September 14, 2004


It seems like this blog is becoming a place where I unleash everything I think sucks in the world. If that’s so, there’s an unlimited number of things to write about. At the same time, I’d rather not spend all of my time brooding about how dangerously bad everything is.

I used to be much more interested in dark topics. I don’t know if it’s a symptom of having a child or hitting 30, but I just don’t care about wallowing in darkness anymore. I see a hyper-violent movie by someone like Tarantino and I think, Who cares? It’s not that I think it’s reprehensible to "celebrate" violence, it’s just that I think it’s uninteresting. At one point in my life I thought that the dark half was all that mattered. I used to believe that I had to feel darkness in order to write about it. This is just wrong. Even I become devoutly happy I will not lose my anger, it’s too powerful of an emotion.

The movie "Taxi Driver" has been very important to me. My novel, Oscar Caliber Gun/The Golden Calf screams of it. At nineteen--lonely, self-hating, hard-up--the movie spoke to me. I don’t know how I would see the movie now. I am sure I would think it’s an amazing feat of self-expression. But I used to take that kind of anger as a kind of religion. A justification. That’s not a way to live an entire lifetime.

One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen is "Requiem for a Dream" by Darren Aronofsky. An evil movie. I think he might be an evil director. His first movie, "Pi," a more interesting movie, ends with the character happily lobotomizing himself. "Requiem for a Dream" ends with a long, horrible montage of human degradation. People think this is good filmmaking because it affects them deeply. You could show footage of puppies getting their eyes gouged out and it would affect you, that doesn’t make it art. The film made me feel awful about humanity. "Taxi Driver" would never do that.

Another really depressing movie is "The Butterfly Effect." My wife and I rented this movie thinking it would be a good, cheap sci-fi movie. I’ll watch anything sci-fi. In the first half hour of that movie there’s child porn, a dog gets set on fire, and a baby gets blown up by a bomb in a mailbox. It just made both of us feel bad and we turned it off. Have I become a lightweight?

Possibly. Or possibly these movies are just very unredeemably ugly. I can’t listen to Limp Bizkit for a similar reason because it just expresses one aggressive emotion. Hip-hop has the same problem. John Coltrane has aggression but he also has deep melancholy and humanity, he’s trying to reach somewhere outside himself. Kurt Cobain is the same. Perhaps I take things far too seriously. "The Butterfly Effect" is just a bad B movie. But I can’t believe that. I find it sad that people can watch all of those horrible things happen and only come away with the idea that the acting was bad.

I don’t want to spend all of my time hating and feeling down about things. The problem is there’s so much to hate. Bad movies included. I envy writers like Kerouac and Henry Miller who had such a love and lust for life. (I’ll set aside the fact that Kerouac died a disgruntled drunk.) This is a different world than they lived in. Post punk rock. We went from "All You Need is Love" to Nirvana’s "I’m a Stain." It’s an uglier world out there. If you were to go on the road today you’d see McDonalds after McDonalds. Certain kinds of quaintness are gone. Somehow I have to reconcile all the stupid, heinous, mindless shit out there and still stay positive. Sorry to always be the bringer of bad tidings. I need to take up meditation.


tequilita said...

i've noticed it comes in waves with me, pessimism/optimism...light and shadows. you can't have one without the other unfortunately.

Andrew said...

My response (which got long enough that I figured I'd just post it on my blog) is here.

Anonymous said...

i'm half way around the world, & the reason i stopped, was because it is neccesary i sleep. although i don't sleep much & have problems with sleeping, i at least need to pretend. if you feel like i am stalking (it's too early, i think that's spelt wrong) you, then i will stop. just let me know. i don't mind.

i like the butterfly effect accutually. i still have nightmares about that dog, but it reminds me that, you can't change the past, & you can never make everyone happy. *shrugs*.

a movie that changed my life, sadly, was empire records. looking back now, i don't really know what i think about that movie. but, when they gave her a funeral, i was so shocked, doubting my friends wouldn't even have a real one for me, if i was so stupid as to do something, that i got better.

xo. war.

Henry Baum said...

I meant stalked in a good way. Someone's paying attention. Thanks for reading.

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