Rest Easy, the Free Will You Never Thought You Didn’t Have, You Might Actually Have After All.

Consider this: you have epilepsy. You suffer from epileptic seizures. You get brain surgery to remove the part of your brain causing the seizures and all goes as planned—no more seizures. A few weeks later, you begin to notice a change in appetite, and then an increased libido. Still no seizures, though, and more food and sex feel like good problems to have. But then an odd and unusual desire grips you, one you know is wrong, but that’s there nonetheless. For some reason you want to search for child porn. Now I’ll stop the hypothetical here to avoid getting too grotesque, but this is the actual case of a man we’ll call Arthur. Arthur is on probation now after serving a reduced sentence for possession of child pornography—reduced because of testimony from his neurosurgeon that his disease directly stems from alterations made during his surgery and is easily treatable. Continue reading

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Aside

I have a backlog of movies, music, TV, and books to review, most of which were recommended to me by close friends and family under the assumption that I’d love said movie, song, show, book, etc. I loved said movies, songs, shows, books, etc., and so not only do I have a backlog of reviews, but a backlog of positive reviews—many, soaring positive reviews in which I fumble around in clumsy excitement to express how profound or heartbreaking or beautiful or important said movie, song, show, book, etc. is. So what I’m beating around the bush to say is that many of these reviews early on are going to be very positive because they’re coming from a list tailored to my interests. I do not love everything; in fact, I dislike a great many things, and I look forward to sharing my disgust and disdain with you as soon as I get to the things I disgust and disdain.

To Pimp a Butterfly

To Pimp a Butterfly Big

To Pimp a Butterfly is a pulsating full-album experience of soulful 70s funk and poppy free verse jazz, synthesized seamlessly with intricate bass-heavy electronic compositions and a poetic, storytelling lyricism to create a sound that rises and falls with the emotion and tonality of each song. It’s mournful and prideful and angry and loving and afraid and introspective and every note is evidence of the time, effort, and powerful emotion that went into making it. I can’t say enough; the album is a remarkable testament to what music is capable of.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland Big

I wanted badly to love Tomorrowland. A Disney movie about a place where the drug of choice is a hefty dose of imagination, directed by the man who brought us The Incredibles and The Iron Giant, starring George Clooney as the virile gray mentor to his gorgeous, my-age co-star: I rushed to the theater with the excitement of a kid with a shiny new toy. Sadly, I left with a similar disappointment to the kid who finds out his shiny new toy doesn’t do much more than be shiny. For all its brightly colored Disney ornamentation, the movie lacked the subtle maturity of Walt & Co.’s better films. It felt like a movie made by kids, for kids, seeming to suggest that if we smile big enough, things might just get better. Well…if you see it, don’t forget to smile.

The Writer’s Dilemma

Kurt Mathers, aged seventy-two, was the greatest writer the world had ever known. Critics raved about his books, his poetry, his short stories and anything else he chose to grace with the written word. It was once said that if a woman ever received a love letter from Kurt Mathers, she would marry him on the spot.

Mary Wheaton, aged twenty-four, wasn’t a fan of Kurt Mathers, though. Neither were most ordinary folk, to tell you the truth. See, Kurt’s writing was so coded in symbols and subtext and what not that the ordinary man couldn’t possibly make sense of it. Mary sure couldn’t. “Art, schmart,” she once snapped at a friend after a few drinks, “I’ll tell ya, if I wrote a book, I’d tell you exactly what it is you needed to know and that’s that. Nothing more, nothing less.” Mary never did write any books.

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