2.22.2003

Trenchcoat Confessions wants to see more realistic sex scenes in movies. Apparently there is one in The Cooler, from this year's Sundance festival, between William H. Macy and Maria Bello. Imperfect people and acts are the most beautiful to me, and something that I agree that we need more of in film. Maybe we would all be happier with our lives if we weren't comparing them to the falsely perfect characters and situations in most films. What is the point of watching something that unreal? All it can do is make you even less satisfied with your own life. The topic of escapism came up, and I just don't see how watching people who are beautiful, perfect, and false provides any sort of "escape." I feel like my life is too short and too wonderful to want to escape from a single moment - I need to experience it all. That's why I go to movies and read books - for more experiences and perspectives. Escape is a negative way of looking at it. I don't want to vacation in Mexico to escape from life here - I want to have the positive experience of a week in Mexico! I'm not going to be thinking, "I'm glad I'm not in Bellingham" while I'm there, I'll be thinking, "Wow, it's cool that I'm here!" You've got to get every experience in when you can, because the most poisonous thing is regret for all the things you did not do. I admit that I'm not perfect. I want to be a writer, but have this sort of fear-infused writer's block that nothing I write will be good enough. So, when I feel that I want to write something, I pick up a book by someone else and read instead. I suppose that is my own form of escapism, and I really need to get over it, or I am seriously going to regret not ever writing anything. I regret missing the deadlines for a couple of publications I was going to submit to, but there will be next year. It's something that I'm working on.

Anna Quindlen's article in the current Newsweek carries the same sort of theme. Her rationale for the current reality TV shows is our need to escape from the fear of impending war or attacks. I watched half of an episode of Joe Millionaire last week, and I just don't get it. If we are attacked, I would regret having wasted valuable time in my safe, priviledged life watching stupid shallow TV shows. The fear that some Americans may be feeling does not compare to the fear a friend of mine experienced growing up in El Salvador, having had a 5-year-old brother kidnapped by guerillas, only to see him later being sent into a marketplace with a bomb strapped to his back. Having had innocent family members murdered in their homes. Having no one to turn to because the police are as corrupt as anyone else. Being forced to leave the home country that you love to move to a country where you don't speak the language and experience daily discrimination against you and are paid wages you can barely live on because you want your child to be able to live and grow safely. My life has been so lucky and safe and full, I feel like I owe it to those who only wish they had the life I have to make the most of every second of it. Also, as Americans, we need to be braver. And that doesn't mean going to war, that means being smart and prepared, without going into panic at every news release. We only had one terrorist attack, while many countries have them frequently. We don't yet have to feel the same fear when we go to buy groceries that people in Israel feel. The media and the money-makers are feeding on our fears and insecurities, and I'm sure it has been profitable to them. Just as it's profitable to Hollywood to show us the superficial beauty and silly situations that we have decided we want our lives to be.

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