Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Guilt. Why are we all feeling it? And we are, aren't we?
UNREDEEMED. We're all grieving now. I'll give you one anecdote to show you I'm there too. I talked to a friend last night, a big wheel in the mainstream media. He was contemptuous of our objections to the health care bill. Almost spittingly so. I was so shocked I demeaned his Columbia journalism degree: "Did you go to business school?" I asked. "I did. Did you ever take a course in economics?" And I love this guy. He's a friend of 40 years. But our country is dying and he -- with two Ivy League degrees -- doesn't have a f___ng clue. I get it. It's a pain in the soul. I understand the heartbreaking exchange between JS and Lake that anyone can read in our Comments section.
What can I do? Not much. (We're waiting for Eduardo's Ayn Rand post, but then we'll have to thump him about that too. So it goes...) How about some distractions, some substitute pains? Moovies. Not happy feelgood shows but something that accords with your mood and twists it into something else -- a thing at one remove from your real despair. Best I can do.
Three movies. One cheapo horror flick. One self-important indie. And one big-budget entry you might have missed if you're like me, because why would anyone watch it?
Horror flick. It's called Population 436. Not a slasher movie. It stars Jeremy Sisto of Six Feet Under fame. And a very lovely girl, one of those corn-fed brunettes for a change. Here's the trailer:
It gets to you somehow. Well, it got to me anyway. Horror taking the form of framed encomiums to a doctor.
The indie flick is Passengers. About a plane crash and its traumatized survivors. I won't show you the trailer because I don't want you to watch it. Good acting performances by Anne Hathaway, Andre Braugher, and a guy named Patrick Wilson. Don't look it up on Rotten Tomatoes, either. Just watch it. Trust me.
The big budget flick is Blood Diamond. There's lots wrong with it. It's preachy, Leonardo di Caprio can't do a South African or Rhodesian accent to save his life, and it's very long. However. It got me. It also got my wife, who shed tears at the end, even though she'd missed nearly half the action. There's an actor named Djimon Hounsou, who will shock you and move you, regardless of any cynicism you rightfully have about sub-Saharan Africa. Here's the trailer.
And, finally, just for JS and Lake. Not a movie but a song. This was a huge hit when I was in college about a hundred years ago. Here's the original:
And here's a diferent version which somehow completes the circle.
Take it as I offer it, JS. The problem is still bad ideas, not soulless Americans. The problem isn't even Harvard. Go here and click on the Chesnokov piece in the top box, then tell me we're all automatically doomed. When I saw it live at Princeton University with my stepdaughter Monica, I looked at her and saw she was weeping. I've never been prouder of her. I believed at that moment in the salvation of all of us.
Or am I just ducking my own particular flavor of guilt?