10 May 2014

Writings From the Void Including Musings and References to Two Classic Films

He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity's sun rise. - William Blake

I have a basic mistrust of happiness. Contentment is fine. Enjoying your life as a whole is good. Satisfaction is nice but striding around being happy is just plain weird. To me. Obviously. It can't but end soon enough anyway so there's no point in expecting otherwise. You might as well face the fact that today's high is tomorrow's abject misery. I don't doubt that some people are regularly quite happy. But you know I've come to realize that a lot of my fellow travelers on this planet are frickin' idiots. You ever see what people eat and drink? And smoke? And the opinions they espouse? You want insight into the human mind check out the comments section of various websites. It'll depress the hell out of you.

Hey ya want real depression about people? Check out these numbers: 
According to a new poll, 
Fifty-one percent of Americans do not believe in the Big Bang. 
Forty-two percent of Americans are not falling for this "evolution" mumbo jumbo. 
Thirty-seven percent of Americans are not convinced that humans are causing global warming. 
Thirty-six percent of Americans are not buying this whole "the Earth is 4.5 billion years old" thing. 
Fifteen percent of Americans are unsure that vaccinations are safe and effective. 

"Now, those who know me only in gaunt thoughtful manhood, think me a stranger from the void." - From the Journals of Jack Kerouac.

But here I am and it's Saturday. I get to read write relax and later meet a friend for coffee and a long chat. Then home with wife and dinner and film and sleep and my but weekends are short.

Last night I watched The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) which is one of those movies that flirts with perfection.

 -- "This much madness is too much sorrow. It's impossible to make it today." - From Down by the River by Neil Young. -- 

Just as a character study of Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart) it excels. To watch greed and paranoia destroy a man is compelling viewing and it proves Bogie the star existed in large part because Bogie the actor was so bloody good. Walter Huston richly deserved his Oscar for Sierra Madre with an iconic performance as the old prospector. Also Bruce Bennett played one of the most annoying characters ever in a film. What an utter pain in the nether regions.

Sometimes we feel adrift in the world and other times firmly rooted in a time space and place. I suppose its best to have both experiences. I felt both today.

We find everywhere the pusillanimous. Those weak-kneed individuals who cower before great thoughts and ideas and the revelations of science. They comprise the republican party.

It's the story of a couple in their late 20s out on a date being sad together. They find a kind of happiness in the sharing their sorrow. Maybe I'll write it someday.

Walked by disparate desperate dispirited people in downtown Berkeley today. So much angst and anger and sadness and madness. Young and old alike begging for spare change. Just a quarter anything to help. One has a cat on a leash. Some have signs and sit passively. Others roam up and down the street. It would be heart breaking if there weren't so many. The hopelessness of it all just leads to feelings of the impossibility of it all. One is sad. Two is tragic. Three is annoying. Four or more is reality. It sucks. But politicians merely speak of the middle class. The poor and hungry are abstractions to those who never see them. Continuing towards campus there are armies of young people aged 18-25 loud proud and obvious and oblivious. They are students at the University of California. They swing their backpacks in queues on buses and in coffee houses. They great each other nosily crashing through the calm. Then they hunker down somewhere and study intently and quietly and desperately. Devouring as much knowledge as they need in order to pass a test or complete a paper. Some are beautiful or handsome some dress smartly others sexily and others sloppily. They are our future lawyers accountants engineers optometrists and business leaders. They are our present pains the ass.

Met Kevin and we yakked about this and about that then about the other. It was comfortable interesting and entertaining because we give each other space to talk and we actually listen. Friends are good things to have.

The missus and I went out to dinner. Chinese food. Yummy. We talked too but see each other often enough that its not uncomfortable to just be together. Came home watched The Lady Eve (1941) and fell in love again with Barbara Stanwyck whose birthday (July 16) is the same as my other great love -- the aforementioned wife. How about that. I love The Lady Eve. Preston Sturges wrote and directed and it was during that brief but magnificent period when he was churning out great films. Henry Fonda is good too as the scion of the Pike Brewing company that makes "the ale that won for Yale." Bula bula.

Somehow I'm tempted to go on about how they don't make films like Sierra Madre and Lady Eve anymore (they don't). But I don't want to come off as more of a curmudgeon then I already do. Good films are in fact still made but they are few and far between. Too often they are tailored to make money and not tell a story. At his peak Sturges was a master storyteller who could induce laughter without pandering to the lowest common denominator. Suffice to say that I've enjoyed my last two nights of classic movie viewing.

Now I'm finishing this and soon my head will hit the pillow and I will dream....

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