I was looking over available movies yesterday, thinking one might be worth a trip down the hill. Meh. It all seems like crap. Maybe it is the fact of aging and maturing, but enjoyment of a movie requires willing suspension of disbelief. It is harder to do at age 65 than even at age 60. At age 20 I bought into all nonsense. Now I can embrace hardly any. A really good movie, like No Country for Old Men, is so rare as to be worth an automatic academy award, hands down.
There is a rule in movies never to use a real phone number, so that the gods of digits set aside the prefix “555” never to be used outside of cinema and TV. But use of “555” is an intrusion of reality into our fiction, and for me automatically ruins a dramatic event. It is like saying “Stop! This is all fake! ” I do not know why screen writers do not see this and allow phone numbers to pass between actors unstated, unseen on paper notes or via unheard phone calls. They insist on using”555″ and it just ruins their work! (Jason Bourne has committed this sin, even as those movies are somewhat above average in writing quality.)
But there is more to movies that make them unpalatable for me. Just a few items:
- In movies, the president is always highly capable, elected by popular vote, and acts independently of corrupt influence. He’s like Harrison Ford on that aircraft, engaging in fist fights and hiding out in the cargo bay, ready to pounce.
- In movies, journalists are independent, act without supervision, and openly challenge authority. They are pests nipping at the heels of power.
- In movies, television news cameras (when part of a plot) merely record reality, rather than creating it. Power careens in fear of exposure on TV news.
- In movies, corruption is resolved, bad guys are jailed or killed. It is a happily-ever-after world.
None of that is reality.
- Our presidents are selected, and deemed corruptible before assuming office so as to be controllable. This is true of every elected office down the line. A strong and independent person holding public office is a rarity, like an albino.
- Journalists are trained to avoid questioning their bosses, their owners, and so focus their career on “professionalism,” or living without expressing an opinion. It’s a safe harbor, an incurious nature that protects them from retribution. (Is it not odd that journalists praise each other for their incuriosity?!)
- The flat screen only works on us because it invites us in to participate in fiction. We suspend reality. We supply the missing dimension, and literally enter the screen. What we see on the screen is always an imperfect substitute, so that tricks have to be used. While you may think trickery is how they make fiction work, it is also how they make “news” work. News is fiction too. Everything on TV and in movies, including documentaries, is fake. The presence of a camera makes us all actors.
- Corruption is so prevalent that it is like mixing yellow with blue. We think the world is green, but only because the yellow of corruption has tinted everything. Government, corporations, journalists, law enforcement all have yellow coursing through their veins. It is so prevalent as to be unnoticed. Ours is a corrupt nation, through and through.
Unaccountable power got us into our mess. It would take a revolution to get us out, but revolution requires courage, intelligence and communication. While people don’t lack for courage, our education system, also corrupted beyond saving, has ensured that we are not able to think our way out of a beer bottle.
Combine education with entertainment and news, and our is as effective a system of oppression as has ever existed in the planet.