Wednesday assorted links

1. Scott Sumner vs. Larry White Econduel at MRU, video debate on monetary policy.  And is Indian demonetisation actually a popular policy?

2. Peter Thiel’s influence on health and science appointments.  And the influence of Peter Thiel on NASA?

3. UK rules Jedi is not a religion.  “Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Lord Vader!”

4. “The Chinese Mayor” is an excellent movie for understanding the political economy of China; too subtle to receive good Netflix reviews.

5. What causes the subjective feeling of time to either slow down or speed up?

6. The real story behind Bertolucci and Last Tango.

Comments

2:
http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/12/peter-thiel-now-leading-the-fight-for-commercial-space-in-trumps-nasa/

This is a great early test for the Trump administration. We'll find out if having a chief executive who can't be bought is actually useful for something. It's a particularly good test, because the disaster that is modern-day NASA is very much a bipartisan accomplishment.

Why can't Trump be bought? If anything, the opposite. I notice a few weeks ago China's IP office approved of a Trump trademark that was being delayed in China, no doubt a policy move by China to appease Trump.

As a campaigner, he took a tiny fraction of Clinton's donations and more of that was from regular people. He is unusually unbeholden to big contributors for a politician.

As a businessman, the success of his brand hangs entirely on his success as president and America's success over the next few years. If he's Reagan, he wins big. If he's Carter (bad), or even just Obama (mediocre, polarizing), he loses big.

So he is remarkably free of the agency problems that typically bedevil presidents. We'll see how he does in battle against Bill Nelson and Richard Shelby.

That analysis strikes me as horribly misinformed. Campaign contributions are probably the least compelling measure for how beholden a president to some person or party. Think about people that have helped Trump in business (such as someone that might have tried to get Trump University out of trouble in Florida).
Besides we still haven't seen any tax documents, we don't know what or where his holdings are. His plans to "divest" don't remove him one iota from his businesses.

And he knows (unlike you) that the success of his brand does not depend on what 90% of Americans think but what some small fraction does. He's already said Mexican's are rapists and that he grabs women by the genitals. What the hell else could he have done or could do?

I have to agree with Rob on this. In fact, Trump went against his brand when he ran for president since high-income folk who consume the Trump brand were repelled by Trump. Articles were written about how the Trump brand would suffer since the rich detest Trump. That said, Trump does market to the sub 100 IQ crowd with his "Trump University" brand (for those dumb folk who want to become millionaires effortlessly; the only way I know how is to do it the old fashioned way, the way I did, and that's to inherit it).

So on balance I think the strategy of: 'acting nice while president so my Trump brand will go up in value in the eyes of the well-heeled after I leave office' loses to the more short-sighted "grab what you can while president, in the most direct way possible, so you can cash in while you can". Also I don't think Trump is that 'far-sighted' to 'act nice' while president. I think he's just a money grubbing jerk and history will (sadly) prove me right. He's a con artist, essentially.

The argument is that, because he clearly threw away brand value to become president, he will now do some little things to favor particular hotels and deals and such, and that will sort of partially make up for it? And something about taxes?

That doesn't make any sense to me. Either he's successful as a president and the brand goes up in value, or he's unsuccessful and it doesn't. His interests are very well aligned with being a good president.

No, its all about perception of successfulness among his followers. He can be a corrupt world endangering ruinous mess but if the media his followers watch proclaims him as the messiah he's fine. Its a brave new world, one where everyone can craft their own bespoke reality from personally curated information sources that already reinforces your own worldview.

Trump is not going to get made whole based on "Make America Great Again" hat sales. He needs famous buildings with "Trump" stamped on the side in places like New York and Chicago to be attractive places for wealthy cosmopolitan people to live and do business and to be seen living and doing business. The only way he gets there is with mainstream success. He can't achieve that with the adoration of white men in Kansas.

"That doesn’t make any sense to me. Either he’s successful as a president and the brand goes up in value, or he’s unsuccessful and it doesn’t. His interests are very well aligned with being a good president."

I agree that the counter argument isn't logically consistent. Trump doesn't particularly need or want money. He's made money, now he wants a lasting legacy and there's no indication that Trump feels constrained by the normal political process. He's certainly not beholden to some long, laundry list of behind the scene rich donors.

I don't think anybody would be shocked if Trump cut a deal with Congressional Democrats to get his way on something. Nor is he constrained by fear of media or pundit criticism.

Ah, the noble capitalist myth. That apparently successful business men are more noble and virtuous than the rest of us. Don't hold your breath for that to turn out to be true.

Successful business men are not necessarily moral in the least. Some made their money by a laser focus on making money, letting nothing else-- including ethics-- get in the way of that pursuit.

Trump didn't need to take big donor donations because the media was dumb enough to give him billions of dollars of free air time.

"Trump is not going to get made whole based on “Make America Great Again” hat sales. He needs famous buildings with “Trump” stamped on the side in places like New York and Chicago to be attractive places for wealthy cosmopolitan people to live and do business and to be seen living and doing business."

Or places like Russia. Or hotels in the U.S. that he is already pressuring foreign delegates to stay at.

"The only way he gets there is with mainstream success. He can’t achieve that with the adoration of white men in Kansas."

Well, his success might not consist of being the type of president who does good for the country. His success might consist of looting the taxpayers and the government, in order to help a lot of cronies, who will then owe him something, and in order to help himself directly, and in order to help Russia, whose puppet he is, according to some views.

I think on balance both sides (Lord Action vs the others) have good points. There's no way to find out who wins the argument except by observing what actually happens. History is full of crazy people (Nero, Caligula, to name just two that come to mind) who threw it all away by overreaching. On style, I might have to give the debate to Lord Action, who had the better pithy prose.

Thank you Ray.

“grab what you can while president, in the most direct way possible, so you can cash in while you can”. Also I don’t think Trump is that ‘far-sighted’ to ‘act nice’ while president. I think he’s just a money grubbing jerk and history will (sadly) prove me right. He’s a con artist, essentially."

Trump would have remained wealthy even if the electoral landslide had buried him instead of making him president. The Clintons and Obamas, on the other hand, have actually derived their wealth from political activity, something that isn't supposed to pay that much. BHO and family are moving into a virtual palace in DC in January. None of them will have to worry about finances ever again. Why should that be the case? A guy pretends for eight years that he's a "servant of the people" and gets to spend the rest of his life as a retired emperor, although the supreme court has to be on his bucket list. Too bad things have turned sour for Tiger Woods, BHO could caddy for him until RBG keels over. Maybe step in as commissioner of the NBA. Whatever happens, his wife and kids are in on the gravy train, too.

Got to side with lord action on this one, his argument is more consistent. Further, as ray noted his wiring is simply better.

"The Clintons and Obamas, on the other hand, have actually derived their wealth from political activity, something that isn’t supposed to pay that much."

It does seem to be an inherent limitation to most on the Democratic Left side, that while they rail away at the rich, they consistently ignore (and sometimes defend) the rich on their own side.

Many on the Democratic Left assume that Trump ran for President primarily to get richer is purely speculative with no clear evidence that it will happen. This idea is presented as damning. However the Clinton's being worth $50 million, nearly all of which has been earned while one or both were in public office, is not considered to be nearly as bad.

So, Trump might be greedy, which is really bad.
The Clinton's have been greedy, but that is ok.

It's Principals over Principles.

Yup. Lord Action FTW.

It would hurt the brand. Any acceptable bribe would have to be worth more than the brand, which is huuuge.

'Any acceptable bribe'

Bribes are in the eyes of the beholder in our dawning post truth age. Maybe it is finally time to privatize the office of the president.

Besides, there is no question that any government as competent as China's when it comes to corruption can find a way to make Trump tempting offers he wouldn't want to refuse.

For sure. He may end up being our Bribe Accepter in Chief.

He may. Not that Hillary and Bill are retiring to the warm embrace of their ill-gotten hundreds of millions.

"because the disaster that is modern-day NASA is very much a bipartisan accomplishment."

Nothing about NASA is a "disaster" other than too little funding which is due to conservatives 99% Republican, and too much of the funding goes to Republican crony capitalists sucking off the government aerospace teats of defense and NASA.

While talk of commercializing space has been loud on the right for decades, Reagan Bush, Bush Newt never did anything concrete to advance it.

The 1984 space act in part required: "(c) Commercial Use of Space.--Congress declares that the general welfare of the United States requires that the Administration seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space."

The 2004 act provided more concrete direction, and in 2006, NASA issued RFPs for commercial services. But since Obama, private commercial space startups have been given real favor.

And it's the latter that upsets southern conservatives. Like Jeff Sessions. He's the disaster for NASA.

Nothing about NASA is a “disaster” other than too little funding

. . . and the gross incompetence in both management and engineering that's marked the manned flight program since Von Braun retired. As seen in NASA's utter failure to competently design and build a manned spacecraft since the Saturn V.

"As seen in NASA’s utter failure to competently design and build a manned spacecraft since the Saturn V"

Splendidly monikered Lunatic: Saturn V = rocket.

Spacecraft: are you referring to the North American Rockwell made Apollo Command Module?

btw, you may wish to direct your sputtering mouth foaming ire more accurately to Richard Milhaus Nixon, who shut down the Apollo Program and nobbled NASA in 1972.

Apollo was effectively cancelled in the late 60s, well before the first actual landing. It was obvious at that point that we weren't going to continue beyond flags and footprints, and the funding dried up. Vietnam and the New York Times and all that...

Nixon held the funeral, he didn't commit the murder.

LA: 'late '60's: I don't believe you know what you're talking about.

reference?

link?

anything??

carolospln, look it up yourself, dumbass; it's easy to find.

@ Cthulhu

1) There's nothing to 'look up'

2) Wanna buy a vowel?

Here's a popular account of some of it:

https://www.wired.com/2013/09/ending-apollo-1968/

The Nixon thing is a bit of a myth. I think it caught on because people hate Nixon.

NASA's budget in inflation-adjusted terms during the Apollo years was twice what it is now.

Nonsense. Ever since 1972 or so NASA has taken its main goal to be affirmative action. It does not matter how much money is spent on their programs. They are not in the Space business. They are in the bureaucratic-empire-building business.

Every cent that goes to them is a cent wasted.

Carolospin,

A quick history of NASA. It's a cluster fuck and always has been. Poor management and political interference have been there since the beginning. Johnson famously said that NASA headquarters could be anywhere, as long as it was in Texas. It's greatest accomplishment, Apollo, was simply the end result of the brute force method. NASA was spending the equivalent of >$100B/year in the mid-60's. Everyone knew it was unsustainable well before the funding dried up. Even before the first moon landing, NASA were already doing feasibility studies for lower cost alternative missions for the remaining Saturn V launch vehicles, as well as doing early concepts for the Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle was a terrible engineering choice by NASA management that effectively locked the US into low-earth orbit for decades. This was shortly followed by congressional interference that resulted in compromised design choices. The program was a failure on almost every front, except from the perspective of the politicians who kept the standing army of jobs in the their districts and the military industrial complex soaking the tax payer.

In terms of management practices, the Challenger disaster is now a business school case study in terrible management practices. Columbia reminded us that nothing changed two decades later. Two failures, same root causes in management practices. The International Space Station is pretty much a crime. A $150 billion hotel for 7 that serves almost zero scientific purpose. Its only value is to repeatedly demonstrate how not to design and construct a space station.

After Columbia, plans were finally announced to dump the shuttle, but after $5B was spent the only thing the US taxpayer has to show is a now shelved half completed upgrade of an Apollo-era engine. NASA's latest stab at a beyond earth launch vehicle is yet again mired in poor design choices and congressional interference. It too is well over budget and schedule. Worse still, even when they do complete the rocket, there's no missions for it because there's no money left to design and execute missions. It's all tied up in the ISS and the launcher. They been scrambling to figure out something to show for the tens of billions sucked into the latest endeavor, but all of the proposed missions so far are pretty pathetic.

Apollo: That's 1 way of looking at it. Here's another: the greatest adventure of mankind in history, accomplished in < 9 years. Peter Thiel would agree with me.

I am well aware of NASA's dreary history of mediocrity and hyper spend subsequently on such waste pits as the Shuttle*, Int'l Space Station, etc.

Perhaps its time to exhume and re-examine the ideas of Ted Taylor & Project Orion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion) See John McPhee's 'The Curve of Binding Energy' for more on Taylor and this.

* You are aware that the Shuttle was a military program for injecting reconnaissance satellites into orbit. NASA, & its 'experiments' for seeing how spiders spin webs in zero gravity, was a pathetic cover

#1 - "“It makes no difference to our lives,” said another auto driver. “It will only make a difference to people who have money. Maybe people don’t say it openly, but there is also pleasure in seeing the rich made uncomfortable, for once.” - very true, class warfare is usually a sign of economic stagnation and/or severe inequality. One reason you must be a citizen of the world, like I am, and have assets all over the world. I'm working on my third passport.

#5: That is one of the stupidest experiments I ever heard of. The outcome should be obvious to anyone who does not believe in magic.

I wouldn't say stupidest, but when I read the article it did seem kinda dumb. Your ability to perceive rapid visual events is set by the response time of your neural circuits, not some innate clock. But I suppose the experiment was worth doing on the off chance it would yield a positive result. You have to do hundreds of dingbat experiments before you get an interesting anomalous result. Nobody has yet explained how memories are transmitted when trained Planaria are chopped up and fed to other Planaria. Nobody has yet explained how Paramecia can be trained to feed at a wire.

"Nobody has yet explained how Paramecia can be trained to feed at a wire"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning

I just did.

Paramecia are single-cell organisms. They do not have nervous systems. The unexplained part is how can an organism without a nervous system be trained to do anything.

Thanks for the tip. I am aware of the identity of paramecia.

Before CRISPR, no microbiologist would have claimed that prokaryotes have 'immune systems'.

You need to broaden your mind as to the nature of 'nervous systems'.

Are you saying everyone thinks accidents happened so fast they remember nothing, except for fiction writers?

Or are you saying science should never try to figure out what happens when people say they experienced the action in slow motion?

I am saying that when studying cognition it is not necessary to entertain hypotheses involving the physically impossible.

I'm not sure I would say physically impossible. They were studying rapid phenomena at the edge of visual perception. That's a fairly sensitive test for the possibility of accelerated perception, at least as far as the visual system is concerned. It would not require violating any laws of physics, but it would move the bottleneck on perception of rapid events from (presumably) retinal photoreceptors to higher level processing (LGN, area 17, perhaps even memory processing in the hippocampus). But they didn't find an effect, so we can close the door on this one and move on.

By the way, my brother-in-law was in a serious auto accident, and he described exactly this time dilation effect to me, so I have high confidence this is a real phenomenon.

Regarding your brother-in-law's experience:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/04/25/the-possibilian

Having fallen off my 24 foot roof onto the footpath a few years back, I can vouch for the 'time dilation' perception.

That New Yorker article is a much longer and more interesting treatment of the same research.

24 feet is a remarkable drop. In Manual of Rigging it is mentioned that a fall while wearing a safety belt on a line longer than 15 feet is potentially fatal.

Nah. The rule of thumb is that a 200lb man needs to jump/fall from @ least a five story building to die: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/02/04/life-at-the-top

This guy survived jumping from a twelve story bldg! https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-28/amazon-worker-jumps-off-company-building-after-e-mail-to-staff

'24 ft is a remarkable drop': tell me about it [I sustained fractures of both my radius & clavicle; broke the fall with my arm, then rolled by tucking my head under my shoulders]

Today, I also pay to have my gutters mucked out.

I've observed time dilation in two car rollovers and several mountain bike crashes. Something's different in those situations.

My error. The title of the book is Handbook of Rigging. It describes how to safely do incredibly dangerous stuff, mostly involving erecting scaffolds and climbing tall structures. Very good book.

2. Cowen's friend Peter Thiel, often described as a visionary, seems like an outlier among Trump's advisers. But maybe not. Thiel prefers that government not compete with him in his ventures, including health and science; hence, Trump's advisers and appointees, who wish to cut government science and health research, would complement Thiel's preference. In a perfect world (for Thiel), government would provide the funding and private parties like Thiel would reap the profits. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/19/health/harnessing-the-us-taxpayer-to-fight-cancer-and-make-profits.html

Typical crony capitalism. Privatize all profits. And make all losses public i.e. put the taxpayer on the hook for them. Reverse Robin Hood Policy. And Breitbart and Fox News and Drudge get people to vote consistently against their own best interests. Works like a charm, so far. We'll see how this ends up.

Once again, Drudge is a news aggregator. He supplies links to articles in various media outlets, most of which have a dead tree dimension as well as an on-line one. Every thing Drudge links to can be read somewhere else in its original form, that's what linking is. He doesn't write the stuff.

MIOVPT or whatever it's called today is a bot. You can't change the programming by replying to it.

"Once again, Drudge is a news aggregator. "

True, but he does act as an Editor and clearly shows editorial discretion. However, he's wildly successful, because he's brought under reported stories into the limelight.

Some members of the Left hate him because they'd rather the stories he highlights not get widely read. And some members of the Right hate him because he didn't highlight the stories they wanted him to highlight.

Regardless, he clearly provides a valuable service and no one is forced to go to his site.

1b )

"Then late on Wednesday morning, the RBI responded to public outrage by issuing its 60th notification on demonetization: for accounts compliant with Know Your Customer rules, no questions would be asked about deposits above Rs 5,000".(approx $74)

The issue may not be as simple as stringing together a few comments of auto-rickshaw drivers . It is not clear that there is widespread support for the operational aspects of the move and the struggles it has imposed on day-to-day life especially in the rural hinterland.. If the Reserve Bank ( Federal reserve) needed to issue 60 notifications in some 45 days, it just reflects on what a bureaucratic mess the situation is. And with 80% of the demonetized cash back in the system ,many are beginning to wonder whether the main goals have been achieved or not. Perhaps of the bulk of "black" money is not in large denomination notes but in other Assets and overseas accounts,

3 UK rules Jedi is not a religion.

But what about my high Midichlorian count?

How many people have been killed in the name of the Jedi religion? If less than a million, it is certainly not a major religion.

#2 is interesting. Thiel seems quite accomplished as an entrepeneur, but I have to say I've never been impressed by the Silicon Valley approach to science (as opposed to software development). Too many pie in the sky projects with too little follow through.

You wonder if Silicon Valley doesn't train investors to say yes to everything and only look at the best case scenario. That's a great strategy when a certain fraction of investments will end up being Facebook or Google, but it's far less good for projects with high capital expenditures, long development times, and regulatory burdens but lower profit margins.

As I understand it, the Silicon Valley investment model is:
1) Say yes to lots of things.
2) Substitute money for time to buy early growth.
3) Pull the plug after a few years on all but the winners.
4) Get huge returns on a small fraction of the initial bets.

That seems to work well for software. But does it work for spaceships? The jury is still out. It seems to me that steps 2 and 4 depend on the relationship between how much money to buy how much time, plus how huge the returns can be for the winners. For #3, are you sure you can pull the plug fast enough?

As an example of what I mean: SpaceX just had a big explosion that calls into question whether they can safely operate using cryogenic fuels at the temperatures they want to use. If your strategy is to pull the plug on the losers, you have to think about doing that *right now,* before any expensive redesigns or future accidents. Are you confident you can make that call? How big does a winner have to be if it takes a SpaceX level of investment just to get to the go / no go decision?

The Silicon Valley methodology that best describes SpaceX is agile project management as opposed to waterfall.

The jury is sort of still out on it in aerospace. It can clearly achieve 10x cost reductions. Whether it can achieve better reliability and safety, as claimed, is yet to be proven. The recent accident doesn't so much call into question the technical design of Falcon 9 as it does the process by which they arrived at that design. Lockheed may very well have avoided that problem by preceding it with five years of analysis. But there are other classes of problems that Lockheed is more likely to encounter, and we don't have enough data yet to see how it all shakes out.

I may have garbled two or more points in my post.

The point I wanted to make is that the ratio between startup costs and best possible outcome means that nearly every SpaceX style startup has to break even at worst in order for a portfolio to make any sense, whereas Silicon Valley style venture capital is happy with ~90% failure rates. I'm not competent to speculate on whether SpaceX will or won't fix their fueling issues without a redesign.

The best possible outcome for SpaceX is that they're the next East India Company.

Certainly that's not the most likely outcome, but if you're looking around today for potential $10 trillion companies, SpaceX is one of the few possibilities.

So their plan is to conquer India again? Big, if true.

Ha!

Obviously if space turns out to be the next big thing, and if a Mars colonization effort comes to fruition. And if SpaceX turns out to capture a large part of that.

That's a lot of ifs. By analogy with terrestrial exploration, if the 1900s are a lot like the 1700s, and the 2000s are a lot like the 1800s, some people will make an awful lot of money. And SpaceX is reasonably well positioned for that. So is Blue Origin.

But what's not likely for SpaceX is some middle-of-the-road path where they're a peer competitor to ULA eking out a few billion a year profit on weather satellite launches. If that's your concern, I'd dismiss it. It's a big win or a big bust for them.

See, this is what I mean: SpaceX, with a billion dollars or so of total investment, becomes an early stage company. It's just starting to get revenue, so now is the time to pump in ten or a hundred times the initial investment in pursuit of the ten trillion dollar prize at the end of the rainbow. It's the venture capital model for software, only scaled up.

But the flip side of that is that
1) you have to assume that that ten trillion dollars can be made some non-neglible fraction of the time. A viable Mars colony is a big ask.
2) Now ordinary stupendous success isn't enough. If you need to make multiple risky $10 billion investments at the end of the initial round, ending up with "only" the next Boeing ($97 billion market cap) isn't a great return anymore.

Sure, but I don't think they're nearly as capitalized as, say, Uber or Palantir. If you want to be worried about big tech investments, those guys are a good place to look.

SpaceX is definitely a small investment big payout kind of thing. It's one of the few investments where really, truly large payoffs are plausible with non-negligible probability. And they've been very efficient at turning bucks into Buck Rogers.

"Obviously if space turns out to be the next big thing, and if a Mars colonization effort comes to fruition. "

There's a lot of fixation on Mars and that might be worth $10 trillion (2016 dollars) in the next 20-50 years, but that seems like small potatoes. Asteroid and moon mining combined with orbital industries would be the big prize. $100+ trillion (2016 dollars) in the next 20-50 years.

The number might at first seem implausible, but it's really not.

If you assume that world wide manufacturing accounts for 30% of GDP and world wide GDP is $75 trillion, then current manufacturing is roughly $25 trillion per annum. So a space industry producing roughly 50% of Sol System manufacturing is $10 trillion per year. So $100+ trillion in total value seems about right.

The Amos-6 explosion was a process issue, not a technical issue. Experienced once, you don't experience it again. The question is how many of these one-offs the company will have.

If it is a process issue, then don't we expect to see it repeated until the process is fixed? And depending on how it is fixed, it might amount to SpaceX becoming more like their competition.

It has to do with how they fill a particular tank. The fix may be procedural in the sense that it may involve changes to process of filling that tank rather than changes to hardware, although I wasn't sure changes to hardware were ruled out at this point. SpaceX doesn't seem to be contemplating any large scale management changes as a result of this, nor is there any indication that would be warranted.

Turning them into Boeing would not make sense, probably couldn't be done, and would destroy the company anyway, so there'd be no point. There's also not much reason to think that would do anything to improve their reliability long-term even if it could be done.

I wouldn't have said it's not a technical issue, though. It seems to me like it is a technical issue, but probably one with a process fix.

Assuming that a laser on the roof of the United Launch Alliance building didn't blast a hole in the tank.

Musk is a friend of Thiel, Thiel is a friend of Trump. The truth will out.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3817583

#6...I've never read a good article on this, but I have often come across anecdotes about directors lying to actors or misinforming them in order to get a more realistic reaction to a scene. Stanley Kubrick led Slim Pickens ( from my home town ) to believe Dr Stangelove was not a comedy, but a realistic portrayal of a nuclear bomber. He did this by letting Slim see only his own lines. Also, he told George C Scott to overact a few rehearsal scenes, only to use them in the film. Scott was not happy with this, and told Kubrick he'd never work with him again. He felt like Maria Schneider that lying or misrepresenting were uncalled for. BTW, I had not remembered Thomas Schelling's connection to Dr Strangelove, if true.

The obvious case of outright fraud was Caligula where many of the big names thought they were doing a serious movie, only for the director to add a lot of porn between takes. Or so they said. Maybe they just needed the money and did not want to admit it.

The other one is the chest bursting scene from Alien where no one, except John Hurt, was told what was going to happen. So their responses were all real - and to be honest look a little fake because of that. I would be interested to know whether any of the cast has had nightmares since. It would have scared the [email protected] out of me. Can they sue for PTSD? I think they might win.

With Last Tango in Paris the real question must be how long is it before it is banned? I mean, this is actually a serious moral, if not legal, offense. It was not a simulated rape. It was rape. Rape-rape as Whoopie Goldburg might put it. Not that "fake rape" Hollywood directors can get away with as long as they confine themselves to 12 year old girls from outside the industry. So does that mean that anyone who watches it is also committing an offense?

How long is it going to be before someone goes to jail for owning a copy? There is precedent. A lot of video rental places were driven out of business or forced to abide by strict conditions following the revelation that Tracie Lords was under age in all but one of her films. They were threatened with child pornography charges.

You didn't read the link. It wasn't 'rape rape', it was indeed simulated.

There are so many things wrong with that comment. Let me start with the obvious - why do you think rape requires penetration?

As far as I can tell, in California, penetration is a necessary element of rape. Otherwise, it is sexual battery -- the same crime our President-elect once bragged about committing. Sexual battery can and should be prosecuted as such but doubt there is any legal basis for suppressing the film given how much time has passed.

Kubrick did a variant of the same trick on "Full Metal Jacket" by separating Lee Ermey (the actual ex-Marine DI playing the role of the movie Marine DI) and the actors playing the recruits / draftees until the crucial first scene where the boots meet their DI for the first time (and Kubrick allowed Ermey to largely improvise his dialog as well, a rare occurrence on a Kubrick film). Whatever the flaws of the movie, that scene remains one of the great moments of Kubrick's career.

Jackie Cooper wrote the title of his autobiography around such an incident: when he was a child actor the director wanted him to cry in a scene, so he took Jackie Cooper's dog away and told him that the dog was being shot. The dog in fact did not get shot, but it's still an example of inhumane behavior by the director.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Cooper#cite_ref-shoot_5-5

#3 None of the Charity Commission's arguments would work under U.S. law which does not evaluate the merits of a religion. The only issue under U.S. law is sincerity of belief.

Agree totally about The Chinese Mayor. Loved the bit where the Mayor's wife harangued him in front of the dignitaries for never being at home.

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