This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Famous Deaths by Society and New Blog Rules

I'll leave the admin material for the end.

I've always felt that certain demises were brought on by society as a whole. Look at Elvis Presley. He gave so much of himself to the King role, that he lost touch with what really matters, good health and happiness. Perhaps it can be argued that Lady Diana might still be alive today, if not for the public's thirst to live vicariously through their celebrities. Take away the insane cult of personality, and she wouldn't have been stalked by the papparazzi into a car crash. There have been a bunch of child stars whose endings didn't turn out good. We know of Judy Garland. There was also Anissa Jones of Family Affair and Dana Plato of Different Strokes.

I realise that early fatality rates for child stars could be a statistical anomaly or overblown. I learned yesterday of one from China who most certainly wouldn't have died at age 24, if she hadn't been in the public spotlight.

Her name was Ruan Lingyu, and she was every bit the talent Garbo was at a similar age. The first image was taken from a movie called Goddess. Ruan played a prostitute who only chose that profession, because she had no other options in an unfair society. For every feeling of disgust and shame she felt for that decision, she provided everything a single mom could for her child. The movie wasn't saying that prostitution is good or should be legalised. It was a condemnation on Chinese society for leaving this woman no other way to help her son out of poverty.

Here's part one of the movie, if anyone's interested in watching it. It's a good one. I'll say five out of five stars, and I don't even like silent movies for the most part. Socrates Ebert gives this one a thumbs up. p:)

(link to part 2)

What shocked the living daylights out of me was learning what happened to Ruan Lingyu in real life. Garbo survived the switch from silent to talkies and proved herself as one of the greatest. Camille is an excellent movie. I also liked Ninotchka. Garbo could have kept on going. She decided to retire instead and lived out her life in New York City. While she did have to deal with everyone still wanting a piece of her for the rest of her life, Garbo was able live 84 full years. She became an art collector. She spent quality time with her family, who say she had a marvelous sense of humour and provided much warmth for those in her inner circle. Greta Garbo made a decision to leave fame behind and just be herself. That was noble of her. That decision probably saved both her mental health and integrity.

Ruan Lingyu was not so fortunate. She took her own life at the age of 24. Apparently she left a suicide note saying, "Gossip can kill."

Ruan Lingyu, a silent-film actress still remembered by many, left behind 29 films and the final message, "gossip can kill," when she committed suicide in Shanghai on March 8, 1935.

Ruan's acting was so natural, accurate and graceful that, even after 70 years, her films still seem fresh. She was adept at conveying meaning through her whole body, thus overcoming the limitations of early silent films, unlike some performers today who talk and talk and express nothing through gesture and "body language."

In 1982, when a Chinese Film Retrospective was held in Italy, audiences were amazed at Ruan's talent, especially in the film Goddess. They called Ruan "China's Greta Garbo."

Ruan was a versatile character actress. In her nine-year film career, she played many different roles, such as writer, factory worker, wealthy socialite, prostitute, flower girl, nun and beggar. Her unaffected, sensitive character portrayals contrast with the false, exaggerated performance that predominates in many films today.

Ruan was born in Shanghai in 1910. Her father, a penniless machinist, died when she was just five years old. For a while she went to live with her mother who was working as a housemaid for a rich family. She then went to a girl's school, but as soon as she had finished primary school, she began to look for a job to lighten her mother's load. She saw an advertisement for film actors, went for an interview and was given a job.

Her first screen appearance in 1927 was in the film Husband and Wife in Name. In spite of her lack of formal education, she was diligent and scrupulous in every detail of her acting. These qualities, combined with her beauty, made her screen images very impressive.

In 1935, during the shooting of her last film, a divorce suit and slanderous stories in unscrupulous local newspapers caused her a great deal of mental anguish. She finally decided to take her own life to prove her innocence.

The whole of Shanghai wept when the news of her death was heard. When she was buried at Lianyi Villa outside Shanghai, several hundred thousand mourners lined the road to watch her funeral procession.

Ruan's death aroused much public indignation. The great writer Lu Xun (1881-1936) published an essay Gossip Is a Fearful Thing, denouncing the newspaper bloodhounds and gossip mongers.

(China Daily April 13, 2006)
Some might be wondering why silent movies were still being made In China in 1934. They were just behind the times technology wise. I'm actually stunned how much I liked this movie. Many of myy favourites are from the Pre-Hays Code sound movies of 1930-1934. The Codes actually started in 1930 but didn't kick in until 1934 and lasted until 1968. I apologise if I got those dates wrong in a previous post. This is actually a fascinating topic, and I recommend anyone with some free time to search for good articles and flicks. There are many free ones available through youtube.

The New Rules:

This is the captain speaking.
Some misguided sailors on this
ship still think they can pull
a fast one on me. Well, they're
very much mistaken. Since you've
taken this course, the innocent
will be punished with the guilty.
There will be no liberty for any
member of this crew for three
months. I will not be made a fool
of! Do you hear me?

These will also apply to myself. though you the good readers and potential participants will have to take my word for that. I'll try my best to be fair.

*** No ad hominems or general nastiness
*** No spam filter words to be used as usernames
*** No crazy debating techniques. I'll allow some nonsense to be posted, but excessive whackjobbery will be subject to deletion.

I am specifically concerned with the nastiness of the soapblox world becoming a fixture of DFQ2. I'm not into flame fests. I'm not into any type of verbal confrontations. If people can't make their points with good evidence and staying civil, I don't want that crap on this blog. Imho, there's a razor's edge between speaking one's mind and being anti-social and rude. If someone is looking for a fight club, it ain't gonna be here.

Most of the content on this forum is pretty good. I may not blog as often as I have in the past, but when I do, I'll try to make it half-decent, worth the time reading it, if it hits the spot without rubbing it out.

Decent people are invited to participate. If anyone is interested in being a DFQ2 blogger, sign up at the forum in my profile and provide me with your specific blogger email address. I am looking for people at a minimum to be left of center. Your interests don't have to be political. I don't really do political blogging as it is.

I no longer feel that big forums are the way to go. I'm comfortable here and at peace with my blogging history. I don't need this place to become huge, but if any decent people are out there and would like to join in, please do.


donkeytale said...

Suicide is very common in Asian societies, which are much more hierarchical and patriarchal than the West, and where the sense of personal dignity, responsibility and the shame for "losing face" is deeply ingrained.

Several popular actresses in Korea have committed suicide in recent years, mainly due to American-style gossip about their personal lives in the online media.

These societies are Americanizing to a greater degree than ever before, and the juxtaposition will no doubt continue to cause human drama and tragedy in the coming years.

In the US, an aging society must deal with its fate in these changing times, as well.

Traditionally, teens, young adults and the elderly have been most susceptible to suicide and depression. In recent years, however, the middle-aged have caught and surpassed these other age groups, a trend that has been exacerbated by the recent economic downturn.

In fact, boomers are now killing themselves at rates higher than the other age groups.

I have considered suicide in my life. An addictive personality, I have had severe issues with alcohol over a many year period, that has caused ruin and devastation in my life and those around me.

In recent times, I have had severe problems with internet addiction, and I have noticed similar bad results achieved by different means.

Internet addiction like video game addiction to be a serious, widespread malady. As we have liquor stores on every corner to feed the drunks, so too do we now have internet connections 24/7.

Its like having an endlessly refilled bottle in our pockets at all times.

So now I'm responsible for TLNL quitting blogging? If thats true then he owes me, bigtime. My guess is he was looking for something to catalyze his exit from an online non-existence.

You imply that I'm responsible at least to some degree for his suicide in RL, if it occurs.

It seems to me that TLNL took my criticism and decided that kicking tomato cans is a waste of the *one* life we will ever experience in our present forms.

We could do quite well to have a discussion about what really matters in our lives. This would be personal, not political in nature. Since we are anonymous, there is no reason not to be candid.

Politics for most people is just another way to avoid ourselves. The internet has only increased the ability to lose ourselves for longer time periods more easily in "a greater cause" more and more.

The problem is, our greatest causes will always be those strictly within our reach. And yet, we fail to recognize this simple truth time after time.

Paradoxically, the internet is also a wonderful tool in many ways, when it is put to proper and judicious use. For instance, the internet also offers some free tools to help people struggling with emotional and mental disorder.

donkeytale said...

Bad link, Try this one.

the_last_name_left said...

It seems to me that TLNL took my criticism and decided that kicking tomato cans is a waste of the *one* life we will ever experience in our present forms.

No, silly. :D

socrates said...

If people want to share their personal info, that's their prerogative. I never shared my real life info, as in real name. I messed up by not realising Brad Friedman of BradBlog would share that with a cyberstalker and historic troll. If you want proof of the cyberstalking, I will send it to you.

It was not fun to go through. That person was one at the forefront of spreading idiotic claims that myself and TLNL are the same person along with a few other usernames. Unless I'm mistaken, which happens, you are the one who coined me as sock rat. You're the one who continued to pile on recently insinuating I do that and as TLNL to boot. You may think I overreact. You may not care about anyone having done the same to yourself. But I'm not into having that done on my own turf.

You think an anything goes free speech nearly everything is published blog should be the way to go. I don't.

You either respect that, or you can put me in a tough bind.

I don't think you're a pedophile or condone it. You wrote what you wrote, and perhaps I should have left it alone. But it's in my nature to put separation between myself and what people in my same milieu post. That's what happened to set off the cybersmear script.

I don't think any adults should have sexual relations with minors. I'm not sure of the law. Some places like in Ireland have the right of consent at age 16. I acknowledge that there are grey areas. If someone is 19 and his girlfriend is 16, then that is not the same as if someone is 23 and the other person is 16. 16 might not even be legal in places. I'm not sure. I'm willing to put that topic to rest and apologise for my previous post.

I don't think TLNL will do anything crazy. I think he is too smart and is simply either quitting blogging or taking a break. In a way I do agree with you that if your posts were the last straw, then you did do him a favour.

Internet addiction is probably like alcohol. I'm just guessing. Maybe some are prone to acquiring the illness, while others could spend a lot of time on it and let it go whenever they want to. I quit weed a year or two ago. I don't miss it that much. Cigarettes are a whole other ballgame. That is the toughest addiction I've ever acquired. Some say it is more addictive than heroin.

I think we have a good base here for a decent blog. I am trying to get better as a moderator all the time. It is not as easy as it looks.

I think you might want to table your misspellicism schtick. I don't think you realise how it can be a turn off. Granted, you are not as bad as Noom who overplays it. I have enjoyed that way about you, when it's been strategically placed.

That's interesting about Asia having a propensity to suicide. Durkheim's classic book was called that. He showed that there were statistical regularities with it, e.g. according to country.

socrates said...

(Oops, forgot to write continued.) The Japanese have that thing, the word is at the tip of my tongue can't remember. There are those bizarre killings elsewhere, frick I hate it when my memory goes. But where say the family kills their own daughter for having a child out of wedlock or something like that. Oh yes, I think it's called honour killings, maybe not.

I'm definitely not a professional social theorist, intellectual, or philosopher. But I'm fairly decent at those things. I did get the training, though that was nowa couple decades ago.

Here's hoping things calm down, that TLNL checks in with us at some point, that he's going to be ok. Maybe Bob will put up an entry soon, and we can feel less claustrophobic. I'm also hoping that there are some people out there who used to like Dave or got fed up with places like DU and DKOS and will blog here.

That Ruan Lingyu was so pretty. I actually thought of Greta Garbo when watching that movie. Then to my surprise the Chinese article said the same thing. Though it's probably not that surprising. It makes sense to think of her as the Greta Garbo of China.

I don't hold grudges and admit I can be hypersensitive at times. Damn, too bad Dave died. I think he would have eventually developed a super blog. Blogger itself may have its limitations, but it shows up well in google search engines. So if you write about certain things, you're more likely to be noticed, than if you were posting at other places.

socrates said...

Hi TLNL, you showed up while I was writing my previous meanderings.

I hope I didn't write anything out of line with yourself. If so, I apologise.

I agree with you that what you have blogged on has not been a waste of time, or maybe I shouldn't speak for you. I try not to or for anyone else.

I watched a very good suspense flick last night that took place in Wales. It was borderline horror because the scary actor was Boris Karloff. But he wasn't a werewolf just needed a shave.

Check it out if you're looking for a bit of an escape. It's only about 70 minutes. That's one of the best things about the older movies. Anything over an hour and a half better be darn good, or I tend to skip them.

Old Dark House

socrates said...

Hey TLNL, are you quitting blogging? Are you going to keep posting at your new forum? If so, I might sign up.

donkeytale said...

I think the Japanese call it "Harry Caray."

My research indicates that internet addiction is likely a compulsion that is part of an overall addictive personality usually combined with drugs and/or alcohol abuse.

[Projection alert]

It was nice to see the Brits get jobbed by the refs today on the game tying (drawing) goal, altho the germans kicked them around like a sack of tomato cans after the disallowed goal.

Yes, Socrates, there are plenty of grey areas in sexual elations. Some sticky areas too.

That was the point of my discourse in that thread you tend to regurgitate whenever you feel like attacking or counterattacking me.

Thanks for finally bringing some fairness and balance into your usual Geraldo-style reporting.

There are a lot of good Asian flicks, many Chinese of course, but I've seen some pretty good Korean movies lately too. Koreans are a uniquely up front and in your face people.

Haha. South Korea got knocked out this round too, bi Urugay.

We're all gay. Bet on it.

Dude, I dont know what you are talking about with all this angst about who can post and under what name or wtf. You realize that we are all posting anonymously. OK. Your real name has been outed. But dude, you are still anonymouse.

Blogging is a form of media. Media requires participants to make it interesting. You find ways to get offended at virtually everybody who doesnt flat out agree with you or kiss you arse.

I'm sure I'm offending you now.

Hence your blog ends up being uninteresting, at least to me. You require sanitization for some reason instead of just letting it all hang out.

Maybe you're the problem? Has that thot ever crept up on you, in a positive way, like "gee, maybe I should fucking relax and not take everything so personally?" y'know like actually taking some responsibility?

Didnt think so. You mite as well ban me now and get it over with. I dont like following rules, especially ones that are arbitrary and stupid.

socrates said...

We're not all gay. That's your opinion. And yes, you're offending me like a troll would do. Why don't you just go away? And of course your comments about sex with minors was creepy and police should keep an eye on you for that. And don't worry about being censored and banned. Just continue being a troll, and your wish will come true.