Passing Through the Ghost of Checkpoint: Charlie

The other day, I came across this book in the library stacks as I was picking up my weekly reading material. It was titled, Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Living written by Bruce Lee himself (edited by John Little). This is book I may want to acquire some day for my own collection. It is a book that you read in small doses because it gives you plenty of ideas that you need to take time in order to process them. I just started reading it but I came across two passages from Bruce Lee that I wanted to share. I have come across quite a few but I do not want to come off sounding like I have OD on “fortune cookies”.




    A teacher is never a giver of truth; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself. A good teacher is merely a catalyst.



  We have more faith in what we imitate than in what we originate.






January 17 is designated as “Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day”. I think the problem is people makes resolutions and etch them in stone. It is an “all in deal” and any minor flaw the whole deal is done. I am beginning to realize that any type of resolve needs to be more flexible. Your conditions are going to change. The knowledge you have will change as you gain more information. And also the calendar as a benchmark can be very ominous. Father Time comes off looking like Darth Vader.
To left is a picture of what was known as “Checkpoint: Charlie”. It was the infamous crossing point between East and West Berlin, Germany during the Cold War. And it existed until the Berlin Wall fell down in 1989.

I think the history of this image in an indirect (meaning more symbolical way) relate to art in whatever medium you choose to create it in. The divide that exists between the “artist” and the “audience” caused by those who feel the need to be the “gatekeepers” (Studios, labels, lawyers, agents, etc.) in between the two. The argument of who needs who in this “Trinity”.

However, the Internet has risen to a point where the role of the “gatekeeper” has become diminished. Trent Reznor of t he band Nine Inch Nails a few years ago made the biggest statement when he announced his end with dealing with major record companies.

Kevin Smith is also going outside of the studio system to release his new movie Red State. He stated he was done with the system to release his films. He was tired of the overpriced marketing that went with them. Along with the over reliance on box office totals to determine the value of a film. It is an outdated system that is bloated and obsolete in this day. He also released a series of podcasts to talk about his film. If you are a fan of film and want to learn more about how they are made then take the time to listen to this series. This a better way for fans to discover a movie than the 5-10 minute “puff” pieces on the talk show circuit. The film also has a teaser trailer for it. And this is how movie trailers should be made. Show you the movie. Get you interested. And most importantly DO NOT give away the whole story.

There is growing complaints from the “Gatekeepers” of a soon to be past that the Internet is allowing to take place. And they are complaining that this is causing anarchy that will lead to the downfall of society. The reality is the old guard is being replaced at a quicker pace. And they have themselves to blame. They are more of a roadblock. They did not listen to what people wanted and what the artist wanted to get them. After years of frustration these two groups want to get away from the middle man between them.

This is the model I am trying to figure out for myself. Although I do not necessarily want to do it by myself. The reality is that I don’t want to do it and at this point I do not have all the resources to be able to. I am not sure of the complete step by step plan. So it is a work in progress. Remember this blog is not called “Some Assembly Required” for nothing. It is one ongoing experiment. And when you use the term “experiment” people tend to get very nervous. And the voice of Nancy Reagan comes into their heads reminding them “To Just Say ‘NO'”. Plus the term “experiment” scares anyone in parental role. And this is why I do not talk about this with my own. It also scares anyone who has managerial role. No manager will allow “experimentation”. All results must be guaranteed or else they will not approve it. The problem with presenting any formal plan is that you spend too much time over explaining points. And usually over explaining to people who will provide little but most likely no assistance. However, those people feel your “mea culpas” need to go through them.

Another problem is it is award season. And people will also use the works that get nominated as a benchmark on what you are trying to create. So if that is what is getting awarded then that is what I should be doing too. And I am tired of explaining of what I want to do is not necessarily what they did. I want to create my thing even though I may be inspired by what they did. I want to create. I have no interest in being a human Xerox machine. I am not sure how big my audience could be or should be. I need to keep the experiment going. I have absolutely no control over the response of others.

What do I want?

I came across this posting from the blog Gaping Void titled “the book does not matter. the conversation does.” A conversation gives both sides a chance to engage a “work” and present their side. It also gives a chance to change their minds about it. A chance that things can move on to another level. Buzzword: Synergy. Everyone wants to be “engaged” in their endeavors. One way criticism is not a conversation. It is like news postings on the Internet. You need to stay informed. But if you want to read some of the most worthless replies then scroll down to postings below it. Any site that allows people to post under made-up screen names is a waste of time. Ignorant rants will never lead to positive action. Please do not engage these postings. It is amazing that in comics the hero wears a mask so he can go into action against the evil in society. However, on the Internet people create masks a.k.a. screen names in order to just talk shit.

How to deal with it all? How to deal with the “roadblocks of the useless”? I will refer to a scene from the movie Office Space. (I was not able to find the clip itself) Fans of this film will know what I am referring too. There is manager Bill Lumbergh who is a typical soul sucking boss who is more interested in arbitrary company rules then doing something that is actually productive. He wants to talk to Peter who is just skipping out of work lately. Instead of being direct with Peter, Lumbergh decides to stand in his way to get him to stop so they can talk. Peter just walks around and keeps going without saying a word. There is a lesson in that.

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