December 09, 2011

from memory lane to the highway of bigotry

My last post was about a memory of mine, and speaking of memories reminded me this stupid news story of ignorance and complete bigotry:

Mina Ungan
There is a book titled "The Memoirs of a Dinosaur" written by Mina Ungan which became a bestseller in Turkey when it was first published in 1998. I remember that the book was around at the time but I don't particularly remember reading it, maybe because I really didn't read it or maybe I couldn't find anything interesting for me. But that's not the point.

The book is actually a autobiography, a book of memoirs, in which Prof. Mina Ungan defines herself as a dinasaur not only because of her old age but also her dedication to communism.

And, a teacher in a high school in Ankara advises this particular book to her students as a very good example of a memoir. However, the school administration decides that this book (which is not in the cirriculum) is not appropriate for the students. They think that this book promotes infidelity, drinking, smoking and bad moral values. So the administration asks for an investigation of the teacher.

An inspector comes.

In defense of her advice, the teacher says that this book is one of the best examples of a memoir in Turkish language because it doesn't only portray the life of the professor but also gives us insights about many important figures of her era.

It turns out that, this man whose job is supposedly to investigate the whole matter in an objective manner had already given his verdict maybe even before he had arrived to the school. And he forces the students to sign a report which blames the teacher for her inconvenient suggestions for the school.

One of the students tries to defend his teacher, saying that this is not the only book she advised. The kid says that the teacher wanted to acknowledge her students about some important books they should know about, and her list also includes the works of Anton Chekhov.

"Do you mean that terrorist whose picture is all over the t-shirts," asks the inspector. And now it is the kid's duty to teach the inspector about Che and Checkov.

"Whatever," says the inspector. "None of them are from our religion and you shouldn't be reading them anyway."  To be fair, these are not his exact words but my interpretation, but you can bet they reflect his exact words.

Thanks God, there are still some parents who refuse to take the highway to the bigotry, so they file the so called inspector for misuse of his office.

You can find the entire story here, in Turkish.

December 06, 2011

the fury by Brian De Palma

In a post I wrote some time ago, I mentioned about the new Tron movie and how it made me connect to my childhood.

The same thing happened with the movie The Fury, directed by Brian De Palma. I can always trust a De Palma movie, and this one from the year 1978 did nor fail me: It is indeed a great movie.

Brian De Palma
But the thing I loved about it was more than a great movie experience. You see,  I had watched this film very long years ago, when I was not older than 10 years of age. I saw it in a movie theater, I watched it with subtitles, and even though i can't visualize it, i know that my aunt took me to the theater. Well, if it is really the case, then she must have been forced to take me because she met with her boyfriend. :)

Some time ago, my wife and I watched the movie Snake Eyes which was another treat from De Palma. After seeing it, we checked the IMDB site to check his other movies because I told my wife that I didn't remember a bad movie from this director and we could watch all of his movies. So we looked up the movies he made, and all of a sudden... BAMM...  I saw "The Fury" in the list. And I just knew that it was that great movie I had watched when I was a little kid.

It took some time to get the movie, but recently we had a chance to watch it. My wife loved it as a first timer, and I loved it too because I didn't remember most of it, and it again reminded me of my childhood.

My post involves spoilers after on, so don't read it if you think it will spoil your possible future experience.

I actually remmebered three scenes and a semi-notion about the movie. As the scenes turned out to be correct, I really loved it how it connected it with my childhood.

The first scene was the train-test scene where they put an experimental head gear to the girl to see if she can move a train with her brain waves. And of course she did. And while doing it, she saw some brutal visions. I remembered that scene. Only that, it was far less gore than I remembered. But I was only ten or even smaller at the time, and the notion "gore" was probably much different than how we see it today, so that makes sense.

The second scene was in a amusement park when the boy killed some Arabs. Even though the scene was not exactly how I remembered it, it was there already.

And in the third scene, the girl scrubbed the wall with her hand exactly as the boy scrubbed the arm-chair he was sitting on because they had a psychic connection. I exactly remembered how the boy scrubbed the arm-chair. I actually didn't remember the scene she scrubbed the wall, but I knew she did it.

And as the scenes came, I had a physcic connection with my childhood, enyoyed them all in a very different way, far from the experience the movie itself provided.

The semi-notion I mentioned above turned out to be wrong. I thought the boy and the girl were siblings. Well, I am not sure if I made that up later, or misunderstood the movie back then - which is very likely, Or maybe it was translated wrong. Because you see, if it is not my imagination playing tricks on me (which I admit that it is very likely), I somehow remember people whispering "Oh, they are siblings." in the movie theater. And there is actually a scene where it says they're like twins, but not actually blood-related, so it could also be a case of wrong translation. 

And it was a good thing that I didn't remember anything else about the movie so I didn't know how things were going to resolve.

OK, thank you for putting up with my silly childhood memoirs. And if you want to see what it is about, this is the post I wrote about the new Tron movie.