All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Eye of the monster (Joker rising)

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
Once again, the "eyes" have it.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – When I got to work on the morning of Wednesday, April 10, 2019, I never anticipated it being the sort of day it turned out to be. As I sit here, on the following Thursday morning, I’m still trying to make sense of the newsm between black hole photographs and news out of the Philippines revealing that the remains of a "previously unknown species" of hominid had been discovered, "complicating" the evolutionary tree.

BLACK HOLE STUNS

First, of course, was the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) took a truly remarkable picture – one of a black hole, which revealed "a bright ring formed as light bends in the intense gravity around a black hole that is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun."

The photographed black hole (achieved via algorithms created by one Katie Bouman ... ("My God, it's full of stars!" - Dave Bowman, 2001: A Space Odyssey / 2010: The Year We Make Contact) appears as a ring of orange light - a "doughnut," if you will - with a deep, black void in the middle. That's the black hole, located in the M87 galaxy, in the Virgo constellation, which is about 55 million light-years away. 

People went nuts with "black hole" memes. Naturally, I thought of Soundgarden's 1994 grunge-rock hit "Black Hole Sun," a song that inspired a June 2014 Dust Devil Dreams post - "Times are gone for honest men," a title taken from a line in the song written and sung by Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, who died May 18, 2017, from suicide by hanging - while in Detroit, Michigan. 

I emphasize Detroit  for a couple of reasons. It is a city I would travel to in 1993-94 to see touring grunge rock bands, while I lived in Michigan at that time. This is when Kurt Cobain of Nirvana died - days before Richard Nixon's passing - which I wrote about here. The post also highlights the Killing Joke album Brighter Than a Thousand Suns, which one could say about the ring around the black hole) because in the other big story on Hump Day was about the aforementioned new species of human discovered in the Philippines. A key person involved in the study, and interviewed on CNN, was Florent Detroit, study author and paleoanthropologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France. 

Said Detroit: "As we can see now, Southeast Asia, and especially their islands, is a fantastic place for studying hominin evolution, and conducting fieldwork to find more sites with ancient archaeology and hominin fossils."

Specifically, as CNN reported Wednesday afternoon: “Ancient bones and teeth found in Callao Cave in the Philippines have led to the discovery of a previously unknown species related to humans called Homo luzonensis, according to a new study. The fossils belonged to two adults and one child who lived between 50,000 and 67,000 years ago.”

This LiveScience article features a headline “New species of early human is even smaller than the “Hobbit.” Hobbits, eh? Between the "Eye of Sauron" memes about the black hole image and talk of "hobbits," one wonders if we are all on the last train to Middle Earth. 

Also, some might say this news about our human family - not to mention the black hole image - is "heavier than heaven." Or, maybe not ... 

MONSTERS

“Spare him his life from the monstrosity.” - "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen (Released Halloween 1975)

I was particularly fascinated with how another 1994 album, R.E.M.'s glam-rock-influenced record Monster, featured a hazy image of a bear's head, the bear in black and the background in orange. The eye of the bear, upon further inspection, does look like the black hole image. It's uncanny, really. 

Chock full of great mid-90's rockers and ballads, one song that sticks out is "I Don't Sleep, I Dream." This line interests me: "I'm looking for an interruption / Do you believe? You looking to dig my dreams / Be prepared for anything / YOu come into my little scene / Hooray, hooray, hip-hip hooray!"

A post titled “Queer Frequency: R.E.M.’s Monster & Michael Stipe as a Queer Icon,” posted in June 2018, notes the following: “For a time in the 90s, R.E.M. was the biggest band in the world, and their singer happened to be queer. You need look no further than another big hit in the 90s to find R.E.M.’s best comparison. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Though Queen were European and Freddie Mercury had one of the best rock voices of all-time and R.E.M. were American and Michael Stipe was famous for his “mumbling”-style of singing, both bands had broad mainstream appeal due to timeless songs and enchantingly charismatic, openly queer frontmen.

Mercury is obviously an unquestionable queer icon. But Stipe seems to rarely be mentioned as an important queer trailblazer. R.E.M. are seen as the influential rock band that they were as a whole, but Stipe deserves more."

In any event, one cannot deny the incredible influence that Freddie Mercury, Queen and the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" is having in 2019, particularly with the popularity of the film Bohemian Rhapsody is having, loosely based on Mercury's life as a rock superstar in the British rock band of the 1970's and 80's. There is something timeless about Freddie Mercury and I think the film only scratched the surface. Just as he inspired R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, he and Queen inspired a young Kurt Cobain, who said he would listen to the News Of the World 8-track tape in his dad's van, draining the battery and getting them stuck, wherever they were. Cobain said: "(W)e’d get stuck after work with a dead battery because I listened to Queen too much."

In his 1994 suicide note, Cobain would say how much he admired Freddie Mercury and how Mercury basked in the love he received from the audience. 

And what is remarkable is that the rock-opera single, as I noted, was released on Halloween 1975. That night I dressed as a fireman, carrying a bit of hose, as I trick-or-treated on a suburban Washington, D.C. suburb right around the time I had my first UFO experience in that same neighborhood.

The biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which went on to win numerous awards, was released on October 24, 2018 in Mercury's native Britain, and on November 2, 2018 here in the United States - with Halloween wedged right in between. Curious, though, isn't it, that the deadline for the controversial Brexit deal, in Merucry's homeland, has been moved to October 31, 2019!!

I would be remiss if I didn't remember to mention Queen guitarist-turned-astrophysicist Brian May, who is literally connected to the cosmos via his role in the New Horizons spacecraft, which was making news a few months back. A cool video for the "New Horizons (Ultima Thule Mix)" is worth listening to and viewing. I found it moving. (More on my thoughts about New Horizons and "Ultima Thule" in my DDD post "Tomorrow never knows.").

One other thing I'd like to mention, is over on Instagram, synchromystic godfather Jake Kotze highlighted how a poster for the upcoming X-Men installment Dark Phoenix movie poster, features a close-up image of "Jean Grey" ("Phoenix") in Dark Phoenix emphasizes her eyes, orange fire around a black pupil. This syncs, to me, anyway, with Joaquin Phoenix (who played "Superboy" 30 years ago) goes from "hero" to "villain" in Joker, a film (to be released in October, a few weeks prior to Halloween) that is expected to be quite Jungian and synchromystic, if the trailer is any indication.

And just as they say "keep an eye on the donut," note in the aforementioned trailer when Joker's Arthur Fleck is in a "donut shop," he and his companion are shown directly beneath a "donut" neon sign.

And what is one of the most famous scenes in film featuring Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"? 1992's Wayne's World, of course. (The new Dark Phoenix film takes place in 1992). As Wayne, Garth and their friends drive around Aurora, Illinois (note the sync with the name "Aurora' and the "Joker"), singing along to "Bohemian Rhapsody," they conclude their drive, as the song ends, in the parking lot of their favorite ... donut shop.

The Joker syncs, and the "eyes of the monster" are likely to continue in this deeply synchromystic year of 2019, where all bets are off and the joke may be on all of us. Don't forget, of course, to keep your eye on the doughnut (not the hole)! (Quote from David Lynch).

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd
Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK