When Does The Movie End?

Somewhere in Ukraine’s vastness, what is left of a 9-storey residential building stands like a fragile, charred skeleton, almost indistinguishable from the equally grey, angry sky behind it. Its middle section completely missing, the smoking gap is flanked on each side by two equally-sized, sister sections that seem to be pondering whether to collapse or not.

The heart of the building was ripped out, like the heart of each Ukrainian, like the murdered baby of the murdered woman in Mariupol. We saw them both survive the bombing. We watched them being carried on the stretcher, as she caressed her belly with the last strength she had left. And then we watched them die, in the comfort of our television room. We all saw the movie in vivid technicolour, probably while having dinner. We saw the blackened buildings eaten alive by big orange flames. We saw the pregnant woman’s half-lifeless gaze, as she stared into the camera, into life, for the very last time. She was staring down into the tunnel of death.

We all saw the movie. And we are still treating it like a movie: a movie we can choose to turn off, pause, or fast-forward.

But it’s not a fucking movie. And we are not spectators. We are actors whether we like it or not, playing a silly pantomime theatre at the fringes of the warzone, like silent props within a film set. Our hands are tied and mouths are gagged by Putin-fear, while the main actors valiantly live and die alone, right in front of our tiny black eyes. We fade in the background. We are the filmset. We are a yellow star-spangled blue banner that is about to get bloody, as the tragic hero dies in the middle of the set. There are two flags on this movie set, made of exactly the same two colours: blue and yellow. But how similar are they?

George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books

6 thoughts on “When Does The Movie End?

  1. The side effects of our “civilization” aka social interdependance in conjunction with a hierarchical rationing system and monetary representational value system with its clever use of competitive division of labor makes it impossible for almost any one of us to escape guilt and blood on our hands. It has been so for as long as subjugation became a way of being. Very, very, clever and deviously insidious way of organizing ourselves. We are unable to criticize the system and exist within it without being a hypocrite with no way to change or get out of the system with out severe self sacrifice. The perfect self reinforcing feedback loop that just grows until it explodes. All because we do not know how to share and live within limits that the biosphere and geosphere impose. We are clever by half as the saying goes. We have unconsciously built the perfect trap. We are going to get spanked severely it appears. I could go on for volumes about all the pitfalls and mistakes. At this stage of our data collecting process it becomes easier and easier to be a monday morning quarterback. Since i was quite young i always wondered if the whole human enterprise was a fools errand. It certainly appears that way as we each experience our ,”wyle e coyote” moment. Love Rick

      1. Once upon a time we were a wild animal with out a complete script running in our bodies that told us exactly how to live. The evolutionary door was left open. We get to partially write our own script (story). We formed cults to try and make sense of our predicament. Over time thousands of stories were invented and some were better than others at focusing our collective self interest. We are still that wild animal without a well defined script, victims of our successful stories, in a state of perpetual overshoot due to our collectively freakish cleverness at overcoming limits. An overblown sense of self importance. We envision ourselves as the most important organism on the planet instead of the least important. We are at the top of the foodchain. That is the least important position. The biosphere will be fine without us. The bottom of the foodchain is the most important organism. We are the misguided fools. From our selfish point of view we see our demise as an extreme tragedy. Love Rick

  2. Not me man. I can’t watch it. It’s too painful to watch. It’s too painful to know. To know the world could stop this now. Right now, but they won’t. They won’t because they think they want him to stop it. But he’s not going to. He knows how to start conflict but He does not know anything about stopping it. Wreaking havoc, that’s his game and believe me…to him that’s all it is…a game. While most of the rest of society feels the anguish he’s orchestrating, he feels nothing. Those who feel nothing of the torment they cause, experience no responsibility for the actions they’ve set in motion. It all takes the shape of some amorphous cloud choking the life out of…The World!

  3. Dear George,
    I have been an ardent reader of your website. An intelligent, well-informed and unbiased view of reality. This was my opinion until today, when you joined the – to say it mildly, – forgetful voices – that destroy the ethic base of western thought.

    I am sure you know who Oliver Stone is, and you know his films, and that he is a patriotic American, one of the few who dares to question the media barrage which we all experience.

    This is to remind you, that the contemporary time we live in did not start on the day Russia, in breach of international law, invaded Ukraine. Anyone who excludes the foreplay when airing his opinion has lost the mandate to speak the truth. He becomes a fearful mental satrap, if not a hypocritical victim of cognitive dissonance.

    To clarify this for yourself, without a ‘but’or ‘however’, you should watch two of his documentaries and as a reminder the front page of Time magazine of Sept. 11, 1995


    Be assured that I am not defending the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I am defending a world view that defends a liberal idea of reality independent of who the perpetrators are.


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