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Esoteric Hollywood:: Sex, Cults and Symbols in Film Paperback – December 22, 2016
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Dyer has worked hard, with countless hours of material he puts out, much of it for free. I have a subscription to JaysAnalysis to support his work, partly because it fights back against dangerous propaganda in movies and disinformation throughout the media.
I'd already studied most of the history he refers to in his work, such as about mind control, Gladio, PROMIS, Smart Cities, golems, the world government crime syndicate, Lookout Mt Labs, and the alien origin mythos, and Theosophy, topics I'm sure the readers also find compelling. So the facts didn't generally surprise me, (though I was disappointed to find out Stranvinsky was part of the Tavistock crowd and that HItchock had ties to British intelligence.) But the references were good reminders, and I completely agree with his take on it all. Reading what he has to say on topics I know intimately allows me to trust him about unfamiliar topics. His unique ideas about the monolith in 2001, for example, are intriguing and logical.
I do warn some people when I recommend it that this doesn't follow conventions of film analysis and history -- because of his occasional insertions of somewhat emotional personal opinions, which dismiss other people's world-views -- without calling them his opinions, but simply reality. There's a strong religious bias that would definitely turn off some people who would otherwise enjoy the book entirely, with statements that put down atheists as being unwise and fearful. He claims life is meaningless without a belief in God. That contrasts with the rest of the book in which his statements can be argued logically or proven without the need for sharing the same faith.
But I still enjoy reading those statements as a way of deepening my understanding of Dyer's personality, which has led to such excellent work ranging from philosophy to analysis of false flags and other hoaxes. When he calmly theorizes, such as about angels speaking through archetypes, I find that to be a more palatable method of writing, and more appropriate for a scholarly work. In any case, he's absolutely one of the greats and anyone who wants to support him should buy this book if possible.
I like the rectangles with borders enclosing brief historical tidbits, along with images of the figures -- a nice organizational touch. I was relieved to finally see someone call out Wag the Dog as the meta-propaganda it is. The thesis about how Mullholland Drive reveals the mystery of Hollywood sheds new light on that wonderfully challenging film. The connection of Surrealism and the Black Dahlia was shocking.
I've never seen some of the movies, like Close Encounters, E.T. and Prometheus, because I'm not interested in propaganda straight up, but even so, I found suggestions like a movie parallel with The Magus to be exciting. The movies in the book that I've seen I now have a deeper understanding of, which I appreciate.
Having discovered Jay through podcasts and his website I had high expectations for this book. Now, Jay is the kind of guy we all grew up with, the Too-Cool-For-School Guy who the hot/dumb cheerleaders-cum-soccer-moms don’t notice is cool until the 25th class reunion. There’s probably a Jay in every small town in America; some find their way to professorships, some settle into family life but this Jay is also a shrewd businessman, and has set himself up to do this full time.
As for this book, my expectations were exceeded. Dyer’s chapters focus on three major directors (Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Spielberg), James Bond and one decade (the 80s) with frequent digressions (or perhaps “pangressions”) educating the reader on seminal philosophers in the Western academic and pop canon. Just the unassuming name of his website Jay’s Analysis and his laid back podcast persona belie his serious academic chops. I enjoyed his multiple mini bios scattered randomly in text boxes with pictures of everyone from Plato to Bertrand Russell to James Cameron; these are people you have for the most part heard of, some not so much, but Dyer boils their essences down to bite-size portions. I had my computer on hand for reference as I read.
Jay also delves in semiotics, psychology and of course, esoterica. Be prepared to go much deeper than mere movie reviews. Fortunately, just when you feel like he may have gone too far afield, he pulls the rhetorical ripcord and basically says, “I don’t want to confuse you, so let me just explain what this philosopher was getting at in layman’s terms.”
Now Jay is well-known in so-called Conspiracy Theory (or “Far-Fetched Coincidence Fact”) circles, and here Jay breezily glosses over conspiracies like the moon-landing hoax and 9/11 on his way to a Grand Unifying Theory of an Illuminati (although he hates that word) Agenda to Undermine Traditional Values and Enslave the Consumer Masses through an elaborate MK Ultra-style cultural engineering regime dating back at least to the Enlightenment and possibly earlier. Heady stuff. In his broad overview of culture he recalls Spengler, Toynbee, Quigley, but with a rock-and-roll energy. You don’t need to read it cover-to-cover, you can pretty much pick up at any chapter. From a traditional publishing standpoint this is also a weakness; the book feels a little like a collection of various blogs that have been beefed up – which is precisely what it is. On page one I began finding errors in subject-verb agreement, and later typos, but as I got lost in his mind I stopped caring. Pictures spill off the bottoms of pages and text boxes violate margins, but these are mere quibbles. The slightly self-published feel is part of the book’s charm. There’s something subversive about it; he is like the director Robert Rodriguez, who sold his very blood to finance his first movie "El Mariachi" for $1700 in 1991. Old institutions are crumbling and the barbarians are at the gate culturally. Uncertainty about the future reigns and independent thinkers like Jay see the outlines of history in very clear relief indeed.
Finally, Jay reminds me of another favorite cultural critic, the fortuitously-named John David Ebert, who sadly seems not to have found the same formula for break-through success as Dyer. Guys like these show that American thinkers got game. As our world heads ever longward toward some sort of Quickening, strap in and hold on to your guide book. Going doowwwn....