NABOKV-L post 0022019, Wed, 21 Sep 2011 10:42:02 +0100

Re: Vladimir Nabokov¹s memoir Speak, Memory that is full of his love of the butterfly ...
There¹s a danger of romanticizing the Butterfly Effect! Especially for us
Nabokovians. Lorenz found that his computer climate models gave radically
different predictions when certain input parameters were rounded, e.g., from
4 to 3 decimal places*.
There¹s NO actual evidence of a butterfly¹s flapping wings ever triggering a
hurricane in some distant continent! Our weather depends on billions of
inter-related factors, not all known or even knowable. More sensible to
think of human-effect, greenhouse-gas-effect, solar-effect,
meteorite-effect, etc., and leave our beloved Red Admirables to their
(mainly!) innocent frolics.

* The roots of Chaos Theory = many systems are highly susceptible to tiny
changes in their initial states. However, the name Chaos is misleading.
Damnéd shame. The mathematical and everyday meanings are subtlely different.
The lay view of chaos (incidentally, the Greek antonym for cosmos) is
complete, random pandemonium. Whereas, most of the mathematically-chaotic
systems are essentially deterministic. See, e.g.,

Stan Kelly-Bootle, MAA, AMS, ACM

On 20/09/2011 14:04, "sandy klein" <spklein52@GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> Finding LOVE: The butterfly effect
> WASHINGTON, DC, September 15, 2011 ‹ Have you given up finding the right guy,
> the right gal? Do you think there¹s nowhere to meet anyone anymore, that men
> are still boys, that women want commitment and children and big weddings ‹ all
> promised on date three? Golly, why even bother?
> What to do? I have an odd answer: go to a movie, read a good book. Do both.
> You will be changed and that change will have a ripple effect. The butterfly
> effect. Edward Lorenz, who worked on the physics concept the chaos theory,
> gets the credit for this phrase entering our vernacular.
> I¹m no physicist, but here¹s my way to understand it: the unheard move of that
> delicate wing whispers on the wind. It ripples and is heard somewhere else.
> Some say a flick of the wing can start a hurricane.
> Come with me now as I¹m off to the movie/flicks with a book in my pocket. To
> understand me, and maybe you don¹t care, but keep reading anyway: I love
> romantic comedy (aka Rom-Com) and Vladimir Nabokov¹s memoir Speak, Memory that
> is full of his love of the butterfly. I love the paradox: stuff like what I
> just asserted that doesn¹t seem to fit together but does‹or might.
> When my heart was broken, a long story that I documented in a blog and a
> memoir, I went to the Rom-Com for wisdom. Now that my heart is healed, I still
> love them, but now I look for movies that cross the genre boundary and I
> reread Lolita, the much banned and misunderstood novel, for hope.
> The best films cross the boundary of genre, as in Rom-Com, and become
> literature as in Lolita. When that happens I believe in LOVE, yeah, the all
> caps kind.
> <>
> Two butterflies share a blossom
> Let¹s define one term here. Hitch, Something¹s Gotta Give, French Kiss are,
> for the more literary among you who wouldn¹t dare venture to one of these,
> Rom-Coms. Here¹s how they work: two cynics meet, neither believes love works
> and one or both have been hurt or screwed by believing the open heart is a
> good thing. So one, or in the case of Hitch, both have shut down. The fairy
> tale ending doesn¹t exist and they both know it. Familiar dilemma?
> The thing about great flicks, the ones that cross the boundary to, let¹s just
> call it film-literature, is that the subject is almost always, even if not
> fully apparent, about the paradoxes of love.
> Two movies I¹ve seen recently prove this: The Debt and The Beginners.
> The Debt, billed as a thriller, has not been critically well reviewed by some
> heavy hitters. I disagree. It¹s a daring story that uncovers the lives of
> three retired Israeli secret agents and provides an original slant on the
> difficult subject of the Holocaust. The power of this film lies in its cast,
> both those in flashback and those in present action, who reflect on each
> other.
> John Madden directed. You might remember him from Shakespeare in Love, a flick
> he directed and that some have called a Rom-Com romp. I think it¹s original,
> full of panache, literary.
> In The Debt, Madden ensures that the viewer lives the agents¹ experience
> through the struggle of layered conflict. In this case, the power of what
> remains withheld is a lie. The heavy-hitting critics say the movie wears you
> out, but that¹s John Madden¹s point: in the dark theater I lived the
> experience of the conflict as Madden entwined past and present, the way memory
> works.
> We see the same story retold in the main character¹s struggle, the role played
> forcefully by Helen Mirren in the film¹s present action and vulnerably in her
> memory by Jessica Chastain. Memory, in our unconscious joins past and present
> by revisiting the past over and over again. Its butterfly wings change us if
> we listen to the unheard whisper.
> I was changed by this film because the key conflict, the ethical problem of
> the lie, is complicated by the paradox of love, love between two men and one
> woman, love between the one woman and the man she truly loves, and her love
> for the child fathered by one of the two.
> The Beginners did not play widely, and may be gone from theaters as you read
> this. Netflix it. I loved it so much I saw it twice. The Beginners, written
> and directed by Mike Mills, operates with the deftness and concreteness of a
> poem. The performances are terrific, but it is the screenplay that stuns. The
> story and the editing work a bit like The Debt, back and forth through memory.
> Ewan McGregor tenderly plays the main character whose father, played with
> candor and wit by Christopher Plummer, came out, ³I¹m gay,² after his wife
> died. We know right off the bat that this character has also died. McGregor¹s
> character can¹t seem to find love. His parents¹ marriage circles back and
> forth in memory of childhood. He¹s overcome by grief. We watch him care for
> the dying and paradoxically vibrant- living, loving father.
> The movie is transformative because the characters, even Arthur, the Jack
> Russell terrier, are specific, non-generic. We know their conflicts and we
> know that love is the answer. (see the movie trailer below)
> Both these films cross the boundaries of genre. Is The Debt a thriller? Can
> The Beginners even be defined? Both flicks read like literature because the
> viewer, in this case me, is changed. And the territory of both movies is love.
> Love defines us, who we are, who we wish to be, when we fall short, and when
> we succeed in the deeply human journey we call life.
> Love is the chaos theory when you¹re trying to find it and sometimes when
> you¹re in it, as I well know.
> The book in my pocket is Lolita. The blurb on the back of my copy reads: ³The
> only convincing love story of our century.² ‹Vanity Fair. Nabokov closes the
> novel, a book once banned for its pederasty, with a prose elegy to the voices
> of children at play and to the unheard voice of Lolita from that concord.
> Nabokov¹s flawed hero, for lack of a better term, speaks at the end of the
> novel of the children¹s ³vapor of blended voices,² of the ³spurt of vivid
> laughter, or the crack of a bat, or clatter of a toy wagon² and his elegy on
> the sounds of childhood ends this way:
> "I stood listening to that musical vibration from my lofty slope, to those
> flashes of separate cries with a kind of demure murmur for background, and
> then I knew that the hopelessly poignant thing was not Lolita¹s absence from
> my side, but the absence of her voice from the concord."
> Nabokov who loved the butterfly has made the point that love corrupted
> destroys the child and we must be child-like to love passionately, deeply.
> The ripple effect of the unheard broken wing does not whisper. It screams.
> If you are discouraged by love, if your heart has been broken, if you¹ve
> become cynical about finding love, know you can be changed by a great film or
> book. You will walk on the street anew and the flick of your wing will sing.
> Someone will hear.
> Mary L. Tabor is the author of the memoir: (Re)Making Love: a sex after sixty
> story and The Woman Who Never Cooked. She says, ³I ferret out the detail, love
> the footnote, am never bored and believe it all leads to story. Best advice I
> ever got? ŒOnly connect Š¹ E.M. Forster² Find out more at
> -tabor/2011/sep/15/finding-love-butterfly-effect/

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