The Exorcist and “girl-fear”

All of this is typical girl-fear. Once you realize that The Exorcist is, essentially, the story of a 12-year-old who starts cussing, masturbating, and disobeying her mother—in other words, going through puberty—it becomes apparent to the feminist-minded viewer why two adult men are called in to slap her around for much of the third act. People are convinced that something spooky is going on with girls; that, once they reach a certain age, they lose their adorable innocence and start tapping into something powerful and forbidden. Little girls are sugar and spice, but women are just plain scary. And the moment a girl becomes a woman is the moment you fear her most.

Watching The Exorcist now, and I have to regretfully conclude this reading is a bit of a stretch, which is a bummer because it’s really entertaining. The 12 year old Regan “masturbates” by stabbing her vagina with a crucifix, she “disobeys her mother” by peeing on the floor. This is a kind of liberation that is not very desirable!

A much stronger theme is the modern secular American culture is ultimately unfulfilling, leaving the upper-middle class characters feeling out of control of their children and their own destiny. They look for salvation and faith mainly in Christianity, but also other cultures (the priest is an immigrant, the demon is Pazuzu).

Interesting trivia: back at the school or whatever, there’s a banner in Latin letters that says “TASKUKETE!” – which is Japanese for “Help!” (“助けて!”)
Arguably: the deleted spider-walk scene inverts the little girl’s top and bottom, and she drools blood from her mouth, which could be interpreted as a perverted menstruation… however, again, not very desirable for would-be liberated women! Yuck.

Ivan Dobsky

every episode ends with Ivan Dobsky killing someone
sometimes to get back into jail
so the story elements are
open on the jail
he’s being released
Mr Jennings describes all his posessions
Ivan says the horrible thing they did to him to get a confession
Ivan is on Mr Hoppy
Ivan talks to 3 people trying to buy things that no longer exist
sometimes one of them rips him off
then Ivan meets someone who will be his victim
then Ivan ends up back at jail

ZACH: Nice

Soft Robot

Another recent technological development that means engineering has caught up with my visions from high school: the soft robot which comes from George M. Whitesides’ lab at Harvard.

UPDATE: Reading their paper and watching the video, their lab

  • printed a master mold in ABS using a 3D printer
  • then cast in “EcoFlex” (from Smooth-On). A vacuum chamber is used to pull bubbles out of the EcoFlex before it is poured into the mold.
  • The non-expanding backing is a different material.


However, after reading up on new techniques with 3D printing, I bet one could get similar results printing directly in the silicone goo! I know some have tried printing in caulking, for example with the Frostruder. Note caulking would probably be too stiff for this application… but maybe could be used as a flexible tube, or the less-flexible side? In a two-goo printer maybe?

See also:

Film in West Oakland

In Cole Valley, police officers responding to calls of a masked gunman holding up the Alpha Market on the corner of Cole and Parnassus discovered a much more pedestrian crime in progress. When cops arrived on the scene and overpowered the masked gunman, who was behind the counter pointing his gun at the ceiling, what they discovered was 41-year-old city resident (and struggling actor?) holding a replica weapon

DEE: I think that the things that I’ve filmed with [you]
DEE: would be much more suspect
DEE: if the cops were to assume the action was real
BRAIN: The difference being we made a point to shoot in West Oakland
BRAIN: where there are no people
BRAIN: or laws