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S.R. Prozak (Alief, TX)

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Blank Slate
Blank Slate
by Steven Pinker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 39.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 17.97

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Achieves its goals and then wanders, June 16 2004
This review is from: Blank Slate (Hardcover)
This book explores an important topic, the concept that human beings exist without any biologically deterministic viewpoints and thus can be shaped completely by the "correct" ideas from society itself, but when it leaves firm science falls into the very system of thought that it laments.
Pinker explores the history of biological determinism, and dissects the major arguments against it, effectively proving his point by page 223; however, from that point onward, he discusses the "positive" applications of his research from a progressivist, scientistic, and individualistic viewpoint, thus affirming the very belief systems that gave rise to his much-detest concept of the "Blank Slate."
While the first half of this book is thus insightful and politically controversial research, the second half is the kind of social platitudes that one might expect from a professor who teaches introductory creative writing, not a lucid mind. However, the book remains important for its comprehensive and diligent tackling of what is perhaps the greatest pseudo-scientific mythos of our time.

Phenomenon (Bilingual)
Phenomenon (Bilingual)
DVD ~ John Travolta
Price: CDN$ 5.97
26 used & new from CDN$ 2.02

3.0 out of 5 stars Good intentions, good follow through, bad ending, April 18 2004
This review is from: Phenomenon (Bilingual) (DVD)
This retelling of "Stranger in a Strange Land" explores the possibility that, in a crazy society such as our own, someone might discover sanity/genius and thus become completely alienated. It does a great job of that; unfortunately, the story is paced incorrectly and thus has a long introduction, a crammed development and a schmaltzy, lengthy, sickening ending. Like most tales in which a character is suddenly a genius, such as "Flowers For Algernon," there's a conflict between love for a woman and the alienation of someone feared by others for his ability. To his credit, John "I was in Disco movies" Travolta does a great job of portraying a man overwhelmed by his own intellect, looking every bit like someone who gets struck by revelation every few minutes. He's also every bit as childish and handsomely unintentionally aloof as a genius would be, and is enigmatic in that role; Kyra Sedgewick does a great job with her 1.5-dimensional character. This movie ultimately would do best if the rock/folk music interludes were cut and replaced with some silent scenes, and if the last 30 minutes were reduced from hanky-sopping drama to a few insights and then a slightly more ambiguous, less Christ-like ending. Overall however this is an exceptional movie for a broken society in a broken time.

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