Wednesday, July 16, 2014
That's what I'm sweating in my living room tonight- I've got the house to myself and I'm looking at this potentially interesting movie but when I see it costs $6.99 I get upset. On the one hand I could spend the evening pondering all the ways we're soon to go extinct: nuclear war, bioterror, climate change, the genetic engineering of our replacements, boredom, anger- but none of this tonight, at least for me, is able to compete with my rage at Time-Warner for charging $6.99 for a movie I don't even know if I'll like. What does it mean, this preference for the passing peeve over the great DOOM? Does it mean that the truth is so sickeningly awful that we can't actually think about it for very long, or....stay with me now...is it because, just maybe, it really is terrible that Time-Warner would charge, well, anything to rent a movie. I already paid the bastards, now they want more for this over-hyped stuff? Before going any further I want to mention- what the reader may well have noted- that I'm using a standard s.o.c. (stream of consciousness) style, and also that I've decided to write, for now, without paragraphs. This last might sound odd from a former English teacher who enforced on generations the solemn duty to write in paragraphs, but it's just the way I feel. I realized I don't always have to give the reader such a blatant signal that I've shifted focus. You, the current reader, can tell already when I shift focus, can't you? Not that I claim to be doing this as a great artist would. As, for instance, Cormac McCarthy did when he stopped using quotation marks, and then he stopped describing his characters' physical selves. The difference between me and McCarthy is that he never said, "Hey, look, I stopped using quotation marks," while I felt the need to announce my experiment, as if in fear of reprimand for breaking rules. That's what happens when you give up fiction and sign-on for the literal, where rules are rules. And when you retire from English teaching, you say to your former students, "Consider this: you have to know about paragraphs before you can stop using them." You have to know about anything to stop doing it, otherwise you don't know what you stopped doing, or why you stopped. This gives an insight into original sin. It's said that we don't have to have bitten the forbidden fruit ourselves to have, more or less, virtually bitten it, and to decide, again, not to bite it. But, as noted, you can't stop doing something unless you are first doing it. The resolution, I think, is that we bite the apple (as popularly conceived) when we first achieve consciousness. Then we see ourselves, what we are made of, our appetites, our actions. Then we see other people, and note similar patterns. Not only does the apple not fall far from the tree, it grows on the tree. In the Wizard of Oz when the apple trees, under the influence of a witch, pick their own apples and throw them at Dorothy et al, they are throwing knowledge at them, packets of understanding that the innocent travelers are not ready for, one of many assaults during their quest that lead Dorothy to choose the drab plains of Kansas over the sensuality and vivid life of Oz...to choose Auntie Em over the Wicked Witch. I'd like to see a movie about that, but I'm still not sure I'd pay $6.99 for it.