This is a fascinating book about the type of precognition often experienced in dreams, built off the work of J.W. Dunne. Author Eric Wargo provides numerous famous examples of precognitive dreams, often about traumatic events such as plane crashes or the sinking of the Titanic. Wargo claims such cases of precognition are actually “prememory”: your unconscious mind remembering a future memory, not of the event itself, but of your emotional reaction to learning news of the event. Both the author and I are aware of how crazy and “woo” this all sounds, but Wargo’s research is scientifically rigorous, and he walks a fine line of being both skeptical about paranormal claims but also open-minded to their possibilities (something I wish more on both sides of the paranormal/skeptical debate were willing to do).
There is a growing consensus in the scientific community (and society at large) that the idea of a lone genius who makes great discoveries and innovations in isolation is a myth. That may be partially true—the accomplishments of famous individuals in the past were sometimes overstated while diminishing the efforts of others who helped them along the way. However, the pendulum has swung too far in this respect. The truth is that there were lone geniuses (in science and art), without whom certain discoveries and innovations would not have been made.
The best form of advertising is word of mouth, and the new word of mouth is social media. The aim of social media companies is to make their users spend more time on their platforms in order to generate more ad revenue. The more time people spend online, the less time they spend with other people in person, which means less time for physical “word of mouth” interactions. Today, people have more interactions with other people on the internet than in real life, making social media the new “word of mouth”. (This was true before the Covid-19 pandemic which only compounded this effect further.)
When writing fiction, you can either write for now or forever. To become a successful bestseller you need to appeal to the masses, and the masses are, by definition, average. That is average intelligence, average creativity, average originality, average in taste and interests, etcetera. The masses don’t like the most creative, innovative, transgressive, and artistic works of art—and they never will. There’s only ever a small subset of the population with refined enough taste to find and appreciate the diamonds in the rough and discover a truly creative artist—someone like H.P. Lovecraft—during their lifetime.
Why are blockbusters getting worse? Short answer: Money.
Long answer: Blockbuster franchise movies have become such a cash cow that the corporations who own the major studios are relying on these billion-dollar movies as a primary source of revenue. The studios operate at the whim of the corporation’s board and shareholders, so they become risk-averse and reject any new or creative ideasbecause they don’t know if it will succeed or fail. Continue reading →
I’ve always loved watching movies, especially in the theater. There’s nothing like seeing a film on the big screen with a full surround-sound system. It’s an experience you can’t quite reproduce at home. But I never went to see movies in the theater as much as I would’ve liked to because it was too expensive. In New York and Los Angeles, it’s $15+ for a ticket—and don’t even get me started on the food and drink prices. So last year, when MoviePass lowered their service to $9.99 a month, I immediately signed up. With it, you can see one movie every day, potentially thirty movies a month, all for $9.99—less than the price of one ticket. It was a no-brainer for someone like me. Continue reading →