The Liminalist # 174: Navigating by Movie Stars (with Mike B.)

Part One: Kubricks as Japanese toys, the hyper-object, Kubark, counter-intelligence interrogation, Dr. Strangelove release date, JFK assassination, subliminal imagery in EWS, clues in Kubrick’s films, who put them there, Stanley’s reputation as God of the set, dressing the set, the auteur theory, an absence of personal obsession, how popular is Kubrick, Harold & Maude and movies that invoke love, what kind of genius, the idea of the creative genius as superior man, veneration of cultural heroes, navigating by the stars, worshiping the image, Hal Ashby, king of the counterfeit, Thomas Edison’s movie studio, the Black Maria, the Edison mythos, the ideology of the meritocracy of democracy, Einstein’s equations, Kubrick’s influence, the alliance with Spielberg, A.I. and references to pedophilia, busting the Emperor’s balls, can something good come out of Babylon, Room 666, global mentecide, Lolita, A Clockwork Orange, an infinite regress, the generation of obsession, what is the Kubrickon, Look magazine & propaganda, dumped in the hedge maze, Kubrick & Trump, the system becoming sentient, a wake pattern, creating a simulation, Lucifer & families, C. S. Lewis, Christ & transposition, Steiner, Ahriman, Lucifer, & Christ, the Star Child, the trauma fragment.

Part Two:

Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:08:20 — 47.1MB)

A dark consensus, devil in the smart phone, gazing at menus, autonomy through surrender to the meta-organism, free will through God’s will, false individuation vs. true individuation, the first independent, Stanley’s early affiliations, the narrative of the ascent of the superior man, the De Rochement brothers, Kubrick front man, Orson Welles & the Hollywood throne, recruiting Stanley, a classified document, 2001 as state propaganda, backing out of the maze, something about The Shining, when Stanley went slumming, How King got the better of Kubrick, Anthony Burgess, intelligence asset, trauma-transmission, the brain and imagery, mirror neurons, watching EWS, just a bad movie, creating cognitive dissonance, splitting the psyche, letting the code in, the anti-Spielberg, abstract expressionism, programming the Super-Ego, being programmed to distrust instincts, Raphael & sensitization to beauty, the ugliness of Clockwork Orange, an encounter with postmodern art.

Songs: “Slouching Towards Bremen” & “Heart is a Piece of Garbage,” by Geoff Berner; “earthworm” & “Soft Drive” by Krestovsky; “Divination” by Littlefoot; “Be Calm” & “These Words Are Yours,” by Hazelwood Motel

36 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 174: Navigating by Movie Stars (with Mike B.)”

  1. Three legendary film makers widely recognized as being among the best (and about whom I agree with that sentiment) but were not discussed include: Orson Welles, Blake Edwards and George Roy Hill. True, they are from quite a long time ago. But then, considering the state of film making over the last few decades – speaking generally – there isn’t anyone I can point to that measures up to the likes of them.
    On Steiner: Good on you. I am always impressed when I hear anyone who knows who he was well enough to have an informed opinion about same.

    • Blake Edwards ! True, I would have used him as another example of a “heart-based” filmmaker like Hal Ashby. I hate to admit that the only George Roy Hill film I know is Funny Farm, but I do enjoy it. I became fascinated with Welles, at first, because of that RKO 281 flick from the late 90s. I would like to hear chats about some real directors, Charlie Chaplin especially, but I think we set out to really scratch the Kubrick itch on this one.

      I do enjoy the good doctor Steiner. I’ve been reading him for years and feel like I am barely dipping my toes into it.

      Thanks for the words Brad. The comment section is actually more frightening than the chatting with Jasun.

      • I just checked Edwards’ filmography to see if there was a single film I really cared for; there wasn’t.

        Ditto with GRH, tho I used to be a fan of The Sting. I think Kael’s review of Butch Cassidy is fairly accurate.

        Not to make the comments section scary, or anything. Evoke the film critic in me at your peril. Anyhow the conversation wasn’t really about filmmakers. And Welles does get mentioned.

    • Since he was brought up, some notes on Blake Edwards from your friendly neighborhood Crypto-Kubrologist:

      Born July 26, just like Kubrick (six years SK’s senior), Edwards wrote & directed a film called The Party, starring Kubrick alumni/chum Peter Sellers, which released quietly on April 4, 1968, the same day as 2001: A Space Odssey’s Hollywood premiere, and also the very same day MLK Jr. was shot. Planet of the Apes had also just wide released the day before.

      So positively funky how MLK jives with 2001, as Strangelove jives with JFK, and Eyes Wide Shut jives with JFK Jr. Knowing these things all-too-well the past few years, I hadn’t even put them together like that until just now.

      But what’s maybe even more interesting and weird (IMO) is that this day The Party released on April 4, 1968 was precisely 17076 days after July 4, 1921, the date of the, y’know, Party, shown in the picture at the end of The Shining, which was a birthday party for the USA, founded in 1776.

      IMDB capsule plot of Edwards’ The Party: “A clerical mistake results in a bumbling Indian film star being invited to an exclusive Hollywood party instead of being fired.”

      As Roy Neary would say, this means something.

      • Isn’t that something.. If I remember “The Party” has that elephant in the room. (

        The Planet of the Apes book was written by Pierre Boulle. Boulle also wrote the classic Bridge On the River Kwai (prisoner theme again) which uses the “All Work and No Play..” proverb in the movie version. (

        AND there’s the 1962 spoof “Bridge on the River Wye” starring Peter Sellers.

        Wha- what’s happening here ? 😉

        Thanks, Alex !

        • Incidentally I watched Being There for the first time last night. One of those films I’d been meaning to watch but never found the time… it was your comments about it on the Pyramid article here that got me to finally knuckle down and watch it (also Rob Ager did a video about it recently). My reaction: holy crap! The parallels to The Party plot-wise are obvious—HAL Ashby & Kosinski just put a ton more ‘heart’ into the idea (The Party is quite boring, like a bad Tati imitation), as well as taking the idea to its real farthest out social implications. I agree completely that it’s a Kubrick biopic, though I don’t know how intentional that was—at this point to me it appears the entirety of cinema as an art-form is Kubrick’s secret biopic. Being There is definitely a key text though, so thanks for bringing it up.

          • Awesome. Part of my thing here and at Laboratorium Stanley was to throw ideas at Jasun for the Kubrickon project, but another part was to try and turn Kubrick fans onto Being There and/or Hal Ashby. Thanks again, Alex.

          • >at this point to me it appears the entirety of cinema as an art-form is Kubrick’s secret biopic.

            This seems on surface either a ludicrous comment or a willful inversion/perversion, meant to reinforce the notion of Kubrick as a God-Man. Is there a way to rephrase it to make it less objectionable?

            That the psy-op for which SK was front man was designed to create a human avatar figure who appeared to be the embodiment of cinema?

            I don’t know where SK’s biography comes in tho; are either of you speaking of specific events in his life?

          • Jasun said : “I don’t know where SK’s biography comes in tho; are either of you speaking of specific events in his life?”

            Well, not really.

            Let me say that I can’t tell if Being There is a homage to SK or an intentional SK exposé or what. I am fine with the ambiguity of it, but if Jasun can notice the “Kubrickon” and write a book about how film, images and “high society” work in the modern world and where SK fits into all that, it follows that Hal, Peter and Jerry Kosinski could adapt an already existing book into a movie exploring the same or similar ideas. The film is itself partly about the dangers of the image, but it’s made of images.

            For me the visual references to Kubrick are obvious :

            I think it’s called “The Stanley Parable”.. I swear. A game that intends for you to do what it tells you not to do :

            Again, my gut says that they were thinking about SK and his place in history while doing Being There, but it’s not really that important in the overall scheme of my life. My food, water, woodpile, etc. I just think it’s cool that maybe some guys thought similar things about Kubrick in the 70s as are being explored in the Kubrickon currently.

          • >it follows that Hal, Peter and Jerry Kosinski could adapt an already existing book into a movie exploring the same or similar ideas.

            That would suggest that these guys were on the outside, trying to figure out what SK was up to, which is possible, I suppose, but seems unlikely since Sellers at least was very close to SK. At the very least there’s a world of difference between someone (myself) on the outside of the Hollywood death cult and a team of insiders.

            How does Ashby’s grisly (self-) sacrifice to said cult factor into this analysis? BT being as you’ve pointed out, his last coherent film.

            For me the visual references to Kubrick are obvious

            Perhaps, but what’s the meaning of these homages, besides as nods to the emperor?

            On Stanley Game: “The player has the opportunity to make numerous decisions on which paths to take, and because at times the narrator says what Stanley will do next, the player can choose to ignore the narration and make a different choice.”

            This looks like a bit of ye olde revelation-method….

            And: “The Stanley Parable appeared during the third season of House of Cards, where President Frank Underwood is being shown the game by a novelist and video game reviewer who is writing his biography, with the puzzling nature of the game used as a metaphor for the current politics in the show’s fiction.”

            The designer is called Davey Wreden; no wiki page.

          • Wow, can’t believe I missed The Stanley Parable in House of Cards (s3e7 of course). Well actually I can, I binged that show quite quickly… I remember that scene, but didn’t realize that was the game. Huge. Kevin Spacey is another July 26 birthday.

            You can tweet at the designer here Jasun.

          • Jasun, great questions. I wish I had answers.

            In 1968 Hal Ashby won an Oscar for editing “In the Heat of the Night” and during his acceptance speech he quoted a friend :

            “I only hope that we can use all of our talents and creativity towards peace and love.” (

            He said that in a room full of assholes whose job it is to create a fake world for us.

            I want to believe he was serious. He was on the inside, sure, but I’d like to think that he’d had enough and went rouge. Disgruntled employee theory I guess. Maybe SK had permission to make movies like he did, but maybe Ashby didn’t have the same freedom and was “punished” for it.

            “but what’s the meaning of these homages, besides as nods to the emperor ?”
            I don’t think he was nodding at him, but shaking his head at him.

  2. Corrections :

    1. I was confusing Owen King (writer) with Jana Heidersdorf (artist). The illustrations that I thought were done by Stephen King’s son were actually by Heidersdorf ( Both of King’s sons write and both have helped produce graphic novels with “trauma/disassociation” artwork featured throughout.

    2. The horse in The Killing was named “Red Lightning” not “Red Rum.”

    Nikon/Kubrickon. Nice. Thanks for adding the relaxing music as well.

  3. Wonderful chat with breadth and depth. Seemed to bring some clarity to a subject that suffers that common CT fate of too much contradictory information. Thanks for doing the hard work.

    Speaking of work, with the audio split like this, part 2 wont show up in the rss feed, so I have to actually do some work to listen(!), breaking the seamless liminalist experience…

    • Less work surely than commenting? I am a bit puzzled by this, not being familiar with how people use their apps and whatnot. Coming to a website and clicking play or download = work?

      would you prefer full two hour+ audios? It seemed to me this might be inconvenient in other ways.

      • It’s not a big deal. But I use the RSS feed, which is more convenient on a phone compared to visiting the mobile web site, downloading a file, finding where it went and moving it somewhere appropriate to play later in the better audio app – which was using the rss feed directly until it started missing episodes.

        Small point is that many people will be using the rss feed, and now you have episodes missing from it.

  4. What really bakes my noodle isn’t Dr. Strangelove’s first showing on November 22nd 1963, the day JFK died. It’s the fact that it happened again, meaning, the release date of Eyes Wide Shut was July 16th 1999, the day JFK Jr died.

    Nadsat, discussed in Part II, for anyone interested in the details :

  5. @26 min. what you said is the point. Well said. Can anything good come of it…?

    Jasun have you looked into Sarasota/Ft. Myers + the CIA presence in Florida (there) via the RBBB Circus + the training of the 911 pilot’s training. Edison’s house is in Ft. Myers (next to a Ford and Firestone’s(?) homes). WIki’s got SK going there: “In 1948, he was sent to Portugal to document a travel piece, and covered the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Sarasota, Florida.” The circus is internationalyl accepted. Great cover for spies?

  6. I had a difficult time aligning with both of your perspectives on these topics. Mostly, I think because I’ve never had a critic-interest in Kubrick. However, I do have some personal overlap on the topics.

    First, I did find that A clockwork Orange was appealing as a movie when I was a teenager(I don’t find it appealing much now.) With an aptitude in linguistics, I found the Nadsat intuitive. I actually read the book in a day and felt the lingo cohered readily. I don’t find it now a good thing that I took to all that readily.

    On CS Lewis, I have some dissonance appear in trying to understand either of your perspectives on his laying out of a type of Christian orthodoxy, and lining it up with a framework in which you seem to put Christ and Lucifer archetypes on par with one another.

    Lastly, and mostly as an aside- I don’t find for myself much interest in the movie The shining, however I do spend a fair amount of time being an emergency first responder at the Timberline Lodge. And(semi related to Strangelove and why Kubrick might pick certain topics to put on screen), I also have a story like JBP about actually getting down into see the nuclear launch rooms for ICBMs. When I tell those stories in person, they seem to have a strong effect on people. JBP likes to tell the story at the beginning of a speech to get people into a headspace of taking the world and it’s always being near to destruction seriously.

    • I’d be interesting to know what you mean by :

      “I don’t find it now a good thing that I took to all that readily.”

      Because I read the book as a young guy, not knowing anything about Russian or British slang and it seemed a nonsense language, but as a 30-something knowing about these languages, Nadsat does have a very intuitive, perfected feel to it. For me it’s the most interesting part of the thing. More so than the actual book or movie.

      As far as CS Lewis goes, I am just trying to feel-out the overlaps (if any) between his speech “Transposition” ( and Rudolf Steiner’s speech “Christ in Relation to Lucifer and Ahriman.” (

      Peterson also had recurring nightmares about nuclear war before the was famous, I think. He said he was thinking about the Cold War for 16 hours a day while writing Maps of Meaning. Anyway, interesting personal notes, Nick. Thanks.

  7. a couple things to round this off for me :

    – I can’t believe I forgot to mention Walter/Wendy Carlos while we were discussing the ugliness of A Clockwork Orange. Both the perversion of Bach/classical music and the transgender/transhuman thing. (

    – I’ve been thinking about why I paired Rembrandt with Dali when giving examples of paintings that give me “the Kubrick willies.” I think it’s because they are beautiful paintings of “ugly” people. That also reminds me of Diane Arbus and her well composed photographs of “ugly” people.

  8. Great discussion. MikeB you mentioned Look Magazine and I was hoping you’d dive a bit deeper. Please look into the Senior Editors at Look while SK was there. The one who had a lot of photo credits and specialized in aviation and space was his handler I believe (initials BK). It didn’t end at Look by-the-way.

    If you find the connection intriguing I can add a bit more.


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