As our provably corrupt little sleazy morality tale slips further into the abyss of evil intentions, I've noticed an increase in the number of half-bright, official bullies and cowards who have somehow been given a licence to carry loaded weapons and put those who argue in prison. And despite the apparent attempts to twist the common reality tunnel to believe that certain pictures were contrived and couldn't possibly have happened, the evidence keeps creeping out in the middle pages confirming that prosecutions, albeit token wrist-slaps, are somehow inevitable. Unless, of course, we're all prepared to simply give up the ever-fraying mantle of civilization, avert our eyes and keep our snouts in the trough.
Speaking of certain pictures that are contrived and couldn't possibly have happened, over the past few months, Apple has managed to inadvertently score two major motion-picture coups - and I'm not even sure anyone within the company has noticed. Or if they have noticed, I'm not sure if they've grasped how significant the two events really are.
Ten years ago, filmmaker Kerry Conran asked the question, 'Could you be ambitious and make a film of some scope without ever leaving your room?'. Without the talent and perhaps, an ego the size of Orson Welles, even today most filmmakers would probably consider this a daunting prospect. Ten years ago, most people in the industry would have simply thought it was lunacy. However, around 1994, Conran was struck with the idea of filming an entire movie by himself, at home, with a blue screens set up in his apartment.
While personal computers were beginning to become powerful enough to emulate the kind of effects seen the year before in Jurassic Park to some degree, they were still a long way behind their expensive workstation counterparts. But, in true Apple tradition, Conran decided to 'think different'. From one of his jobs he had managed to get hold of a IIci (remember those?) and decided to turn its hard drive into a sound stage. He began to create a film called The World of Tomorrow: an ambitious sci-fi adventure in the genre of the old Flash Gordon cliffhangers, complete with sweeping sets, massive futuristic structures and plenty of rockets and robots.
Now, around that time, I had a IIcx that I loved dearly. And even though the IIci was faster for this sort of enterprise - and particularly by today's standards for any sort of heavy graphics or animation - it was just mind-numbingly slow. But Conran remained undaunted and often spent over 12 hours rendering a single leg movement of one of his robots. And he had around 20 robots to work on. He also had this idea that he'd present the film as a kind of discordian hoax, passing it off as the remnants of an uncompleted adventure movie by a fictional protégé of Frank Capra - but ensuring that some of the shots would have been impossible to achieve at that particular time.
To cut a long story short, he created a short work of genius, a friend took it to another friend who was blown away and agreed to finance the movie personally until they could find a studio that was interested. Jude Law read the script and agreed to to star and co-produce the film. Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie came on board, and voilà, Conran had an overnight success. OK, so the over-night bit took around ten years. But what he started on his Mac has now become an immensely impressive, and industry-changing movie called Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - and you can bet that his pioneering work in set-less digital production will be snapped up by a lot of other epic-mongering producers.
Meanwhile, another young filmmaker named Jonathan Caouette took the Cannes Film Festival by storm with his own Mac-produced film, Tarnation, which, incidentally, cost him only $213 to produce. Caouette didn't even bother with the sophistication of programs like Final Cut Pro. Nope, the whole thing was edited and produced with iMovie. And as we all know, iMovie is included free on most new Macs. All he had to do was add the talent, imagination and creativity.
It's interesting observing what individuals choose to use computer technology for and how the whole phenomenon is viewed by the rest of the yahoos out there. Somebody once said if you argue for your limitations, you get to keep them. Fortunately, there are a few individuals out there who still simply have the dream and consciously choose to pursue it, regardless of whether or not their methods and available means carry a socially sanctioned or acceptable label. There are a lot of instances where Apple should be exceedingly proud of itself for not only providing excellent tools for the creative mind, but also for fostering and encouraging increased use of the pineal gland.
Despite the arguments to the contrary, the evidence is, not all other companies do that - and evolutionary consciousness is definitely not an attitude prevalent in the likes of IBM or Microsoft. Recently, a Swiss court ruled that IBM may have helped Hitler pursue mass murder more quickly and efficiently than would have otherwise been possible. Tom Watson, who founded IBM, was an admirer of Hitler and was decorated by the Third Reich in 1937. In 1945, IBM in Germany was principally involved in helping to automate the Holocaust with its early punch-card computer systems, coding those to be murdered as D8 and numerically differentiating people of ethnic background. Not the kind of different thinking that one would hope that more-enlightened and evolutionary individuals would tend to embrace. And in this case, it wasn't a film.
There's another old saying that only a bad workman blames his tools. But some toolmakers, particularly these days, need to share some of the responsibility for their use if their own corporate greed continually fosters and perpetuates a particularly twisted and demented brand of pig-evil.
Corruption and stupidity create a nasty reality tunnel that's rarely funny - except perhaps in the case of UKIP being happy to accept campaign contributions in Euros. However, the Dark Side hasn't won yet. And as my beat-hippie friend Ken Kesey used to say, the important thing here is to always keep your eye on the doughnut - not the hole. MW