Friday, April 01, 2022

The Week in Apocalypse: Et tu, Bruce?


This post was meant to be a quick smash-and-grab, briefly touching on Bruce Willis' retirement announcement and Ezra Miller's rapidly-unraveling psyche, but as usual it all spiraled out of control. 


We'll get to Miller - who's looking set to single-handedly implode the DC and Fantastic Beast franchises - but first things first.




For those of you who haven't heard, Bruce Willis is retiring from acting after a career spanning over five decades, for a very unusual and rather fascinating reason:

Bruce Willis is stepping away from acting after a diagnosis of aphasia, a condition that causes loss of the ability to understand or express speech, his family said Wednesday.

In a statement posted on Willis' Instagram page, the 67-year-old actor's family announced that Willis was recently diagnosed with aphasia and that it is impacting his cognitive abilities.

There are many potential causes of aphasia. It often occurs after a stroke or head injury, but can also develop gradually due to a slow-growing brain tumor or a disease that causes degenerative damage, like Alzheimer's disease. It's treated primarily with speech therapy and learning non-verbal means of communication.

Whatever caused this particular case, this announcement lands square in the Secret Sun Wheelhouse, as you probably guessed. 

A condition that inhibits the ability to understand speech and language? That's a softball pitch if ever I saw one. Especially since aphasia has a corollary in a condition which inhibits a person's ability to speak in a language everyone else can understand... 

Like I was saying: essentially aphasia and glossolalia are two different sides of the same coin:

Glossolalia state is a special mental state, completely different from aphasia. Aphasia is characterized by some phonological and grammatical rules; however, these are related to neurolinguistics and not to developmental principles. Unlike aphasia, glossolalia is not associated with central nervous system affection. 
There is, however, a psychiatric type of glossolalia, which, although similar in terms of phenomenology, is probably a different phenomenon. A common thought is that there is a linguistic trend, whose basic component is a stream of speech. 

There's yet another related condition that we'll get to, one with extreme relevance to the work. But please notice the November 17th date, which as many of you realize was Jeff Buckley's birthday. It will pop up again.


Are you all with me here? Because we're just getting started now.



Willis has certainly led an interesting and colorful life, including working as a private investigator and as a security guard at a nuclear power plant. After landing a few bit parts here and there, Willis caught his big break in 1985. 


That same year saw his performance as a man menaced by his doppelganger - ie., his Twin - on the premiere episode of the Twilight Zone revival. 



But it was Moonlighting which launched Willis into instant superstardom. The series didn't last very long but even so it was the hottest thing on the air in the mid-80s. The show cooled off considerably when Shepherd got pregnant midway through its run and the producers had to scramble to account for her reduced availability. 


Oh, I nearly forgot: Cybill Shepherd - did you hear me in the back? I said "CYBILL SHEPHERD" - was pregnant with TWINS.



Because WHEN WILL YOU BELIEVE ALREADY, Cybill Shepherd hails from Memphis, a city well known to another Sibyl and another Shepherd. 



And just so we're clear, Shepherd and Buckley are synonymous in the Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic languages, respectively.


Oh yeah: it's happening again, my people. Buckle up, no pun intended.



Unlike many a TV star, Willis pulled off a quick and permanent changeover to silver screen stardom with the first Die Hard movie, filmed when Moonlighting was on hiatus. Willis, an alpha's alpha with BDE to burn, probably expected nothing less.


And here's where we get back to Sibyls and Shepherds again. You see, the initiates and I have kept a close eye on Bruce Willis for quite some time now. Which is why his recent aphasia diagnosis is shocking but not surprising to me. It's all part of the ongoing process of unveiling. 


From a discussion on the Die Hard films:


Brandon writes:
It's also weird how all three of the villains from the first 3 Die Hard movies are connected to Elizabeth or Jeff Buckley.

Die Hard 1 villain: Alan Rickman, worked with Elizabeth on The Winter Guest

Die Hard 2 villain: William Sadler, co-starred in the 2012 film Greetings From Tim Buckley

Die Hard 3 villain: Jeremy Irons, was in the film Stealing Beauty (Cocteau Twins song 'Alice'); Jeremy Irons son, Max Irons, is also an actor and starred in The Host with Saoirse Ronan and Emily Browning. Max Irons also dated Saoirse Ronan and Emily Browning.
Of course, Brandon actually means "Ultra-High Frequency Frasenators Saoirse Ronan and Emily Browning." More:
One of the writers of the script for the original Die Hard is named Steven E. de Souza.

Born November 17th, 1947.

He also co-wrote the screenplay to the 1995 Judge Dredd film. His daughter, Amy De Souza, worked in casting on the Radio Free Albemuth film adaptation.
There's that date again. Also, there's that film based on that novel from that writer who spent the last years of his life obsessing on the impending reincarnation of the Cumean Sibyl. It breaks my heart he didn't live to see her return.

Oh, I know what you're all saying out there: that Secret Sun guy and his desperate reaches. This is all typical Hollywood. These people are involved in tons of different projects. There's no rhyme or reason there. It's all just static.

Yeah, maybe you're right. I don't know, we all need a hobby, right? Something to pass the time before our inevitable ends. Never mind. Forget I said anything. I get carried away sometimes, the OCD and all. 

Let me get some fresh memes together and we can talk about the Illuminati or something. Maybe do some gematria. See you all soon.


Oh, shit: wait.


There's something I forgot to mention. What is it? 


Damn it, my short-term memory is like wet toilet paper. 


Think, Chris, think! 


Oh, yes: that's right. There is a rather direct connection with the reborn Sibyl and Bruce Willis, or Glossolalia and Aphasia, if you prefer.


What's that, you ask? Another reach? Well, maybe.


Maybe if you call linking the two on account of the fact that the Sibyl was offered a role in Die Hard with a Vengeance a "reach." 

Our Lady was offered the role of Katya, Jeremy Irons' moll. Apparently, this came about from the Twins' involvement with Judge Dredd. The role ultimately went to another alt.pop singer with piercing blue eyes (Sam Phillips) but Irons and the Sibyl would soon be linked via Stealing Beauty.

BTW: when the writer says the Sibyl "couldn't be found in time," that's probably a polite way of saying she was institutionalized when Hollywood came calling, following her second nervous breakdown in the space of two years. Being the chosen Messenger of Heaven is no easy task, believe it.


Just ask Anna Milton.


Anyhow, Willis's career blew hot and cold over the years, but it's worth noting he cowrote Hudson Hawk, a notorious box office bomb that nonetheless offered up secret societies bent on world domination, alchemy and Leonardo Da Vinci's secret codes long before Dan Brown picked up the scent. Interesting subjects for a Jersey boy to be fixated on, no?

But that's nothing compared to another milestone in Bruno's storied career...


And that's Luc Besson's bande desinee extravaganza, The Fifth Element. Willis was born to play Korben Dallas, former special forces operative turned taxi driver. Milla Jovavich was born to play Leeloo, whose glossolalia probably had Dallas wondering if he was suffering from early onset aphasia.

And do I even need to tell you Milla Jovavich's favorite band is by now? You knew it the minute you hit the play button. Hell, you suspected as much before you even read this post.


Very interesting supporting cast as well: aside from Chris Tucker and Gary Oldman, we have Charlie Creed-Miles (Samantha Morton's ex) and Ian Holm (Samantha Morton's future father-in-law).

Charlie is also Esme Creed-Miles' dad. Esme, like her mom, is a big fan of I-don't-even-need-to-tell-you-anymore. Esme was also the star of Hanna, based on the 2010 film with Ultra High-Frequency Frasenator Saoirse Ronan. 

Longtime Sunners remember that that film bore an uncanny resemblance to a treatment I'd written back in 2001 (with my friend, who lived across the street from the WTC) and rather stupidly posted online. 

Funny thing: not only was the credited creator of Hanna not involved in the Amazon series, he's never gotten anything produced since. Weird.


Anyway, we also have Trip=Hop pioneer Tricky playing a henchman in Fifth Element. Why is this significant?


Do you even need to ask? 

 

Bonus factoid: the Sibyl was supposed to appear on this album but it seems to have been the same deal as Die Hard with a Vengeance. She'd make up for lost time, of course.

Bonus bonus factoid: The "Karmacoma" video was directed by Jonathan Glazer, who also helmed one of my favorite movies, Sexy Beast. Glazer also shot Under the Skin (the 2014 Scarlett Johansson Scottish alien-siren film, not the 1997 film of the same name where Samantha Morton plays a crewcutted aspiring singer obsessed with her mother).

However, do note that Fifth Element gave us an alien soprano who was the linchpin in saving the universe. 

Missed opportunity: I can think of a certain soprano who sounds considerably more alien than the one we heard here.


The Fifth Element draws heavily on two classic European comics: The Incal by Jodorowsky and Moebius and The Nikopol Trilogy by Enki Bilal. The former is probably unproduceable (given its scale) but the later was adapted into the not-great Immortel, Ad Vitem in 2004.

But Immortel is noteworthy for our purposes for the Sigur Ros soundrack, which I hope you assume the significance of by this point in time. 

You know, it's not like there's a whole lot of things to sync with the Sibyl, like you'd have with a Bjork or Tori Amos. It's just that almost every sync is symbolically supercharged like nothing I've ever seen in my 30 years of doing this kind of work.

1998 was a highly syncworthy year for Mister Willis, appearing in both the Apocalypse video game and Armageddon. The former is significant, not only because there's out 11/17 again, but also that his costar was yet another big-eyed alt.rock diva, Poe. 

Makes me wonder who really was behind the Sibyl's near-casting in Die Hard with a Vengeance.


Armageddon quite appropriately costarred Ben Affleck (who we saw in Kevin Smith's Dogma with Alanis Morrissette and Chris Rock) and Liv Tyler, whose path crossed with that of the Sibyl more than once

More recently, Tyler appeared in Hulu's Harlots with Samantha Morton, the latter of whom revealed herself to possess an admirable singing voice, one which sounds rather uncannily like the Sibyl's breathy upper range.


Willis gave us another Twinning with Looper, costarring Joseph Gordon Levitt of Dark Knight fame. In his younger days, Levitt starred in Mysterious Skin, whose soundtrack was composed by I really don't even need to tell you at this point.

"TWIN TALK"


Moonlighting's Cybill Shepherd (that name!) costarred in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, along with a 13 year-old Jodie Foster. Aside from the Korben Dallas synchery, this opens up cans of worms best saved for another time. But Jodie herself warrants a closer look, especially considering her analog in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.


But also considering her starring role in this picture, the tendrils of which could fill a blog all its own. But for the moment, just take note of actress Brooke Smith there...


... friend and onetime roomie of none other than our November 17 birthday boy. 



There's also the nagging suspicion I sometimes have that all of this is somehow being orchestrated by an unimaginably-advanced alien civilization trying to communicate with us through some arcane technological means.


You know, like VALIS. Or the free radio from Albemuth.


In that light, do make note of the day that space-signal story hit the wires, replete with Contact screengrab. It's someone else's birthday. Guess whose!


Here's a clue, taken from Jodie's iMDb page.



Fascinating sequence of roles there. Aside from the voice cameos, the roles for Nell and Contact were the big ones for our Jodie. And Nell - based on the play Idioglossia - is where it all comes back to the beginning of our discussion.


Have a look at this clip and see if it reminds you of anyone, even vaguely. Then read this:

Nell is a girl who's been brought up in an isolated world. The only people she knew were her mother and twin sister, Mae. They lived together in a cottage in the forest. Nobody has ever met Nell. 
After her mother's death, she's discovered by Jerome, the local doctor. He's fascinated by her, since she speaks a mangled language, developed by her and Mae growing up, "twin speak" if you will. But Paula, a psychology student, wants her observed in a laboratory. The judge decides they get three months to observe her in the forest, after which he'll decide about her future.

The title of the play reveals the syndrome at work:

An idioglossia (from the Ancient Greek ἴδιος ídios, 'own, personal, distinct' and γλῶσσα glôssa, 'tongue') is an idiosyncratic language invented and spoken by only one person. Most often, idioglossia refers to the "private languages" of young children, especially twins, the latter being more specifically known as cryptophasia, and commonly referred to as twin talk or twin speech. 

"Twin Talk." Take me now, Jesus. I'm done.


OK, so Ms. Foster - or Trudi Fraser, if you like - portrays this incomprehensible woman, does voice acting on Frasier and The X-Files  - then plays an astrophysicist who decodes an alien language emanating from VEGA, of all possible places.


DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT DROVE ME INSANE YET?


All I can say for now is this: someone somewhere is going to a heck of a lot of trouble to tell us something. If nothing else, it's just plain, old-fashioned good manners to listen and try to figure out what that is.


The Secret Sun Institute of Advanced Synchromysticism  

 

And a great way to acquire the skillset to break all kinds of codes can be found at The Secret Sun Institute of Advanced Synchromystism. How's that for a segue-way?


We'll be looking at Ezra Miller next but do come over and enroll in the SSI and join the Secret Sun Discord server. You will not regret it. You have my word as a synchromystic.