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Time for a new Dune movie

The 1965 book Dune was to a great extent the basis of most futuristic science fiction books and movies that followed. Star Wars is based on Dune, even beginning on a desert planet where the hero, Luke Skywalker, has been tested and hardened into a ready warrior by the harsh landscape around him, like the Fremen of Dune’s desert planet Arrakis.

“Dune” author Frank Herbert was an eclectic guy, a deep and creative thinker. One might say he was unusual, even by modern terms.

He was against racism but believed in the importance of human genetic improvement through select breeding. Focusing on the importance of tribalism, Herbert nonetheless elevated the self-reliant individual as the highest achievement a person could aim and hope for.

He was for the concretely purposeful use of mind-expanding drugs, such as religious experiences, saw warfare and killing as hardly noticeable inevitabilities in a well-ordered human universe, believed in God and the power of prayer, supported the ongoing evolution of technology, but then elevated the supremacy of human evolution and the human spirit, including personal fighting skills, over that same technology.

If his amalgamation of nearly all current religions on Planet Earth into one or two future strands of religious thought is any indication, Herbert is suggesting that all religions pretty much point us in the same direction, though some are scarier than others.

Herbert was firmly against artificial intelligence and the delegation of human decision making to machines. In Dune, it is the ‘Butlerian Jihad’ that wipes out most computers and all AI, leaving only those computers that could perform the basic elementary functions in lieu of humans, after a close call where AI and its robots nearly took out all humans. On this subject, it could be said that Herbert was prescient and, like many other sci-fi writers, ahead of his time. Even now we childishly rush into AI as if it is just a silly game, when in fact it could quickly kill every human and every other life form on Planet Earth.

In 1984 director David Lynch produced a pretty good movie that captured a lot of the book Dune. No small feat, as most great books result in terrible movies. The David Lynch movie was good because it embraced the book and did not try to dance around it. Its acting was mostly excellent, and some of the scenes are perfectly gritty. But in other ways the 1984 movie is very weak. Its special effects are almost sad, even by the standards of that time. Very 1950s.

A miniseries was attempted years later, and many Dune devotees believed it was a failure in every way. Lacking even the punch of the 1984 movie, it certainly was not what people had hoped for or imagined.

We need a new, updated Dune movie. No, we demand one. A Dune movie that is absolutely true to the book, that has the same quality actors as the 1984 version, and which has updated technology, sets, and special effects. It will have to be long, three hours, to capture the most important scenes and subtle nuances that make the Dune story so powerful.

C’mon, Hollywood, do something good for once. Give us a new Dune movie that is worthy of the name and the book.

Today’s talk with Dickinson College students

Thank you to Professor Andrea Leiber, among others, at Dickinson College, just about every year I am invited to come speak to a class about environmental issues.

Usually it is more enjoyable to go right into the Question & Answer period, because it’s there that we get the most essential points.  Usually stuff like “Statistically, most of you will get married and about half of you will become divorced.  Many of you will get fired from a job.  Don’t fight with your boss.  Pursue things that make you happy,” and so on.

These are college students who may not have ever heard facts and ideas like this before.

Today I brought a hand-out, below, that we went over before getting into the Q&A.  The students, naturally, found these items tremendously provocative, which is good.  That is the point.  The goal is to challenge them and get them to think hard, outside their comfort zones.  Kids, thank you for being so interested in our topics.  I appreciate at least not being ignored.

Here is what was handed out:

Dickinson Five points:

1) your generation is becoming infantile. Don’t be offended. That’s a cop-out. Engage the world. Debate people on substantive issues. “You offend me” is bullsh*t. Don’t deal in bullsh*t. Be real.

2) listen to Rush Limbaugh. Or Hannity. Or Glen Beck. Add diverse thinking to your daily dose of diversity. Or, stop deceiving yourself that you truly embrace diversity. Listening to ideas you’re new to or unhappy about gets you outside the box. Think outside the box. Political correctness is a box.

3) climate change is not a religion, or a cult, or a science, so stop treating it that way.  For 35 years we’ve been told a brand new, unproven, nascent science was already settled. Really? On what basis? By whom? Anthropogenic climate change is a corrupted political movement based on Marxism. It’s not science, yet.

4)  Learn the American Constitution. It’s the basis of your life whether or not you presently understand it. It’s under assault. Eg 2nd amendment is fundamental to a free people and gun control has zero to do with crime control, FEC FCC regulation of internet, NSA spying, IRS political assault on political speech, Hillary’s private emails to conduct national security, loss of religious conscience.

5) Islam is at war with western civilization. America’s next big war will probably be with orthodox Muslims over individual liberty and freedom. Do not allow political correctness to stop you from asking questions and from saying what you believe.

Are you against Christianity but ok with Islam? Why?

Are you upset about the Israeli “occupation” but are ok with the Arab occupation of Jewish and Christian homes, farms and businesses? Why?

Be brave or kiss America and your iPhone goodbye.

Get off Facebook, have a beer [or soda] and grilled hotdogs with your real friends, instead.

Grow a small garden.

Camp out often.

Be self reliant.

Don’t let others’ expectations shape your future.

Get a gun and learn how to shoot it and store it.

Don’t smoke pot. Facebook is pot. It’s already killing your brain. Don’t add more.

Don’t be a hypocrite or have double standards. Be real.