Tuesday, January 14, 2003


The drive home on the Interstate was a joy today as usual. I only go 65 (have I mentioned that?) due to being a cheapskate--it makes a significant difference in gas mileage between 65 and 75, and I'm not in that much of a hurry to get anywhere. But there's always your Certifiable Moron with the cell phone stuck in her ear, weaving back and forth in her lane--just enough to make you nervous--and going 60, or 57, or God help us 55.

So I passed her, and made sure to give her The Look. And then I wondered: Why do I do that? What's the point? She's not paying the slightest attention, and if she was she wouldn't care. I mean, she's already out in public demonstrating her idiocy, why would she care if I glared at her?

But it's like a compulsion, isn't it? When somebody's pissed us off in traffic (I'm not talking about in town here; when traffic is that slow, and cars are that close together, I don't look at anybody. People have shot each other in this town over nasty looks, I kid you not) and after miles and miles of frustration we finally get around them, we just have to give them a dirty look. Somehow it does help dissipate the aggravation, a little. Kind of an anticlimax. Like if you got Frodo and Sam all the way to the Crack of Doom, and Frodo pulled out the ring and said, "Oh drat! I've brought the wrong ring!"

[abrupt lane change ahead]

And what is it about American movie-goers and our need for really gruesome revenge on bad guys? I mean, they make the bad guys really gruesome, too, but how does shoving someone in a buzzsaw (or whatever clever trick they've thought of lately) accomplish anything except leave a big mess for the night crew to clean up? Movies sort of masturbate this puerile need we have to By God Balance The Scales. Whatever happened to letting God deliver judgement and punishment? Since when does Steven Seagal get to do it? I mean, Steven Seagal???

It's due to movie makers understanding that we *do* want justice. We don't want an anti-climax. That was the great thing about that hideous movie "Se7en," that even though Brad Pitt's character blew the bad guy away at the end (oh, you haven't seen it? Too bad. Don't. I still can't figure out why they made the thing) at least they'd laid the groundwork for that outcome. He just wasn't ready for that level of maturity, reason, balance (not that I blame him). They did a great job of showing how Morgan Freeman's character was trying throughout the story to bring him along. At least they conveyed a sense that Pitt's character had failed, when he went for the emotionally satisfying action at the expense of the higher purpose of the law. I don't care about whether a jury would've let the bad guy off, or a judge would've kicked out the case on a technicality or any of that rancid old '70's cop show crap. There are higher human qualities that we need to be reaching for and exalting. Unfortunately, amid all the grue in that film, I'm afraid the subtler message was lost. Had great opening credits, though (heh heh nine inch nails heh heh heh)!

Shouting in the wilderness, that's me. At least I don't do it into a cell phone at 62 1/2 miles an hour.

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