Monthly Archives: March 2008

Round Up of Frivolous Things

The site has had, until yesterday, another quiet few weeks, what with one thing another. Whenever I go through one of these periods where I don’t have time to get something substantial up (or where, as was the was the case over the last week or so, I’m labouring over something that starts as a short post and ends as a great big one) the temptation is always to keep the page ticking over by posting the various silly things and rumours on this page. But then I get self-conscious about how lightweight some of this stuff is.

After I’ve just published a “proper” article or post, though, I’ve got no such qualms. So on the coat-tails of my piece on Film Theory, it’s time to catch up on the frivolous stuff from the internet.

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Is Film Theory Bullshit? A Look Back at Noël Carroll’s Mystifying Movies

Mystifying Movies: Fads and Fallacies in Contemporary Film Theory (Noël Carroll, Columbia University Press, 1988)

Anyone who makes a habit of writing or even talking about films in any depth – debating meanings, interpretations, and so on – will sooner or later get the dismissive response: “well, you can make it mean anything, really, can’t you?” It can be a frustrating reaction, because often it is prompted by a knee-jerk resistance to the idea that there’s anything deeper going on in a medium such as film that is so synonymous with popular entertainment. It becomes particularly maddening when it can be easily verified that an interpretation under discussion was intended by the filmmakers: so, for example, if someone is dismissive of the idea that High Noon has a subtext commenting on McCarthayism, despite screenwriter Carl Foreman having endorsed that reading. At the same time, though, such scepticism serves a purpose in demanding some sort of justification: either a recourse to evidence that the filmmaker intended a reading, or an explanation of why a reading unintended by the filmmaker is nevertheless plausible and useful. That’s a positive impulse, and part of the fun of interpreting and discussing films is haggling over where to draw the line between an interesting interpretation and  an unsustainable crock.

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New Tunnel to Link Eastern Freeway with Kingdom of the Mole Men

Roads Minister Tim Pallas has announced that studies will continue to assess the viability of linking the Eastern Freeway with CityLink via a proposed tunnel. The tunnel will run from Collingwood to Flemington, under the Melbourne General Cemetery and via a lost underground civilization of cave-dwelling mole men.

“This is a practical, real-world solution to Melbourne’s traffic problems,” declared  Pallas. “There are a lot of people out there who would like to see us pursue all sorts of fantasy-land proposals, like train lines to Cranbourne East and South Morang, or peak hour trains less than 20 minutes apart on the Upfield Line. But we aren’t interested in dreams. We are interested in feasible solutions, like the Collingwood – Moletopia – Flemington link.”

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Second Thoughts About Secondary Consent

In last month’s Planning News, Andrew Clarke raised a number of questions that had confronted him while sorting through the case law regarding amendments to plans and permits. That article highlighted the tendency of the planning system to make hard work of what should be simple matters: I suspect the seemingly arcane quandaries he mentioned will be familiar to many practising statutory planners. At the centre of many of those difficulties is the issue of secondary consent: the amendment of plans not through Section 72 of the Act, but by acting upon flexibility built into the conditions of permits. It is supposed to be the simpler option, a shortcut that saves time compared to the path laid out in S.72. However, there is always a danger associated with leaving the marked path: you risk getting lost in the undergrowth. That, unfortunately, is where we now stand with regards to secondary consent.

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