Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Hindsight is Always 20:20








Fire Captain
Keep those children back, Thompson! [Liane finds the boys and walks up to them]
Coon
Please sir, you must let us-
Liane
Sweetie, let the nice firemen do their job.
Coon
Shut! Up! Mom! God!

Officer
Wait. Look! Up in the sky!
Fireman
It's him! My God, it's really him!
Fire Captain
He's come to help us. Captain Hindsight! [in the distance a superhero flies towards the town. He's wearing red and yellow tights and a black cope with a blue eye on it - looking behind]
Stan
Who's Captain Hindsight?

Announcer :
Captain Hindsight, 
The Hero of The Modern Age!
[a series of comic book pictures follows] 
Once known as Jack Brolin, a reporter for the national news, 
the hero was born when a freak accident gave him the amazing power of extraordinary hindsight. 

From toxic spills to unjust wars there is no task too large for... 

Captain Hindsight! 

[the hero descends and lands next to the firemen]

Fire Captain
Captain Hindsight, thank God you've come!

Captain Hindsight
What's the skinny?

Fireman
There's people trapped in that burning building, Captain Hindsight. And the fire is so massive we can't get to them.

Captain Hindsight
Hmmm... You see those windows on the right side? They should have built fire escapes on those windows for the higher floors, then people could have gotten down. And then on the roof: they should have built it with a more reinforce structure, so a helicopter could have landed on it.
Fireman
Yes, of course.

Captain Hindsight
And then you see that building to the left?

Fire Captain
Yes.

Captain Hindsight
They shouldn't have built that there. Because now you can't park any fire trucks where you really need to. [stands up tall] 
Well, looks like my job here is done. Goodbye everyone! 
[takes off]

Fireman
Thank you, Captain Hindsight!
Officer
Thank youuu!

Fire Captain
All right everyone, I guess that's it. Let's pack it up. 
[the firemen and officers quickly pack up and leave, but the building keeps burning. Coon and Friends can only watch helplessly as trapped residents scream.]
The Marsh house, dinner time. 
The family is eating quietly

Randy
Whoa, boy, did you hear about that fire downtown, Sharon?

Sharon
Oh my gosh, yes! They said like 14 people died.

Randy
It's just ridiculous to me that they didn't build fire escapes on those upper floors! Ridiculous!

Sharon
Oh I know, and if you ask me, they should've built a roof with enough support to land a helicopter.


Randy
I mean, hello!

Stan
Hey you guys are just repeating what that hindsight guy said.

Randy
Why yes, Stan. Captain Hindsight is our protector and guardian. We're just thankful he was there for that fire. And now we can all eat in peace




Monday, 29 July 2019

CHERNOBYL : A RETRO SCENARIO








Myth, chased from The Real by the violence of History, finds refuge in Cinema. 

HISTORY: A RETRO SCENARIO 

In a violent and contemporary period of history (let’s say between the two world wars and the cold war), it is myth that invades cinema as imaginary content. It is the golden age of despotic and legendary resurrections. Myth, chased from the real by the violence of history, finds refuge in cinema. 

Today, it is history itself that invades the cinema according to the same scenario—the historical stake chased from our lives by this sort of immense neutralization, which is dubbed peaceful coexistence on a global level, and pacified monotony on the quo­ tidian level—this history exorcised by a slowly or brutally con­ gealing society celebrates its resurrection in force on the screen, according to the same process that used to make lost myths live again.

History is our lost referential, that is to say our myth. It is by virtue of this fact that it takes the place of myths on the screen. The illusion would be to congratulate oneself on this “awareness of history on the part of cinema,” as one congratulated oneself on the “entrance of politics into the university.” Same misunder­ standing, same mystification. The politics that enter the univer­sity are those that come from history, a retro politics, emptied of substance and legalized in their superficial exercise, with the air of a game and a field of adventure, this kind of politics is like sexuality or permanent education (or like social security in its time), that is, posthumous liberalization. 

The great event of this period, the great trauma, is this decline of strong referential, these death pangs of the real and of the rational that open onto an age of simulation. Whereas so many generations, and particularly the last, lived in the march of his­ tory, in the euphoric or catastrophic expectation of a revolu­ tion—today one has the impression that history has retreated, leaving behind it an indifferent nebula, traversed by currents, but emptied of references. It is into this void that the phantasms of a past history recede, the panoply of events, ideologies, retro fashions—no longer so much because people believe in them or still place some hope in them, but simply to resurrect the period when at least there was history, at least there was violence (albeit fascist), when at least life and death were at stake. Anything serves to escape this void, this leukemia of history and of politics, this hemorrhage of values—it is in proportion to this distress that all content can be evoked pell-mell, that all previous history is resurrected in bulk—a controlling idea no longer selects, only nostalgia endlessly accumulates: war, fascism, the pageantry of the belle epoque, or the revolutionary struggles, everything is equivalent and is mixed indiscriminately in the same morose and funereal exaltation, in the same retro fascination. There is how­ ever a privileging of the immediately preceding era (fascism, war, the period immediately following the war—the innumerable films that play on these themes for us have a closer, more per­ verse, denser, more confused essence). One can explain it by evo­ king the Freudian theory of fetishism (perhaps also a retro hy­ pothesis). This trauma (loss of referentials) is similar to the discovery of the difference between the sexes in children, as se­ rious, as profound, as irreversible: the fetishization of an object intervenes to obscure this unbearable discovery, but precisely, says Freud, this object is not just any object, it is often the last object perceived before the traumatic discovery. Thus the fetishized history will preferably be the one immediately preced­ ing our “irreferential” era. Whence the omnipresence of fascism and of war in retro—a coincidence, an affinity that is not at all political; it is naive to conclude that the evocation of fascism signals a current renewal of fascism (it is precisely because one is no longer there, because one is in something else, which is still less amusing, it is for this reason that fascism can again become fascinating in its filtered cruelty, aestheticized by retro).1 

History thus made its triumphal entry into cinema, post­ humously (the term historical has undergone the same fate: a “historical” moment, monument, congress, figure are in this way designated as fossils). Its reinjection has no value as conscious awareness but only as nostalgia for a lost referential.

This does not signify that history has never appeared in cinema as a powerful moment, as a contemporary process, as insurrec­tion and not as resurrection. In the “real” as in cinema, there was history but there isn’t any anymore. Today, the history that is “given back” to us (precisely because it was taken from us) has no more of a relation to a “historical real” than neofiguration in painting does to the classical figuration of the real. Neofiguration is an invocation of resemblance, but at the same time the flagrant proof of the disappearance of objects in their very representation: hyperreal. Therein objects shine in a sort of hyperresemblance (like history in contemporary cinema) that makes it so that fun­ damentally they no longer resemble anything, except the empty figure of resemblance, the empty form of representation. It is a question of life or death: these objects are no longer either living or deadly. That is why they are so exact, so minute, frozen in the state in which a brutal loss of the real would have seized them. All, but not only, those historical films whose very perfection is disquieting: Chinatown, Three Days of the Condor, Barry Lyndon, 1900, All the President’s Men, etc. One has the impression of it being a question of perfect remakes, of extraordinary montages that emerge more from a combinatory culture (or McLuhanesque mosaic), of large photo-, kino-, historicosynthesis machines, etc., rather than one of veritable films. Let’s understand each other: their quality is not in question. The problem is rather that in some sense we are left completely indifferent. Take The Last Picture Show: like me, you would have had to be sufficiently distracted to have thought it to be an original production from the 1950s: a very good film about the customs in and the atmo­ sphere of the American small town. Just a slight suspicion: it was a little too good, more in tune, better than the others, without the psychological, moral, and sentimental blotches of the films of that era. Stupefaction when one discovers that it is a 1970s film, perfect retro, purged, pure, the hyperrealist restitution of 1950s cinema. One talks of remaking silent films, those will also doubtlessly be better than those of the period. A whole genera­tion of films is emerging that will be to those one knew what the android is to man: marvelous artifacts, without weakness, pleas­ing simulacra that lack only the imaginary, and the hallucination inherent to cinema. Most of what we see today (the best) is al­ ready of this order. Barry Lyndon is the best example: one never did better, one will never do better in ... in what? Not in evok­ ing, not even in evoking, in simulating. All the toxic radiation has been filtered, all the ingredients are there, in precise doses, not a single error. 

Cool, cold pleasure, not even aesthetic in the strict sense: func­ tional pleasure, equational pleasure, pleasure of machination. One only has to dream of Visconti (Guepard, Senso, etc., which in certain respects make one think of Barry Lyndon) to grasp the difference, not only in style, but in the cinematographic act. In Visconti, there is meaning, history, a sensual rhetoric, dead time, a passionate game, not only in the historical content, but in the mise-en-scene. None of that in Kubrick, who manipulates his film like a chess player, who makes an operational scenario of history. And this does not return to the old opposition between the spirit of finesse and the spirit of geometry: that opposition still comes from the game and the stakes of meaning, whereas we are entering an era of films that in themselves no longer have meaning strictly speaking, an era of great synthesizing machines of varying geometry. 


Is there something of this already in Leone’s Westerns? Maybe. All the registers slide in that direction. Chinatown: it is the detec­tive movie renamed by laser. It is not really a question of perfec­ tion: technical perfection can be part of meaning, and in that case it is neither retro nor hyperrealist, it is an effect of art. Here, tech­ nical perfection is an effect of the model: it is one of the referential tactical values. In the absence of real syntax of meaning, one has nothing but the tactical values of a group in which are admirably combined, for example, the CIA as a mythological machine that does everything, Robert Redford as polyvalent star, social rela­ tions as a necessary reference to history, technical virtuosity as a necessary reference to cinema. 

The cinema and its trajectory: from the most fantastic or myth­ ical to the realistic and the hyperrealistic. 

The cinema in its current efforts is getting closer and closer, and with greater and greater perfection, to the absolute real, in its banality, its veracity, in its naked obviousness, in its boredom, and at the same time in its presumption, in its pretension to being the real, the immediate, the unsignified, which is the craziest of un­dertakings (similarly, functionalism’s pretension to designat­ing—design—the greatest degree of correspondence between the object and its function, and its use value, is a truly absurd enterprise); no culture has ever had toward its signs this naive and paranoid, puritan and terrorist vision. 

Terrorism is always that of The Real. 

Concurrently with this effort toward an absolute correspon­ dence with the real, cinema also approaches an absolute corre­ spondence with itself—and this is not contradictory: it is the very definition of the hyperreal. Hypotyposis and specularity. Cinema plagiarizes itself, recopies itself, remakes its classics, retroactivates its original myths, remakes the silent film more perfectly than the original, etc.: all of this is logical, the cinema is fascinated by itself as a lost object as much as it (and we) are fasci­ nated by the real as a lost referent. The cinema and the imaginary (the novelistic, the mythical, unreality, including the delirious use of its own technique) used to have a lively, dialectical, full, dramatic relation. The relation that is being formed today be­ tween the cinema and the real is an inverse, negative relation: it results from the loss of specificity of one and of the other. The cold collage, the cool promiscuity, the asexual nuptials of two cold media that evolve in an asymptotic line toward each other: the cinema attempting to abolish itself in the cinematographic (or televised) hyperreal. 

History is a strong myth, perhaps, along with the unconscious, the last great myth. It is a myth that at once subtended the possi­ bility of an “objective” enchainment of events and causes and the possibility of a narrative enchainment of discourse. The age of history, if one can call it that, is also the age of the novel. It is this fabulous character, the mythical energy of an event or of a narra­ tive, that today seems to be increasingly lost. Behind a performa­ tive and demonstrative logic: the obsession with historical fidelity, with a perfect rendering (as elsewhere the obsession with real time or with the minute quotidianeity of Jeanne Hilmann doing the dishes), this negative and implacable fidelity to the materiality of the past, to a particular scene of the past or of the present, to the restitution of an absolute simulacrum of the past all complicitous in this, and this is irreversible. Because cinema itself contributed to the disappearance of history, and to the ad­ vent of the archive. Photography and cinema contributed in large part to the secularization of history, to fixing it in its visible, “ob­jective” form at the expense of the myths that once traversed it. 

Today cinema can place all its talent, all its technology in the service of reanimating what it itself contributed to liquidating. It only resurrects ghosts, and it itself is lost therein. 


Note i. 

Fascism itself, the mystery of its appearance and of its collective energy, with which no interpretation has been able to come to grips (neither the Marxist one of political manipulation by dominant classes, nor the Reichian one of the sexual repression of the masses, nor the Deleuzian one of despotic paranoia), can already be inter­ preted as the “irrational” excess of mythic and political referential, the mad intensification of collective value (blood, race, people, etc.), the reinjection of death, of a “political aesthetic of death” at a time when the process of the disenchantment of value and of collective values, of the rational secularization and unidimensionalization of all life, of the operationalization of all social and individual life al­ ready makes itself strongly felt in the West. Yet again, everything seems to escape this catastrophe of value, this neutralization and pacification of life. Fascism is a resistance to this, even if it is a pro­ found, irrational, demented resistance, it would not have tapped into this massive energy if it hadn’t been a resistance to something much worse. Fascism’s cruelty, its terror is on the level of this other terror that is the confusion of the real and the rational, which deepened in the West, and it is a response to that. 




THE CHINA SYNDROME The fundamental stake is at the level of television and information. Just as the extermination of the Jews disap­ peared behind the televised event Holocaust—the cold medium of television having been simply substituted for the cold system of extermination one believed to be exorcising through it—so The China Syndrome is a great example of the supremacy of the televised event over the nuclear event which, itself, remains improbable and in some sense imaginary. 

Besides, the film shows this to be the case (without wanting to): that TV is present precisely where it happens is not coinci­dental, it is the intrusion of TV into the reactor that seems to give rise to the nuclear incident—because TV is like its anticipation and its model in the everyday universe: telefission of the real and of the real world; because TV and information in general are a form of catastrophe in the formal and topological sense Rene Thom gives the word: a radical qualitative change of a whole system. Or, rather, TV and the nuclear are of the same nature: behind the “hot” and negentropic concepts of energy and infor­ mation, they have the same power of deterrence as cold systems do. TV itself is also a nuclear process of chain reaction, but implo­ sive: it cools and neutralizes the meaning and the energy of events. Thus the nuclear, behind the presumed risk of explosion, that is to say of hot catastrophe, conceals a long, cold catastrophe, the universalization of a system of deterrence. 

At the end of the film again comes the second massive intru­ sion of the press and of TV that instigates the drama—the murder of the technical director by the Special Forces, a drama that sub­ stitutes for the nuclear catastrophe that will not occur. 

The homology of the nuclear and of television can be read directly in the images: nothing resembles the control and tele­ command headquarters of the nuclear power station more than TV studios, and the nuclear consoles are combined with those of the recording and broadcasting studios in the same imaginary. Thus everything takes place between these two poles: of the other “center,” that of the reactor, in principle the veritable heart of the matter, we will know nothing; it, like the real, has vanished and become illegible, and is at bottom unimportant in the film (when one attempts to suggest it to us, in its imminent catastrophe, it does not work on the imaginary plane: the drama unfolds on the screens and nowhere else). 

HarrisburgWatergate, and Network: such is the trilogy of The China Syndrome—an indissoluble trilogy in which one no longer knows which is the effect and which is the symptom: the ideolog­ ical argument (Watergate effect), isn’t it nothing but the symp­ tom of the nuclear (Harrisburg effect) or of the computer science model (Network effect)—the real (Harrisburg), isn’t it nothing but the symptom of the imaginary (Network and China Syn­ drome) or the opposite? Marvelous indifferentiation, ideal con­ stellation of simulation. Marvelous title, then, this China Syn­ drome, because the reversibility of symptoms and their con­ vergence in the same process constitute precisely what we call a syndrome—that it is Chinese adds the poetic and intellectual quality of a conundrum or supplication. 

Obsessive conjunction of The China Syndrome and Harrisburg. But is all that so involuntary? Without positing magical links between the simulacrum and the real, it is clear that the Syn­ drome is not a stranger to the “real” accident in Harrisburg, not according to a causal logic, but according to the relations of con­ tagion and silent analogy that link the real to models and to sim­ ulacra: to television’s induction of the nuclear into the film corre­ sponds, with a troubling obviousness, the film’s induction of the nuclear incident in Harrisburg. Strange precession of a film over the real, the most surprising that was given us to witness: the real corresponded point by point to the simulacrum, including the suspended, incomplete character of the catastrophe, which is es­ sential from the point of view of deterrence: the real arranged itself, in the image of the film, to produce a simulation of catas­ trophe. 

From there to reverse our logic and to see in The China Syn­drome the veritable event and in Harrisburg its simulacrum, there is only one step that must be cheerfully taken. Because it is via the same logic that, in the film, nuclear reality arises from the televi­ sion effect, and that in “reality” Harrisburg arises from the China Syndrome cinema effect. 

But The China Syndrome is also not the original prototype of Harrisburg, one is not the simulacrum of which the other would be the real: there are only simulacra, and Harrisburg is a sort of second-order simulation. There is certainly a chain reaction somewhere, and we will perhaps die of it, but this chain reaction is never that of the nuclear, it is that of simulacra and of the simula­ tion where all the energy of the real is effectively swallowed, no longer in a spectacular nuclear explosion, but in a secret and continuous implosion, and that today perhaps takes a more deathly turn than that of all the explosions that rock us. 

Because an explosion is always a promise, it is our hope: note how much, in the film as in Harrisburg, the whole world waits for something to blow up, for destruction to announce itself and remove us from this unnameable panic, from this panic of deter­ rence that it exercises in the invisible form of the nuclear. That the “heart” of the reactor at last reveals its hot power of destruc­ tion, that it reassures us about the presence of energy, albeit cata­ strophic, and bestows its spectacle on us. Because unhappiness is when there is no nuclear spectacle, no spectacle of nuclear energy in itself (Hiroshima is over), and it is for that reason that it is rejected—it would be perfectly accepted if it lent itself to spec­ tacle as previous forms of energy did. Parousia of catastrophe: substantial food for our messianic libido. 


But that is precisely what will never happen. What will happen will never again be the explosion, but the implosion. No more energy in its spectacular and pathetic form—all the romanticism of the explosion, which had so much charm, being at the same time that of revolution—but the cold energy of the simulacrum and of its distillation in homeopathic doses in the cold systems of information. 

What else do the media dream of besides creating the event simply by their presence? Everyone decries it, but everyone is secretly fascinated by this eventuality. Such is the logic of sim­ulacra, it is no longer that of divine predestination, it is that of the precession of models, but it is just as inexorable. And it is because of this that events no longer have meaning: it is not that they are insignificant in themselves, it is that they were preceded by the model, with which their processes only coincided. Thus it would have been marvelous to repeat the script for The China Syndrome at Fessenheim, during the visit offered to the journalists by the EDF (French Electric Company), to repeat on this occasion the accident linked to the magic eye, to the provocative presence of the media. Alas, nothing happened. And on the other hand yes! so powerful is the logic of simulacra: a week after, the unions discovered fissures in the reactors. Miracle of contagions, miracle of analogic chain reactions. 

Thus, the essence of the film is not in any respect the Watergate effect in the person of Jane Fonda, not in any respect TV as a means of exposing nuclear vices, but on the contrary TV as the twin orbit and twin chain reaction of the nuclear one. Besides, just at the end—and there the film is unrelenting in regard to its own argument—when Jane Fonda makes the truth explode di­ rectly (maximum Watergate effect), her image is juxtaposed with what will inexorably follow it and efface it on the screen: a com­ mercial of some kind. The Network effect goes far beyond the Watergate effect and spreads mysteriously into the Harrisburg effect, that is to say not into the nuclear threat, but into the simu­ lation of nuclear catastrophe. 

So, it is simulation that is effective, never the real. The simula­ tion of nuclear catastrophe is the strategic result of this generic and universal undertaking of deterrence: accustoming the people to the ideology and the discipline of absolute security—to the metaphysics of fission and fissure. To this end the fissure must be a fiction. A real catastrophe would delay things, it would con­ stitute a retrograde incident, of the explosive kind (without changing the course of things: did Hiroshima perceptibly delay, deter, the universal process of deterrence?). 

In the film, also, real fusion would be a bad argument: the film would regress to the level of a disaster movie—weak by defini­ tion, because it means returning things to their pure event. The China Syndrome, itself, finds its strength in filtering catastrophe, in the distillation of the nuclear specter through the omnipresent hertzian relays of information. It teaches us (once again without meaning to) that nuclear catastrophe does not occur, is not meant to happen, in the real either, any more than the atomic clash was at the dawning of the cold war. The equilibrium of terror rests on the eternal deferral of the atomic clash. The atom and the nuclear are made to be disseminated for deterrent ends, the power of catastrophe must, instead of stupidly exploding, be disseminated in homeopathic, molecular doses, in the continuous reservoirs of information. Therein lies the true contamination: never biolog­ ical and radioactive, but, rather, a mental destructuration through a mental strategy of catastrophe. 

If one looks carefully, the film introduces us to this mental strategy, and in going further, it even delivers a lesson diametri­ cally opposed to that of Watergate: if every strategy today is that of mental terror and of deterrence tied to the suspension and the eternal simulation of catastrophe, then the only means of mitigat­ ing this scenario would be to make the catastrophe arrive, to pro­ duce or to reproduce a real catastrophe. To which Nature is at times given: in its inspired moments, it is God who through his cataclysms unknots the equilibrium of terror in which humans are imprisoned. Closer to us, this is what terrorism is occupied with as well: making real, palpable violence surface in opposition to the invisible violence of security. Besides, therein lies terror­ism’s ambiguity. 


Note 

i. The incident at the nuclear reactor on Three Mile Island, which will shortly follow the release of the film

Safety Not Guaranteed



Advice is a form of Nostalgia – 
Dispensing it is a way of fishing The Past from The Disposal, 
Wiping it off, Painting-over The Ugly Parts 
and Recycling it for more than it's worth



Listen, I'm sorry about the noise level here. 
But we need to maintain cover. 
I'm certain I'm being recorded, I'm certain I'm being followed. 

Government agents maybe. Probably. 

But The Joke's on them. The technology I've invented can't be understood by the average mind. 

Just hold it in your holster for a second, okay? 
 I'm still making up my mind about you as a potential partner. 

I have to be absolutely certain that I can trust you before I include you in Certain Information. 

Well, I just don't wanna be jerked around. 
You know, jerking around is for jerks. 



Jeff :
What are you doing in The Lobby?

Arnau : 
Are they still in there?



Jeff : Yeah, that's The Point. She's still in there.
You go.

Arnau :
What do you mean I go?
 

Jeff :
I didn't want to hang out with these three.
I did it for you!
 
Arnau :
I don't think so. It's fine. You go.


Jeff :
Are you gay?


Arnau :
What? No...


Jeff :
Is that what this is?

Arnau :
No.



Jeff : I'm asking you seriously, I'm not judging you.
You don't know this about me, but I don't care about that stuff.
 
Arnau :
No, Jeff, I'm not gay, no.






Jeff : This is set up perfectly.
Do you not think she's hot?

Arnau :
You're acting like it's so easy.


Jeff :
Because it is so easy.

Arnau :
No, Jeff. 
It's easy for you, not for me.


Jeff :
Why not?
 

Arnau :
Because I'm not you, Jeff.
Do you just wanna see me get embarrassed?
 

Jeff :
No!
Arnau, come here, man. Come here.
Fucking come here.
I'm not pranking you, man.

You're not gonna get this opportunity very much longer.

You're Not Always Gonna Be 21, Young Man.
 
I promise you fucking that.
 
Arnau :
I don't know. I don't know what to...
How do I start?





Jeff : First of all, take these pedophile glasses off and don't wear these, they make you look like a weirdo, man.
I'm gonna put these on you. 

Holy shit!
Look at that killer.
 

That Dude right there crushes chicks.

I would take a photo of you and show you how good you looked right now, 'cause you look fantastic.

You look like a damn pilot.

Arnau :
Okay.

Like a cool pilot who drives jets.
Pop this shit.
 
Act like you've been There before.
You're not gonna be your age forever.


One day, you're gonna be The Old Dirtbag.
All by Yourself.


This is The Moment You Live for.

Arnau :
Okay.


Jeff :
Okay?
 
Arnau :
Okay.




Jeff : Hey, Halloween, you smoke?










Grandfathered in to Infinity (and Beyond!)



“ The Marvel Universe Rule [is] that whenever a character goes back in time, he or she is not going to end up in the same time line he or she left. A new time line, virtually identical to the original one, is created by the trip through time, and that's the one the character is visiting. 

The best example of this rule is MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #50, wherein the Thing went back in time to the earliest days of the Fantastic Four, as part of an experiment to cure himself. The Thing realized by the end of the story that even if his younger self was cured, it would have no bearing on his current self, because the younger Thing who received the cure was from an alternate timeline created by the Thing's journey back in time. 

Gaaaah! Hope I haven't lost you here! This is the simplest explanation I could come up with! ” 

Friday, 26 July 2019

The Majors Tom : 2010 - The Year We Make Contact





We're on dangerous ground right now, because of our secrets and our lies.

They're practically what define us.

When The Truth offends, we lie and lie until we can no longer remember it is even there.

But it is still there.

Every lie we tell incurs a debt to The Truth.

Sooner or later, that debt is paid.

That is how an HAL-9000 Computer turns into a serial murderer and goes on a killing spree.

Lies.
















 


Understand, nobody can talk.
The accents will confuse him.
He can understand me, so if you have
any questions, please let me ask them.
Good morning, HAL.



HAL [OVER SPEAKERS]:
Good morning, Dr. Chandra.



Do you feel capable of resuming all of your duties?
 


Of course.
I am completely operational and all my circuits are functioning perfectly.



That's good.
Do you know what those duties are?
 


Yes. I will operate the onboard systems of Discovery.
There is a launch window in 31 days when Earth is in the proper position.
There is enough fuel on board
for a low consumption route that will enable Discovery
to return in 28 months.

This will not present a problem.
 


CHANDRA: 
That's very good.
Now, HAL, do you mind if I ask you a question?
 


Not at all.
 


Do you recall Dave Bowman
and Frank Poole leaving the Discovery?
 


Certainly not. That could never have happened or I would remember it.


Where are Frank and Dave?


They're fine. They're not here right now.
 


Who are these people?
I can only identify you although I compute
a 65 percent probability that the man behind you is Dr. Floyd.
 


CHANDRA: 
Don't worry, HAL.
I'll explain everything later.
 



Has the mission been completed?
You know that I have the greatest enthusiasm for it.
 



The mission has been completed
and you have carried out your program very well.
 


And now, HAL, if you will excuse us
for a moment we wish to have a private conversation.
 


Certainly.
What was that all about?
 



I've erased all of HAL's memory from the moment the trouble started.
 


The 9000 series
uses holographic memories so chronological erasures
would not work.



CHANDRA: 

 I made a tapeworm.



You made a what?
It's a program that's fed into a system that will destroy any desired memories.



Wait.



Do you know why HAL did what he did?


Yes. It wasn't his fault.
Whose fault was it?


Yours.


Mine?
CHANDRA:
Yours.
In going through HAL's memory banks
I discovered his original orders.
You wrote those orders.
Discovery's mission to Jupiter was already
in the advanced stages when the first small monolith was found
and sent its signal toward Jupiter.
By direct presidential order, the existence
of that monolith was kept secret.



So?

So as the function of the command crew, Bowman and Poole
was to get Discovery to its destination it was decided they shouldn't be informed.



The investigative team was trained separately and placed in hibernation before the voyage began.
Since HAL was capable of operating
Discovery without human assistance it was decided he should be programmed to complete the mission autonomously in the event the crew was incapacitated or killed.
He was given full knowledge
of the true objective and instructed not to reveal anything
to Bowman or Poole.


He was instructed to lie.


What are you talking about?
I didn't authorize anyone to tell HAL about the monolith.
 


The directive is NSC 342-slash-23, Top Secret, January 30, 2001 .
NSC, National Security Council, the White House.
I don't care who it is.
The situation was in conflict with the basic purpose of HAL's design the accurate processing of information without distortion or concealment.
 

He became trapped.

The technical term is an H-Mobius loop, which can happen in advanced computers with autonomous
goal-seeking programs.



The goddamn White House.
I don't believe it.
 

HAL was told to lie by people who find it easy to lie.
HAL doesn't know how, so he couldn't function.
He became paranoid.
 


Those sons of bitches.
I didn't know.
I didn't know.
You think we're gonna
get out of this alive?
We have a chance.
A man of few words. I like it.
HAL [OVER SPEAKERS]: Fifteen minutes
to ignition. All systems nominal.
Good. Thank you, HAL.
FLOYD [OVER RADIO]:
We read 15 minutes, Discovery.
HAL: Dr. Chandra,
I've checked my calculations again.
By using all of Discovery's fuel now,
Discovery will not be in proper position...
...to rendezvous with Earth.
CHANDRA: Yes, I know.
HAL: Then why are we doing it?
You will rendezvous
with the new space station.
The Leonov has been
ordered home immediately.
HAL: I have no information regarding
a new space station.
Yes, I....
I know, uh.
It was completed two years ago.
Oh, my God.
FLOYD:
Put the telescope on the monitor.
Increase the magnification.
HAL:
Eleven minutes to ignition.
I don't believe it.
HAL: Dr. Chandra,
I detect strong vocal stress patterns.
-Is there a problem?
CHANDRA: No, HAL.
The mission is proceeding normally.
Can you analyze the image
on Monitor Circuit 2?
HAL: Yes. There is a circular object
near the equator.
It is 22,000 kilometers in diameter.
It is comprised of rectangular objects.
CHANDRA: How many?
HAL: 1,355,000, plus or minus 1000.
And what is the proportion
of the objects in question?
HAL: One-by-four-by-nine.
CHANDRA: Do you recognize these objects?
HAL: Yes. They are identical in size and shape
to the object you call the monolith.
Ten minutes to ignition.
All systems nominal.
CHANDRA: Is the number
of monoliths constant?
HAL:
No.
-They are increasing.
-At what rate?
HAL:
Once every two minutes.
Look closely.
Tell me I'm nuts. Are the cloud formations
going towards the spot?
You're not nuts.
ORLOV: Looks like the thing
is eating the planet.
-I think it is.
-It's reproducing exactly like a virus.
HAL: Eight minutes to ignition.
Dr. Chandra, may I make a suggestion?
Of course. What is it, HAL?
HAL:
This is a very unusual phenomenon.
Don't you think
I should abort the countdown...
...so you can remain to study it?
Chandra, get on a headset.
-Use the private channel.
-Okay.
Now you got to talk quickly.
Persuade him to continue the countdown.
I don't care what you tell him,
only don't let him stop.
HAL:
Five minutes to ignition.
Dr. Chandra, I'm ready to stop
the countdown if you want.
No, HAL, don't stop.
I am confident in your ability
to study the phenomenon yourself.
I have complete faith in you.
HAL: Propellant tank pressurization
completed. Voltage steady.
Are you sure you're making
the right decision?
I think we should stop.
Four minutes to ignition.
I enjoy working with human beings...
...and have stimulating relationships
with them.
We enjoy working with you, HAL,
and we will continue to do so...
...even if we are separated
by great distance.
Good God.
Color.
It's fading.
ORLOV: It seems to be
losing its chemical strength.
HAL: I think we should stop the countdown,
Dr. Chandra.
No. Don't do that.
HAL: This behavior is inconsistent
with logic, Dr. Chandra.
This phenomenon is too important
to leave, unless it represented danger.
Do you think there is danger here?
Captain, how critical is our ignition?
-Can we do this manually?
-It's very critical.
We cannot be accurate
to a tenth of a second if we do it manually.
HAL:
Three minutes to ignition.
Dr. Chandra, I am waiting for your reply.
I don't have time
to explain everything to you, HAL.
We have to leave here
and we need your help.
HAL:
Thirty seconds to final sequence.
If you would tell me the reasons
perhaps I could be of help.
Final sequence beginning.
Two minutes to ignition.
Dr. Chandra, I find it difficult
to proceed with the ignition...
...without knowing why we are doing this.
Is the mission in jeopardy?
Yes, we're in jeopardy.
HAL: Is that why we are making our
escape launch before the launch window?
Yes, HAL.
HAL:
Ignition in 90 seconds.
If there is danger here
and I use up all the fuel in the escape...
...what will happen to the Discovery?
It could be destroyed.
HAL:
And if I don't proceed with the launch?
Then the Leonov and everybody in it
could be destroyed.
HAL:
I understand now, Dr. Chandra.
Do you want me to stay with you?
HAL: No.
It is better for the mission if you leave.
One minute to ignition.
Thank you for telling me the truth.
You deserve it.
HAL:
Fifty seconds.
Dr. Chandra?
Yes?
HAL:
Will I dream?
I don't know.
HAL:
Forty seconds.
Thirty seconds.
Thank you, HAL.
HAL:
Goodbye, Dr. Chandra.
Twenty seconds.
FLOYD:
Chandra, get the hell out of there.
HAL:
Ten, nine, eight, seven...
...six, five, four, three...
...two, one.
Ignition full thrust.
MAN [OVER PA]: One minute to separation.
Separation in one minute.
-You had us scared for a moment.
-Nice work. You all right?
Yes, I'm all right.
MAN: Separation in 40 seconds.
-Thought you might want this.
When?
-Wasn't very hard to find.
MAN: Separation in 30 seconds.
Yeah, I knew you would do
something like this.
MAN:
Separation in 20 seconds.
Separation in 10 seconds.
[SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN]
Nine, eight, seven...
...six, five, four, three...
...two, one, zero.
BOWMAN:
HAL, do you read me?
HAL [OVER SPEAKERS]:
Yes, Dave.
Where are you?
I cannot see you on any of my monitors.
BOWMAN: That isn't important now.
I have new instructions for you.
I want you to point the AE35 antenna
towards Earth.
HAL: Dave, that will mean breaking contact
with the Leonov.
I will no longer be able to relay
my Jupiter observations...
...according to program.
BOWMAN:
I understand.
The situation has changed.
Accept priority override alpha.
Here are the AE35 coordinates.
Please, do it now.
HAL: Instructions confirmed, Dave.
It is good to be working with you again.
Have I fulfilled
the mission objectives properly?
BOWMAN:
Yes, HAL. You have done very well.
Now, there is one final message for you
to transmit to Earth.
It is the most important message
you have ever sent.
I want you to keep repeating it
as many times as possible.
HAL: What is going to happen, Dave?
BOWMAN: Something wonderful.
HAL: I'm afraid.
BOWMAN: Don't be. We'll be together.
HAL: Where will we be?
BOWMAN: Where I am now.
HAL: Lock confirmed on Beacon Terra 1.
Message commencing.
It's shrinking! It's shrinking!
[ALARM BEEPING]
Don't quit. Don't quit, damn it.
Move!
Grab something, now!

The Messenger


 

I know you people are caught in the middle of this. 

In a sense, we all are.

I wish there was something I could do.
The only thing left for us is to pray.
Pray for the safety of our families, for our countries, for our planet.
May God forgive us and protect us.







FLOYD : 
HAL, give me a system status report, please.


HAL-9000 :
Just one moment, please.
I'm sorry for the delay.
My voice recognition circuits are not completely restored although, as you can see, they are improving.
All systems are functional.
There is a small pressure leak in the aft heating unit. 
It is nothing serious.
I can compensate for it by using the redundant units.

FLOYD :
Thank you.

HAL-9000 :
Dr. Floyd?

FLOYD :
Yes?

HAL-9000 :
Would you like to play a game of chess?
I play very well.


FLOYD :
I'm sure you do. 
No, thank you.


HAL-9000 :
Dr. Floyd?



FLOYD :
What is it, HAL?

HAL-9000 :
There is a message for you.


FLOYD :
Who's calling?


HAL-9000 :
There is no identification.


FLOYD :
What's the message?



HAL-9000 :
Message as follows:
It is Dangerous to Remain Here.
You Must Leave Within Two Days.


FLOYD :
What?


HAL-9000 :
Do you want me to repeat the message, Dr. Floyd?


FLOYD :
Who recorded it?



HAL-9000 :
This is not a recording.



FLOYD :
Who's sending it?


HAL-9000 :
There is no identification.



FLOYD :
I don't understand.

HAL-9000 :
Neither do I.



FLOYD :
Is this message by voice or keyboard?


HAL-9000 :
I don't know.


FLOYD :
My response is:
We don't have enough fuel for an earlier departure.


HAL-9000 :
The answer is:
I'm aware of these facts.
Nevertheless, you must leave within two days.



FLOYD :
HAL, who the hell is sending this?


HAL-9000 :
I'm sorry, Dr. Floyd. 
I don't know.


FLOYD :
Well, tell whoever it is that I can't take any of this seriously unless I know who I'm talking to.


HAL-9000 :
Dr. Floyd?


FLOYD :
Yes?

HAL-9000 : 
The response is:
I was David Bowman.
Do you want me to repeat the last response?


FLOYD :
No, no.
Tell Curnow that this is no time for jokes.

HAL-9000 :
Dr. Curnow is not sending the message.
He is in Accessway 2.


FLOYD :
Well, tell whoever it is that...
...I can't accept that identification without proof.

HAL-9000 :
The response is: 
I understand.
It is important that you believe me.
Look behind you.


IWAS :
[IN COMPUTERIZED VOICE]
Hello, Dr. Floyd.
Please...
...believe me.


FLOYD :
What are you?

 IWAS :
This is very difficult for me.
I don't have much time.
I've been allowed to give you this warning.
You must leave here in two days.



FLOYD :
Allowed.
By who?


IWAS :
I can't explain.
You see, something is going to happen.
You must leave.


FLOYD :
What?
What's going to happen?


IWAS :
Something Wonderful.


FLOYD :
What?



IWAS :
I understand how you feel.
You see, it's all very clear to me now.
The Whole Thing.
It's Wonderful.



FLOYD :
Please, if--


IWAS :
-[IN NORMAL VOICE] 
Goodbye, Dr. Floyd.
We can have no further contact.
Remember:
You have two days.


FLOYD :
We can't leave in two days.


IWAS :
There may be another message after if all goes well.

FLOYD :
What's going to happen?