Wednesday, January 19, 2011


“Nowadays when a person lives somewhere, in a neighborhood, the place is not certified for him. More than likely he will live there sadly and the emptiness which is inside him will expand until it evacuates the entire neighborhood. But if he sees a movie which shows him his very neighborhood, it becomes possible for him to live, for a time at least, as a person who is Somewhere and not Anywhere.”—Walker Percy

Epistemology’s always been more intellectual good citizenship than felt cause—we don’t act on knowledge, after all, but rise to a beckoning, or else flounder in the awful silence. The movies favor the ontological and their ontology goes: BE MOVIES TOO, Jack Nicholson coming through the door with the axe is the movies coming through the screen for we their shrieking victims. It’s more than “media ideology,” more than being educated enough to say that what’s up there only appears impossibly beautiful and coherent so that we might be suitably undone as subjects. No—abashed, we grasp the truth: what’s up there really is more perfect, and if anything we don’t feel badly enough about ourselves.

Nicholson: “I don’t trust myself not to manipulate you.” O. Wilson: “I think I screwed up.” Rudd: “Not from my perspective.” Tracy Flick: “Gee whiz.” Love, your scant permutations allow for infinite improvisation—if only one may acquit oneself of the license to be exposed. I take back what I said. O friends! The blemish is mine!

Closure is so revolting—the hairy little stitch that seals the base of the apple. That inspired 80s kiss-off: “It’s been real.” I was just a kid but I can assure you, Legos mush, rather than click, together. The digital will oblige us to relinquish the haunting metaphor of film caught in the projector, the sudden singe creeping from center to edge, contortion of melting celluloid, an extra-narrative supernova giving way to blackness and a murmur of consternation from the seats. Just another year in the dark, finally, year up in smoke, a heap of fantasies the fuel?

But walking around my neighborhood, the streets gone quiet enough to hear my own footsteps, I think, hit your marks, now, the camera is rolling on that impossible, life-long tracking shot, that single radiant take for which each of us is cast.

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