Symbol / Sign

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Thinking Tools / Information / Macroinformation / Views /
@ K. 2004 05 01

Sign versus Symbol; Identity as MetaDifference …

I’m driving myself crazy, as usual, moving, editing, reformatting … and I get urges to start new themes, feel twinges about still not yet having started ideas from way back … I do a lot, but I can’t do it all. I vowed to give the move priority … but my recent viewing of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill (Vol. 1) is kicking me in the ribs: I gotta at least jot a note. I’m not sure if it will help or hinder that I’ve already scribbled some of what I have in mind to bkMarcus as email: it’s true that I therefore have a jotting in some form, but I write a highly condensed, enthymeme redolent, personal shorthand to my son — poor guy (of course he doesn’t have to read it!)

Movies begin this way or that, frequently mixing some action and some music with credits, sometimes with animations. Tarantino’s mix to open Kill Bill is astonishing. What stopped me flat-footed was his insertion of a graphic, a quotation:

Revenge is a dish best served cold

You too may recognize the quote. I’m sure that Mario Puzo has used it at least once: in The Sicilian, if memory serves. I’ve quoted it, bk has quoted it … That’s not the part that stopped me — it was the credit:

Old Klingon Saying

Kill Bill is the greatest movie ever made by a 12 year old writing for 10 year olds
but with a perfection of world-cinema technique and resources

pk to bk

05 05 2004: I saw Part II last night in the theater and have much to add: below.

! ! ! Uh … I’ve never watched much Star Trek. This science fiction veteran didn’t think much of the series when it started and it hasn’t won me since. On those rare occasions when I have a TV remote in my hand, if I see some costumed actor with weird shit in his face, I press the button faster: get me away from that. I admit to a fondness for a couple of the movie versions: even a couple with William Shatner as the Captain, and despite an admiration for Patrick Stewart (he was wonderful in the otherwise awful Dune), I generally avoid all Trek-stuff. So: I don’t know how often that show has quoted the proverb which, however many other cultures might similarly claim it as indigenous, is Sicilian: and probably ancient.

Point: This macroinformation-generating discrepancy is a sign: This Movie Is FICTION!

Not This movie is ignorant; Not This movie is illiterate; Not This movie is irresponsible; No, quite clearly even from its opening moments, the movie is masterful; No: This Movie Is FICTION!

2011 10 18 insert below, make sure you see it, please.

Well, it’s a movie: what did we expect? No. Other movies are fiction lowercase; Kill Bill announces loud and clear, this movie is a meta-level of fiction: PURE fiction. Do not confuse anything in this movie with anything real: however realistically some of it may be done.

The whole of the movie’s introduction is of a piece. Yes, anime, very Japanese, of the highest quality, quality Disney himself would be proud of, is employed. And get the intro song:

Bang, bang.
You shot me down.
Bang, bang.
I hit the ground …

The singer is skillful. An adult female voice, singing with convincing “emotion.” But the diction! “Bang, bang.” That’s kid stuff. “You shot me down.” No, no. Discrepancy. “Bang, bang.” “You shot me.” That’s kids. “Bang, bang. You’re dead.” That’s kids. And not lethal; fantasy: nobody’s dead, nobody’s hurt. “You shot me down“: that’s adolescent: teen grievance. Ego. Vanity. You didn’t adequately respect me when respect was what I craved.

Bang, bang.
My baby shot me down.

Meanwhile, attractive actors, who knows how long in makeup, are beating the shit out of whatever, and killing: a mass murder: featuring … a pregnant woman in a wedding dress! Close up of subject (Uma Thurmon): way-long in makeup: “beat to shit.”

Every sign: pointing: Enjoy the hell out of this mayhem — this is FICTION. Fiction is an indoor sport whereas reality includes rain and storm and hypothermia. Kill Bill, bless it, is to reality what PacMan is to a safari: or pinball compared oh, to civilization since Hamurabi.

More as I can. More on the semiotics of symbol / sign: on an animal level we think of symbols: we obey signs. Monkeys, as Hayakawa says, can’t drive because they can’t distinguish! They’ll stop at the light no matter what safety might otherwise dictate: causing accidents.

… And — this will be difficult — explaining the comedy of it: the comedy of identity: where something being quintessentially itself is meta-different: an anomaly: comic: gut-laugh provoking.

2004 05 05 As Chekov said, if you show the gun in the first act, then it’s got to go off in the last act. Ah, but then any number of misdirections, red herrings, and indirections may intrude. One assesses the information as one watches, makes predictions … but then predictions must be grades against actual experience at the end.

I don’t want to introduce SPOILERS about a movie that not everyone has had a chance to see yet: I’ll point out only one thing for now: the opening of Part I, as already described, includes a BRIDE, she’s pregnant …

This masterpiece shows the main line, seems to follow the opposite tack: death, barrenness, crooked play …: but in fact follows its MAIN LINE!

2004 05 10 There’s a moment near the end of the second film that I would want to celebrate even had I not invented Macroinformaation. As an undergraduate I was big on analyzing things as ambiguity! Bill and the Bride are in conversation. He says she always could be a real c-. She smiles at him. She beams.

Information is inversely proportional to probability. How many women have you ever met who would grin broadly if called a c-? How probable is their conversation anyway. As the movie is called “Kill Bill,” why are they talking at all? At the beginning of Part II Bill appears. Surprise. And the Bride talks to him. Kisses him. What’s going on?

I’ll go into this with some care later on. For now let me just say that perhaps the Bride smiles because she knows, and ONLY SHE knows, what she is about to do to him.

Pai Mei would know: but Pai Mei is dead.

I hope the visitor is enjoying the points, seeing them, and enjoying how I’m expressing it. I shall read in below a selection from the first of my half-dozen emails to date to bk on the subject. Glancing through them I can double check which points I want to add to the above.

2004 04 27: Macro-fiction

Not one second into Kill Bill I have to pause. There has not yet been one moment of movie, but there have been an abundance of meta-signals, symbol symbols, fingers pointing from the margin: this is a Sign.

Like Pink Panther, it begins with cartoons. We’re in a drawing board. Yakuza James Bond. Super-realism as cartoon. Bull shit music, but with real seeming-emotional content. Regardless of what I think of the rest, I am already very impressed.

Then: we get WISDOM. In print. Black and white. “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” We even get a citation. No, not Old Sicilean Proverb: repeated by Puzo and Others; no,

Olde Klingon Proverb

This movie will never leave the story board. I’m certain. It will seem to, but it won’t.

Nothing here need by taken literally.

This is the Last Temptation of Fantasy: pure hysterical religious cosmology.

Andy Kaufman should see this one.

Oh, and instead of looking at Scorsese’s crude cartoons, or Eisenstein’s exquisite cartoons, or that video-rental store guy’s cartoons, or even Rodriguez’s cartoons; we’re looking at cartoons that look like a Disney finished product!
Doesn’t matter: they’re cartoons. Roughs. Pure comic hyperbole.

OK. Amazing. I’ll say no more till I know if you’re seen it: except to observe, around it, that he mixes several incompatibles seamlessly: kendo fight, Flamenco music.

And makes bad taste good: eastern bullshit, Spaghetti Western music. And the music mixing, the bad-good taste mixing, flawless.

Oh, and this can’t spoil anything: convent school girl porn with sub-samurai peasant violence.

Quotes, from Yojimbo to Musashi Meets Kojiro to Hannibal.

2011 10 18
Sign: This movie is fiction!

It’s too bad that when the FBI arrested me, jailed me, railroaded me into a confession, that I couldn’t get the fairly intelligent but utterly corrupt public defender to acknowledge this point even in private as it related to what should have been my defense: I was arrested for an irony that the fed didn’t know how to read! And no chance was given to me to teach the fed how to read. It was a given worthy of world war III that the fed has omnipotent authority when it comes to teacher and learning reading: it is not possible for state illiterates to be less than infallible in this area.
The fed not only didn’t let me say it, but then also destroyed the original: what the arrest and trial was about:
The fed misreads what I wrote, tried me on the basis of the misreading, has copies of their false translation everywhere, and censored the only original!
If that isn’t proof of guilt (theirs) and innocence (mine), what is?

Thinking Tools Information, Macroinformation Menu Mi Views

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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