The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

The Ones Who Walk Away from OmelasThe Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been a long time since I read anything from Ursula K Le Guin, and I wish I had read this back then, although I may not have fully understood it.

It is a bit dated, not in a bad way, but in what feels a more simplified way things were written back in the 1970s. The overall message though made me uncomfortable when I read it (I won’t give details, I don’t want to spoil it).

I got a lot more out of it though because at the same time I am listing to one of the Great Lectures called the Great Utiopian and Dystopian Works of Literature and the professor covered this story in the first lecture (and honestly thats why I read this story).

I do have to admit though I don’t know if I will seek out re-reading any of Le Guin’s works after this. I fear having the same thing happen with their work that happens with other authors. I find that taken in context in current day the book just doesn’t stand up to what I read/thought back then.

It is only 30 something pages, it is an easy read and I would recommend people read it.

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Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Better than expected when I don’t take into account the white washing, although I was still a little disappointed. I would see the sequel because this is one of my genres.

The movie itself really isn’t trend setting in this current day and age. I suspect the is a weird result of its original anime being so influential. Twenty plus years ago when it came out it was a relatively unusual, groundbreaking event, influencing such seminal works as The Matrix. The Matrix and other movies then in turn, influenced other movies making the tropes from the original GitS cliche.

The whole concept of exploring what makes you human really had nothing new  in this movie that you couldn’t see in a dozen other movies that handled it a bit better.

That being said, Scarlett Johansson did a good job as the Major. I felt she did convey the spirit behind the character, but unfortunately not enough to raise the move above “just ok”. I was especially pleased with Bataou and how he was portrayed, but once again they didn’t give him a big enough part to do much more than give some interest. The rest of the characters were just blips in the movie.

Now we get to the white washing. This clouded my opinion of the movie the whole time. The movie could have been done with any Japanese actress and I probably would have liked the movie better. Once again not because SJ did bad, but because the knowledge of the white washing left a bad taste in my mouth. I guess as I get older, the harder it is to look past stuff like that.

The movie did try to give a partial explanation of a white actress playing a Japanese character late in the movie, but it was less of any sort of in depth story idea, and rather something pieced in to explain why the major has a white body and not a Japanese body. Basically it was a reason they could use on why they went with SJ rather than it being a real plot point.

The good: Decent sci-fi, nice choreography, and an ok story.

The bad: White washing with a bit trope thrown in.