I’m deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of my oldest friends from social media, James Joseph Mangas (J.J), who went by the name of Jean-Paul Zodeaux. He was a fan of movies, Ludwig von Mises, literature, the arts, and someone I always thought I’d meet up with in Hollywood. His style on Twitter was cerebral and sophisticated, often using high brow mixed with witty word play, like this tweet below:
His obituary was printed in the LA Times.
Looking back at some of the messages we’ve shared, his YouTube channel, American Nightmares (link 1 and link 2) and his website, Paradox Reviews, which has quite a few great articles about film and television, gives insight into a connection based on shared general interests and not circumstances. People like Jean Paul may have been “too smart” for their own good, such that many people don’t understand their pop culture references or word choices, but I understood him well and admired the thoughts he shared.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always care about what you think or what you hope for, and like a good movie, will always leave you wanting. Until today, on my desktop was an article for his website about Stanley Kubrick. He asked me several times to go on his YouTube channel. I also had another document called “Writers Workshop Econ-JJ ” on my desktop, the ideas was that we were to write a low budget horror movie script together, set in a small town, using the woods, monsters etc…, it was something we could easily shoot on a shoestring budget; I’ll try to complete it one day.
If I would have known he would pass this year, of course I would’ve made more efforts to finish the work with him. It’s easy to think we’ll always have more time for people and our projects, forgetting that with each passing day the window of opportunity closes ever so slightly. But I’m thankful for the time I did have with him. If there is a paradox in life, it’s that no matter how much time we spend with someone, it’s still never enough.
See below for my (still unfinished) article, meant for JJ to post on Paradox Reviews:
Did Stanley Kubrick Warn Us About Everything?
It does sound crazy, but maybe Kubrick warned us about everything. If you love movies and conspiracies, you’ll love this! Just imagine how much someone is missing if they’ve never experienced Kubrick’s films; a true artist, he mastered the all but lost art of the Steadicam, the lighting, sound and editing. As for conspiracy theories, you be the judge:
This was just a precursor for his final work almost 40 years later…
An old man, a young girl… nothing good can ever come of this. When we think of the post-war era, we think of safety, security, and the romantic view of our nation’s innocence. Lolita definitely doesn’t fit into that narrative. Perhaps the subject matter is not ready for its time. But, is it best to pretend like everything was Leave it to Beaver, which ended in 1963?
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
This film has layers, this and A Clockwork Orange being my favourite of Kubrick. The first layer in Strangelove is explicitly stated, being the communist plot to put fluoride in our water. The crazed General talks about the “commie” plot to steal our essence ad nauseam. Whether it’s “the commies” or the government, or whether the government is the communists is now debatable. The point being: this must be one, if not the only movie that has ever talked about fluoride in our water supply. Truly, how important is it that we drink poison on a daily basis?
“Oh, it’s not poison?” One may say. Then why don’t we just buy it in bulk from Costco? That way we can add it to everything we drink?
The second layer is the absurdity of war and inevitability of total annihilation, while the concept of a “war room” and our central planners hiding deep in a mountain cave is hardly a work of fiction…
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The threat of both Artificial Intelligence that does not want to die, juxtaposed to a benevolent supreme entity who wants us to live. In 2021, it’s safe to say that nothing in this film feels like a work of fiction, or at least our ability to hypothesize as to the threats and hopes of our futures. Also, was this not the best use of the set Kubrick used to allegedly film the moon landing?
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Human conditioning at its finest. We can only assume the government has been looking for ways to best direct society for quite some time. In the movie they found a way to condition man to become a better, more law abiding, more obedient citizen; but what is a man if he has no free will?
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Kubrick is my favourite director, but this movie I did not care for. I wish he made the Napoleon film instead! (Needs updating, I should buy the book…)
The Shining (1980)
Was this movie not made for the sole purpose of leaving as many breadcrumbs as possible in order to tell us that he filmed the moon landing? Room 237, the documentary about the making of the Shining and how it apparently reveals the secrets of the moon landing filming, is definitely worth the watch! The Shining not only has tremendous replay value, but if you pay attention to the moon landing references it becomes even more enjoyable, even if untrue.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
While nothing conspiratorial, it did showcase the horrors, again the absurdity and some of the ill effects, like traumatic stress, caused by war. (Needs updating)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
A film about a Manhattan socialite who ends up finding himself in an underground sex club hosted by the most powerful members of society… Now take a moment to think about what part of this is fiction…
This movie said it all. Decades after Lolita touched on the taboo and criminality of underage women, Kubrick took it on full throttle again. This went beyond a slight hint of that underage “P” word which seems to plague those at the upper echelon of society, like Epstein and his known associates. The saddest part of this is that it seems prevalent wherever power exists, whether government, global elites or Hollywood.
You’d be hard pressed to find a person who thinks that masked sex parties by the global elite is nothing more than a fanciful idea. The real question is, as a society, will we be in a position to expose these people; those who write, pass, execute and enforce the law?
Bonus: AI (2001)
Kubrick owned the rights for this movie since the 70’s and was never able to complete it in his lifetime. It was taken up by Spielberg who once said that no one shot movies better than Stanley. The film shows the growth of Artificial Intelligence and the inevitability of the singularity. As far as the blue fairy goes, she’s either the lies we are told as children, or the hope of something better.
Anyone who has watched all of Kubrick’s films would have to agree that he touched on some very interesting topics. Especially for fans who never want their idols to die, or be forgotten, what better way to remember them than by shrouding their work in conspiracies that will live on forever?
Of course, maybe it’s not a conspiracy at all. Maybe he left us these cryptic clues to expand our minds, no different than Dave when he entered the wormhole in Space Odyssey.