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Paradoxical Movie Analogy

I would like to analogize metablogging (i.e. blogging about blogging) to a brilliant scene in an otherwise lousy movie.

The movie was “Spaceballs,” a Mel Brooks parody of Star Wars. It’s really not worth watching. But there was a particular scene that struck me (and others) as kind of ingenious.

In that scene, a couple of the characters (one of them is a pseudo-Vader) are in trouble and deciding what they should do next. They are in some kind of crisis and need to make a quick decision. But they have reached an impasse and don’t know how to proceed.

Then it occurs to one of them that they have a movie video collection, and one of the videos is “Spaceballs.” That is, they have a copy of the very movie in which they are appearing. So they decide to insert the video, and fast-forward to a place later in the movie where they can see what decision they made and what the consequences were. (If the consequences were bad, they could always change their decision, but of course that would mean the copy of the movie they were watching would be changed.)

So one of the characters fast-forwards the movie, stops it randomly, and presses play. And it turns out that they have started the movie at exactly the same scene in which they are looking at the movie. The two characters look at the screen, and are watching themselves look at the screen, watching themselves looking at the screen, etc. You see an endless series of video screens, with the characters watching themselves. Then the characters look at the camera, and you see all the smaller versions of their characters looking at the camera. And they look back and forth, from the video screen, back to the camera, temporarily paralyzed by the existential ramifications.

It’s only a brief scene, and perhaps you had to be there, but it was the only memorable moment of an otherwise forgettable film. And there is something about that paradox, of watching yourself watch yourself, that applies to blogging.

At this instant right now I am blogging, and of course I am blogging about blogging (about blogging, etc). I’m not trying to be clever, and I’m not a philosopher, but I think there is something metaphysical and transcendental about this. Yet the paradox has practical applications.

If the essence of that one fleeting scene, with all of the profound implications it entails, can be even briefly captured by this blog, then I believe that 3LEpiphany will have served a useful purpose.

How is this analogy practically applicable? I’ll explain soon.

February 7, 2006 in Analogies | Permalink

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