Ribbon of Memes

It's been over a century and a quarter since the first moving picture was committed to celluloid - the "ribbon of dreams", as Orson Welles mellifluously intoned.

And so, welcome, one and all, to Ribbon of Memes, a new podcast in which Roger Bell_West and Nick Marsh supply grateful listeners hot takes about films considered masterpieces by critics or filmgoers in general.

The rules: we choose one "masterpiece" from every year from the earliest days of cinema to our dreadful modern dystopia. Do we agree these films are classics? Are we entertained? Did we even understand what the film was trying to say? The questions are endless!*

We start in 1973 (for reasons explained in the first podcast) and progress vaguely chronologically (unless we think of another film that makes an interesting comparison to the one we have just seen, or are otherwise distracted by shiny new things).

Yes, that's right, we decided that what the world really needed was two more uninformed middle-aged white guys telling the world about media largely produced by similar people. Find out whether we were right or not herein!

*Actually, no, that's most of them.

We're also on iTunes, Spotify and Google Podcasts.

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All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011) 06 April 2024

Nick and Roger take on our first documentary (arguably, not a film at all) with 2011's All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace) .

If you haven't watched it, we recommend the Wikipedia summary of the subject matter.


  1. Posted by J Michael Cule at 03:38pm on 06 April 2024

    I started to read Rand in order to understand what the ILLUMINATUS! trilogy was making mock of. I ended up falling in a libertarian wormhole for a bit of my twenties but I got better.

    The thing that struck most was Rand's sado-masochistic streak which is most clearly seen in the rape scene in THE FOUNTAINHEAD (fitting a marble fireplace, a lecture on architecture and aesthetics and then a little sexual assault). Her worship of competence was plain; her unreasonable belief in her own competence was the problem.

    She was near enough to an authoritarian with her own cult for most purposes. I like to point to her dismissal of Vietnam war protestors as 'punks' which doesn't tie in well with her praise of the individual brave enough to defy conventional wisdom and find their own morality. Don't want to spend your life fighting communism? Yer a punk. Her sexual ethics (which boiled down to 'Ayn gets what she wants when she wants it') are less hypocritical than that, though more sociopathic.

    (Speaking of sociopaths: https://www.learnreligions.com/ayn-rand-sociopath-who-admired-serial-killer-3975225)

    The worst bit for me was the claim to Objectivity. Had these idiots never heard of David Hume?

    I'm a bit peeved that you pointed me at this interesting thing and then I discover the thing isn't available on iPlayer... Is that just the BBC being awkward?

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 07:24pm on 06 April 2024

    There is this basic assumption that every Competent Heroic Man will agree with every other CHM, so there's no need for dispute resolution: an idea is either right or not, which you can determine objectively. (Which in practice means "by asking Ayn".)

  3. Posted by Nick at 06:11pm on 07 April 2024

    I watched it on Amazon prime but it’s available for free over on Dailymotion: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2pqw7a

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 02:27pm on 09 April 2024

    Thanks to Neil Hopkins on Mastodon for pointing out this fine parody of the Curtis style.

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