Revisiting Synecdoche New York, a bewildering masterpiece that should come out of shadows

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kaufmanBy Atul Mishra

“What was once before you – an exciting, mysterious future – is now behind you. Lived; understood; disappointing. You realize you are not special. You have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. This is everyone’s experience. Every single one. The specifics hardly matter.”

Life, death, love, creativity, identity, frustration, forgiveness and regret, are a few epistemologies that are battled everyday in the ennui of human existence. These all are explored at a gigantic scale in Synecdoche, New York, a 2008 American postmodern drama film written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. It was Kaufman’s directorial debut. The Oscar-winning screenwriter Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) nails the very essence of existence of every human being.

The plot follows an ailing theatre director (Hoffman) as he works on an increasingly elaborate stage production whose extreme commitment to realism begins to blur the boundaries between fiction and reality. Life is too bleak for theater director Caden Cotard (Hoffman). His wife and daughter have left him, his therapist is more interested in plugging her new book than helping him with his problems, and a strange disease is causing his body to shut down. Caden leaves his home in Schenectady, New York, and heads to New York City, where he gathers a cast of actors and tells them to live their lives within the constructs of a mock-up of the city.

photo credit: screenrobot.com
photo credit: screenrobot.com

Caden builds a replica of New York in a colossal warehouse, where his players perform their scenes behind closed doors. This leads on to plays within plays and blurred lines between fiction and reality, and to push it further out there, Kaufman plays with time, speeding up its passage as the decades roll away and Hoffman becomes more decrepit and lost. The narrative leapfrogs ahead in sudden fast-forward leaps. Caden’s kid is four – no, wait, she’s 11, living in Berlin with her mother and dissolute lover – no, hang on, she’s in her 30s, tattooed, messed up, working in some porn-booth. Before you know it, she’s on her deathbed, angrily accusing a decrepit Caden of abuse.

photo credit: screenrobot.com
photo credit: screenrobot.com

It is as much a cry from the heart as it is an assertion of creative consciousness. It’s extravagantly conceptual but also tethered to the here and now. The key to understanding Synecdoche, NY is realizing that protagonist Caden Cotard (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is dead.  He has killed himself before the movie even starts. The first hint we get that Caden is dead comes immediately at the film’s open.  Over black, a child (presumably Caden’s daughter Olive) sings a simple rhyme written by Kaufman himself.  The lyrics are innocent enough at first:

There’s a place I long to be

A certain town that’s dear to me

Home to Mohawks and G.E.

It’s called Schenectady

I was born there and I’ll die there

My first home I hope to buy there

Have a kid or at least try there

Sweet Schenectady.

You get the sense that Kaufman feared he might never make another movie, and so crammed in every idea he’d ever wanted to explore. It’s at once epic and intimate, brilliant and scabrous. To quote Roger Ebert here and his appreciation of the film, “Here is how life is supposed to work,” Ebert wrote. “We come out of ourselves and unfold into the world. We try to realize our desires. We fold back into ourselves, and then we die.”

The plot of the movie is not the point.  Obviously, it’s the themes of mortality, love, and inaction that are important here.  And while the film is deeply and wholly depressing, it is not without its message.  Perhaps Caden wasted his life and things didn’t work out for him.  But that doesn’t have to be us. If you to go out, grab life by the balls, and make your own fate, this is a must watch.

If Charlie Kaufman never does anything again, this will stand as his cracked monument that shall eternally remain standing among the reels showing the hard hitting real life. And this film, not known to even many film buffs, should really be given its due. It’s Kaufman’s magnum opus that leaves you mesmerized and is a lifelong experience in itself.

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“Unfair Practices Smack The Elections For Herricks Board of Education”, Claims Candidate Bhajan Ratra

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the elections will now be conducted exclusively by absentee ballot via US Mail

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Herricks
The Year 2020-21 School Budget Vote and its Board of Education Election is to be conducted on Tuesday, June 9th. Herricks.org

By Kashish Rai

The Herricks Board of Education is accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and the Middle School Association.

The Year 2020-21 School Budget Vote and its Board of Education Election is to be conducted on Tuesday, June 9th. Two seats in the board are being challenged. Henry R. Zanetti and James Gounaris are running for re-elections against challengers Bhajan S. Ratra and Tarantej S. Arora.

Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the vote was postponed from its original date scheduled in May and it will now be conducted exclusively by absentee ballot via US Mail.

Challenger Bhajan S. Ratra is an adjunct professor of Mathematics at Baruch College and SUNY Farmingdale. He is a panel member on the content advisory and bias review committees of New York State Teaching Certification Examination and has served in the past on the standards setting committee for the NYS Regents exams. He claims that unfair practices and inappropriate approach is smacking the election for the board.

The preceding position holders- Zanetti and James Gounaris have violated the code of conduct by doing undesirable posts through social media.

In the below given screenshot it can be observed that they are instigating the audience to vote for them by posting a picture of the ballot having their names marked. They can also be seen getting criticized by a user questioning the “appropriateness” of the post.

Post
Screenshot of the facebook post by Gounaris tagging Henry Zanetti.

According to the rules, it is illegal to take selfies/ post the picture of the ballot during the time of election in New York. Zanetti and James were seen violating the rules, thus, Ratra claims that their candidature should be disqualified.

In the above added screenshot, it can also be seen that the incumbents have pointed out “yes” To the budget vote. This can be considered as an act of misleading the public regardless of prior audits. According to the rules, an incumbent can not urge the public to vote “yes”. This raises some very serious questions- Does the incumbent(s) has/have their personal interest in voting “Yes”?

Screenshot
Screenshot of the discussion by the audience in comments on the Facebook post by Gounaris.

Mr. Ratra states that the reason for him contesting the election is because of his will to serve his community being an educator. As a member of the board of education he wants to use his experience to influence the decisions taken by the board that will help to move the Herricks School district from good to great. Bhajan aims to establish a transparent approach between students, families, Teachers and board members.

Bhajan Ratra
Challenger Bhajan S. Ratra is an adjunct professor of Mathematics at Baruch College and SUNY Farmingdale. He is a panel member on the content advisory and bias review committees of New York State Teaching Certification Examination and has served in the past on the standards setting committee for the NYS Regents exams.

There were many issues emerging earlier in the board, among them which was an inordinate approach with the board’s budget. The NY State Auditors concluded that The Herricks school district consistently overspent its budget for custodians’ overtime pay — thousands of dollars in expenditures that in many cases may not have been necessary. Bhajan aims to focus on solving these very core issues, he says that he aims to take a stand but every time he tries, his voice gets dominated.

Headline
This picture represents the headline of the news story published on newsday.com which highlights the plight of mismanagement in budget of the Herricks Board.

Despite these frustrations and pressures, Bhajan has refused to give up because his only aim is to establish a clean and fair approach. In his concludary words Bhajan told NewsGram- “It doesn’t matter if I win or lose, my only aim is to serve my community in any possible way, these frustrations and pressures doesn’t affect me as I continue to take stand for my role and responsibility as someone who wants to contribute to the society”.

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Now, it is to be think upon~ what best possible action would be taken as far as the code of conduct and the rules are concerned with due respect to the elections. Here position doesn’t matter, what matters is ethics and the truth.

 

 

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New York State Allows Gatherings of up to 10 People

New York state loosens restrictions on gatherings

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new york
Restrictions loosen on New York State of USA as a gathering of upto 10 people is permitted now. Pixabay

The US state of New York now allows gatherings of up to 10 people for non-essential purposes, two months after a statewide order banned such gatherings of any size to curb spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, suggests the Latest news on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order late on Friday to loosen the restrictions, stressing that people have to follow social distancing protocols and cleaning and disinfection protocols required by the state’s Department of Health, Xinhua reported.

Earlier this week, the governor permitted gatherings of such scale during the Memorial Day weekend for memorial ceremonies. Religious gatherings of the same scale have also been allowed since Thursday.

Cuomo said on Saturday that Long Island and Mid-Hudson could reopen next week, leaving New York City the only region in the state that will remain in the “PAUSE” order for a while.

new york
Restrictions are lifted two months after a statewide order banned such gatherings. Pixabay

New York City has not yet met two of the seven metrics the state-designed for reopening, which are the numbers of hospital beds and ICU beds available. But Cuomo said he expected the city to reopen in early June.

Also Read: LaLiga Cleared to Return on June 8

On Friday, New York City unveiled three key metrics set by itself to track the progress toward reopening, which are daily new hospital admissions, the current number of ICU patients and the percentage of people testing positive, each with a single indicator threshold.

The daily death toll in New York State fell to 84, said Cuomo on Saturday, the first time that figure has dropped below 100 since the state went into a lockdown two months ago.

The overall statewide caseload rose to 359,926, with 1,772 new cases, said the governor. (IANS)

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Here’s Why Drone Delivery is Not Possible in Densely-Populated Areas Like New York or New Delhi

The study, conducted by Gohram Baloch and Gzara, used New York City as an example and looks at data surrounding the Manhattan area

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Drone
Demand for drone delivery in e-retail is high but the ability to meet that demand is very low. Pixabay

Your dream to get a pizza delivered by a drone or an Amazon drone knocking at the door will remain a dream as researchers have revealed that a drone delivery service is not realistic and may not be possible in densely-populated areas like New York or New Delhi.

The reason is simple: Demand for drone delivery in e-retail is high but the ability to meet that demand is very low. For a city like New York, the optimal design for the test locations, based on all factors, is three drone facilities covering 75 per cent of NYC area and 34 per cent of the population.

“Opening a fourth facility increases area and population coverage to 84 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively, but the increase in operation cost is not enough to cover the facility costs,” said the researchers from University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

“We analyse the tradeoffs between distribution costs and revenues under varying social difficulties with drones like customer preferences and regulatory and technological limitations,” said Fatma Gzara, a professor in the Department of Management Sciences at Waterloo.

“We then can make educated decisions on how many facilities to open, which services to offer at that facility and which services to make available to customers in certain areas,” she added. The new research, published in the journal Transportation Science, looked at how possible and desirable it is to use drones for delivery for e-retailers considering cost and effectiveness in certain population areas and in certain locations.

The study, conducted by Gohram Baloch and Gzara, used New York City as an example and looks at data surrounding the Manhattan area. The authors separated the area into boroughs based on population and size. Baloch and Gzara said they chose New York because the world’s largest e-retail company, Amazon, first started its 2-hour delivery services in the Big Apple.

Drone
Researchers have revealed that a drone delivery service is not realistic and may not be possible in densely-populated areas like New York or New Delhi. Pixabay

“Our results show that government regulations, technological limitations, and service charge decisions play a vital role in optimal configurations and drone target markets,” said Gzara.

“Under current drone landing capabilities, a drone delivery service may not be possible in a densely populated area like Manhattan where demand for such a service is expected to be high,” the researchers wrote.

ALSO READ: Top-Tier Facets Of a Lucrative Filmmaker

e-retailers can reach smaller markets and more price-sensitive customers by possibly offering discounts on drone-delivered orders, the findings showed. (IANS)