All posts from Adam Balivet

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Dušan Makavejev’s Dreams of Butterflies

When Dušan Makavejev premiered Sweet Movie in 1974, it raised more than a few eyebrows. Taking a different tack from his previous release, Makavejev upped the ante in almost every possible way – in humor, in radicalism, and especially in shock value. This is saying quite a lot, because by all accounts Makavejev’s previous release, […]

January 2nd

Magic, But Not In Black and White

The occult has traditionally enjoyed a mixed, often lukewarm at best, reception among organized religions. Chaos Magic, a relatively recently developed postmodern occult tradition which emphasizes the pragmatic use of belief systems, seems unlikely to buck the trend. (Add to that Chaos Magic’s mutual feelings towards religion.) But by taking an objective approach, we can […]

December 26th

Thoreau’s Life in the Woods

Throughout Thoreau’s philosophy one can see a sort of neo-Taoism, specifically a way of understanding “higher” thought, spiritual and otherwise, through his reverance of nature: “It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious […]

December 15th

Communal Gardening Realized

Examining the “nature versus nurture” debate in the early 1930s, anthropologist Margaret Mead spent time among the native populations of New Guinea. The results of her studies were published in Sex & Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. Within her studies, Mead describes some interesting habits of the societies in which she lived — manifestations of […]

December 1st

Butterflies and Lizards: Revisiting “Under the Volcano”

In the back of my copy of Under the Volcano, I found an essay by Sherrill Grace, which cites a letter written by the book’s author, Malcolm Lowry, explaining that Volcano “was so designed, counterdesigned and interwelded that it could be read an indefinite number of times and still not have yielded all its meanings […]

November 21st

Environment as a Literary Character

Having written earlier this year about Bloomsday, the June 16th celebration based on James Joyce’s epic Ulysses, my mind recently turned to another legendary novel, Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, and the day on which it takes place, the Day of the Dead. Lowry traces the experiences of Geoffrey Firmin, an alcoholic ex-consul, known as “the […]

November 9th

Searching for Quality of Life in Immortality

Earlier this year, I wrote about The Immortalists, a great documentary that gives the viewer some entertaining insight into the quest for longer, or possibly eternal, lives. It also opens the floor up to questions about the validity of this quest, particularly regarding the aspect of overpopulation. While I was reading about the lifestyles of […]

November 4th

Is This Utopia? A Look at Fox’s New Series

Despite my awareness of the possible negative effects of watching TV — antisociality, heightened materialism, “brain-rot,” etc. — I still do it. For one reason, as fans of the The Wire or Breaking Bad explain, television has gotten really good, approaching cinematic levels of quality. But more importantly, when taken in moderate doses, with a […]

October 18th