baptized with valid saints' names, and another points out the possibility of names having connotations. Again, when an author has deliberately put something like that into the work, he'll generally try to point it out, either by having it be glaringly obvious or by including written in suggestions that it's worth looking at.

Re:kinda Twin Peaksy (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#242441)

I'm sorry, but I seem to have been unintentionally misleading above. The show in which these artistic works were inserted was not Twin Peaks (which I don't believe was a Spelling Production) but Melrose Place. The works were presented as part of a larger exhibition entitled "Uncommon Sense" that focused on art as part of the public process, and the specific section was titled "In the Name of the Place". The creators of the work have a nice web site at http://www.arts.ucsb.edu/projects/mpart/ [ucsb.edu] . All in all, it was one of the most interesting exhibits I've ever been to.

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#242442)

But there's a difference between finding something in a work that the author didn't explicitly put in, like finding unintentional allegory and metaphor, and the kind of numerology/anagrams that people are complaining about in this case. It's inherent in the artistic process that works of art reflect their creators, and to the extent that their creators are people of their time, place, social status, etc. the art will thus also reflect that. Thus a talented and well trained artist will almost certainly include unconscious connections to others in his works.

But it's difficult to see how some of the more esoteric connections that analysts dredge up could be inserted unconsciously. Do you really think that authors subconsciously include ellaborate anagrams, numerological calculations, and the like in their writing. I personally can't- not just don't but actually can't- believe that. It's just too far fetched.

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (4)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#242443)

I find that a good rule of thumb is that most of the time when the author is thinking about something wacky like making names into anagrams, he tends to do it compulsively rather than just once or twice. If names are significant, for instance, he'll use a group of names that have related significance- all names of saints, or characters from some other work, or the like. If you wind up finding one interesting anagram, one name that's a biblical reference, and one odd similarity to some other work, the chances are that it's just the analyst looking too deep. And, quite honestly, most authors aren't going to bury this stuff too deep in the first place. They put it in there to be, after all, so making it so obscure that it takes ages and ages to notice pretty much defeats the point.

Re:kinda Twin Peaksy (5)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 13 years ago | (#242444)

Of course some time these things are most certainly conscious. In the X-Files, for instance, they love to have clocks pointing to 10:13 because Chris Carter's production company is named Ten Thirteen. They'll also name minor characters after regular posters on the X-Files newsgroup. That kind of thing is actually comparatively common, a kind of insider's joke.

What is even more wild is that once in a while a TV show will do something even more radical deliberately. I saw a very, very interesting art exhibit at the LA Museum of Contemporary Art. A group of artists had convinced Aaron Spelling to let them insert various symbolically significant props into the show. There was a pillow that showed up in some bedroom scenes, for instance, that had pictures of condoms all over it. Every container of alcohol that appeared in the season when they were doing this was redone to make it symbollically linked to its role in the plot. When somebody did something stupid after drinking, for instance, their beer cans were of "Be Wiser" rather than "Budweiser". After appearing there, they were moved to the top shelf of the bar that served as a hangout for the characters. More amazingly, the height of stacked glasses and pitchers on the middle shelf of the bar formed a bar graph (and the pun was deliberate) of average per-capital alcohol consumption in the U.S. since the revolution, and the bottles on the bottom shelf were matched with the next shelf up and had labels relevant to public perceptions and attitudes toward drinking at that time. It was pretty amazing, especially considering that the viewers had pretty much no chance of figuring all that stuff out.

The take home lesson, though, is that sometimes people really do hide things in TV shows.

Re:thats pretty strange to me.. (2)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 13 years ago | (#242446)

I hate to burst your bubble but Clarke in an interview recently put to rest the hidden IBM reference. He said that it was unintentional and had nothing to do with IBM.

BOWMAN TMA-ONE = MAN, TO BE WOMAN (5)

efuseekay (138418) | more than 13 years ago | (#242447)

Maybe Kubrick was thinking about a sex-change operation?!

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (4)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 13 years ago | (#242449)

Good point; I propose we call it the "Dragonball Principle". Dragonball Z has a lot of conventions of this type: One group of characters is named after vegetables (Kakarott, Vegeta, Raditz, et al.); another after musical instruments; and another after types of underwear. It's all illustratively obvious (to an English speaker) and deliberately done.

Similarly, if we find a man named Balthazar in a novel and later on meet his two buddies Melchior and Gaspar, then we're more likely to flag it as a biblical reference; if the Balthazar is isolated it could more likely be that the author pulled it out of a baby book or telephone book. Sometimes the opposite happens: Fahrenheit 451, a novel about a society without books, has two characters named Montag (a paper manufacturer) and Faber (a pencil manufacturer). Bradbury swears it off as a coincidence! But how do we know for sure...?

Coincidence? I think so.... (5)

Chester K (145560) | more than 13 years ago | (#242450)

This sounds suspiciously like the people that watch The Wizard of Oz timed to music with Pink Floyd's The Wall.

Coincidence? Probably. You can find hidden meaning in anything, if you spend enough time looking for it. This post is no exception.

Not everything is a conspiracy.

Re:Whoa there, let's get a grip. (1)

BitchAss (146906) | more than 13 years ago | (#242451)

If you try hard enough, you can find connections between just about anything.

I took a couple of English courses throughout University for interest sake and I found that this is what English people do. I think the purpose is to maybe find subconscience links from one thing to another. Many connections, like the one between the bathroom tiles and the space stations, aren't necessarily on the conscience level, but the author is looking for a reason the docking stations are hexagonal shaped instead of circular.
Anyway - I had the same problem that you're having, but I think you have to be in the same mindset that the author is. I think this book would be an interesting read and I'd like to check it out sometime.

Um, aren't we forgetting something here (3)

elephantman (147240) | more than 13 years ago | (#242452)

Let's all keep in mind that kubrick can't be attributed for the creation of the name "Frank Poole" or the label "TMA-1". Sure, perhaps he came up with the hexagonal shape for part of the ship, but the author here is making half-assed 'connections' about a man who only made the filmed version itself, not the darn book. So not only are his connections half-assed, they're being pointed at the genius behind a man who didn't even come up with them.

C++ programmers do it with class.
Perl hackers do it quick and dirty.

Thus Spake Zarathustra was the real message (3)

sdprenzl (149571) | more than 13 years ago | (#242453)

Nietzsche once said that the human was a bridge between God and animal. That would explain our schizoid reality to a T. In "Also Sprach Zarathustra", Nietzsche created the myth of the "superman", but never really described him in detail. Somehow we humans would slave away at life until we reached some threshold, then magically, some border would be crossed by some individual to The Next Great Thing. This is what I read into the film after reading Kubrick interviews. Dave Bowman was that superman who finally crossed into the next state of being, the first human to get off that damned bridge to the other side. The confusing ending was symbolic of this Unknown. Rock Hudson supposedly left the film disgusted saying, "will somebody please tell me what that film is about!? Rock, just like you showing your dog your wedding pictures, Kubrick is "showing" us this Great Beyond. IMHO, Clarke screws everything up with his absolutist/literalist overcooking and overexplaining. The hotel scene at the end of the film is ruined by Clarke in his book version. To me the scene is a genial symbolistic dreamscape. The human mind, when given information beyond its comprehension does exactly what a computer does when it mis-calculates some math problem: vaguely recognizable, but totally unreliable stuff comes out. Koans, baby, do your koans! The Nietzsche-man asked Big Questions, probably the biggest ever asked. Seeing a film based on some of the N-man's biggest issues has made me a better person....

Re:UFOs ARE REAL (1)

JimPooley (150814) | more than 13 years ago | (#242454)

You're mad. You know that, don't you...
In a similar vein, the British UFO Society recently closed its doors due to the lack of interest.
Gosh. Wonder why. Could be we're basically less mad...

Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems

Re:How to over extend yourself: (1)

JimPooley (150814) | more than 13 years ago | (#242455)

And then there's the Douglas Adams thing about the guy who proved that God ddin't exist . . . .

Yeah. But he went on to prove that black = white, and got run over on the next zebra crossing...!


Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems

Re:kinda Twin Peaksy (1)

silhouette (160305) | more than 13 years ago | (#242456)

The group of artists who created all those works were the GALA committee, which was made up primarily of students and faculty from the University of Georgia and CalArts (hence GA=Georgia LA=Los Angeles). Pictures and video clips of the pieces that made it into the show can be found at the GALA committee website, which has most of them:

http://www.arts.ucsb.edu/projects/mpart/ [ucsb.edu]

Another interesting fact- in order to bring attention to the art while Melrose Place was running, the committee created a fictional Melrose fan named "Eliza" who began to notice strange things happening on the sets. "Eliza" documented these anomolies on her website, and was essentially a mole for GALA in order to arouse speculation among the show's fans.

An archive of the mole's website is at:
http://www.arts.ucsb.edu/projects/mpart/eliza/ [ucsb.edu]

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (3)

Zara2 (160595) | more than 13 years ago | (#242457)

Not too sure about Clark but I would believe something of this order from Kubric. For instance in "The Shining" the pattern and colors of the carpet are supposed to symbolize Satan walking through the halls. Actually less Satan himself as evil incarnate (Neitzche's concept of eternal return. This info is from a interview with the man h)imself so who am I to argue.

A few other things in the movie about this.
1. The child travelling down the road to hell (the long hallway sceens on the tricycle)
2. Multiple murders in differnt time frames.
3. Pictures on the walls: Both having images of previous caretakers and in the end with the picture of Jack.
4. Many of the cut scenes in the end. Particularly the man in a yellow dog suit giving a blowjob. According to kubrick the dog was very symbolic but I think it coulda been cut and I never woulda known.

Just a little evidence that Krubrick was a crazy enough guy to do something like what the book is saying. After typeing all this out I still gotta agree that the bathroom tile thing is a little bit off.

Re:kinda Twin Peaksy (3)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 13 years ago | (#242458)

BTW, that 10:13 company name comes from the birthdate of Chris Carter's wife.

Every container of alcohol that appeared in the season when they were doing this was redone to make it symbollically linked to its role in the plot.

$ ln -s alcohol plot ;-)

--

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

lamasquerade (172547) | more than 13 years ago | (#242460)

You're right. This happens regardless of the medium that's been reviewed, analyzed, folded, spindled or mutilated. The only person who will ever know what was meant was the creator of said piece of work.

The creator only knows what the piece of art means to them, it means somthing different to everybody and just because the creator is the *creator* doesn't mean their view is 'right':)

I know alot of people bitch(*) about how much other people read into works which, when you think about it, really were not 'meant' to have that much read into them. But after alot of this sort of protracted analysis in my literature course I have come to think of the intense analysing and abstracting of countless layers of allegory and metaphore to be a kind of mental excersise. It's not that we are doing these things because we think the author actually meant us to see such relations with their work, but because we can use that piece of art as a base upon which to superimpose countless other things and to through it see those other things in a different light or simply to mess about with our ideas a bit.

(*) I'm not saying the post that I am replying to was, just incase you read that.

Nut job (No offense) (2)

michaelbyrne (179452) | more than 13 years ago | (#242463)

If Cliff is trying to make the author look like a gibbering idiot, he's done a pretty good job.

All good art, i.e., art that stands the test of time, has a large degree of ambiguity in it to allow for various forms of interpretation and meaning. That is part of what gives it value.

I think the book says more about the author than the subject. Boy is he deep and intelligent. I can't wait for his brainy analysis of Brittany Spears lyrics and how they are derived from Greek Philosophy AND quantum physics. You can PROVE this by rearranging the letters in the words to Baby Hit Me One More Time. It's soo obvious.....

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (2)

JCCyC (179760) | more than 13 years ago | (#242464)

Popeye was originally an advertising character for -- you guessed it -- spinach. Nothing subtle about character naming there.

On the other hand, I wonder what "Bluto" means. Why not "Brutus"?

Reading too much into stuff... (2)

rakarnik (180132) | more than 13 years ago | (#242465)

Happens when you analyze any book/movie/creative work. Where do you draw the line between what the author might have been thinking and your own twisted imagination? -Rahul

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

Karl_Hungus (180893) | more than 13 years ago | (#242466)

Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain

No comment ;-)

THEN and only then can it be reasonably claimed that this or that meaning exists in the work.

The meaning is in the reader's reading of the work. If no one reads it, how can it mean anything to anyone but the author?

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

Karl_Hungus (180893) | more than 13 years ago | (#242467)

Where do you draw the line between what the author might have been thinking and your own twisted imagination?

Please read this [amazon.com] , then this [amazon.com] , then get back to me. You'd be suprised at how much some authors get up to.

The author's name is also an anagram (1)

Shafalus (181224) | more than 13 years ago | (#242472)

Leonard F Wheat = Deft anal whore

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

Bathail (182595) | more than 13 years ago | (#242473)

>Doesn't this sort of... meditative for lack of a better word, art ever happen to anyone else?

I hear ya, bruthah! ;)
I will sit down at my computer with a small, neat idea in my head, put my hands on my keyboard, and blink my gritty, dry eyes several hours later, looking up at a few K of text that *something* typed but that I don't remember at all.

-----

Scaring the masses with arbitrary interpretation (1)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 13 years ago | (#242475)

This feels exactly like Richard C. Hoagland's work about the mars face. When I first read 'The Face on Mars' book, I actually wanted to believe it. Later, after discovering his website, The Enterprise Mission, [enterprisemission.com] I concluded he was an absolute loon. He may have been sane at one point, but he certainly has lost whatever marbles he used to have, especially after the second-go-round of mars photographs were released recently. As I find more and more examples of 'pseudo-math' it all becomes clearer and clearer.

An aquaintence of mine wrote a small program that will search the entire text of the bible and will find any phrase you give it hidden as 'bible code', similar to to the book of the same name which pruports to find all kinds of hidden messages. My aquaintence wrote it as a method of debunking such claims.

The problem with debunking absolutely everything is that there are probably some very genuine mathematical puzzles out there left to us by older civilizations, that may well be 'pooh poohed' and grouped with the rest of the nonsense, and we will have missed learning some interesting information about that civilization or religious context.

Precious truth may have been dilluted with an ocean of gibberish. Finding those gems and getting people to believe you is not going to be easy.
Mike Massee

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

Bodrius (191265) | more than 13 years ago | (#242476)

You don't.

Read Derrida.

Re:Anagram for "rank poole"? (3)

ASeed (195654) | more than 13 years ago | (#242478)

Google solves it again... [google.com] giving us this link: MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT 2001 [underview.com]

There, you can find this text:

The space voyage begins, and Dave Bowman - Zarathustra - becomes the central figure. Dave's colleague, Frank Poole, symbolizes the rope dancer (tightrope walker), a character in an important parable in Zarathustra. One clue to Poole's allegorical identity is that the last nine of the ten letters of [F]rank Poole are an anagrammatical rearrangement of the last nine of the ten letters of "[W]alk on rope"; another clue is that Frank, like the rope dancer, is killed by an entity symbolizing God who sneaks up behind him; a third clue is that Zarathustra (Bowman) picks up the rope dancer's (Poole's) body and later disposes of it. Next, Zarathustra and God clash, and Zarathustra kills God (Bowman shuts down Hal's brain). The words "Beyond the Infinite" flash on to the screen. You undoubtedly gave those words a spatial meaning, but Kubrick gives them a temporal meaning. "Beyond" means after, and "the infinite" is one of theologian Paul Tillich's names for God. "Beyond the infinite" means "after God " - after the death of God (Hal).


--
ACid [intersaint.org]

Re:Coincidence? I think so.... (1)

splink splink (203531) | more than 13 years ago | (#242480)

Try Dark side of the Moon, not The Wall. I agree it's probably coincidence, but it sure is fun to watch and listen to the two together.

Just one correction (2)

ColdGrits (204506) | more than 13 years ago | (#242482)

2001 is NOT a "Kubrick" story.

2001 was mainly written by Arthur C Clarke, in conjunction with Kubrick when they decided to make "the proverbial good Sci Fi film".

The book was written at the same time as the screenplay (although as the film was developed, certain limitations meant some changes to the script which were not reflected in the book. For example, in the book, they visit Saturn not Jupiter, purely because Kubrick didn't feel his special effects team could make a convincing Saturn backdrop. As ACC hilself says later, he was glad that turned out to be the case because of Europa).

I wish people would get their facts straight and not go round claiming 2001 was Kubrick's story! It was a collaboration (sp?), with the main story coming from ACC.

--

Re:thats pretty strange to me.. (2)

sabster (206427) | more than 13 years ago | (#242483)

Actually he lives in Colombo (capital of Sri Lanka) it is a port town, bearly 100 metres above sea-level at its highest point.

Echoes of Eco (1)

quinto2000 (211211) | more than 13 years ago | (#242484)

This sounds very much like what Umberto Eco did with his novel about the Templars, Focault's Pendulum. It was a somewhat satirical novel about the people that believe in conspiracy theories and secret cults. This reviewer sounds like a character in his novel :-)

Of course, Eco's profession is semiotics, so it is his job to find signs. Kubrick did have very deep films, but some of the connections this reviewer is drawing seem to be a bit of a reach.

Re:Even a broken clock is right occasionally (1)

quinto2000 (211211) | more than 13 years ago | (#242485)

The study of symbols that you are referring to is actually called semiotics. It is a very interesting discipline.

It sounds like this author just had his initial brain storming session, and then forgot to edit it afterwards. :)

Re:Anagram for "rank poole"? (1)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 13 years ago | (#242486)

And the river Styx references the band Styx which references the movie Big Daddy which means Kubrick was adopted. So there.

Re:Anagram for "rank poole"? (2)

wadetemp (217315) | more than 13 years ago | (#242491)

ANKLE POOR? PORK ALONE? LEAK PORNO? Obviously Frank was an unhealthy, lonely SOB. How that parallels Odysseus I don't know...

Actually, I think I heard something about "rank poole" itself having meaning, yah know, a stinky pool. Sorry, can't help you on this one.

A long tradition (2)

kubla2000 (218039) | more than 13 years ago | (#242492)

While the quotes that Lampe has chosen to illustrate the outrageousness of some of Wheat's readings are funny, it is always rather risky to take quotes from books like these out of context.

Yes, the bathroom-tile man-machine argument sounds pretty 'out there'; however, there is a long tradition of books attempting to connect-up seemingly dispirate myths, legends, stories and poems. Taken in abstract, Robert Graves's [robertgraves.org] claim that the stories of Jesus and Hercules are different versions of the same myth, sounds mad. Perhaps it is, but Graves's justification takes a few hundred pages and is pretty convincing. By the time he goes into how theories of accretion can pollute oral narratives and the effect of the written-word in making particular versions of stories more canonical than others, he's made a point.

Fact is, Wheat wasn't the first nor will he be the last. Sir James Frazer's 'The Golden Bough' [bartleby.com] , Joseph Campbell's 'The Hero With a Thousand Faces' [rain.org] , etc, etc, etc, are all equally mad. But each of them is attempting to do something very human and touching: they are attempting to detect some order, sanity, ration and reason in an otherwise pretty random and chaotic world -- just as Kubrick was doing, just as Homer was doing...

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

praedor (218403) | more than 13 years ago | (#242493)

If the author didn't put it in there, then it isn't there. The READER/VIEWER may "see" it in there, which is merely a reflection of their own minds, but the work itself, and the intent of it's creator was not to put it there.

You can overanalyze anything. All it comes to is mental masturbation and self-examination and gameplay. Nothing different than looking at clouds and seeing a horse or a screaming eagle. Neither is really there, the cloud contains nothing but microscopic particles and water vapor and a few other trace chemicals/elements. It's shape is not allegorical and has no intrinsic meaning. You the view embue it with a meaning.

It can be fun but it is also a load of crap...if you try to go on to say the meaning YOU "see" is really there.

Most of that crap in the "analysis" of Kubrick's 2001 wasn't there and wasn't intended to be there. Bathroom tile rocket nozzles implying the ship was human? Pa-leeze. More likely it had to do with materials available for making an interesting plastic model for filming. The author could go through a twisted series of nonsensical arguments to make the same point no matter what shape the nozzles were (round nozzles "obviously" signify toilet bowels, hence the ship is human!).

Hate to say it, but your art teacher was full of crapola. If the creator of a work didn't place a meaning or reference in their creation, then it isn't there, period. You the viewer may see meaning never intended or imagined by the original artist, but that is beside the point. The work doesn't intrinsically contain that meaning. You do.

Re:Reading too much into stuff... (1)

praedor (218403) | more than 13 years ago | (#242494)

Doh! I meant your ENGLISH teacher was loaded with crap with that statement that "there is often meaning there that even they weren't aware of", to paraphrase.

I repeat, the meaning in with the viewer, not the work...unless the artist/creator put it there. If there are author notes, diaries, comments, etc, that indicate that this may have been the case, THEN and only then can it be reasonably claimed that this or that meaning exists in the work.

HAL and Polyphemus (1)

charvolant (224858) | more than 13 years ago | (#242498)

Well, HAL, with his single eye, knocking off the crew one by one, makes a pretty good Polyphemus [brown.edu] .

The problem is that anything where you've got a long voyage with people being killed looks like the the Odessey. Greg Egan's The Plank Dive [netspace.net.au] has an offhand comment about these sort of myths being strange attractors for pre-literate stories.

NO MEAT, HUH? (4)

FrankDrebin (238464) | more than 13 years ago | (#242500)

This dude missed a few TMA-ONE interpretations:

  • NATO ME - the monolith is discovered in the Cold War posturing between the West and the Iron Curtain, and this is Kubrick's way of downing Communism

  • A MONTE - referring to a popular game show at the time, and that the monolith was at various times in the movie under a curtain marked number two, and behind a door marked number three

  • OAT MEN - Quaker paid Kubrick for subliminal advertizing

Check all the others here [wordsmith.org]

Re:Nut job (No offense) (1)

westfieldscientific (240349) | more than 13 years ago | (#242503)

Britney, not Brittany.

I happen to strongly agree with your main point though.

kinda Twin Peaksy (3)

Kraft (253059) | more than 13 years ago | (#242507)

I used to be really into Twin Peaks and spent lotsa time on USEnet (or was it FIDOnet?) to discuss meanings of the episodes [twinpeaks.org] . Well, it got pretty far out, to say the least. For example, someone noticed that all the 3 digit hotel room numbers which were ever shown, added up to 12. Since David Lynch [twinpeaks.org] is a ment, it made perfect sense that he did this on purpose. Then there were all the anagrams, like 'Agent Cooper' == 'One Great Cop'.
And this never ended. The more people looked into it, the more strange shit came out. Some (me included) started speculating wether this all happened subconsciously for David Lynch. That maybe he didn't even know, but somehow he couldn't help adding twistedness to the script. And just like Mr. Lampe says here, I really got caught up in the looney evindence and lost perspective completely.

I guess that paterns and similarities are all over the place, you just gotta look hard enough. Just like adding the ASCII values of the letters in Bill Gates name [google.com] and it equals 666. It just doesn't prove anything.

-Kraft

Re:kinda Twin Peaksy (2)

sparcv9 (253182) | more than 13 years ago | (#242508)

Would you happen to have any additional information on the Twin Peaks prop art? Is this exhibit (or the artist group) documented anywhere online? Several Google searches have turned up nothing, and the MOCA-LA website is so Flash-laden that it's unusable.

Oh you mean Chrono Trigger? ; -) (1)

Databass (254179) | more than 13 years ago | (#242509)

Melchior? Belthasar? Gaspar?

>Chrono Trigger

Re:A long tradition (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 13 years ago | (#242510)

Fact is, Wheat wasn't the first nor will he be the last. Sir James Frazer's 'The Golden Bough',


and just think - it was partial inspiration for T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" a poem which can and does have prtty much anyting and everything read into it.


Eliot had the right idea - make you art obscure enough, and then let the technical critics read all manner of deep and meaningful philosophy into it later.


Jedidiah

--

How to over extend yourself: (2)

servasius_jr (258414) | more than 13 years ago | (#242511)

Reminds me of an anecdote from one of my critical theory classes: A prominent Folklorist designed a mathematical equation to determine whether folk-stories represented actual events or reflected mythological archetypes. A character in a folk story would "score points" for things like military prowess, greater than human stature, etc. It was a very complex equation, subtley and pains-takingly crafted.

Using this equation, it's been proven that Abraham Lincoln never existed historically, that in fact he was a mythological construct.

And then there's the Douglas Adams thing about the guy who proved that God ddin't exist . . . .

A big steaming heap of anagrams for "Frank Poole." (2)

servasius_jr (258414) | more than 13 years ago | (#242512)

A thought on "(F)rank poole". The anagram "ankle poor" immediately made me think of Achilles from the Illiad. Achilles mother dipped him in the river Styx when he was a child in order to make him invulnerable. The one part of his body that didn't get wet was the heel his mother used to hold onto him. During the battle at Troy, Achilles was shot in the heel by an arrow and killed. Interestingly, I believe that it was Odysseus who eventually won the prized armor of Achilles, before beginning his journey home in the Odessy.

Your facts on the Illiad are right. Also, "ankle poor" reminds one of Oedipus, whose name after all translates as "swollen foot." (Although my greek isn't flawless.) "Frank Poole" yields many potentially meaningful anagrams:

Flop one ark: clearly refers to the potential danger to the ship in the movie

Freak'n' Polo!: Odysseus was noted for hating water-polo.

Porno Flake: Obviously refering to HAL's voyeuristic tendencies.

Lo! Fake porn!: Foreshadowing Kubrick's final movie.

OK elf apron: It was rumoured widely at the time that Santa Claus' elves were hired to work as gaffers and key grips for 2001.

No rape folk: The real reason all the scientists were locked up and frozen, to keep Dave from going buggy on their booties.

Lake of porn: the real reason the the obelisks were protecting Jupiters moon -- their grrrly magazines were hidden under its frozen surface.

I could keep going indefinately, but I've probably already made my point and made everybody who's read this permanantly dumber already. Might as well quit while we're ahead . . . .

Re:Anagram for "rank poole"? (2)

wwight (302660) | more than 13 years ago | (#242515)

A thought on "(F)rank poole". The anagram "ankle poor" immediately made me think of Achilles from the Illiad. Achilles mother dipped him in the river Styx when he was a child in order to make him invulnerable. The one part of his body that didn't get wet was the heel his mother used to hold onto him. During the battle at Troy, Achilles was shot in the heel by an arrow and killed. Interestingly, I believe that it was Odysseus who eventually won the prized armor of Achilles, before beginning his journey home in the Odessy.

In 2001, Frank Pool was one of David Bowman's crewmates. HAL cuts Pools umbilical to Discovery while his is performing a space walk, and Bowman is unable to rescue him. At the risk of going out on a limb here, is the Discovery the "armor" that Bowman (Odysseus) inherits from Pool at the beginning of his long journey? I'm sure there's more here, but that's all I've got. I wish I remembered the movie better so I could draw more parallels.

Re:Nut job (No offense) (1)

Chyron (304285) | more than 13 years ago | (#242516)

"My Boob: Hernia, In Time"? Doesn't sound very profound to me.
--

Whoa there, let's get a grip. (2)

Chyron (304285) | more than 13 years ago | (#242517)

This reminds me quite a lot of Erich von Daniken. He did things like take the different measurements of pyramids, multiply them together, take square and cube roots wildly until he got a number that could be construed as similar to some astronomical measurement, and then claim that as proof that the "ancients" had an incredibly advanced knowledge of astronomy. No, it's just proof that one set of numbers can be transformed into something similar to another (arbitrary) set by using lots of mathematical operations.

Same thing here. If you try hard enough, you can find connections between just about anything. That proves nothing, however, beyond the creativity of the person coming up with the "connections".
--

Re:Coincidence? I think so.... (2)

shorti9 (307602) | more than 13 years ago | (#242518)

would you like that in small unmarked bills, or do you prefer foreign notes?

Why do I suspect... (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 13 years ago | (#242524)

... that the author sat on this book for six years, waiting until a bit after Kubrik's death so Stan couldn't tell him how full of it he is?

People reading too much into it... again... (3)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 13 years ago | (#242525)

Why is it people always have the tendancy to take great works of art and try to read way too much into it? It's like the theory that the Mona Lisa is really an expression of DaVinci's female/homosexual side... What these people are doing is at best akin to self-fulfilling prophecies...

"So what are those claims? Alot of it makes good sense. For instance, Dave Bowman relates to Ulysses (a reknowned bowman in the myths)."

While I agree that there is a lot in common between A Space Odyssey and Homer's original (just look at the title!), I think this is taking it a little too far. If Clarke really wanted to do what this author is suggesting, why not call him "Dave Archer?"

"These letters, like the last nine in Frank Poole, can be rearranged to form an anagram. In this case, the anagram is "No Meat." A wooden horse has no meat on its skeletal framework."

Yeah, so? It also spells "toe man" and "no team" and "M... neato." Besides, the Trojan Horse had a lot of meat (in the form of the Greeks inside of it).

"But why the hexagons? Why not circles or squares or nothing?"

Because curved surfaces aren't justified, while using a cube would result in something that looks a little too much like a Tinker Toy.

"The rear-end hexagons are bathroom tiles! They symbolize bathrooms."

Exactly how far up his own ass did he have to reach to pull this one out? This makes those goat sex pics look tame in comparison!

"Hal-Discovery has three bathrooms, one for each mouth"

Um... how do you figure three? Is this "the new math?" And HAL is no more Discovery than Windows is my computer.

"It reminds us how good human minds, especially smart ones, are at finding patterns in crazy shit."

So, what you're saying is that this book is an example of how far computing needs to go before it catches up with human pattern-recognition skills?

"Wheat has the premise that Kubrick was so wicked smart that these long strings of meaning are not only possible, they are a sure thing."

Then perhaps he should sit down and write his next few books on "Dr. Strangelove," "Full Metal Jacket," and "Eyes Wide Shut." If Kubrik was half as smart as the author suggests, then he might be able to find the meaning of life in these movies.

"You also come away with the sense that Wheat is a pretty smart man himself."

Using big words makes you smart. Right. Or should I say "Utilizing unwieldy verbage demonstrates one's superior intellect?"

Re:Coincidence? I think so.... (2)

Magumbo (414471) | more than 13 years ago | (#242526)

Yeah definitely no coincidence there.

Especially the sequence between when the tornado comes until Dorothy is transported to Oz (well actually the end of Money). Whew!

Incredibly cool.

--
"Fuck your mama."

Re:Coincidence? I think so.... (3)

Magumbo (414471) | more than 13 years ago | (#242527)

Are there universal meanings, or is it just symantecs.

I would say universal meanings. Peter Norton was once "the man" but Symantec is not what it once was.



--
"Fuck your mama."

There are times when you read a book and know the (1)

iron_weasel (415177) | more than 13 years ago | (#242528)

author has it dead wrong. This is one of those times. No thinking required in this case.

That's evidence? (3)

6EQUJ5 (446008) | more than 13 years ago | (#242529)


Spell out the figure '1' and you get TMA-ONE. These letters, like the last nine in Frank Poole, can be rearranged to form an anagram. In this case, the anagram is "No Meat." A wooden horse has no meat on its skeletal framework."

There's as much truth to that as your average psycic reading. One can make hundreds of true, but random statements about an object, such as a horse, and surely find that some of them are anagrams toward some related idea.

Firstly, there is no justification for spelling 1 as "One". 1 means 1, and if if Mr. Kubrik really meant "one", he should have spelled it out himself.

Secondly, the Trojan Horse was NOT a skeletal framework. I suppose its wooden walls could be viewed as "meat", in fact, but this is all just nonsense... The guy's a Quack.

UFOs ARE REAL (1)

Crank_Sinatra (449835) | more than 13 years ago | (#242530)

Kubrick's films are so multi-layered that it isn't surprising to find someone drawing bizarre conclusions about them. It's like reading a book that tries to analyze Revelations (the bible book); you can make this shit into almost anything.

Unfortunately, too many people start to believe what they read just because it's in black and white. That is why Kubrick stopped filming in black and white after Dr. Strangelove. Never again did he film in anything but Technicolor, which adds layers and layers of complexity to his films.

UFOs are real, and Kubrick knew it. They are slip-streaming from exactly 1521 years in the future (1521 being the biblical number of the Oracle Beast) to both aid and destroy us. Kubrick discovered this in his research and was nearly killed by Clarke, who helped mastermind the conspiracy.

Don't believe me? Check out these facts [weeklyworldnews.com] . Haven't you ever used a spork? When you come to your senses, join the truth-seekers at MUFON [mufon.com] .

2001 (2)

Certified Coward (449923) | more than 13 years ago | (#242531)

This reminds me of decoding Paul is dead messages on Beatles covers in college. None of the general thrust of 2001 is less than 31 years old, although the anagrams and hexagons may be new. It's like Homer's Odessey, and it says so in the title. (But let's not forget Leopold Bloom! Maybe Kubrick was a Joyce nut too). Zarathustra? Gee, ya think? Also Sprach Zarathustra is only the overpowering theme music, played over and over again. Man/machine symbiosis, is again, as plain as the nose on Jimmy Durante's face. It's Frankenstein, Prometheus etc. all over again. All of this is so plainly obvious that it can't possibly be news to nerds. Everyone who paid the slightest attention knew all this three decades ago. 2001 is one of the top movies ever made not because of these out front allegories, but because it uses these allegories to draw a picture that is a contemplation of consciousness, and it means just what you can get out of it, and unquestionably it means different things to different people. HAL is the murdering child/frankenstein. The sequels kinda cheapen the impact of HAL by explaining why he went nuts. Wasn't it a lot better as a Rorasch test to speculate why HAL went bad. (Star Trek TNG did a cute send up of this with Data/Lor) What does the aging of Bowman as he watches himself Buddah-like, evoke?
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