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The Heretic

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About The Heretic

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    ironic nihilist & cheerful pessimist
  • Birthday 10/20/1975

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Profile Information

  • Gender: Not Telling
  • Location: Earth
  • Real name: Utter Kunt
  • Interests: Philosophy (Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Post-Structuralism, Existentialism, German Idealism)
    Literature (Bret Easton Ellis, Dostoyevsky, Jorge Luis Borges, William Gibson)
    Anime (Evangelion, FLCL, Samurai Champloo)
    Television (Rome, Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, Spartacus: Blood & Sand)
    Film (Bladerunner, Fight Club, The Matrix, Closer, Being John Malkovich, Primer, The Dark Knight)

The Heretic's Activity

  1. The Heretic added a post in a topic How did you get here?   

    That was my thread/post, and I hope you enjoyed it enough to read the book.

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  2. The Heretic added a post in a topic Introduce yourself here...   

    Hello Valus! Unfortunately you've signed on a board that's nearing its date of extinction, and will not find much activity here beyond the occasional spam. We do have a large collection of topics to review, so feel free to revive one or two. But do not expect much activity.
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  3. The Heretic added a post in a topic What books are you reading now?   

    Holy Frijolies, it's been near 2 years since I last updated what I'm reading.
    I've read too many to recount since then, so I'll just mention what I am eyeballing:
    Just finished High Rise by Ballard, and am now reading a collection of his short stories. Quite a pleasant read, and somewhat kicking myself for not reading him before. Also reading the following: Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, An Alien Heat by Moorcock, and Star Maker by Stapledon.
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  4. The Heretic added a post in a topic Is Daenerys the Villain of Game of Thrones?   

    I suspect the HBO adaptation will go for a more conventional ending than Martin will in his books, given that they've diverted some from the original books so far this season. When the plot is rich and dynamic in the show, they stick to the original, but when they fall back on safe formula, that's when the showrunners Beinoff and Weiss are going off the script - likely for reasons of advancing the plot(lines) to a solid resolution(s), but that is for an entirely different thread.  
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  5. The Heretic added a topic in Extend   

    Is Daenerys the Villain of Game of Thrones?
    It has been a while since I posted on Game of Thrones, or more accurately, A Song of Ice and Fire. As we start winding down on Martin’s epic, a small but fast growing sector of the fanbase is giving credibility to this notion: Daenerys, the Mother of Dragons (and a bunch of other honorifics) is the true villain of the story. We already have the obvious candidate in the Night King, but recent episodes, as of Episode 6, has Daenerys taking a heel turn in her declaration of conquest. She’s made these claims before, but always with a qualifier – to free the slaves of Slaver’s Bay, to restore her House of Targaryen, etc. Now it’s just strictly conquest for the sake of conquest.
    However, despite this new possibility, I suspect it’s more complicated than that. There is no true villain of the story, much like how there’s no such thing as a villain in real life. The reason I think this is the case is due to George Martin’s true goal – subversion. He is more than just a fantasy writer – he writes with a historical angle, as well as a deconstructionist one. On top of the various tropes of heroic fantasy, Martin is also writing with the inspiration from the War of the Roses, which means his epic should be understood as a commentary on history AS fantasy. Martin is more interested in demonstrating how power works in politics, as well as how history is told and then mythologized in a way that reduces the violent, complicated series of events into a linear narrative. What the characters are told and what they eventually find out (Bran’s green-seeing, and Tyrion’s careful sifting of the records) is more indicative than the obvious interlocking of the tropes themselves in Martin’s overarching narration.
    If we take the historical backdrop of the War of the Roses as a guideline to the Song of Ice and Fire, then in order to decipher the ultimate endgame, we must look at the result of the history: The Tudor period ended in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
    If Daenerys is the analogue of Queen Elizabeth, then the endgame of the Song is the unification of all humanity that overcomes the existing politics of discord and elimination of the White Walkers. After all, Elizabeth did institute a Golden Age by reigning for over 40 years, survive the Spanish Armada, and build England from a petty kingdom to a global empire.
    However, I suspect A Song of Ice and Fire is no conventional fantasy epic because it is a subversion as well as a deconstruction, which means we should expect nothing but a nihilist ending, that Daenerys’ rule will require brutality and compromise – the very thing she tried to avoid. In order to be a ruler, she will have to move from a conqueror to a morally conflicted ruler in the end. There will never be such a thing as a just rule or ideal society in Martin’s epic.
    Moreover, no matter how we construct history, no matter how great our ideals are, or how perfect we build society, there’s only one true power in the universe – death. The very power that is free of the pain of life, always fated to violence and pain. All the existing philosophies in Martin’s epic, as well as our own are all constructions that give meaning to patch over this underlying truth – the void.
    The popular thesis that requires mapping a structure with a classic villain on the reality of history is the futile attempt of man, trying to cope with existence. But there is no god of mythology controlling the fate of our characters, ourselves – except the god of nothing.
    Valar Morghulis.
    • 2 replies
  6. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2016 NBA Playoffs Picks!   

    Posted this at last night:
    My 2016 Finals pick.

    If the Cavaliers utilize LBJ and Love in the post against the Warriors, exploit their advantages, they will control the tempo and rack up fouls, they can steal the series. If LBJ or Love get off to a good start in the first quarter, then the Cavaliers will be very competitive. However, if LBJ refuses to post up or pass out of single coverage to three point shooters, they’ll get cooked. The best strategy against great three point shooters is to force them to play defense and make them play physical against bigger and stronger guys, their shooting percentage will drop. If the Cavaliers try to match the Warriors’ Lineup of Death, they’ll get swept. Therefore, they must play to their strengths, use their size by slowing the game down and punish the smaller Warriors inside. LBJ must be a post up guy, score 40 or throw it back out for the three point shooters if the Warriors double him, because they have nobody who can defend him inside, and nobody to slow him down in the paint when they go small. If Love or LBJ are posting up, they must have Tristan Thompson crash the boards from the other side of the paint.

    The Warriors’ main adjustment is to go small, and wait for the other team’s coach to panic and try to match them. That is what doomed the OKC Thunder. If the Cavaliers stick to their bigs, let LBJ play in the paint, that’ll be the biggest factor in the series.

    It's just too bad that the Warriors are an all-time great team, and the Cavaliers are coached by a rookie, and LBJ is the 21st century version of Wilt Chamberlain.
    GSW in 7

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  7. The Heretic added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    What Peter said. Here are a few relevant links, all recent: (Washington Post uses the word Fascism)  (The Year of the Political Troll - The New Yorker) (The Dangerous Acceptance of Donald Trump - The New Yorker) (Is Trump a Fascist? A historian of fascism weighs in)
    Fun Fact. The French term "fachosphère" denotes the fascist internet. I wonder what's DCD is up to, since they closed his xenophobic account.  
    People like William Gibson who lived in Greece under the Colonels, and Spain under Franco knew what fascism was. That is why the term "fascism" used to describe any US political reality was hyperbolic, until Donald Trump. Gibson claimed this is 100% American fascism.
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  8. The Heretic added a post in a topic Movies i've seen...   

    Captain America Civil War review
    Last night, I took a fellow comic book fan to watch it. Although the only available tickets were the 3D showing, we had a great time. The theater was packed with serious film aficionados – something we all need when watching an event film like CACW.
    My biggest take away from the film: its meticulous attention to detail, and beautiful craftmanship. The conflict was logically reduced to personal matters, and how progressively polarized it became, making us incapable of taking a clear side and hold it doggedly throughout. More importantly, the film easily exceeds the original comic book crossover from 2006, because the writer Mark Millar shoved every character into ultra-alpha males of excess. But the film's nuance refused to allow the easy path of taking sides between accountability and liberty.
    Camerawork was topnotch, and the story was told through quite imaginative selection of locations. The global feel of the story came through.
    Best new character: T'Challa. What a motherfucking mofo, what an introduction to a kick ass character. I was familiar with the character, but now, his film shot up the “must see” list. All the returning characters got their moments to shine, nobody got the short shrift. Ant-Man's giant surprise, Spider-Man's return to Steve Dikto roots, so on, and so forth.
    I'm far more confident in the Russo brothers' handling of the Marvel Cinematic Universe than I was with Joss Whedon, who seemed overwhelmed with Avengers Age of Ultron.
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  9. The Heretic added a topic in Play   

    2016 NBA Playoffs Picks!
    It's that time of the year again. Who else caught that 60 point curtain call last night by Kobe Bean Bryant? Or the Golden State Warriors' record-breaking 73rd win? What a time to be alive.  
    Onto the picks:
    Western Conference
    Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors
    Not only did the Warriors sweep the Rockets 3-0, by an average margin of 12.3 points, they are also the Latest and Greatest Team of All Time. The only thing left for them to accomplish is a dominant playoff run, something they failed to do last year. The Rockets are much worse this year than last year, where they were promptly outclassed in the Western Conference Finals 4-1. James Harden is a good scorer, but he lacks leadership qualities necessary for a champion, and Dwight Howard is long past his physical prime, incapable of dominating longer than in brief spurts.
    GSW in a sweep: 4-0
    Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs
    Not only are the Spurs well-rested, loaded, proven, and hungry, they also have controlled the Grizzlies since that shocking first round upset in 2011. Moreover, neither Conley nor Gasol the Younger are suiting up, and the Grizzlies have fallen ass-backwards into the playoffs, having coughed up 12 of their last 14 games.
    SAS in another sweep: 4-0
    Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder
    Should be an interesting contrast of styles between the athletic, iso-heavy Thunder and the veteran, systemic Mavericks. However, Westbrook and Durant will exploit the Mavericks' subpar man to man defense, force them to collapse repeatedly. Although Mavericks coach Carlisle is one of the 5 best in the NBA, and facing a rookie college coach in Donovan, he can only do so much with a vastly inferior hand.
    OKC 4-1
    Portland Trailblazers @ Los Angeles Clippers
    PG Chris Paul has largely owned his opposite number, Damian Lillard, and will continue to neutralize him with the Clippers' superior pick and roll defense. Even if the rest of the Blazers flourish, they need Lillard to overcome the more talented Clippers. However, Blake Griffin has not rediscovered his old form after missing half of the season with his leg injury and the suspension.
    LAC, 4-2
    Eastern Conference
    Detroit Pistons @ Cleveland Cavaliers
    Surprisingly, the Pistons do match up well with the Cavaliers: they have enough forwards to control LBJ, and a terrific defender in Caldwell Pope to terrorize Kyrie Irving. Plus the only Cavalier capable of slowing down the emerging Pistons giant, Drummond, is Mozgov, a benched guy who's lost his confidence. But LBJ has returned to his dominant MVP form in recent weeks.
    CAVS, 4-2
    Indiana Pacers @ Toronto Raptors
    The Raptors have prevented George from scoring 20 points, limiting him to 20 of 65 FG attempts in four regular season games. Despite being a veteran of the playoffs, George must step up to give the underdogs a chance. The Raptors are still trying to get that playoff monkey off their backs, having failed to win a series since the Vince Carter days back in 2001. They are capable of matching up any lineup - be it small or big, and throw enough bodies at George all series long. However, if the Raptors' guards, Lowry and DeRozan don't perform at peak levels, they could be sent home early again.
    TOR, 4-1
    Charlotte Hornets @ Miami Heat
    Two dramatically different teams. The Hornets prefer playing faster, pushing the pace. But the veteran Heat play better defense, and have more isolation scorers in Johnson and Wade, which is absolutely necessary in the playoffs. If the Hornets can keep the Heat spread, and keep their passing snappy, they can steal the series.
    MIA, 4-3
    Boston Celtics @ Atlanta Hawks
    Both teams are elite on defense and play at a fast pace, but the Hawks have the two best players in Horford and Millsap, who will dominate the inferior Celtics frontcourt. Moreover, the Hawks are far more battle-tested in the playoffs, having won series, while none of the Celtics have even won a single game. Coach Stevens is brilliant but he'll be offset by an equally capable Coach Budenholzer.
    ATL, 4-3
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  10. The Heretic added a post in a topic Movies i've seen...   

    Batman v Superman
    I just posted this on the Pajiba review of said film:
    Saw the film last night, so here's my official review:
    Grew up reading comics, and was pleased by the recent superhero surge, so I came in with moderate expectations, despite the negative word of mouth.
    Watched it with my Dad and older sister, also a fan of comics. Within 15 minutes, my Dad got up and left. It was already bad at that point.
    The good? Acting was plausible, special effects were decent, the fight scenes itself were rendered properly, but they went a tad bit overboard with the slo-mo effects. Wonder Woman was a nice scene-stealer, and I hope to see her film made by a more competent crew. Yup.
    The bad? Sweet Fancy Moses. Znyder is utterly tone deaf. The horribly contrived script.
    All in all, WB studios tried way too hard to create something utterly alien to their distinguished competition, Marvel. And in the process, they forgot how to make a decent film.
    The sad thing? Znyder regressed to Watchmen levels in his cannibalization of great comic lore (The Dark Knight Returns, Death of Superman).
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  11. The Heretic added a post in a topic "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"   

    FWIW, it was an old thread from 2011, but the OP decided to perform necromancy and resurrect it in light of the next president of the United States, Darn Old Trump.  
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  12. The Heretic added a post in a topic Anna Karenina and Tolstoy   

    Reading is a far more demanding activity than watching films, because you have to make a greater effort to follow the writing and utilize your imagination by envisioning the world of the story. Watching requires much less brain power and effort; therefore reading literature should never be considered as passive as watching something on the screen, even if it is the same thing content wise. 
    Moreover, great literature allows you to engage with a dramatically different person from a different time, of a different slice of life. The reductive imagery of Television or film shrinks that ability and forces you to accept certain aesthetic choices you yourself would've conceived on your terms if you read it instead. 
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  13. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Super Bowl thread   

    Game summary: the Broncos absolutely pulverized the Panthers 24-10. The Panthers were no slouches on defense themselves, with Ealy and Kuechly on one side, but Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware on the other side got the 2015 MVP rattled.  
    The Panthers were down 6 with five minutes to go and they had the ball. Result? A failed run on first down. A failed pass attempt on second down. Von Miller put the MVP out of his misery with his second strip-sack of the game. And that play was quite telling: the stripped ball was loose on the ground, with guys scrambling for it... QB Newton's eyes were clearly fixed on it, but he didn't even try to dive for it in the scrum. The Broncos scored their first offensive touchdown a couple plays later, and that was the ball game.
    Congratulations to Manning for the Elway-like perfect retirement.  
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  14. The Heretic added a post in a topic How did you get here?   

    Philosophy of science? My condolences.  
    Welcome to the sleepiest forum on the Internet, regardless   
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  15. The Heretic added a post in a topic 2016 NFL Super Bowl thread   

    Aye I will be cheering for the Denver Broncos tomorrow at the SB party. I eagerly anticipate a close game, like last year where no lead was safe until the clock read 00:00. 
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