postMonday, 24 March 2008

Rage: I Found Another Racist

What makes us at The End more angry than ignorant racists? If you said nothing, you got the right answer. If you said Bob Saget's standup you were a close second.

I stumbled onto Wogan’s blog today who had posted a letter from some other (unknown to me) blogger, which was a response to a recent Mercury article titled 'It's not too late, say sorry for apartheid'. While Wogan seems to think that this was a sharp response, it personally made my blood boil, it ground my gears (al la Peter Griffin), it made me see red and all other synonyms for a sudden burst of rage.

Obviously the letter is either written by an ignorant moron or a wanna-be Goebbels trying to develop some new propaganda. Anyway, I’ve decided to re-write it so it makes more sense. The original is in red italics.

To the Previously Disadvantaged,

To the disadvantaged,

We are sorry that our ancestors were intelligent, advanced and daring enough to explore the wild oceans to discover new countries and develop them. We are sorry that those who came before us took you out of the bush and taught you that there was more to life than beating drums, killing each other and chasing animals with sticks and stones.

We are sorry that our ancestors were power hungry morons bent on world domination. We are sorry that those who came before us disrupted your way of life and destroyed your culture.

We are sorry that they planned, funded and developed roads, towns, mines, factories, airports and harbours, all of which you now claim to be your long deprived inheritance giving you every right to change and rename these at your discretion. We are sorry that our parents taught us the value of small but strong families, to not breed like rabbits and end up as underfed, diseased, illiterate shack dwellers living in poverty. We are sorry that when the evil apartheid government provided you with schools, you decided they’d look better without windows or in piles of ashes.

We are sorry that they abused, tortured, killed, raped and exploited you as slaves so that they could develop roads, towns, mines, factories, airports and harbours, in order to further exploit your land and resources. We are sorry that our culturally imposed values and culture that our parents have passed onto us and we used to redefine your country undermine your values and culture. We are sorry that the evil apartheid government only provided you with schools that offered a compromised education to ensure your oppression.

We happily gave up those bad days of getting spanked in our all white schools for doing something wrong and much prefer these days of freedom where problems can be resolved with knives and guns. We are sorry that it is hard to shake off the bitterness of the past when you keep on raping, torturing and killing our friends and family members, and then hide behind the fence of “human rights” with smiles on your faces.

We happily give up those bad days when problems were solved with an “ask questions later” mentality. When the innocent were abducted, tortured, detained and killed without evidence or trial. We are sorry that we let the crimes of the minority make us bitter to the rest of your race. We are sorry that we are still racist.

We are sorry that we do not trust the government. We have no reason to be so suspicious because none of these poor hard working intellectuals have ever been involved in any form of corruption or “irregularities”. We are sorry that we do not
trust the police force and, even though they have openly admitted that they have lost the war against crime and criminals, we should not be negative and just ignore their corruption and carry on hoping for the best.

We are sorry that we do not trust the government even though the corruption and “irregularities” that occur in it are not far different from the governments of the countries which raped your land in the first place. We are sorry that we blame the crime on the inabilities of the new police force, when the seeds for such anarchy were nurtured in the hate and one sidedness of the previous one.

We are sorry that it is more important to you to have players of colour in our national teams than winning games and promoting patriotism. We know that sponsorship doesn’t depend on a team’s success.

We are sorry that for us ‘winning is all that matters’ and that we don’t care about having representative sports teams and promoting patriotism, even though out teams have still excelled on the field.

We are sorry that our border posts have been flung open and now left you competing for jobs against illegal immigrants from our beautiful neighbouring countries. All of them countries that have grown into economic powerhouses after kicking out the “settlers”. We are sorry that we don’t believe in witchcraft, beetroot and garlic cures, urinating on street corners, virginity testing, slaughtering of bulls in our back yards, trading women for cattle and other barbaric practices. Maybe we just grew up differently.

We are sorry that our counter parts have destroyed our neighbouring countries and that we don’t appreciate you efforts in the situation. We refuse to accepts or admit just how much harm we have done. We are sorry that we do not attempt to accommodate or except your cultures even though some of ours involve eating the blood and flesh of humans, taking expensive cough syrup (which does nothing), urinating on street corners, cooking our skin in the sun, starving ourselves for fashion and other barbaric practices.

We are sorry that your medical care, water supplies, roads, railways and electricity supplies are going down the toilet because skilled people who could have planned for and resolved these issues had to be shown away because they were of the wrong ethnic background and now have to work in foreign countries where their skills are more needed. We are so sorry that we’d like this country to fulfil its potential so we can once again be proud South Africans.

We are sorry that we are so against affirmative action and what it stands for. We are sorry that we can never acknowledge the new government’s achievements but linger on the failures. We are sorry that many of us have a bad case of ‘swart gevaar’ and left the country because of this. Most of all we are sorry that we never wanted apartheid to end, we just wanted to change its name and make some of its policies less cruel.

The Previously Advantaged

The Advantaged

Whoever wrote that letter and those who find it amusing are the very poison that makes me ashamed to be white. Why are we such a disgusting race?

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postFriday, 21 March 2008

The Wolfman Cometh

The first look at the new Wolfman is finally here. While checking out the new big furry, why not take a walk down memory lane at gaze at some of makeup artist, Rick Baker's previous work.

It’s been 67 years since the first Wolfman film and in that time makeup sure has come a long way. Entertainment Weekly has released the first look at the New Wolfman due out February 13 2009.

Universal have pumped an $85 million budget into this horror remake starring Benicio del Toro (Traffic), Anthony Hopkins (The Remains of the Day), Hugo Weaving (The Matrix) and Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada).

While director Joe Johnston has no Werewolf experience (unless you count that scene in Jumanji where the boy turns into a dog thing), the same cannot be said for the films special effects makeup artist Rick Baker.

Baker told EW, “[To fans] At least you know that the guy who's doing the makeup in the movie is coming from the same place they are — as a fan. I have a real appreciation for the old Universal classics. The old fanboy in me is jumping up and down here!”

Baker became a makeup artist because of films such as Frankenstein and the 1941 original version of The Wolf Man. His passion for Werewolves is reflected in his resume. Take a look:

The Howling (1981)

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Thriller (The Michael Jackson music video) (1983)

"Werewolf" (The TV series) (1987)

Wolf (1994)

Cursed (2005)

Apart from turning men in to lycans, Barker has also one the Academy Award for Best Makeup six times:

An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Harry and the Hendersons (1987)

Ed Wood (1994)

The Nutty Professor (1996)

Men in Black (1997)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Applying the makeup to Del Toro took about 3 hours and another hour to remove it, which is quick for the type of work. It’s good to see that Barker has remained faithful to the original style and not gone overly giant wolf (al la Van Helsing).

It will be interesting to see what happens next year when this is released as Werewolves seldom do big numbers at the boxoffice. Here is a list of the top grossing modern (1980 – onwards) werewolf films without the ones that also have vampires (Van Helsing, The Underworld films).

1. Wolf (1994) $65,002,597
2. Teen Wolf (1985) $33,086,611
3. An American Werewolf in London (1981) $30,565,292
4. An American Werewolf in Paris (1997) $26,570,463
5. Cursed (2005) $19,297,522
6. The Howling (1981) $17,985,893
7. Silver Bullet (1985) $12,361,866
8. Wolfen (1981) $10,626,725
9. Teen Wolf Too (1987) $7,888,703
10. The Company of Wolves (1985) $4,389,334

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Operation Margarine

What does early margarine advertising have to do with the army, the church and arguments? Find out by reading this post.

The following is an extreme translation of Operation Margarine by Roland Barthes from Mythologies (find out what that is).

But this T-Shirt from Busted Tees

Nowadays it is common for people to smugly discuss the problems of the status quo as an foolproof means of defending it. This is how it goes down: You take the idea or the belief that you treasure like a head on a stick – then you attack it from all angles. Allow everyone to know how petty or problematic it is – let the idea ‘go-down’ on its own imperfection. Then just before this idea explodes all over its self pull it up and save it “in spite of” its problems, or rather because of them. Want a couple of examples? There are o so many.

Take the army. It’s a barbaric institution that is above civil law – it is the autocratic state within the democratic state. It takes common people and drowns them in uniformity. They are the ones who fight for the rights of a country that they themselves are exempt from. And just when everyone is in your pocket and sees that the army is archaic, with slight of hand, bam! Now you are talking about the perfect patriotic institution, that which the whole country, the flag - democracy itself depends on. It is a necessary sacrifice that is made to create the heroes that protect our way of life. And like a battered wife who knows no better, we come crawling back, battered and bruised but still very much in love.

Speaking of the army again. Argue about the scientists and engineers that blindly push the limits to create such devastating weapons – the same weapons that are used to exterminate human life. But then pull a 180 and speak about all the great developments that have come about because of this fierce science. Explain how the military is great because of the triumphs, which it provided the genesis of.

Last but not least, let us look at the church: Talk with words laced in napalm about its self-righteousness, its narrow-minded bigots – lay all of its faults out on the table. But then just before you deliver the final blow (picture the Superman vs Doomsday battle) – explain the benefits that its moral lawfulness provides and how the act of salvation can save even those who are excluded from its reach.

It is a kind of vaccine: one cures doubts in an idea by explaining the faults that plague it.

This inoculates those it touches as they accept a lesser evil to prevent or cure a diabolic one. Then anyone who rebels against the inhumanities of the status quo and its values – is the common illness that is now insignificant – already inoculated against. There protests will fall on deaf ears, as they are already accounted for. Those who see the weaknesses are pre-empted and familiarized with them before they can consider them as anything other than inevitable, and in the long run beneficial. We trade our freedom for the transcendent good of the idea. A little ‘confessed’ evil saves one from acknowledging a lot of hidden evil.

This vaccine can be seen in the marketing for Astra margarine. Their adverts always begin with a cry of resent against margarine: “A mousse? Made with margarine? Unthinkable!” “Margarine? Your uncle will be furious!” and then the adverts open one’s eyes and margarine is described as a delicious, economical and useful food.

The ads aren’t just selling a product they are selling a value - “Get rid of the prejudice which costs you dearly.” This is how the status quo disposes of progressive views. “The army is extreme, archaic and undemocratic.” “Of course the church is full of bigots and murderous conformism.” The argument then turns to the inevitable, “But”. But what is wrong with these insignificant negatives when they are entwined with tremendous advantages? It is worth the cost of the immunization. After all, does it matter if margarine is just fat, when it goes further than butter and costs less? Does it matter if the cost of order is a little brutal or a little blind, when it provides us such tremendous social benefits overall? And so we stand rid of the prejudices which cost us dearly. Stripped of our principles which cost ‘us’ too much, in terms of the ‘greater’ good.

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Extreme Translation: Mythologies

What's more extreme than a Minotaur, probably the Iron Man Hulk Buster Armour but since we don't have that, here is an extreme translation.

I will be posting extreme translations of certain essays from Roland Barthes's Mythologies. What's an extreme translation? Pretty much a summary in the first person. Instead of doing the typical summary - "Barthes said this; Barthes thought that." It will be written in the first person.

Also an extreme translation will update the language to a more contemporary understanding, however, examples and opinions will still be those of a 1950's Frenchman. I'm sure there are some who would hate this little project but I think Barthes himself would be in favour of it. The English speaking world does not have first hand access to Barthes's esays in Mythologies anyway, since he wrote them in French and they were translated by Annette Lavers. Thus, this is a translation of a translation.

So anyone familiar with Barthes's interest in meaning would know that he would probably find this project slightly interesting. Any of the following opinions are meant to reflect Barthes's opinions but since they are my interpretation of his work this will not always be the case.

Anyway enjoy Mythologies: The Extreme Translation (keep checking back here as more essays are added).

1. Operation Margarine

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postFriday, 14 March 2008

Who the Hell is: Roland Barthes

Roland_Barthes_smallWas Roland Barthes simply a guy who smoked cigarettes and looked non-chalant? Find out here.


The Just: Roland Barthes was a sickly Frenchman. While some would probably use the term sick to refer to his sexual or religious orientation the word is used here quite literally. Barthes suffered from bouts of poor health throughout his life. Which prevented him from being part of the more prestigious academic institutions of French academic life but also meant he could skip out on the draft during World War 2.

Born on November 12, 1915 Barthes lost his father to an act of man (a naval battle during WWI) at the age of one. Without a father figure Barthes was raised solely by his mother, Bill O’Reilly would probably argue that this turned him gay. His mother would prove to be the one true great love of his life as Barthes proved to be a tragic lover generally falling in love with the 'wrong' man. Or O'Reilly would argue, the wrong gender (If you haven't worked it out yet O'Reilly is homophobic).

Barthes would become most famous for a series of bimonthly articles he wrote for Les Lettres Nouvelles (those French and there crazy magazine names), these articles would latter be published in English in Mythologies and The Eiffel Tower and Other Mythologies. These articles dissected the ideological beliefs of modern day culture in the most seemingly ordinary everyday aspects of life. For instance kids toys teach kids to be part of society and stripping is about avoiding nudity.

Barthes died tragically in 1980. While crossing a road after a party (probably drunk) he was hit by a laundry truck (yes a laundry truck). He died a month later on the 25 March 1980 in hospital after failing to recover from his injuries. Friends of his said he just didn't seem to have the will to live anymore since his mother died 3 years earlier – the laundry truck just sped up the process.

The Scandal: Apparently had a friends with benefits relationship with fellow French philosopher Michel Foucault. Barthes ended things because he was jealous of Foucault's promiscuity and their friendship never recovered.

Probably Not True: It is reported that whenever Barthes uttered the word “Shazam!” he would transform into a superhero and defend France from the criminally insane.

Key Concepts: The man had more ideas than a JFK conspiracy theorist. He had a theory for everything and unlike most academics he was his own worst critic constantly re-evaluating and adopting new theories whenever his older ones began to become popular.

No 1. Myth:

Before reading this you might want to brush up on the concept of the sign. Now the problem with the sign is that the whole concept is pretty neutral. So it doesn’t explain the whole idea of say propaganda or ideology.

That’s right ideology or a belief system. Obviously when people talk they transport their beliefs through language but this isn’t always done in the regular direct fashion. We use things like simile or metaphor and things take on different connotations.

Barthes’s purpose with myth was to dissect the underlying belief systems that were fused into everyday life (rather than just claiming it’s common sense). Yeah, that’s right common sense is lame.

So what we think is common sense is in fact a myth – or an element of culture that makes itself appear natural when in fact it has a historical origin based on an ideology. For instance for years scientists made claims that the left side of men’s brains were more developed, while for women it was the right side. This enforced the whole notion of men being logical and rational, while women were intuitive. However, now that ideologies of gender equality are becoming more and more prominent scientists are finding that there is no difference between the development of men and women’s brains. Ola.

Barthes read cultural practices searching for these hidden ideologies by investigating that which he called “falsely obvious”. The only problem is that in investigating an object which myth works through, the object does not cease to be that object, thus making the whole process seem more concrete. For example in No Country for Old Men Chigurh’s coin represents fate or destiny but it does not cease being a coin.

Barthes expands the sign to explain this. There is a signifier and a signified that combine to make a sign – this is a first order system. But then myth hijacks this sign by turning the first order sign into a signifier of another sign. So myth is a second order system. Basically think of a step and then add another step onto it. The second step depends on the first.

Barthes uses the terms denotation and connotation to explain this. Denotation refers to the first order meaning and connotation refers to the second order meaning. Thus, Chigurh’s coin denotatively represents a coin but the connotation of it is fate.

In Short:

  • Signs can have layers of meaning
  • Myth is a sign that is built on another sign
  • Denotation refers to the first order sign
  • Connotation refers to the second order sign

More ideas coming soon...

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More on The Incredible Hulk Trailer

abomination How long would you like to see two green monsters battle on screen? 6 minutes, 18 minutes, 30 minutes, 2 hours - find out if you'll get your wish when the Hulk fights the Abomination.

The new Hulk played by Edward Norton Here are some updates on the previous Hulk trailer post. The director of  The Incredible Hulk, Louis Leterrier has confirmed that the effects shots from the teaser trailer released yesterday are not yet finished. He also said that the scene in the trailer where Hulk and the Abomination square off is the start of the final battle between the two gamma monsters. Here's a clip of what he said about the fight:

But our final scene, our final battle – unlike a normal movie where the final fight scene is six minutes long, ours is 26 minutes long! So you get 26 minutes of two monsters pummelling each other through New York City, jumping up and down, ripping helicopters from the sky and stuff.

26 minutes that might be a tad long, let's hope it works out. You can read the full interview yourself at empire online where they have a shot by shot analysis of the Hulk trailer with Leterrier. He makes no mention of Tim Blake Nelson's scene as Samuel Sterns (aka The Leader), however.

The official Incredible Hulk site is also up and those non-US citizens can now watch the teaser trailer there.

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postThursday, 13 March 2008

The Incredible Hulk Trailer

The trailer for The Incredible Hulk if finally out. [insert excited sound]...


The first Incredible Hulk trailer was just released, check it out while you can at the end of this post before YouTube removes it. If you're in the US or have IP address cloaking software you can watch the trailer in HD at

It looks like the film will be really exciting and everything Marvel have been promising - more action, a proper villain and a more heroic Bruce Banner/Hulk. Norton's performance looks to have all the right elements to it - the kind of "accidental hero torn between his curse/happiness and his moral responsibility to everyone else" thing.

In terms of design the new Hulk looks far better than the previous film and the Abomination looks downright awesome. However, in this trailer the CG is looking very obviously CG. Hopefully they will sort this out before the films release. I'm not overly worried about this, though, as I would rather watch a great film with average graphics than the other way around.

Here's the Abomination and another Hulk pic:



Enjoy this trailer while it's still around.

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postSaturday, 01 March 2008

Tilda Swinton is a TRY-HARD

Michael Clayton was a terrible film that ended up steeling Into the Wild's Oscar spot. Well, let the Clayton bashing begin.

We’ve all met try-hards. Those people who just let the shit fly out of their mouths in the hope that their audience will eat it up and declare them the king of the universe. At school (and sadly university) you had those guys who would tell the TALES of their weekend which usually involved everything except the Loch Ness Monster.

You know the type: “It was so hectic, I drank 43 beers and then 12 bottles of Whiskey, then the cops pulled me over while I was driving with a hooker on my lap but I told them straight “Look buddy I am the Law” so he let me go which was great timing because just then a camel walked past and offered to give us a ride back into town and didn’t even ask for a tip. (You can substitute “camel ride” for whatever extremely improbable events you were spun. The usuals are copious amounts of attractive women, booze, and how much bigger the other guy was, when truthfully they got drunk off 2 beers, and ended the night alone after being beaten senseless by a dwarf with cerebral palsy).

Now to the feature presentation: Tilda Swinton is a try-hard.

She claimed when asked about the Oscars: “I’ve never seen it on television and I’ve no idea what happens here.”

What a load of crap- I’m not one for celebrity gossip but this really ground my gears (I’ll have to check with Pete Griffin what the correct past-tense of “grind-my-gears” is).

Swinton, THE NOW OSCAR WINNER, claimed she had never seen the Oscars before and didn’t really know much about it. WOW, SHE’S SUCH AN INDIE ACTRESS- lucky for her she just happened to act in an “Oscar Movie” being released in time for “Oscar Season” which generated oodles of “Oscar Buzz” (who the fuck did she think this Oscar guy was anyway). It's probably the biggest lie caught on camera since Clinton lied to the entire Nation (you know the one about finding Hillary attractive).

Sadly- Tilda’s performance as she uttered these lines was very unconvincing, and she may have played the “I’m sooo disinterested in this Awards show” card a little too hard (Can’t remember all the jiz that came out of her mouth but I’m sure it’s documented on the Net somewhere).

A side point is that her performance in Michael Clayton wasn’t even that great. Sure she spoke with a decent American accent and their was one scene near the end where she looked reasonably shocked, but otherwise it was nothing special. Now Tom Wilkinson, on the other hand, deserved the statue, although I must admit I didn’t catch that Old Man Cowboy Movie but I can confirm that Javier Bardem’s haircut really freaked me out.

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Microsoft Word Recovery

In a desperate attempt to impress the world Nim Chimsky has written an article on how to recover files in MS Word. Probably not your smartest move Nim.

Ever been putting the finishing touches on your next best-selling novel; making the final changes on your Doctoral Dissertation; or just typing your lover’s name over and over and over and over to see if it really is meant to be (P.S. if you really do weird shit like this please stop reading and never visit this site again).

THEN all of a sudden something terrible happens…...

You close the programme and accidentally push “No” when Mr PC asks if you want to save your changes.

Well, here is some info that might help.

PLEASE NOTE: This article only deals with the older versions of Word. We will update the article as soon as our pending law suite with Microsoft is over (apparently we are so popular that by calling Word 2007 crap in a small article on our “highly influential” blog we “personally insulted the integrity of the company, not to mention hurt their feelings and compromised their dignity” (quote from a source who wishes to remain anonymous: not surprising, if I was as sensitive as that prick I’d also want to keep it a secret). Aah, if only their customer-service responded as quickly as their lawyers (they pounced on us before we could even say "jiminy willikers").


If you accidentally click “No” when asked if you would like to save your changes in Microsoft Word:

Go to Tools>Options>File Locations>AutoRecover Files...( look under the “File Types” column for “Auto Recover Files” and double click on it, under “Folder Name” scroll to the very left hand side to get the folder name) that should tell you where Word saves autobackups –


Also to make sure your future work is saved automatically: Go to Tools>Options>Save and tick “Save AutoRecover info every:” and specify a time (about 5 minutes should do the trick).

Hope that helps.

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