Tag Archives: Orson Welles

Film festivities

Driving home from picking up a vintage Texas Chainsaw Massacre II t-shirt I heard an interesting article on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. The article was about great movie parties, with Neal Conan and a movie expert talking to callers and analyzing some of the greatest party scenes in film history. Of course the standards were discussed: Blake Edwards’ The Party, the Francis Ford Coppola penned version of The Great Gatsby, It’s a Wonderful Life, An American in Paris, Weird Science, and so forth. Some of the callers’ suggestions were excellent, some were maudlin, and others were just stupid. Being the pessimist I am I started thinking about film parties I wouldn’t enjoy. Here’s a list. Continue reading

Scientific and Artistic Paradigm Change: A Brief Review of Thomas Kuhn and Orson Welles

So I wrote a small paper for my Philosophy of Science class. My professor, Dr. Ronnie Hawkins, didn’t want the paper any longer than four, double spaced, pages. It wasn’t necessary but would help elevate my grade. I’m doing well in the class so far, yet any additional credit can’t hurt. I wrote my paper on Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Orson Welles’ film F for Fake. I feel I could have written much more on the subject; limited space permitted only a brief survey. Below is my paper, which I, and a few others I showed it to, thought wasn’t that bad. Thanks for reading.

Scientific and Artistic Paradigm Change: A Brief Review of Thomas Kuhn and Orson Welles

In Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions the author discusses the similarities between scientific and political revolutions: “Political revolutions are inaugurated by a growing sense, often restricted to a segment of the political community, that existing institutions have ceased adequately to meet the problems posed by an environment that they have in part created. In much the same way, scientific revolutions are inaugurated by a growing sense…that an existing paradigm has ceased to function adequately” (92).  However, Kuhn’s exploration of paradigm shifts – the periods prior and afterwards – doesn’t consider the parallels between the various phases of movements and other human endeavors. His book limits itself to politics and science, disregarding other aspects of the human experience, namely the humanities. I agree wholeheartedly with Kuhn’s observations and his blueprint transfers sufficiently to art, especially the role experts and critics fill. Filmmaker Orson Welles’ 1975 cinematic essay, F for Fake, investigates the role critics and experts play in the art world. Following the notorious charlatan Elmyr de Hory, Welles’ experimental picture playfully shatters any validity the gatekeepers of artistic credibility maintain. De Hory, a famous art counterfeiter whose forgeries hang in various museums worldwide, is Welles’ example of credibility gone askew. This paintbrush wielding pirate mirrors the scientific men and women ushering in a new paradigm, invalidating the beliefs and credibility of those defending a dying paradigm. De Hory’s actions are akin to the fresh faces voiding previously held scientific beliefs, ushering in a new perspective and eradicating the world of old.
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