Tag Archives: symbolism

The (intellectual) hero’s journey: science/Tarot mash-up

Way to push a bunch of my geek-buttons at once: mapping Joseph Campbell’s ur-story of the hero’s journey onto the scientific method and philosophy, via the rich and deep symbolic interface of the Tarot deck [via Metafilter; more card images on the Science Tarot Facebook page].

Not sure how practical it would be (for science or for cartomancy – though as a po-mo method of storying science I think it’s a rather brilliant idea), nor whether some of the scientists portrayed would be particularly keen on the idea (can’t see ol’ Carl Sagan giving the thumbs-up to a grafting of occultism onto the tree of science, really), but for someone like myself who spent a great deal of time immersed in the symbolic structures of occultism and science at the same time, it’s a rather charming synthesis, not to mention one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments.

Super Hero Fatigue – Why I am Tired of American Rubber

This month in Blasphemous Geometries: the life-span of the Bush administration has seen an astonishing proliferation of super hero cinema.

Blasphemous Geometries by Jonathan McCalmont

Jonathan McCalmont compares the rhetoric of American foreign and domestic policy with the thematic underpinnings of the super hero movie genre, and explains why he’ll be as glad to see the back of costumed crusaders as he will the back of Bush.


With the Bush era rumbling to a long overdue end, some critics have turned their gin-shortened attentions to the question of which cultural artefact best incapsulates W’s period in office. One popular yardsticks are the ways in which the Presidency has been depicted through film and TV. The Clinton era, for example, has come to be seen as a period of intensely human and libidinous cinematic Presidents such as those of Ivan Reitman’s Dave (1993) and Rob Reiner’s The American President (1995). In fact, were it not for films such as Independence Day (1996) and Air Force One (1997) asserting the President’s penchant for arse-kicking you could be forgiven for forgetting that while Clinton claimed to feel people’s pain, he was no slouch when it came to meting it out in the form of air strikes and deciding, for the first time, that the spread of WMDs was a military matter.

However, while the Bush era has been quick to provide us with Presidents who are either mentally unstable religious zealots (Battlestar Galactica) or bloodless pragmatists more eager to seek revenge than examine the facts (The Sum of all Fears [2002]), the enduring cinematic icon of the Bush era is undeniably the super hero. Continue reading Super Hero Fatigue – Why I am Tired of American Rubber