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Aug 19, 2023·edited Aug 19, 2023Pinned

Once again, intemperate behaviour has broken out in the comments overnight, and I've awoken to people unsubscribing thanks to it. Please keep it civil, or those with a cosmic dose of the rudes will be removed - by me!

The intemperate individual has been perma-banned.

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Methinks you ban too easily. Unsubbing

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deletedAug 17, 2023Liked by Helen Dale, Lorenzo Warby
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Lorenzo will do this when he wakes up, I assure you - he's always recommending C-Dramas to me!

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I don't know if it would be on his list, but I'll recommend The Curse of the Golden Flower. And as for recent Hollywood fare - some decent stuff still slips out, The Menu was 'delicious'.

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Pardon intrusion- The Eight Hundred, about the Japanese taking of the last Chinese positions in Shanghai 1937 , siege and defense of Siang Warehouse. Impressive.

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Love Between Fairy and Devil.

https://www.iq.com/album/love-between-fairy-and-devil-2022-ld8e5pprpl?lang=en_us

Sleuth of the Ming Dynasty.

https://www.iq.com/album/the-sleuth-of-the-ming-dynasty-2020-19rrhwhar5?lang=en_us

The Blood of Youth.

https://youtu.be/zIf0otsxof0

Douluo Continent.

https://youtu.be/6rJ1MG_BWNo

The Untamed.

https://youtu.be/6GVDlK0Sxb0

Till the End of the Moon.

https://youtu.be/iEC4DBbzB-I

Many of them are available on the Viki App, but I can’t link to them there readily. I tend to go for wuxia (martial arts) or xianxia (fantasy) C-dramas. I have only put one Danmei (Boy love) story in, The Untamed, but Mainland Chinese censorship means that that they are just good friends (“soulmates”).

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deletedAug 18, 2023Liked by Lorenzo Warby
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Aug 24, 2023·edited Aug 24, 2023Author

Chinese stars tend to act, sing and dance. So, here is the actor playing the male lead singing the theme song for Douluo Continent. (Giant spiders are not quite as big a deal in the story as the edit makes them appear.). It works better if you put captions (cc in box) on.

https://youtu.be/-vtF90O6mUg?si=ukXMKfX3pKJpwjq0

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Not a C-Drama, but I thought 'Three Thousand Years of Longing' a little gem.

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Hi Lorenzo, I really enjoyed this post. Regarding gnosticism, you wrote that what it teaches is ultimately "deeply demoralising and disenchanting". This is a true statement, but regardless of its demoralization or disenchantisement, does it match or not match up with the nature of reality? The fundamental, core nature of reality is one of predation; every living thing only survives by consuming other living beings. Even a plant is alive and struggling to fulfill its will to power: https://munewsarchives.missouri.edu/news-releases/2014/0701-plants-respond-to-leaf-vibrations-caused-by-insects%E2%80%99-chewing-mu-study-finds/

As a result, this fundamentally predatory reality appears to be both malevolent, cold, and deeply uncaring. On top of that, society appears (and has always appeared) to be ruled by sociopaths who use force and, especially in the modern era, propaganda to grift off the lower classes, who are mostly NPC automatons without critical thinking facilities and who just do what they're told.

Sure, we've had a lot of technological innovation since the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, but look what we've done with it; we've consumed a tremendous amount of natural resources completely unsustainably, raised the world population to approaching 10+ billion, upcoming CBDCs, a drastically lowering quality of life, etc, which is all going to have disastrous upcoming effects: https://neofeudalreview.substack.com/p/the-sad-skinsuiting-of-the-environmental

This world appears to me at least to be some kind of Hell.

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Why is intent everything? Tell that to this deer slowly getting eaten alive by this komodo dragon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmwC9HzcWbQ I'm sure it feels much better that the komodo dragon's predation is "innocent".

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Whether one takes a gnostic-pessimist or hermetic-tragic view when faced with the problem of suffering is at least partly influenced by where in the cycle of life one places one's attention. The antelope's end in the jaws of the lion is painful and frightening, but does this then condemn the antelope's life up to this point, which certainly included many moments of happiness, contentment, and joy? I think the gnostic would say yes - the messy end defines the antelope's life, which besides after all certainly included a great deal of hunger, fear, anxiety, and pain, as all lives do. The hermeticist would say no - no one moment is defining, the whole of the life must be considered, and while there is suffering there is also joy ... and moreover, the suffering of one moment may produce joy in another, and vice versa. Separating the two threads is impossible without unwinding the tapestry of existence, and the best that we can do is not to flee existence as the gnostic would wish, but to try to use the inevitable suffering as fuel for the good.

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Boy, has suffering as a word and a means of evoking experience had the life sucked out of it by the woke mob. Micro-aggressions and shrieking victimhood instead of a rich, nuanced, tough, redemptive notion of suffering. Where we see true suffering we can strive to alleviate it, that is part of our humanity. But who cares about some narcissist's hurt little feelings?

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That's a rather classic "look at everything wrong with the world" and I will ask - against what standard? Some perfect future?

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Hi Curmudgeonly, my comment relates to the fundamental nature of reality, which is undeniably predatory for the reason I described. If your question relates to my negative judgment of this fundamental nature of reality -- after all, who am *I* to judge *God's system*? - then I would respond with we are all limited beings, but to turn off our brains and emotions is not the answer. Rather, I think the correct approach is to use our judgments while retaining a healthy skepticism of our own limited approaches and being open to new information to update our worldviews as we age. With that said, with the current information I have I do believe the Schopenhauer approach seems like the correct one...

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"Gird up your loins and answer" when you deign to challenge God (and nature) and then retreat with "who am I". [It didn't work for Job.]

The remora isn't predatory, nor are the seed eating birds (or the plant species that depend on seed spreading from the back-end of the bird's digestive tract). Are they more moral species than the lion or the shark? Redwood trees host entire eco-systems, yet, they deny the growth of oaks. How do you JUDGE that? If this nature functions in harmony than why do you find it depressing? Perhaps it is because we are alienated from it, seduced by the word of God that says we have dominion over it?

The natural world is full of wonder; flora and fauna and things that aren't even living. Geology fascinates me, and we all take for granted now the theory of plate tectonics that was controversial less than 100 years ago, and inconceivable before that.

We need to very much use our brains, and emotions (after all what is our sense of wonder but an emotion?) to figure out how to make sense of our lives. What depresses me is that I believe Lorenzo is laying out an iron-clad case that exactly where we are is where the Enlightenment inexorably got us; and I will share Nietzsche's rejection of Schopenhauer.

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Hi Curmudgeonly, your response is that nature when in balance is a beautiful thing, but I still see the predatory nature of reality at its base -- "balance" means one thing eats another which is eaten by another which is eaten by yet another, which I guess is beautiful in your perspective but grim in mine. I personally balk at a reality that relies on consuming other living things to function. With respect to Nietzsche's rejection of Schopenhauer, I'm glad you brought it up -- Nietzsche saw Schopenhauer's rejection of life as fundamentally decadent, and he wanted to champion and affirm life. But where did it get him with his almost-pantheism? He went insane and spent the last 10 years of his life bedridden. Or look at Spinoza, another pantheist, who inhaled microscopic particles of glass and died super young. The riddle of promoting a self-actualized life-affirming lifestyle, while a beautiful and noble thing, inevitably butts up against the cold, dark, predatory nature of reality, and I think that's why Nietzsche's mind snapped when watching a horse get whipped one day. Just my 2 cents...

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"personally balk at a reality that relies on consuming other living things to function"

Why? What is your standard that says that is bad?

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Fundamental notions of fairness and justice rooted in western civilization's underly Christian morality, "do unto others as they do unto you."

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Nietzsche probably suffered from an inherited seizures disorder that invalided him , he inherited it from his father. Basically small strokes.

Madness may be the wrong term.

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Oh and about Nietzsche - he suffered ill health his whole adult life. You do know before philosophy he was a student of theology with the intent to be a pastor as his father was. Despite his tragic collapse, he still achieved more than you or I.

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Aug 23, 2023·edited Aug 23, 2023

Bet you are fun at parties. I recommend a small room and a revolver - or moving to Canada. /s

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Aug 17, 2023Liked by Helen Dale, Lorenzo Warby

A few years ago I watched The Wandering Earth, a Chinese sci-fi disaster movie based on a story by Cixin Liu, author of the phenomenal Three Body Problem trilogy. The premise was mildly goofy but the effects were great and the production values high. What I found most striking however was the cultural confidence that positively suffused the film. It was an expression of a can-do attitude, in which of course it is the Chinese who take the lead in saving the Earth from certain destruction. There was no victim morality, no girlbossing, no wallowing in oppression. It was just a fun, engaging movie.

I watched that and thought, Hollywood can't make movies like this anymore, and China is going to eat America's soft power lunch.

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Aug 17, 2023Liked by Helen Dale, Lorenzo Warby

Another very fine and well-reasoned piece of work Lorenzo.

As speculative fiction is something like a window into the subconscious, by examining pop cultural artifacts we can get an at least an outline of the zeitgeist. And as we now have multimedia franchises that have existed for decades even generations, we can track specific developments over time.

I find it very significant that Tolkien served on the western front in WWI and participated in some of the most horrific events imaginable and that Gene Roddenberry flew 86 combat missions in the Pacific theater in WWII. Those men created very different fantasy worlds, but they were both inhabited by characters OF character, so to speak.

The Critical Drinker, who you linked to, has another very good take on this; "Why Modern Movies Suck - They're Written By Children",

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQ92cggLMx8

He says the crew of the Starship Enterprise now has the level of professionalism and discipline of a liberal arts college, too true.

The Chinese C-dramas will be an interesting area to keep an eye on, the supernatural is back in but girly-men and dope smoking rappers are firmly out.

I'm looking forward to your next piece.

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I have made some C-Drama recommendations in my response to Ron.

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Aug 17, 2023·edited Aug 17, 2023Liked by Helen Dale, Lorenzo Warby

I clicked on the video of that young actress who played Snow White, who was sort of nervously listing all the reasons why Snow White was "problematic" and in desperate need of an ideological makeover.

It really felt like a cross between a hostage being forced to read a letter by her kidnappers and a Soviet show speech where a sweaty commissar just wants to check the right rhetorical boxes (Praise Stalin!) to save themselves from Siberian cancellation.

It's really amazing and disturbing how our Lite Cultural Revolution has transformed what used to be something simple and fun (Snow White, pretty young actress on red carpet) into a moral-ideological minefield where the tribal gods are always watching and judging and where every word must land perfectly so as not to cause unspecified harms to the historically marginalized.

The ideological takeover of art and culture is always disastrous, but this one is even worse because the Crit Theorists started in academia with the destruction of the literary canon and their entire program is dedicated to getting on the Deconstruction steamroller and flattening every piece of culture into indistinguishable rubble. Only when nothing is considered better than anything else, only when things like beauty, rigor, excellence and achievement are consigned to the dustbin of history, will we arrive at their utopia of "socialist liberation". Or as a prior generation of Nihilists put it: "Cicero will have his tongue cut out, Copernicus will have his eyes put out, Shakespeare will be stoned..."

I feel deep sadness for the children of the 21st-century, born inside the digital panopticon: They have been sold dispossession in a package labeled Liberation.

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"Only when nothing is considered better than anything else..."

Paging Diana Moon Glampers, Ms. Glampers to the white courtesy phone.

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Malice Oblige.

Now pray what do the noble do?

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If ever a general counsel‘s office of a film-production company needed to proffer to their talent a gag order, this would be it.

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How much of all the drama and woe are striver’s fighting for a lifeboat off the sinking ship of Liberalism?

This question must be contemplated.

This doesn’t mean ignore the problems or give in, it means study the enemy.

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Aug 18, 2023Liked by Helen Dale, Lorenzo Warby

You know there is a point I've reached with this poisoning the well, destroying the stories where I don't care. I wish them luck with it. The sooner they destroy their inheritance, the sooner we're rid of them. And I'm old enough not to care. I can retreat to books and poetry and imagination and choose not to spend my money on their dross.

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I love K-dramas for exactly this reason. People are good and bad, right and wrong, they work with each other and learn to be forgiving or vengeful in accordance with their character, not some checklist of appropriate narrative frames. Go watch Business Proposal and Uncanny Counter, they're better than any live action dramatic TV produced in America.

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It’s hard to imagine a greater example of “cultural appropriation” than the conquest and vandalization of American popular culture over the past decade by uncreative, untalented, intersectional ideologues. Yeah, oodles on this has already been written, but this essay must be one of the most thorough and powerful investigations of the movement’s underlying psychological and political motivations.

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Sorry to have missed this post. British tv drama serials can teach Hollywood a thing or two about non-binary, race hustling forms of 'entertainment'.

To pick just one example: 'Collateral' was a 2018 BBC fictionalised expose of Britain's dark underbelly in which human-trafficking is orchestrated not by shady foreign mafias but by quintessentially British businessmen and ex-military types. Illegal immigrants are mostly nice people whereas it is hard to find any decent and sane white people in Britain apart from a few who have the courage to spout some much needed left/liberal outrage at the state of this “nasty little country”. And as for decent and likeable people; these are most likely to be found in the ‘lgbt community’.

Tv schedules are awash with drama serials of this kind, conforming to a formulaic scriptwriter’s tick-box: Non white person traduced but eventually revealed to be a surprisingly decent sort – Tick....Middle class white person eventually revealed to have a sinister dark side – Tick...Gay Couple included – Tick.... (Post 2017 update: transgender characters urgently needed). More recently it has become an integral part of the story that ‘lgbt’ people are abundant and everywhere. They are bound to be nice as well. Curiously though there is another box to be ticked: there needs to be some graphic depiction of violence especially towards attractive young women (by white men of course). By its final episode Collateral had ticked every box." https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/non-binary-sibling-is-entertaining

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