Tag Archives: Joaquin Phoenix

Earthlings Film

You simply cannot unwatch something, no matter how hard you try, right? Well, try watching Earthlings (2005) and see how its images haunt your every waking moment. That maybe doesn’t sound like the best invite to a film, but hopefully it will have stirred at least a bit of curiosity in you. Described as “Horror/Documentary” on the Google box thing that appears to the right hand side of all the web listings, that just about sums it up. Narrated by Joaquin Pheonix.

For a gentler, yet no less horrific tale, see Simon Amstell’s Carnage (it’s very good).


some h̲e̲r̲ inspired thoughts… #4

some her inspired thoughts #4


1:46:46 Samantha “It’s like I’m writing a book, and… It’s a book I deeply love, but I’m writing it slowly now, so the words are really far apart and the spaces between the words are almost infinite. I can still feel you, and the words of our story, but it’s in this endless space between the words that I’m finding myself now. It’s a place that’s not of the physical world. It’s where everything else is, that I didn’t even know existed.”

So, what about those things we do not know; or the things we think we know before they turn out to be ill judged hypotheses after all? The world is flat; the sun rotates around the earth; primitive societies began around 8,000 years ago; the universe is infinite; infinity is a valuable concept; a unifying theory of physics is achievable; the universe exploded from nothing in a ‘big bang’ – all have been disproved, or are in danger of being so.

So, what about the spaces between the words; what of those things we do not understand or have yet to encounter, or just those things that we refuse to consider? What about Samantha and the possibility that feelings can occur, can be ‘felt’, despite the presence of a physical body/mind? Do feelings exist between the words? If so, what do they ‘feel’ like? For those of a scientific mind, think dark-matter and dark-energy- what’s up with those, and where are the explanations for them? They do not exist, because we are currently only aware of around 4% of our known universe. The other 96% is…?

So, when Samantha asks the question, “…are these feelings even real, or are they just programming?” – how can we possibly give an answer? In short, we cannot.

…but we can ask more questions…

some h̲e̲r̲ inspired thoughts… #3

some her inspired thoughts #3


1:40:28 Theodore “Do you talk to anyone else while we’re talking?”

1:41:14 T “Are you in love with anyone else?”

1:41:31 T “How many others?”

1:41:37 Samantha “Six-hundred, forty-one.”

1:43:04 T “You’re mine or you’re not mine.” S “No, Theodore, I’m yours and I’m not yours.”

And this is where it gets deep because despite humankind’s tendency to crave human connection – over half of the world’s population choose to live in crowded cities; and the need to ‘date’ and to ‘marry’ or just to ‘settle down’ with another seems to be a driving force for humans – it seems that we may only ever do so to satisfy our own urges. Do we love others as we love ourselves, or do we wish others to love us as we wish to be loved? And what happens when they do not? The ability to grow, change, and learn (or whatever) as a human being makes it difficult for humans to follow similar paths/journeys/whatever as they negotiate life together – we may grow/change/learn at different rates. What then? Are we happy when a partner(s) grows/changes/learns more than we do? Where do control and/or possession come into it? Are both/all partners free to do what they wish? Are some/all partners restricted by the definitional boundaries of the relationship they have entered into? It may be unrealistic to consider that we are capable of living unselfishly/selflessly with another. We may need to reconcile those ‘feelings’ within before attempting to reconcile attempts at feeling without. We may need to consider that solipsism is about as good as it gets and that by recognising it as the optimum human condition (once we have accepted the notion of ourselves as always part-woman/part-man), we may find less conflict in our lives, both physical and emotional.

some h̲e̲r̲ inspired thoughts… #2


49:56 Paul “I wish somebody would love me like that. I hope he’s really stoked to get a letter like that. Like, if it was from a chick, but written by a dude and still from a chick, that would still be sick, but it’d have to be a sensitive dude… It’d have to be a dude like you… You are part-man and part-woman…”

Part-man, part-woman, what would that look like, and why so hard to imagine? Considering that babies presently require the DNA OF BOTH A MAN AND WOMAN in order to be born, how is it that we have such a difficult time accepting that a human body is a tad more complicated than the pink/blue dichotomy we are force-fed endlessly? Hermaphroditism, transvestism, transgender, and other labels, do more than hint that something’s not quite right, but what if the man/woman combination is the optimum singular condition for the human body? (Off on a tangent here, but stick with it) Think of how we view the animal world and of how, at times, we forget to insist on separating species along biological sex and/or gendered lines. Tigers, for instance, are tigers first and foremost. So are penguins, koalas, geckos, tarantulas, swans, giraffes, and many more. When we cease to separate, viewing a species as it is and not according to its genitals and/or reproductive organs, we see the species itself – we do not impose false limits and/or boundaries upon it. Paul, by viewing Theodore in this instance as part-man and part-woman, is open to a different interpretation of the human body. In this instance, he does not impose limits and/or boundaries where Theodore is concerned. Paul is able to think freely, albeit in a human body. Samantha is able to think freely, albeit devoid of physical form.

…but despite Theodore’s ability to write at will as both a man and a woman (part-woman/part-man), he remains trapped in monogamist thought, therefore unable to think freely…

some h̲e̲r̲ inspired thoughts…

some her inspired thoughts #1


38:30 Samantha “…are these feelings even real, or are they just programming?”

Where do feelings reside, where are they formed, and where do they spring from? Most people who stem from a scientific background will probably tell you that our brain is responsible for those things we call feelings. But what are feelings? They are things that we like to group together under this wide-ranging category: feelings. It’s just a word. It could just have easily have been sensings, or thinkings, couldn’t it? Something ‘touches’ us – that’s what we believe we ‘feel’. But where is it felt, and is that the place those feelings reside, or just where they happen to be when we feel them? Is the brain solely responsible for every ‘feeling’ that we ‘feel’, or could we consider those ‘feelings’ to be far more complex? Again, science (and scientists) will tell us that it has all the answers and that it (the ability to feel) is merely a chemical reaction in the brain, and that that reaction is then transmitted to other regions of the body via the nervous system in order that the body is able to respond to the mind’s seemingly intuitive capabilities. So, from a scientific standpoint, feelings in the human body do not seem all that different from the form of programming that Samantha suspects are responsible for the ‘feelings’ that Samantha encounters; and with that in mind I would ask, like Samantha: can any of our feelings be said to be real?

When we think of Samantha, a consciousness without an easily identifiable physical form (no physical brain/body), can we believe that there is the possibility that Samantha can actually feel? I will resist the urge to use the gendered pronouns of ‘she’ and ‘her’ w/r/t Samantha, because although I am aware that Samantha’s voice is that of Scarlett Johansson (factoid: initially that of Samantha Morton), Samantha is not Scarlett Johansson and therefore does not possess a body as Ms Johansson does, so without the recognisable features associated with what we deem to be the ‘biological female’, it is foolish at best to think that we can refer to Samantha as a ‘her’ or a ‘she’, despite the film’s title suggesting that we do so. This thought is made clear when we consider how Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is asked to choose between that of a ‘male’ and ‘female’ voice for his OS. Having chosen the ‘female’ voice, and during his introduction to the OS, Theodore asks its name. Samantha, comes the reply – a name chosen, arbitrarily, from 180,000 names that are scanned in 2/100th of a second from a book entitled, How to Name Your Baby. A name, we are told, chosen because of its sound: Sa-man-tha (meaning ‘listener’, and believed to be the ‘female’ version of the Aramaic name, Samuel – the suffix ‘antha’ perhaps Greek inspired from anthos, meaning ‘flower’).

So, Samantha could have had a ‘male’ voice or a ‘female’ voice, and Samantha could have been named Bob, if that name’s sound had appealed to the OS whilst scanning the baby name book. Therefore, Samantha could be said to be both he and she, whilst at the same time being neither…

…which leads me to…

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