Minority Report Stills

Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer Reading Questions

Answer the following questions either typed or neatly handwritten to be turned in during the first week of class. Consider the questions and develop your answers thoughtfully. Much of the first weeks of school will be taken up with the play and the film, so be sure you have read and watched carefully!

  1. To what extent is Oedipus responsible for his own fate in the play? Be prepared to discuss at least two examples from the text which lead you to believe he is or is not responsible.
  2. How good a king is Oedipus?  In what ways does he excel as a leader?  In what ways does he fall short?
  3. Since Oedipus is considered the quintessential tragic hero, then what would you argue is his tragic mistake?  In other words, what in his own character/personality or what wrong-headed action does he take which leads him to his ultimate downfall? Choose a particular flaw or action and explain its relation to his disgrace and exile.
  4. If we agree that Oedipus the King is about the role of fate and humans’ inability to escape destiny, in what ways does Minority Report, and the character of John Anderton in particular, support or refute Oedipus’ notion of destiny?  Think of two scenes that support your position.
  5. The eyes are often associated not just with the act of seeing but also of revealing oneself to others. In the film, explain the different ways that eyes or the act of seeing are used for:  1. The Precogs, 2. John Anderton, 3. The culture of the world of the film.
  6. The story upon which the movie is based was written in the 1950's.  The movie came out in 2002 but is set in 2054.  How much of the events/the attitudes of the movie do you see in contemporary American culture?  Where will be in 44 years?  Speculate on the direction in which our country is headed.  What future contingencies are we preparing for?  To what extent does our attempt to prepare for certain future events determine our own fate? 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer Movies 2013

Movies I've seen this summer:

In theaters:

Star Trek: Into the Darkness
The Purge
The Conjuring
You're Next
Iron Man III

On dvd:

School Daze
Night on Earth
The Man Who Came to Dinner

In order to realize their futuristic vision of the year 2054, Spielberg and Co. called up experts in every field:  architecture, computers, law enforcement, education, engineering, etc.  At the time some of these futuristic features seemed very far off indeed, but according to recent stories from All Things Considered, that future may already be here.  You might also check out a provocative piece from the weekly podcast On the Media on the idea of augmented reality that is decades ahead of initial predictions.

Which, if any, of these features holds the most promise for our future?  Which, if any, is most terrifying to you in terms of personal interaction or governmental exploitation? How do recent revelations about the NSA (The National Security Agency) and the movie Minority Report?  How comfortable are you with the idea of the government monitoring our personal lives in order to maintain "order"?  Where would you draw the line?