Sunday, January 08, 2023

Example 1.1 (The Miners Problem)

Ten miners are trapped in a shaft and threatened by rising water. You don’t know whether the miners are in shaft 𝐴 or in shaft 𝐵. You have enough sandbags to block one shaft, but not both. If you block the right shaft, all miners will survive. If you block the wrong shaft, all of them will die. If you do nothing, both shafts will fill halfway with water and one miner (the shortest of the ten) will die.

Act II

The chorus explains that the teacher, the boy, and three older students are on the way back, and the boy is exhausted ("Die Leute haben die Reise in die Berge"). As they approach their shelter, the boy confesses that he is not well ("Wir sind schnell hinangestiegen"). The teacher tells him it is forbidden to say such things on the journey, but the three students have overheard and demand to speak to the teacher. He admits that the boy is ill, and the students remind him of the strict old custom that whoever falls ill during the journey over the mountains must be hurled into the valley ("Wir wollen es dem Lehrer sagen"). The teacher reminds them that the sick person may also demand that the entire party turn back. Then he goes to the boy and offers him the choice ("Höre gut zu"). The boy decides that he knew the risks and should not impede the expedition. He asks only that the three students fill his jar with medicine and take it to his mother, and they agree. Then the three students bear him gently to the cliff and throw him over. The chorus reiterates the theme ("Wichtig zu lernen" reprise).


Key references: Article 134, UCMJ; U.S. NAVY REGULATIONS 1165 (applies to both Navy and Marine Corps); OPNAVINST 5370.2C (applies only to Navy); Marine Corps Manual 1100.4 (applies only to MC).

Background: The U.S. Navy has historically relied upon custom and tradition to define the bounds of acceptable personal relationships among its members and unduly familiar relationships between officers and enlisted members have traditionally been contrary to Naval custom, because they undermine the respect for authority. Acceptable conduct varies between the services based on differences in custom and tradition.

Definition: Generally, fraternization is an unduly familiar personal relationship between an officer member and an enlisted member that does not respect the difference in rank or grade. Relationships between officer members and between enlisted members that are prejudicial to good order and discipline or of a nature to bring discredit on the Naval service are unduly familiar and also constitute fraternization.

So fucking bored with philosophy.

Using Brecht as a model of tradition and community doesn't work. I need to distinguish the libretto from its source,  decadence from classicism, formalism from formality. Brecht's theater is mannerist: simultaneously moralizing and corrupt.

Martin Puchner, Stage Fright  Modernism, Anti-Theatricality, and Drama

What is neglected in these accounts of Brecht’s lasting success in the theater is that his work is not so much a modernist reform of the theater as one directed against it. Indeed, the most central features of Brecht’s theater arise from a vehement and at times fundamental polemic against actors and the audience. And so we must recognize that Brecht counts as one of modernism’s most successful theater reformers because he was most successful in making his resistance to the theater productive for a reform of the theater. This resistance to the theater is visible in Brecht’s attacks on expressionist plays, on the theater industry, and on Max Reinhardt’s seductive spectacles. His most categorical and fundamental condemnation of the theater emerges, however, when he, like many turn-of-the-century and early-twentieth-century reformers, speaks against the figure whose exploitation of theatricality never ceased to haunt modern theater, namely, Richard Wagner. 
Neither Wagner nor Brecht are useful as models. It looks like an interesting book, but he's still more partisan than observer. I loved Brecht's operas because they set my skin on fire, and then I had to ask why. Brecht vs Eisenstein.

I'm getting old. I forget everything!

In for a penny... and an overdue tag for Eisenstein

"Dickens, Griffith, and the Film Today" (1944)

People talked as if there had been no dra­matic or descriptive music before Wagner; no impressionist painting before Whistler; whilst as to myself, I was finding that the surest way to produce an effect of daring innovation and originality was to revive the ancient attraction of long rhetorical speeches; to stick closely to the methods of Moliere; and to lift characters bodily out of the pages of Charles Dickens.
George Bernard Shaw

...When Griffith proposed to his employers the novelty of a parallel "cut-back" for his first version of Enoch Arden (After Many Years, 1908), this is the discussion that took place, as recorded by Linda Arvidson Griffith in her reminiscences of Biograph days:
When Mr. Griffith suggested a scene showing Annie Lee wait­ ing for her husband's return to be followed by a scene of Enoch cast away on a desert island, it was altogether too distracting. "How can you tell a story jumping about like that? The people
won't know what it's about."
"Well," said Mr. Griffith, "doesn't Dickens write that way?" "Yes, but that's Dickens; that's novel writing; that's different." "Oh, not so much, these are picture stories; not so different." 
But, to speak quite frankly, all astonishment on this subject and the apparent unexpectedness of such statements can be ascribed only to our—ignorance of Dickens. 
All of us read him in childhood, gulped him down greedily, without realizing that much of his irresistibility lay not only in his capture of detail in the childhoods of his heroes, but also in that spontaneous, childlike skill for story-telling, equally typical for Dickens and for the American cinema, which so surely and delicately plays upon the infantile traits in its audi­ ence. We were even less concerned with the technique of Dickens's composition: for us this was non-existent—but cap­tivated by the effects of this technique, we feverishly followed his characters from page to page, watching his characters now being rubbed from view at the most critical moment, then see­ ing them return afresh between the separate links of the parallel secondary plot.

As children, we paid no attention to the mechanics of this. As adults, we rarely re-read his novels. And becoming film­ workers, we never found time to glance beneath the covers of these novels in order to figure out what exactly had captivated us in these novels and with what means these incredibly many­ paged volumes had chained our attention so irresistibly. 
Apparently Griffith was more perceptive...

But before disclosing what the steady gaze of the American film-maker may have caught sight of on Dickens's pages, I wish to recall what David Wark Griffith himself represented to us, the young Soviet film-makers of the 'twenties.

To say it simply and without equivocation: a revelation. 
Try to remember our early days, in those first years of the October socialist revolution. The fires At the Hearthsides of our native film-producers had burnt out, the Nava's Charms of their productions had lost their power over us and, whis­ pering through pale lips, "Forget the hearth," Khudoleyev and Runich, Polonsky and Maximov had departed to oblivion; Vera Kholodnaya to the grave; Mozhukhin and Lisenko to expatri­ation.

The young Soviet cinema was gathering the experience of revolutionary reality, of first experiments (Vertov), of first systematic ventures (Kuleshov), in preparation for that un­ precedented explosion in the second half of the 'twenties, when it was to become an independent, mature, original art, immediately gaining world recognition.

In those early days a tangle of the widest variety of films was projected on our screens. From out of this weird hash of old Russian films and new ones that attempted to maintain "tradi­tions," and new films that could not yet be called Soviet, and foreign films that had been imported promiscuously, or brought down off dusty shelves-two main streams began to emerge.

On the one side there was the cinema of our neighbor, post­ war Germany. Mysticism, decadence, dismal fantasy followed in the wake of the unsuccessful revolution of 1923, and the screen was quick to reflect this mood. Nosferatu the Vampire, The Street, the mysterious Warning Shadows, the mystic crim­inal Dr. Mabuse the Gambler,· reaching out towards us from our screens, achieved the limits of horror, showing us a future as an unrelieved night crowded with sinister shadows and crimes. . . .

The chaos of multiple exposures, of over-fluid dissolves, of split screens, was more characteristic of the later 'twenties (as in Looping the Loop or Secrets of a Soul ), but earlier Germman films contained more than a hint of this tendency. In the over-use of these devices was also reflected the confusion and chaos of post-war Germany.

All these tendencies of mood and method had been fore­ shadowed in one of the earliest and most famous of these films, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), this barbaric carnival of the destruction of the healthy human infancy of our art, this common grave for normal cinema origins, this combination of silent hysteria, particolored canvases, daubed flats, painted faces, and the unnatural broken gestures and actions of mon­strous chimaeras.

Expressionism left barely a trace on our cinema. This painted, hypnotic "St. Sebastian of Cinema" was too alien to the young, robust spirit and body of the rising class.

It is interesting that during those years inadequacies in the field of film technique played a positive role. They helped to restrain from a false step those whose enthusiasm might have pulled them in this dubious direction. Neither the dimensions of our studios, nor our lighting equipment, nor the materials available to us for make-up, costumes, or setting, gave us the possibility to heap onto the screen similar phantasmagoria. But it was chiefly another thing that held us back: our spirit urged us towards life—amidst the people, into the surging actuality of a regenerating country. Expressionism passed into the formative history of our cinema as a powerful factor—of re­pulsion.

There was the role of another film-factor that appeared, dashing along in such films as The Gray Shadow, The House of Hate, The Mark of Zorro. There was in these films a \vorld, stirring and incomprehensible, but neither repulsive nor alien. On the contrary—it was captivating and attractive, in its own way engaging the attention of young and future film-makers, exactly as the young and future engineers of the time were attracted by the specimens of engineering techniques unknown to US, sent from that same unknown, distant land across the ocean.

What enthralled us was not only these films, it was also their possibilities. Just as it was the possibilities in a tractor to make collective cultivation of the fields a reality, it was the boundless temperament and tempo of these amazing (and amazingly useless!) works from an unknown country that led us to muse on the possibilities of a profound, intelligent, class­ directed use of this wonderful tool.

The most thrilling figure against this background was Grif­fiths, for it was in his works that the cinema made itself felt as more than an entertainment or pastime. The brilliant new methods of the American cinema were united in him with a profound emotion of story, with human acting, with laughter and tears, and all this was done with an astonishing ability to preserve all that gleam of a filmically dynamic holiday, which had been captured in The Gray Shadow and The Mark of Zorro and The House of Hate. That the cinema could be incomparably greater, and that this was to be the basic task of the budding Soviet cinema-these were sketched for us in Griffith's creative work, and found ever new confirmation in his films.

Our heightened curiosity of those years in construction tmd method swiftly discerned wherein lay the most powerful affec­tive factors in this great American's films. This was in a hith­erto unfamiliar province, bearing a name that was familiar to us, not in the field of art, but in that of engineering and elec­trical apparatus, first touching art in its most advanced sec­tion—in cinematography. This province, this method, this prin­ciple of building and construction was montage.

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