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Insofern das Wesen des Geistes im Entflammen beruht, bricht er Bahn, lichtet diese und bringt auf den Weg. Als Flamme ist der Geist der Sturm, der »den Himmel stürmt« und »Gott erjagt«.


Insofar as the essence of [our] Spirit is equivalent to conflagration, it breaks the path, clears it, and sets it on its way. As flame, Spirit is the storm that “storms the sky” and “chases God”.


Heidegger, Unterwegs zur Sprache (Frankfurt am Main : Vittorio Klostermann, 1985), 56.








Le phénomène de la mise en exploitation du globe, le phénomène de l’égalisation des techniques et le phénomène démocratique, qui font prévoir une deminutio capitis de l’Europe, doivent-ils être pris comme décisions absolues du destin ? Ou avons-nous quelque liberté contre cette menaçante conjuration des choses ?


The phenomenon of the exploitation of the globe, the phenomenon of the equalization of techniques and the phenomenon of “democracy”, which anticipate a deminutio capitis of Europe—should these be accepted as absolute decisions of destiny? Or do we still have some freedom against this menacing conspiracy of things?


Paul Valéry, Variété (Paris : Gallimard, 1924), 32.




Oppenheimer. Lawrence, you embrace the revolution in physics, can’t you see it everywhere else? (21)




When we merely stare at something, our just-having-it-before-us lies before us as a failure to understand it any more.


Heidegger, Being and Time (Oxford : Blackwell, 1962), 190.








Oppenheimer. I wanted to learn the new physics. (3)




Οἰδίπους. τίς δ᾽ ἔσθ᾽ ὁ χῶρος;

Ξένος. . . . Τιτὰν Προμηθεύς.


Oedipus. Where am I?

Stranger. This place belongs to the terrible goddesses, the daughters of Earth and Darkness. . . . People call them the Eumenides. . . . This entire site is sacred. . . . Here also is an altar to the fire-bearing Titan Prometheus. . . .


Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, ll. 38–56.




The god Prometheus was worshipped at Colonus—the burial place of Oedipus.

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Art et responsabilité sociale


Oppenheimer. Albert? When I came to you with those calculations? We were worried that we’d start a chain reaction that would destroy the entire world. . . . I believe we did.




La science nous a rendus maîtres de l’anéantissement; cela ne nous sera plus enlevé.


Science has made us masters of annihilation; it can no longer be taken from us.


Ou bien l’homme disparaîtra ou bien il se transformera. Cette transformation ne sera pas seulement d’ordre institutionnel ou social, mais ce qui est requis par le changement, c’est la totalité de l’existence. Conversion profonde, par la profondeur, et telle que seule la philosophie—et non pas la religion avec ses dogmes et ses Églises, ni l’État avec ses plans et ses catégories—peut l’éclairer et la préparer. Conversion tout individuelle.


Either humankind will disappear or it will transform itself. This transformation will not only be of an institutional or social order. What is required in the change is the whole of existence. A profound conversion, and only philosophy alone—and not religion or the state—can enlighten us and prepare us. There is only individual change.   


Je dois changer ma vie.


I must change my life.


Je dois devenir celui à qui l’on peut se fier.


I must become the one who can be trusted.


Par ce changement, par le sérieux avec lequel je m’y engagerai seul et absolument, j’éveillerai aussi les autres à la même exigence, car « si la transformation ne s’accomplit pas chez d’innombrables individus, il ne sera pas possible de sauver l’humanité ».


With this change . . . I will also awaken others to the same necessity, because “if the transformation is not accomplished by innumerable individuals, it will not be possible to save humanity.”


« si nous ne pouvons pas supporter l’épreuve, c’est que l’homme aura montré qu’il n’est pas même digne de la survie ».


“If we cannot handle the test, we will have shown that we are not worthy of survival.”


Maurice Blanchot, “L’Apocalypse déçoit” in L’Amitié (Paris : Gallimard, 1971), 118–127. (Quotes from Karl Jaspers)




The task of thought is to help limit the dominance of technology. . . . [Yet] For us today the greatness of what is to be thought is too great.


A big question is, What’s the position of Art? Where does it stand?


Heidegger in “Only a God Can Save Us Now”, Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, Winter, 1977.




“The awful truth of nuclear weapons is that concern about them ebbs and flows with the geopolitical situation. But it shouldn’t. The threat is always present, but sometimes an event will happen that brings it more front of mind. But that’s not how it should be; it’s a danger that hovers over the planet and will never go away.


Christopher Nolan in Variety, 8 Nov 2023.




Hölderlin, “Patmos”


Wo aber Gefahr ist, wächst

Das Rettende auch.


But where danger is, grows

the saving power, too.

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This World is not Conclusion.

A Species stands beyond—

Invisible, as Music—

But positive, as Sound—

It beckons, and it baffles—

Philosophy, dont know—

And through a Riddle, at the last—

Sagacity, must go—


Emily Dickinson




A ≠ A

A = ∞




Freud, Jenseits des Lustprinzips (Leipzig : International Psychoanalytischer Verlag, 1921), 37.


Die Aufstellung der Selbsterhaltungstriebe, die wir jedem lebenden Wesen zugestehen, steht in merkwürdigem Gegensatz zur Voraussetzung, daß das gesamte Triebleben der Herbeiführung des Todes dient.


Our instincts of self-preservation, which we assume are in every living being, stand in strange (merkwürdigem) contrast to the thought that life actively brings itself towards doom.




Karl Jaspers, Die Atombombe und die Zukunft des Menschen (München : R. Piper & Co Verlag), 263.


Der Mensch hat, als er in die von ihm selber hervozubringende Geschlichte trat, ohne es zu wissen, in einer vergleichsweise sehr kurzen Frist von einigen Jahrtauseden sein Leben gewagt.


When humankind entered into the History it had made, we blindly gambled our lives in a comparatively brief period of a few thousand years.


Im Versagen von der Aufgabe lebte er nicht fort wie die Tiere, sondern er würde sich und mit sich alles Leben vernichten.


If we fail, we will not live on like the animals, but destroy ourselves and everything with us.


Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, 1958.


The Rite of Spring is high-voltage energy-encouraging art, endlessly shattering the complacency of Inhumans.


If music is pre-eminent of all the arts (because music doesn’t need the eye of reason to absorb it), then—


Is The Rite of Spring the most original artwork of the twentieth century?




Scroob, name a prominent orchestral work contemporary with The Rite of Spring.


Prometheus (1910), by Alexander Scriabin.


Englishman E. A. Baughan speaks of Prometheus, and includes Stravinsky and The Rite of Spring :


The old logic of form which wove musical detail from bar to bar,

until at the end of the composition

the listener felt they had made a conception of it as a whole,

has no place,

or none that we can yet recognise,

in the music of these modern composers.


E. A. Baughan, “On the Modern Language of Music”, The Musical Times 55 (Apr. 1, 1914), 231–234.




In the beginning, solo on a tightrope—a bassoon at highest register.


2:09–2:20. Under the clarinet piccolo, the alto flute plays—how to put it?—an exoticism, a “Cleopatra” theme. This proleptic moment encapsulates the meaning of The Rite of Spring : (backwards into) rebirth.


The Rite of Spring—mystic, ancient, prehistoric vibes.


(Courtesy of technics—e.g., the ancient scales.)


These primeval vibes sync up with the humanness inside us that is anterior to (and nullified by) the Inhuman.




What if the age-old dichotomy between the concepts of “human” and “animal” is wrong thinking?


What if—To be human is to be an animal?


It is the Inhuman who maintains the difference. The Inhuman, however, is AI.


AI is nothing new. Kierkegaard knew all about it; his thinking birthed twentieth-century philosophy.


To be human is to be an animal. Why?


Because humanness exists in the animality overwritten, at the beginning, by the installation of Inhumanness.


A trace of this origin is encoded in our every Creation.


Moving through an artwork is a journey toward the animality of humanness.


Ethics is a responsible reckoning with the animal.




The Rite of Spring, consummate power generator, brings us, stargate-like, to the humanness at the heart. At its premiere in Paris in 1913—


Riot as explosive energy release.




In Room 2022, Thinker Oppenheimer investigates the possibility of humanness in an Inhuman world.




The Master.


Consider the opposition :

Freddy (“That’s a *****.”)

Dodd (“Man is not an animal.”)


Freddy is the uncertainty principle.

Freddy oozes humanness.


Is Freddy the opposite of AI?




Garry Kasparov, on playing the chess computer Deep Thought


When playing versus a human being there is energy going between us. Today I was puzzled because I felt no opponent, no energy—kind of like a black hole, into which my energy could disappear. But I discovered a new source of energy, from the audience to me, and I thank you very much for this enormous energy supply.


Brad Leithauser, “Kasparov Beats Deep Thought”, The New York Times, 14 January 1990, Section 6, Page 32.




Jessup. While I was in the tank, I entered another consciousness! I became another self! A more primitive self!




Kurt Gödel, “Some Observations about the relationship between theory of relativity and Kantian philosophy” (1946), in Solomon Feferman et al., eds., Kurt Gödel Collected Works. III: Unpublished essays and lectures (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1995), 236.


What remains of time in relativity theory as an objective reality neither has the structure of a linear ordering nor the character of flowing or allowing of change. Something of this kind, however, can hardly be called time.




Jessup. There is no time and space in mathematics. There is no time in atomic physics. In outer space, there is no difference between a split second and a billion years! Why the hell should there be any difference in our inner space? We’ve got millions and millions of years stored away in that computer bank we call our minds!


Paddy Chayefsky, Altered States (London : Corgi Books, 1978), 123; 125.




(:20) (1:12) (2:09). Stirs a thought of the Joe Gillis musical cue in Sunset Boulevard (by Oscar-winning Franz Waxman). Note the progressive expansion of the sonic world from timestamp to timestamp.


5:12. The cornet could be extracted and inserted into a John Williams score.




Archaïscher Torso Apollos



We can know nothing of the unknown head,

once the apple of someone’s eye. But the

torso glows still as a candelabra

as one stares into it, though scaled back,


as it abides and shines. And so we can

see your pose, where your shoulder and chest blend,

and see your light twist down to the belly,

and see the smile at your heart that births.


Otherwise this stone stands disfigured

beneath the shining fall of the shoulders,

and doesn’t flicker like predator fur,


and the stone would not burst out in its essence

from itself : and here there is no place where

you are not seen. You must create the change.


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Easy does it : Two colossal reveals


Oedipus at Colonus, 327–332. The blind Oedipus, sitting by the Grove of the Eumenides, is told by his daughter Antigone that her other sister, Ismene, has arrived from a distance. Ismene speaks, and her father answers :



ὦ τέκνον, ἥκεις;



                            ὦ πάτερ δύσμοιρ᾽ ὁρᾶν.



τέκνον, πέφηνας;



                               οὐκ ἄνευ μόχθου γέ μοι.



πρόσψαυσον, ὦ παῖ.



                                     θιγγάνω δυοῖν ὁμοῦ.


Oedipus. My child, are you here?

Ismene. O father, I see your sadness!

Oedipus. Child, are you actually here?

Ismene. Not without hardship, but it’s me.

Oedipus. Touch me, my child.

Ismene. I touch you both together.


For a moment, Oedipus cannot be sure if he is dreaming. Might he require the touch as confirmation?


The gentle human touch confirms Ismene’s here, and the ancient audiences weep.


Earlier (223–224), the audience-surrogate Chorus of Citizens, discovering Oedipus, screamed in horror at him—


ὢ ἰοὺ ἰού . . . ὢ ὤ. 


Now, a hundred lines later, the audience weeps—because they may have (momentarily) forgotten that Ismene is the product of an incestuous union. Though this is no play of Triple Tone, the moment is certainly perverse; it’s the Cronenberg-meets-Terms of Endearment vibe again. The audience pities the outcasts and the spurned.


Sophocles plays the audience like the proverbial piano, over two thousand years before Hitchcock tickled the keys.


*   *   *


Two decades have passed, and venerable patriarch Jacob has believed his dear son Joseph dead all those years.


Joseph is not dead. His brothers, conspirers to the end, engineer a method to reveal the truth to their father without the shock of the revelation killing him instantly.


How do they communicate the magnitudinous news to Jacob? Through song. A charming song sung by little Serah on her zither, counterpointed with her grandfather’s gentlest admonishments along the way :


“Child,” said Jacob, greatly moved, “truly it is lovely and pleasant that you come before me and sing of my son Joseph, whom you never knew, and devote your gift to divert me. But your song is riddling: the rhymes are well enough but not the reason, and so it hath neither rhyme nor reason. I cannot let it pass; for how can you sing ‘The Boy’s alive’? Such words can give me no joy . . .”


Serah continues to sing her stanzas in her mellifluous voice, including :


               Let my burden be believed,

               True and beautiful, thy son’s alive!


Finally, finally, it sinks in, and Jacob doesn’t fall dead. The hyper-serious patriarch received a consummate “Break it to me gently.”


Thomas Mann, Joseph and His Brothers IV. Joseph the Provider, ed. Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter (Middlesex : Random House [Bertelsmann], 1978), 1134–1135.


*   *   *


(25) And they went up out of Mitsrayim [Egypt], and came to the land of Canaan and Jacob their father. (26) And told him : “Joseph still lives, and rules over all the land of Mitsrayim.” Jacob went numb inside, and did not believe his sons. (27) But they spoke, and told him what Joseph had told them. And when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to bear him back, Jacob took breath, and his heart beat again. (28) And he said, “It is enough. My son Joseph lives! I will go to him, and see him before I die.”


Genesis 25–28


(29) And Joseph went to him and fell on his neck and wept there a long time.

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Our unconscious withholds from us. A problem. But thinking is self-administered damage limitation.  


What bloody man is that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
The newest state.


“The newest state”?—What follows of the play leads directly to the installation of a new state in Scotland, with Duncan dead and Macbeth ascendant.


Right at the beginning, famous last words.





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Oppenheimer (2023) : “Pragmatic” / “Pragmatic”


The Apartment (1960), dir. Billy Wilder; scr. Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond


Shirley MacLaine : Why can’t I ever fall in love with somebody nice like you?

Jack Lemmon : Yeah, well, that’s the way it crumbles, cookiewise.


Fred MacMurray : What’s he got against you, anyway?

Shirley MacLaine : I don’t know. I guess that’s the way it crumbles, cookiewise.


1:35:30 / 2:01:45

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Bernardo. Who’s there?


Line 1. Shall we stop here? Before entering Hamlet, let’s look back at four tense questions—reflecting a pervasive mood—in Macbeth.


Duncan. Who comes here?



Banquo. Who’s here?



Banquo. Give me my sword.

Who’s there?



Macbeth. Who’s there? what, ho!



(Now back to Hamlet.)


Francisco. Stand ho! Who is there?



Hamlet. But soft, what noise? Who calls on Hamlet?



Horatio. Peace! Who comes here?



*    *    *



Well, sit we down,

And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.



Last night of all,

When yond same star that’s westward from the pole

Had made his course to illume that part of heaven

Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,

The bell then beating one—


Enter Ghost




Bernardo’s scene-setting is pointlessly drawn-out. To begin his tale all he requires is : “Last night at one a.m.—”


Shakespeare elaborately introduces a mood only to immediately shift gears. He lulls the audience into a false sense of peace—then—surprise!


Fundamental : Scene-setting truncation




Tatlock. I wasn’t expecting to see you.

Oppenheimer. I have to make an appointment? . . . Alvarez!




Hamlet 1.1 : Amplitude of Contrast


Shakespeare engineers-in enough contrasting twists and turns in 1.1 (in character, plot, language, emotion) to provide the audience with a breathtakingly extensive Masterclass in Dramatics.


Example 1 : Quick character contrast


In Hamlet 1.1, Horatio from the first is set-up as the man who knows. Example :



Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.



but then Horatio makes an arguably bad decision . . .



Shall I strike at it with my partisan?


Do, if it will not stand.

. . .


’Tis gone!

We do it wrong, being so majestical,

To offer it the show of violence



Example 2 : Double contrast


Bernardo’s convoluted scene-setting is in stark contrast to Horatio’s concise political speech (91–119)—which itself contrasts, in its hard reality, with the spooky supernatural ghost now walking the castle battlements.




Kind Reader, kindly identify how many moods, contrasts, and reversals are packed into Hamlet 1.1. You may be surprised at the substantiality of the number. Shakespeare ensures that the audience stays one step behind the Situation throughout the entire scene. The first 190 lines of Hamlet are a consummate rollercoaster ride from a Master Storyteller.




Shakespeare—up to self-references again?


Hamlet is written in a style markedly different from Macbeth. Rather than a work of Sophoclean dream condensation, the poetry of Hamlet may be compared to Gibbon’s well-proportioned, majestic prose of his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.


Is the following line, delivered right at the start of the play, Shakespeare’s deliberate indication of the well-proportioned poetry of Hamlet?


Francisco. You come most carefully upon your hour. (1.1.6)




Perverse humour?


Bernardo. Long live the king! (1.1.3)


What happens? The dead King Hamlet suddenly appears. (1.1.47)


*    *    *


What is a ghost?


Karl Marx, Der 18te Brumaire des Louis Napoleon, in Marx, Frederick Engels, Werke, 8 (Berlin : Dietz Verlag Berlin, 1960), 115.


Die Menschen machen ihre eigene Geschichte, aber sie machen sie nicht aus freien Stücken, nicht unter selbstgewählten, sondern unter unmittelbar vorgefundenen, gegebenen und überlieferten Umständen. Die Tradition aller toten Geschlechter lastet wie ein Alp auf dem Gehirne der Lebenden.


People make their own history—but not of their own free will, not under self-choice, but under circumstances . . . inherited [by the past]. The tradition of the dead past weighs heavily, like a nightmare ghost [Alp], on the mind of the living.


*    *    *


incoming Scrooby theory



Therefore I have entreated him along

With us to watch the minutes of this night


Anyone thinking of Milton’s “darkness visible”? (Paradise Lost, 1.63)


And Milton’s phrase may itself have been inspired, at least in part, if not wholly, from—


lucem dabit nox atra terris (Seneca, Thyestes, ll. 479–80).


*    *    *


Some Hamlet references in Phantom Thread (mined from old Scrooby posts at Xixax.com) :


(Yes, PT is not only the Sophoclean Triple Tone, but is also heavy with Hamlet.)



The word “woodcock” appears twice in Hamlet (1.3.124 and 5.2.336).



Hamlet says (metaphorically), “Methinks I see my father” (1.2.191) prior to seeing his father’s ghost in 1.5.


Similarly, Woodcock says : “Been having the strongest memories of Mama lately” (10:03) immediately before Alma enters the picture, who, later, is visually associated with the ghost of Woodcock’s mother (1:29:55).


Woodcock says, “There is an air of quiet death in this house” (1:51:41), which, of course, recalls “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” (1.4.100)



Francisco. You come most carefully upon your hour. (1.1.6)




Alma. Whatever you do, do it carefully. (31:53)


(Also : Titus Andronicus : “attend the Emperor’s person carefully.” 2.2.8)



Consider the chilling depth of Alma’s initial revelation : “Every piece of me.” (1:02)


Chilling, because “every piece” would, we must agree, encompass all that is bad in her as well as all that is good. Such is evoked in the all-inclusive word “every”.


In Hamlet 3.1, King Claudius, murderer of his brother, is informed that a play is scheduled for performance that very night in the castle; and the king is very happy to hear the news.


Polonius adds : Hamlet . . . beseech’d me to entreat your Majesties to hear and see the matter.  (3.1.23–5)


To all this, in its creepy truth, the king’s response is very like Alma’s :


King. With all my heart. (3.1.26)


Why is this response creepy? Because the performance of the players in their play will kindle in the king’s heart a series of thoughts of all the horrible deeds he’s done to his brother. Thus, King Claudius’ cheery response, “With all my heart”, is a creepy prolepsis. The impromptu play will indeed encompass every piece of his heart—including all that is bad in there.






A person’s perception of oneself is a minor projection from the greater darkness of the unconscious.


So . . . ?


We’re each of us a poor shadow of whatever we might have been.


We’re each of us a ghost of ourselves for as long as we live.


From birth to death we’re ghosts of the past (mechanical unthinking AI Inhumans) unless we Think ourselves towards present Humanness.




The animal lives in the eternal present. It is the AI Inhuman who has sliced-and-diced Temporality into clock-time.


Clock-time is convenient for time-clock slavery.




Hamlet. The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals! (2.2.331)


Woodcock. Been having the strongest memories of Mama lately, coming to me in my dreams, smelling her scent.


2024 : Embrace the Animal.  

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Posted (edited)

“A screenwriter of my acquaintance who hangs out at the Rose Café in Venice made a list of three hundred hit movies. He put each movie on an index card, mixed the cards together, and put the cards into a hat.


“He pulled the individual cards out of a hat and matched them into twos indiscriminately. These are some of the combinations he came up with: Rocky and The Turning Point; Cliffhanger and Clueless; Top Gun and Ace Ventura; Network and The Fight Club; Midnight Cowboy and As Good as It Gets; The Sixth Sense and Flashdance; The Usual Suspects and Star Wars; Jerry Maguire and Deliverance; The Towering Inferno and Dressed to Kill; The Godfather and The Blair Witch Project; Pulp Fiction and All About Eve.


“He pondered his combinations for several days at the Rose Café and picked three: Jerry Maguire and Deliverance (a young agent with a wife and child finds himself on vacation in the Carolinas, where he has to defend his family from a backwoods madman), The Towering Inferno and Dressed to Kill (a homicidal maniac sets a fire in a high-rise, trapping the victims he picks off one by one), Pulp Fiction and All About Eve (a blue-collar girl who is a street hood schemes to become the star of her high school play).


“He pitched all three to different studios and sold all of them for a total of $1.7 million. All three went into studio development but none of the three has so far been made.”


Joe Eszterhas, Hollywood Animal (London : Arrow Books [Bertelsmann], 2004), 596–7.






(1) The ancient Greek actors wore masks during stage performance. This covering allowed for a broad ambiguity of character age. Example : In line one of Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus describes himself as an “old man”. Following this pronouncement, there is no subsequent textual evidence available to pinpoint his specific age. Commentators on Sophocles down through the ages have employed their Reason to arrive at one number or another with so-called reasonable confidence. But the ancient Greek audiences were prepared to approach the entire spectacle as dreamlike before line 1 was even belted out. Oedipus’ self-applied description of “old man” (γέροντος) simply signifies any adult age.


(2) Point number 1 reverberates : What, then, is the age of his “child” (τέκνον) Antigone, also mentioned in line one? Again, Antigone’s specific age is immaterial—she simply embodies innocent youth of any age.


(3) Time, too, is often treated as dreamlike in the ancient plays. Sometimes it’s anyone’s guess how much time has passed between scenes.


(4) Further dreaminess : Concerning Aeschylus, Eumenides, a number of translators and commentators have debated whether or not a scene change takes place after line 566.


Life is but a dream.





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Posted (edited)

The Oppenheimer (2023) phenomenon—and Shakespeare




Kenneth Branagh choosing to shoot Hamlet (1996) in 65mm was a Genius Move.




The grand celluloid format wasn’t chosen to capture faithfully the scope of the visual Situation.


After all, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is “people talking in rooms”.


The 65mm format was chosen by Branagh, first and foremost, to approximate and convey the range and depth of the density of the play’s structural Situation.




A first-rate storyteller conveys a wondrous density of information in a single scene.


Example : Hamlet 1.2.


Example : Oppenheimer (2:00:31–2:02:38 / pp. 135–7).




Hamlet 1.2 is, so to speak, three discrete scenes in one (a “compendium scene”) :


(a.) A scene at court, in which the King and Queen address various issues, including the nation’s political Situation, and Hamlet’s mourning for his father. (1–132)

(b.) A centre-stage Hamlet monologue (the first of many). (133–164)

(c.) A “conspiracy”-type scene, in which two watchmen come to Hamlet to convey the news that the ghost walks. (165–280)


Each of these scene-parts is colossal enough to exist as its own scene!


Moreover : Each scene-part is strikingly individual in its general, overall tone—e.g., (a.) regal / (b.) depressed / (c.) tense.


Furthermore : The interpersonal dynamics existing within each general tone add further contrast and change;—add microtones within general tones.


Shakespeare presents “people talking in rooms” in as exciting a manner as possible—e.g., his micro-editing is as accomplished as Jennifer Lame’s—to keep the general pace of Act 1 (for all its dense dialogue) galloping along.


Hamlet 1.2 is so dense with information that the one scene could have easily been restructured as its own act!




The triple-structure of Hamlet 1.2 has an equivalence in a scene of triple-structure built into the wondrously literate Oppenheimer.




Four shots into Hour 3 of Oppenheimer, the character Oppenheimer, standing at a T-Section exterior, (a.) speaks with Groves; (b.) watches the atomic bombs being conveyed away; (c.) speaks with Teller.


As with Hamlet 1.2, each of these three elements might be a scene in itself. But storyteller Nolan, accomplished author, fuses all of the information into a “compendium scene”.




What about those four shots that begin Hour 3?


The first shot of Hour 3 is of the character Oppenheimer at the exterior location of the triple-structured scene. The narrative then moves backwards in time for three shots to an interior; then returns to the aforementioned exterior for the duration of the triple-scene.


So we must amalgamate the triple-scene with the precise start of Hour 3, creating a discrete structure of 2:00:18–2:00:34.


What does this mean?


The duration of 2:00:18–2:02:38 incorporates four general structural situations in one scene, the fourth being :


(d.) Inside a T-Section interior. 


And so?


Oppenheimer’s quantum editing motivates Scroob to say that Oppenheimer has gone one better, structually speaking, than Hamlet 1.2.




At 2:00:18–2:02:38, storyteller Nolan outdoes, structurally speaking, the structural wonder of Hamlet 1.2?!




Oppenheimer is the structure of Hamlet.


Just as Stephen King described novelist John Irving as the Charles Dickens of our time (in the foreword to The Green Mile), so, at this moment, storyteller Nolan is our Shakespeare—a world-popular storyteller providing us with first-rate, pioneering, encouraging technicity.





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In Punch-Drunk Love, the Mattress Man’s conspiratorial conference with his criminal henchmen transitions to Barry light-heartedly speaking with Lena : “Just fix it, sir.”


This recalls Hamlet, 1.3. After Polonius’ prolix declamation prompting Ophelia to reject Hamlet’s love, Shakespeare cuts to 1.4, which begins with Hamlet himself remarking, as if in commentary on the foregoing, “The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.”




Bird & Sherwin, American Prometheus, 574–5.


When the editors of Christian Century asked him in 1963 to list some of the books that had shaped his philosophical outlook, Oppenheimer named ten. At the top of the list was Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal, and then came the Bhagavad Gita . . . and last was Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

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Le Chat

Charles Baudelaire


Come, beautiful cat, to my lover’s heart,

withhold the claws of your paws;

I shall sink into your pretty eyes,

that blend of metal and agate.


While my fingertips softly stroke

your head and your elastic spine,

while my hand drunkens at the pleasure

of feeling your body electric,


I see my wife at heart. Her gaze,

like yours, lovable animal

serious and cold, cuts and opens like a swipe,


while from head to paw,

a subtle air, a dangerous scent

swims round her dark body.


Viens, mon beau chat, sur mon coeur amoureux;
Retiens les griffes de ta patte,
Et laisse-moi plonger dans tes beaux yeux,
Mêlés de métal et d'agate.

Lorsque mes doigts caressent à loisir
Ta tête et ton dos élastique,
Et que ma main s'enivre du plaisir
De palper ton corps électrique,

Je vois ma femme en esprit. Son regard,
Comme le tien, aimable bête
Profond et froid, coupe et fend comme un dard,

Et, des pieds jusques à la tête,
Un air subtil, un dangereux parfum
Nagent autour de son corps brun.




Then you get to go back to chatting with your precious customers . . .




One book that shaped Oppenheimer’s “philosophical outlook” : Shakespeare’s Hamlet.




What happens in Hamlet? Shakespeare shows us human behaviour.


What do we see? One item (of a theoretical infinity of them) :



Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,

And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.

Do not for ever with thy veiled lids

Seek for thy noble father in the dust:

Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die,

Passing through nature to eternity.



Ay, madam, it is common.


What is this? The Queen banalizes the death of her late husband, thereby reducing his stature and dignity (and therewith her own). Worse, the mother endeavours to persuade the son to forget the father.


She thinks she’s being reasonable.


Not seeing oneself. Not hearing oneself. But such confidence!


That is the “pith and marrow” of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

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The Oppenheimer (2023) phenomenon


Stephen Walsh, Stravinsky : The Second Exile (New York : Alfred A. Knopf [Bertelsmann], 2006), 524


At Princeton in 1967, Stravinsky was given a standing ovation both at the start and the finish, led by the tall figure of Robert Oppenheimer, whom the Stravinskys had met at Princeton seven years before. “Even his feet,” Stravinsky had remarked, “are intelligent.”




Oppenheimer. Lewis Strauss was once a lowly shoe salesman?


Hamlet. O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who (for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise. (3.2.8–13)


Here the character Hamlet goes one better than the character Oppenheimer—Hamlet doesn’t just insult a character inhabiting with him the theatrical world of make-believe. No, Hamlet insults the audience watching Hamlet! He jeers at the theatregoers standing in front of him at the foot of the stage.


Hamlet’s flamboyant criticism of the audience is neither his first awkward interpersonal moment nor his last. Like the character Oppenheimer, Hamlet often rubs people the wrong way—simply because he’s always himself.




The character Oppenheimer is a 1970s antihero in a 1930s production.


An antihero, yet presented at face value as heroic.


—Yet remember the apple.




Hamlet’s feigning of lunacy accords with Oppenheimer’s passivity in Hour 3 : both characters


hold the mirror up to nature; to show . . . the very age and body of the time its form and pressure. (3.2.23–6)


In being themselves (“only better”), both Hamlet and Oppenheimer reveal the questionable characters of most everyone around them




—just as an artwork reveals more of the Spectator than the art.


Consider the play-within-a-play in Hamlet 3.2. The Globe’s audience of Hamlet watches the King becoming ever-more uncomfortable seeing a double of himself in the theatrical performance before him.


The play-within-a-play reminds Hamlet’s audience that Art is not a window, but a mirror of the Self.


In this spirit are various audiences and crowds in Oppenheimer. Two examples : (1) the feet-stamping audience at Fuller Lodge (“The world will remember this day”); (2) the ecstatic cheering in the dawn following the Trinity detonation.


Like Hamlet 3.2 (and the opening lines of Οἰδίπους Τύραννος), storyteller Nolan incorporates the real-life audience into the narrative.


In storyteller Nolan’s case, Oppenheimer absorbs the audience into itself in order to generate thought on morality and ethics.


*     *     *


Hamlet feigns madness. But Hamlet is mad.




Mad—just as the character Oppenheimer, motivated by rationalizations, creates the weapon with the power to destroy the world. One such rationalization is :


Oppenheimer. Izzy, I don’t know if we can be trusted with such a weapon, but I know the Nazis can’t. We have no choice. (59)


No choice? Oppenheimer could have presented himself to Groves in their initial meeting as incompetent for the job, or he could have simply refused it. Instead, Oppenheimer leapt at the chance to direct Trinity. Later, while others on the Project either quit or try to quit, Oppenheimer never leaves his post.




Hamlet / Oppenheimer : two characters of implacable rationalizations.




Hamlet leaves the world before he can re-evaluate his position, but Oppenheimer survives on, to explore personal responsibility in an Inhuman world.


In Hour 3, Oppenheimer has to reckon with the choice he made. It is a multi-reckoning : What the choice means to the world; and what the choice means to him, and about him; and what the choice means to those near to him.


The creation of an Inhuman Bomb—strange narrative twist!—brings Oppenheimer closer to humanness!




Walden, Ch18.


We know not where we are. Beside, we are sound asleep nearly half our time. Yet we esteem ourselves wise, and have an established order on the surface.


And then Thoreau of Massachusetts cannot help but cut like Hamlet :


Truly, we are deep thinkers, we are ambitious spirits!




We are not in control of ourselves, though we celebrate ourselves—like fans cheering on a home team.



Still, a home team might win a Super Bowl.



Oppenheimer explores what “Winning” means.

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The Oppenheimer (2023) phenomenon


One can compose in a contemporary language, imparting archaic attributes to contemporary intonations; or, conversely, one can compose in an “antiquated” language, but follow a contemporary developmental logic. The resulting musical logic will inevitably involve a sense of paradox because it no longer falls within the framework of a single style or single era.


Alfred Schnittke, “Paradox as a Feature of Stravinsky’s Musical Logic”, in A Schnittke Reader (Indianapolis : Indiana University Press, 2002), 154.




Q : In the case of Oppenheimer, you have to capture both the period and the protagonist’s point of view in these environments. How’d you balance that?


I’m paraphrasing, but Nolan told me : “I want to make this film timeless with the overarching period correctness, but not to the degree that it’s distracting the film.”


Oppenheimer Production Designer Ruth De Jong on Helping Christopher Nolan Build the Bomb”, The Credits (Motion Picture Association), 10 August 2023.




All of Oppenheimer is equivalent to Stravinsky’s musical logic.




What with everything else going on within it, Oppenheimer, like Hamlet, is, from first to last, a story of revenge.


And there’s more than one character looking for satisfaction.  


Yet Oppenheimer is also a story of the opposite of revenge—repentance and forgiveness!




Is Oppenheimer’s ordeal of penitence in Hour 3 equivalent to Barry Lyndon saying “Yes” in his final duelling scene of his film?




In our debased age in which no one on earth takes responsibility for anything, storyteller Nolan presents us with a character willing to take responsibility for his own actions.


Oppenheimer prompts us to follow the following precept :


“To err is human, to forgive is divine.”


Oppenheimer shows us the ugliness of cancel culture—and promotes its kind opposite : humanness.




A revenge story . . . which is at the same time a spiritual epic?




A spiritual epic . . . concerning the gravest threat to humankind?




Theory : Oppenheimer is a once-in-a-generation artistic experience for Hollywood.




How many genres are fused together in the narrative of Oppenheimer?


Is Oppenheimer record-setting in this category, too?






The following is why first-rate artists need to be fostered and cherished :


In ten to twenty years from now, how many new filmmakers—indeed, how many new scholars, in a variety of disciplines—will say, “It was Oppenheimer that was my primary inspiration.”


New fine art provides us with new fine feelings, new fine thoughts, and new fine encouragement.


Oppenheimer : the most distinguished blockbuster in Hollywood history.

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The Oppenheimer (2023) phenomenon


Universal Studios should win an Oscar for its superior distribution of Oppenheimer. For all those “wonderful people out there in the dark” whose little-child selves once lived under the spell of Universal’s E.T., the Oppenheimer phenomenon is a satisfying life-climacteric book-end.


Q : How did Universal Studios accomplish such a spectacular triumph with Oppenheimer?


The executives involved were smart enough to trust the artist.


Talk about a 1970s movie! Talk about Kane!




The Winner’s Motto :We knew whom to trust.”


*      *      *



Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,

When our deep plots do pall: and that should teach us

There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,

Rough-hew them how we will—




If the young Oppenheimer hadn’t injected the green apple with cyanide, he wouldn’t have met with Niels Bohr face-to-face in the classroom, and thus Oppenheimer would not have received the encouragement that prompted his shift out of the doldrums of dusty Cambridge. In this instance, Destiny worked out well for the young Oppenheimer.




“Destiny worked out well”—in one sense. Oppenheimer is a complicated narrative. The triumph of Trinity is at the same time a questionable triumph. (Call it a “Catastrophic Triumph”?) So when one speaks of Destiny favoring the character Oppenheimer, “It’s not that simple.”


*     *     *


Hamlet, on his conspiracy to have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern put to death, remarks :


They are not near my conscience; their defeat

Does by their own insinuation grow.


This reflection of Hamlet’s prompts Scrooby to recall that it was Oppenheimer’s natural character that inspired the vengeance of Strauss in the shape of Room 2022. All of Oppenheimer’s slights of Strauss, small and large, contributed to Strauss’ eventual bid for satisfaction.


So it makes all the more sense that Oppenheimer takes his punishment patiently, like a penitent, considering that his personal character is not blameless in the matter. The penance of Room 2022 addresses the colossal “sin” of creating the Atomic Bomb; yet, seen from another POV, Oppenheimer’s penance also addresses the caustic manner in which Oppenheimer insulted Strauss (offhandedly, and not always inattentively) a number of times.


Oppenheimer explores the concept of personal honor : The character Oppenheimer does not run from what he has done in his life. The antihero faces himself—heroically.


(Isn’t it interesting that the character Oppenheimer’s heroism in Hour 3 (his penitent patience in Room 2022) involves not responding? In Hour 3, the character Oppenheimer is the inverse of, say, an Indiana Jones. Hour 3 explores the Strength that Holds Back the Hand.)


(And isn’t Oppenheimer’s personal odyssey of Restraint an analogue of “Arms Talks” between nations?)


Also—Oppenheimer’s penance of Hour 3 incorporates in it his relationship with Jean Tatlock, who as a character is a manifestation of a similar vibe somewhere inside Oppenheimer, a vibe he must recognize and reckon with, the “green apple vibe”. This vibe is hinted at, for example, in the following plea :


Groves. Try not to blow up the world.




Remember what Snake Plissken is doing in his final shot of Escape from New York?


Now remember Oppenheimer’s magic circle : the green leaf floating amid the raindrop-circles in shot 1, and then the raindrop-circles in the final scene. . . .  




No surprise that Oppenheimer tells Jean Tatlock about the green apple, considering that she represents that aspect of his character.


[For a verbal example of their deep connection :


Oppenheimer. She [Tatlock] was undergoing psychiatric treatment. (87)

Oppenheimer. Took my analysts two years. . . . (27)]


The fusion of treacherous apple/Jean Tatlock haunts the narrative of Oppenheimer. (We’ve been through this before in this thread, but the following reprise leads to a new concept.)


Example 1 : Oppenheimer is strolling with Tatlock when he sees Alvarez’s response to “They’ve split the uranium nucleus.”


Example 2 : Oppenheimer. A bomb, Alvarez. A bomb.


cuts to


Tatlock. I told you, Robert, no more flowers.




Is the memory of dark Jean Tatlock encoded into the visual recollection of Borden’s V-2 rocket experience in the climactic moments of Oppenheimer (2:53:45)?


Two thoughts for now :


                                                                from Morn
To Noon he fell, from Noon to dewy Eve,
A Summers day; and with the setting Sun
Dropt from the Zenith like a falling Star


Paradise Lost, 1.742–5


And the final lines of Biskind :


In the weeks that followed, Griff occasionally invited small groups of Hal’s friends over to the Colony house for a sort of service, to bring Hal’s spirit back. Bob Jones was there once, on the deck, at night: “Griff saw a meteor streak across the sky, and she said, ‘That’s Hal.’ I never heard from her again.”


*     *     *


In the moments before Hamlet’s final confrontation, he remarks :


Hamlet. I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all’s here about my heart.


In the moments before the Trinity detonation, Oppenheimer remarks :


Oppenheimer. These things are hard on your heart.




Just because Oppenheimer recalls details of other artworks doesn’t automatically mean that storyteller Nolan was inspired by each and every connection that Scroob has traced. Thing is—


All authentic artists throughout time breathe the same air, so to speak, so it is no surprise that close-seeming connections between their artworks will exist.


Considering connections between Oppenheimer and past artworks assists the Participant along the path of understanding.


*     *     *


Isn’t it interesting that the character Oppenheimer becomes ever-more remote to the audience during Hour 3? There are no scenes of Oppenheimer wrestling with his conscience (such as in Bergman’s Winter Light); or debating morality and ethics with himself aloud (as in Hamlet). Storyteller Nolan, Kubrick-like, shows us his behaviour—the results of his thinking—and we the audience have the freedom to understand as we will.


Storyteller Nolan doesn’t tell us what to think. He doesn’t deliver to us dialogue that might supplant our own provisional conclusions. The authentic artist doesn’t spoon-feed the audience. Instead, Oppenheimer gives the audience the benefit of the doubt. Watching the movie is only the beginning. The next stage is thinking about it. By not explaining to us “Why?”, storyteller Nolan would have us ask the question ourselves. (The question “Why?” is a Gateway to Revelation. A thinker can be helped along the road toward Revelation—and responsible art is the best help there is to the spirit—but only one’s own thoughts can send a person through that Gate.)


Perhaps the Spectator of a first-rate artwork has a duty to understand.


By understand, Scroob means “explore”, since, of course, there is no ultimate understanding (A≠A).


Why “duty to understand”?


A first-rate artwork is an alarm clock to wake a person to one’s own Personality.


(“Personality” = “potential”.)


Exploring a first-rate artwork is advance research—Preparation for the Question at the Gate.


Or rather—


The artwork is the pathway to the Question at the Gate.


Or even—




The artwork is the key to the Gate of Redemption.


Who turns the key? The Spectator. Sometimes turning a key involves a great effort, which yet leads to a great reward : Getting to where you want to be.


Art leads you where you want to be,

if you effortfully turn the key.






Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Spielberg : Lawrence of Arabia. . . . A very personal story that could have been told in close-ups is set against a backdrop of spectacular scenic action. It’s basically the juxtaposition between the small and the gargantuan.

                                  —“The Film Steven Spielberg Has Watched More Than Any Other” (YT)


The cinematographic strategy of continually framing the protagonist in long shots in Lawrence of Arabia is equivalent to, say, the structural monumentality of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Gibbon’s Roman Empire.


Director David Lean’s storytelling decision to continually present the film’s protagonist visually at a distance accords, in a multifaceted way, with the vastitude of the locations—e.g., (1) “our place in the universe”; (2) the drama of humankind abiding harsh earthly conditions; (3) the epic effort of trailblazing through mystery; (4) the grandiosity of human populations—




Spielberg. It is a deeply detailed portrait of a lonely human being who doesn’t know anything about himself.


T. E. Lawrence’s distance to the lens is our distance to understanding him.

(cf. The ever-increasing remoteness of the character Oppenheimer in Hour 3.)




Lawrence of Arabia’s composition-strategy of long shots sets the protagonist in the Historical.


T. E. Lawrence is captured in “the wide frame of history” in the manner of his name printed in a heavy history book.


His distance to the lens is our distance to the past.






Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Lawrence. From Oxfordshire.

Tafas. Is that a desert country?

Lawrence. No. A fat country. Fat people.





Advance thee [skull], O thou terror to fat folks

To have their costly three-piled flesh worn off

As bare as this—for banquets, ease, and laughter

Can make great men, as greatness goes by clay,

But wise men little are more great than they.


The Revenger’s Tragedy (1606) (1.1.49–53)


(“three-piled” : elaborate clothing of the wealthy) (“clay” : of the flesh)




Julius Caesar

Let me have men about me that are fat;

Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o’ nights:

Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;

He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.






We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean

beggar is but variable service—two dishes, but to one table. That’s the end.







Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Theory : Humanness will jeopardize itself, if it must, in the next humanness it sees.


Empathy is “towards-humanness”.


Art opens us up to the empathy of towards-humanness.


*     *     *


The Revenger’s Tragedy


The Revenger’s Tragedy transmits its information in a stark, contemporary way. The narrative has the stripped-down ornamentation of Hitchcock’s Psycho.




“I’ve seen this before!”



Faith, if the truth were known, I was begot

After some glu(tt)onous di(nn)er; some sti(rr)ing dish

Was my (f)irst (f)ather. When d(ee)p healths went round,

And ladies’ ch(ee)ks were painted red with wine,

Their tongues as short and nimble as their h(ee)ls,

U(tt)ering words sw(ee)t and thick, and when they rose

Were me(rr)ily dispos’d to fa(ll) again


And get a load of the letters (w) and (m)—their interplay contributing to the Sonic Situation—especially the kick of nimble, and the (bawdy) resoluteness of merrily. The engineering here is, in a word, Shakespearean™.  




Read the following quietly, because the Senecan vibe is everywhere afoot. . . .


e.g., daughter Sin to daddy Satan :


Thy self in me thy perfect image viewing

Becam’st enamour’d, and such joy thou took’st

With me in secret, that my womb conceiv’d

A growing burden.


Paradise Lost, 2.629–814




Early exemplar of a Henry James Positive-Negative Statement



                                                               I joy

In this one happiness above the rest,

Which will be call’d a miracle at last,

That being an old man I’d a wife so chaste.




I am pleased that my ravished wife, being so pure a woman, killed herself in response.




A cheerful end to Act I of The Revenger’s Tragedy—not for kiddults.


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Please, kind reader, recall the self-reflexive transition of “Just fix it, sir” in Punch-Drunk Love and its analogue in Hamlet—“The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.”


The Revenger’s Tragedy has a spectacular example of this technique. “Spectacular”, because the example is multifacetedit incorporates into its self-reflexive transition an extra element : a perversely humorous self-reference directed towards the audience.


In 3.5, the criminal Duke receives his horrid, long-drawn-out retribution in a strikingly original way, and the scene ends with his death. So then : 3.6how does it start? Two characters are speaking of another man’s troubles (not the Duke), yet the scene’s opening line corresponds closely to the grisly matter of 3.5, as if it were indeed a commentary on the action :



Was not this execution rarely plotted?


It is as if the play’s author is taking a victory lap for a cheering audience.




In on the joke : Another example of dialogue directed toward the audience


Polonius to Ophelia :


Marry, I’ll teach you: think yourself a baby;

That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay,

Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;

Or—not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,

Running it thus—you’ll tender me a fool.




Scrooby theory : The part in bold was designed by Shakespeare to be belted out directly to the audience as if Polonius was asking pardon of the people for his garrulousness; and in response the audience might have laughed jeeringly at the blabbering old fellow. It’s Shakespeare’s way of bringing the audience “in on the joke”—an interactive audience moment.


*     *     *


Genius Move


Repetition transforms a metaphor-technique from humorous to serious, in order to conform with the context of the moment.


After a clever speech by Vindici comes the lightly humorous reply—



You flow well, brother.


This is another example in The Revenger’s Tragedy of a self-reference by the author to the well-written matter of the play. In this manner does the author wryly bring the audience into the action, as if author and audience are together elbowing each other knowingly and sharing the yuks on the damned characters.


Now see how this self-referential technique returns, but with its audience-in-on-the-joke knowingness drained away. While the “flowing” metaphor returns, now the playfulness of the self-referentiality is gone, due to the extremity of the situation—death :



I cannot brook—



(2.2.146 / 3.5.220)




Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Empire of the Sun (1987)


“I got a new one today—pragmatist.”

“Good word.”



“I learned a new word today. Atom bomb.”






Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Browning, The Ring and the Book, 10.282–4 :


O pale (d)eparture, (d)im (d)isgrace of (d)ay!

Winter’s in wane, his vengeful worst art thou

To (d)ash the (b)oldness of a(d)vancing March!


Shakespearean™ : (d) / (b) : When one appears, the other is never far behind to create a marked sonic effect. Three examples from the sonnets :



Thy unused beauty must be tombed with thee,

Which used lives th’ executor to be.



When summer’s breath their masked buds discloses:



Mad slanderers by mad ears believed be.




O pale departure, di(m) disgrace of day!

(W)inter’s in (w)ane, his vengeful (w)orst art thou,

To dash the boldness of advancing (M)arch!


Shakespearean™ : (m) / (w) : Same principle as above. Example from the sonnets :


Whenever there is a word incorporating an (mm), there is at least one (w) in the one line before, within the same line, or in the one line after. 5, 6, 9, 12, 15, 30, 35, 41, 54, 56, 66, 68, 77, 81, 85, 98, 104, 119, 120, 137, 149. (Two exceptions : 17, 95.)


Seven sonnets featuring an (mm) employ a marked interplay between (m) and (w) throughout the entirety of the poem : 65, 68, 84, 89, 94, 97, 102.



O pale departure, dim disgrace of day!

(W)inter’s in (w)ane, his (v)engeful (w)orst art thou,

To dash the boldness of ad(v)ancing March!


Shakespearean™ : the (w) / (v) interplay. Let’s use an example from Keats, “Ode on Melancholy” (which also employs the (m) / (w) interplay) :


But when the melancholy fit shall fall
       Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
       And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
       Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
               Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
       Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
               And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.





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In hope thine oath is true, here’s thy reward;
But if I prove thee perjured and unjust,
This very sword whereon thou took’st thine oath,
Shall be the worker of thy tragedy.


Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy (2.2.90–93)



If I travel all the way out there
and I find that you’ve been lying to me,
I’m going to find you and I’m going
to take more than my money back.




Oppenheimer. Al(b)ert? When I (c)ame to you with those (c)al(c)ulations? We were worried that we’d start a (ch)ain reaction that would (d)estroy the entire worl(d) . . .

Einstein. I re(m)e(m)ber it (w)ell. (W)hat of it?

Oppenheimer. I (b)elieve we (d)i(d).


Shakespearean™ : (d) / (b)

Shakespearean™ : (m) / (w)

Shakespearean™ : (c) / (d) (e.g., Sonnet 1 : From fairest creatures we desire increase / Macbeth : Doubtful it stood; As two spent swimmers, that do cling together And choke their art.)


Higher Poetic Mathematics—Note how Oppenheimer’s prominent consonants [ (b) / (c) / (d) ] are from the first half of the alphabet, and Einstein’s [ (m) / (w) ] are from the second half of the alphabet.


In the Oppenheimer lines, note the use of the (d) rhyme that engineers a strongly conclusive ending.




Gertrude’s last words

No, no, the drink, the drink,—O my dear Hamlet,—
The drink, the drink! I am poison’d.


Eighteen Shakespeare sonnets end with a (d) couplet : 2, 25, 27, 30, 45, 50, 60, 67, 76, 82, 104, 108, 112, 116, 137, 142, 148, 149.


Example :



If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.




Keats, “To Autumn”


Shakespearean™ : (b) / (c) / (d)

Shakespearean™ : (m) / (w)


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

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It’s a long way to the top if you want to rock ‘n’ roll


“The movie is over” . . . “Movie’s really over” . . .

“But we’re still on screen” . . . “But we’re still on screen” . . .

“It’s time to go now” . . . “Time to go” . . .


School of Rock (2003)





You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act . . .






                                       Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!






When thunder claps, heaven likes the tragedy.


The Revenger’s Tragedy (5.3.47)

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The Oppenheimer (2023) phenomenon


The schoolroom locations of Oppenheimer—for example, “Halifax, 1917”—are equivalent to the desert vistas of Lawrence of Arabia.




When Teller enters the picture, he brings with him sheets of paper—calculations of chain reactions that agitate the scientists gathered at Berkeley. The scene ends at (53:48).


Around three minutes of screen-time later (56:07), Teller reappears, but only metonymically—his calculations on some papers are assessed by Oppenheimer and Bethe (“Near zero?”).


The next time we see Teller in person (1:02:20)—in the “Halifax, 1917” scene—he is holding paper in his hands, and, in an irreverent vibe recalling, say, Spielberg’s 1941, he is making a paper airplane.


Why the paper airplane?


Some theories : To remind the audience unconsciously of his Near Zero calculations, both to sustain his character vibe of standoffishness, and to keep the Near Zero concept fresh in the mind of the audience.


And airplanes are the vehicles that deliver atom bombs.




And the last time Oppenheimer and Teller meet face-to-face in the film? It is Oppenheimer who is holding the paperwork—the official certificate received with his Enrico Fermi Award (2:52:40).


This moment is, for one thing, a visual memory of Near Zero—a gamble for the highest stakes that paid off.




Bird & Sherwin, American Prometheus, 576–7.


Teller was in the audience that day, and everyone watched with mounting tension as the two men came face to face. With Kitty standing stone-faced beside him, Oppenheimer grinned and shook Teller’s hand. A Time magazine photographer caught the moment with his camera.

               Even after Robert won the Fermi award, Kitty’s resentments against Teller remained unshakable. . . .




I now must change

These notes to tragick


Paradise Lost, 9.5–6




John W. Cunliffe, The Influence of Seneca on Elizabethan Tragedy (London : Macmillan and Co. [privately owned German company], 1893), 124.


Conclusion. . . . We might go further, and inquire into the influence Seneca had, at first or second hand, upon Milton’s conception of tragedy . . .”


—but that’s all that’s said on that.




Do the math.


The character Oppenheimer in Hour 3—Peace is Heroic.






Edited by Jeff Bernstein
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Unforgettable Tone Shift


The tone shift in the first scene of Full Metal Jacket (smile to choke) has a predecessor in 2.4 of The Spanish Tragedy (c.1587). This central scene from Thomas Kyd is one of the most remarkable mind-blowers in Elizabethan theatre.



Now that the night begins with sable wings

To overcloud the brightness of the sun,

and in that darkness pleasures may be done,

Come, Bel-imperia, let us to the bower,

and there in safety pass a pleasant hour.



Kyd’s tone shift? Romeo and Juliet to Clockwork Orange.


(Kind reader! Marvel at the interwoven foreshadowing in ll. 1–5!)



Why sit we not? For pleasure asketh ease. . . .


And while the Romeo and Juliet vibe is lovingly woven out over a full fifty lines, the Clockwork vibe is sudden and brutal and quick. It jolts the audience with a shock from which they (theoretically) never recover for the duration of the play.


In that last respect, 2.4 is Spanish Tragedy’s shower-scene-from-Psycho.



Come, stop her mouth. Away with her.



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