2001: A Space Odyssey

2001 A Space Odyssey movie poster

 

One of the best movies ever made, on one of the biggest screens in New York. What could be better?

It’s taken me many years and many viewings to realize that the movie is actually very, very funny. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising, coming right on the heels Dr. Strangelove, but the sombre serious air about the film disguised some of the comedy to my young mind watching the movie every year uncut on a Philadelphia VHF channel. Just a few of the many huge “jokes” packed into the film: the entire human condition condensed as chimp pantomime, fantastic visions of the future punctured by hilariously closed-minded humans more interested in sandwiches, and the most naked human emotions shown on screen coming from apes and computers as opposed to supposedly evolved humans.

2001 On the web: Kubrick 2001 presents an elaborate, though sometimes silly, animated explication. Then there’s The Underview, in valiant opposition to the scheming dedamned’s autoguard, helpfully including the complete Zero Gravity Toilet instructions.

Willfully Ignorant Design

A profoundly depressing statistic from today’s New York Times:

“According to a CBS News poll last month, 51 percent of Americans reject the theory of evolution, saying that God created humans in their present form. And reflecting a longstanding sentiment, 38 percent of Americans believe that creationism should be taught instead of evolution, according to an August poll by the Pew Research Center in Washington.”

Fifty. One. Percent. And yet, a voice of reason from the least expected source:

“The Vatican has issued a stout defence of Charles Darwin, voicing strong criticism of Christian fundamentalists who reject his theory of evolution and interpret the biblical account of creation literally.” (News.com.au)

My head is spinning. It used to be so easy to blame the old Italian guys in silk dresses for Western fundamentalism. We’re now officially living in an age when the Vatican is more rational than Bush, who believes “both sides” should be taught in schools.