Saturday, June 21, 2008
You know who should get some of my hard-earned money? The obscenely wealthy!
I spent a large portion of the last two weeks gazing at the sky, looking for the all-seeing puppeteer/ventriloquist who had been employed by Steven Spielberg. Okay, I'm being a dick. However, in conversation with five people who don't know each other (including two people I don't know who I was chatting with at a friend's party) in the last two weeks, I heard these two almost identical sentences. It freaked me out. Here are the sentences:
"I went to the new Indiana Jones movie. It wasn't very good, but I went in with low expectations."
"I'm seeing the new Indiana Jones movie this weekend, but I'm going in with low expectations."
I don't know if I'm still being overly sensitive from dealing with the deaths of two of my favorite relatives a few months ago, but I do know that life always gets shorter, never longer. If you have low expectations, and you're under no obligations, DON'T FUCKING BOTHER!!!!!
Rent Raiders of the Lost Ark if you need some Indiana Jones in your life that badly. Otherwise, do something you actually want to do. Read a good book, listen to Motorhead, have sex with the wife, go for a stroll in the neighborhood, call an old friend, eat a hoagie, challenge a street tough to a best-of-three-falls no-rules bare-knuckled brawl, savor a delightful pastry. Life is short. And if you're looking forward to the movie, by all means go see it. We all deserve as much pleasure and as little pain as we can rustle up in this horribly unfair life. Why willingly invite dissatisfaction and boredom? I don't understand it at all.
This seems related, but I don't know how to relate it. I'm taking a summer class right now called Overcoming Reading Difficulties that teaches us strategies to get poor readers, kids with reading disorders, and kids who just hate to read engaged with texts. For the last two Fridays, instead of class, I met up with my "reading circle" group and we discussed a novel. I liked everybody in my group, and I enjoyed our conversations. However, one member of my group is also a Radio, Television, and Film major, and her descriptions of required classes made my head explode with rage. She said that in her Intro to Narrative class, the professor told the (impressionable) students that Citizen Kane was the only Orson Welles film worth seeing (though they never watched it in class) and that he declined after that. Then the professor spent three weeks "deconstructing The Matrix." I'm glad she didn't mention the professor's name, because I would have egged his house (I originally wrote this as "I would have carved his obituary on his chest" but I should really be more honest). He's certainly entitled to his incredibly shitty opinion, but his attempt to pass it off as fact to a bunch of 19-year-olds without offering them any evidence, and then spending a ridiculous amount of class time on an entertaining but not very important Hollywood trifle, points out the destructive effect of most university film programs. This doesn't happen in any other discipline. English professors (even shitty English professors) never say, "I'm not going to teach it, but The Naked and the Dead is the only valid Norman Mailer text. For the next three weeks, please open your Anne Rice books to page 12." Or try this one out: "Pythagoras was a one-trick pony. Now for some astrology." Hey, Professor Moron, here are some Orson Welles films to check out during your next sabbatical: The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil, The Trial, Chimes at Midnight, The Lady from Shanghai, Mr. Arkadin. I could keep going, or you could consult the 98% of film scholars who think that at least one of these films is vitally important to film history. But you're probably watching Speed Racer. Fuck.
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