Renoir on DVD, and Two Others

Diary, 4/19 to 4/23/22: DuckDuckGo; “clithopper”; rats in the walls; a gross part; Cornel West; class struggle; three movies on DVD reviewed, and Renoir trashed unnecessarily.

Typical “blurry” work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{4/19/22} Continued.

A reason to love DuckDuckGo:  when I use it to search for “bleakspeak,” my blog comes up second.  Cool!  In fact, it comes up second and third, thus:

The above is a screen capture, so the links don’t work.  The first is available here; the second is available from the blog homepage.  A search for “bleak philosophy” lists my website first and second.

Something interesting from Neuroscience News:  “Forget what you saw: a brain region detects when you are about to think of an unwanted memory and alerts other regions to suppress it, according to research recently published in Journal of Neuroscience.”  Here’s the link.  Sounds a lot like Freud’s concept of the “censor,” which I’ve previously always dismissed along with most of Freud’s well-known claims, like the Oedipus complex and the Death Instinct.  Why have I dismissed these?  Prejudice, I suppose.  I tried reading The Interpretation of Dreams but found it mostly preposterous, though other of his works that I’ve looked at (Civilization and Its Discontents, primarily) have seemed more or less sensible.  Meh.

A “clithopper” is a promiscuous lesbian; I must have come across this [word] in reference to Patricia Highsmith and made a note of it.  I’m leafing through some recent post-it notes, trying to get rid of as many as possible.


Woke around 4:00 am, apparently because I heard a rat gnawing at the wall near my head.  It’s now 6:40—I’ve been reading books, then got up and read some of my blog and fixed a couple of typos.  Also wrote a trifling amount, half a page, on the “love fantasy.”  Now “I’m starving,” but it’s too early for breakfast.  I may go ahead and eat the banana early.  Last night I had a piece of salmon because I’d defrosted it and didn’t want to refreeze it.  But it was good…this time I put a dash of Worcestershire on it in addition to the usual salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  The W blackens in the pan, though.  And it’s past its “best used by” date by a few months.  I suppose it’s mostly salt, but I’ve always used it on burgers.

Now for “The Gross Part” (a warning to skip this paragraph for those not interested):  I masturbated to orgasm, without sildenafil, on Sunday.  But since then (now Wednesday) I’ve kept trying, without success.  I was “close” on Monday night, that is, it felt close and I was persistent and much motivated, but it was not to be.  Perhaps it is not good to do this?  Despite the lack of completion, it’s fun along with the frustration.  (End of “Gross Part”)

Listened to a half-hour podcast, an interview of Dr. Cornel West by Chris Hedges, available here.  West usually gets me fired up with missionary zeal, but this was more laid-back and congenial—still worth hearing.

I went on to scan some criticism of West at a couple of respectable websites, primarily about his criticism of Barack Obama and his lack of recent publications.  I agree that Obama was a huge disappointment, his presidency amounting to little more than “business as usual” in the class struggle.  So, meh.

I ended up looking at this because I searched for West on DuckDuckGo, wanting to see how a general search compared to the results from Google.  I’d have to say that the Google result was more structured and interesting.  Other Google search results have been annoying because cluttered with promoted websites, but I saw none of that this time.  Your results may vary.


I’ve been watching some movies on DVD; these are the most interesting lately:

Vivere (2007) is a German-language effort from writer/director Angelina Maccarone.  It tells of three women, two younger sisters and an older lesbian.  It is told in three parts, each following one of the trio.  I was glad to get a little practice with my high school and college German, but the movie was just not that interesting—primarily about the older woman’s feeling old and not liking it.  44% from critics, 58% from audiences at Rotten Tomatoes.

The Reaping (2007) is summed up by RT this way: “It may feature such accomplished actors as Hilary Swank and Stephen Rea, but The Reaping also boasts the apropos tagline ‘What hath God wrought?’ It’s schlocky, spiritually shallow, and scare-free.”  Granted that it’s not scary, it is gross, and has good special effects, and Idris Elba in a substantial though unchallenging role.  Nothing you haven’t seen many times before, if the genre is one you watch; think “Biblical plagues.”  At least one of the featurettes was more interesting than the movie, a serious-minded examination of possible scientific explanations for the plagues related in Exodus (i.e., the book of the Bible).  A giant splat (8%) from RT critics, a more representative (to my mind) 49% from audiences.  It’s actually pretty interesting and held my attention without difficulty; recommended mostly for Christians who like this sort of thing, though it’s rated R.

The third was Renoir (2012) is also rated R, for “Sequences of art-related nudity and brief language.”  The two models who pose nude are well worth looking at and get lots of “exposure” in Renoiresque poses, though as one says, “He paints me too fat.”  That was “Andrée” (Christa Theret), the young model who gets a rise out of the 74-year-old painter who is much afflicted with crippling arthritis.  Set in 1915, it has some glances at the World War, since two of Renoir’s sons are involved.  There is a modest love story and some pretty scenery and photography, but recommended only for fans of the painter and his works and the described eye candy.  Michel Bouquet plays the eponym.  71% and 53% from RT; I see these scores as “overrated, like his blurry paintings,” thus risking being dismissed as a Philistine.  I have actually seen a few in Los Angeles museums and many in books, and they are rather nice, but when the title character says, in effect, “Art should be cheerful and pretty,” I remarked to myself that I’d trade his whole body of work for one “Guernica.”  As portrayed, Renoir does not paint his models, but something he sees inside his head.  That’s probably why he often gets the eyes wrong.  IMHO.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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