<= 2002.04.27

2002.04.29 =>

vote dukakis

Assorted digital camera snapshots here. I was going to crop and organize them and so on, but I am lazy and working over a prohibitively slow connection. Most of them are from January's RV trip through Nevada and Utah, but there are also a few from Brooklyn (comedy/tragedy) and San Francisco, as well as some pictures of Workshop people in my apartment doing things they shouldn't (exhibit A/exhibit B/exhibit C). Also, here are the sister and the cat who I'll be moving in with come August.

Last night we watched Donnie Darko, and everyone needs to see this pronto so we can get a conversation going. The fact that IMDB can't decide whether to file it under mystery, fantasy, drama, romance, or sci-fi should tell you something right away. I don't know that it's quite an unqualified success, but a few lingering questions can't obscure the importance of what this film does. I really dislike most of the eighties brat-pack movies because they present a nostalgic and whitewashed version of high school; maybe it was different for other people, but my four years were not like that at all. A lot of us spent adolescence fighting demons, and even when a movie like The Breakfast Club tries to take that darkness on, it comes out tame and sanitized. There is nothing tame or sanitized about Donnie Darko. They absolutely nailed how it feels to be fifteen and at the end of your rope.

Oh yeah, and there are the time warps and everything, but in a way those are distinctly secondary. The film needed a framework that would allow it to talk about the end of the world (which of course is no more than the death of the self, subjectively), and those fit the bill. I'm still not certain that it all adds up logically, but I don't know that it needs to. A year ago I would not be content with this sort of movie until I had sorted out all the causality, or alternatively figured out what was "real" and what was "hallucination," or whatever. People still try to do this sort of thing in workshop when confronted with an unusual piece. But of course that's a limited and limiting response. Relevant is Hugh Kenner's discussion of why James Joyce deliberately salted Ulysses with unsolveable mysteries:

...we may glimpse a Joyce who commenced by flexing the powers of auctorial omniscience, decreeing Bloomsday's very clouds and winds, and came to perceive as he worked the dangers of hermetic closure, of fastening the last rivet in what he seemed to be achieving, the ultimate late-nineteenth-century novel in which everything pertinent seems known and accounted for; perceived the exclusion from such an Analytical Engine of any invited response save a Cheshire Cat's irony; glimpsed its truly terrible knowingness, and the reductiveness of that. Temperament would have aided this perception, for though he loved closed systems he was attracted even more—had been at least since Exiles—to a mental cosmos founded, as Stephen tells us the church is founded, on mystery, 'and founded irremovably because founded, like the world, macro and microcosm, upon the void. Upon incertitude, upon unlikelihood' (9.841). Micro- and macrocosm, Ulysses, the empirical world. That sentence comes not long before the contrived incertitudes of 'Wandering Rocks,' where our empiricism receives many checks, and Joyce surely had moods in which he knocked a few holes in his fabric, to promote a little healthy incertitude.


But Einstein (1905) in effect denied an ideal simultaneity—'what really happens'—on which we get our imperfect fixes, and Kurt Gödel (1930) proved closure also impossible to deductive thought: always a hole at the bottom of the well-wrought bag. And Picasso (1909 ff.) ended the ideal separation of subject from painting, and Joyce (1922) the ideal separation of story from the book of words. All four, and others, terminate a dualism between the art or science and its materials.

Furthermore, the film does invite us to entertain the premise that there's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.



<= 2002.04.27

2002.04.29 =>

up (2002.04)

The Warm South
The Roof Rat Review