Friday, March 20, 2009

Things I've Been Thinking About Lately...

(same day, different post to break up unbearably long chunks of reading for the ADD...)

The Phone:

and my phone phobia. I was wondering if, in a twisted way, the phone (a modern "convenience") itself is a failure because it facilitates isolation. On the phone, you cannot see nor touch the person your talking to. And, (I think) experts say, a lot of communication is nonverbal. Much is said with a glance, a touch on the arm, a reassuring smile. On the phone, two people become disembodied voices and you lose much of the human aspects in interaction. A study done in 2004 found that people reported three times the isolation than in 1985; What if the popularity of the phone is a symptom of this growing isolation? It might make it easier for one to objectify others, separates person and voice and being? Less face-to-face time? 


In my novel, there is a scenario involving an unethical romance and though it is nowhere as terrible as that in Lolita, it still brings little lo to mind. It's disturbed me, lately, that a writer would treat a story like this for it's own sake; as Nabokov has said, he just wanted to get inside Humbert Humbert's head. Granted, literature generally shouldn't have to moralize (and thus, becomes propaganda) but, at the same time, it's disturbing to think a middle aged man sat down to write this story "just because." Why do that one to oneself? And, well, others too, who will be fascinated by the "monster" and will engage in literary rubbernecking...

And, this on an unrelated note; Somehow, now, a sexually precocious young girl is called a "Lolita" even though, in the original story, Dolores Haze is a young girl victimized by a middle aged pedophile. How did we flip the script and lay the responsibility of  "seduction" into the lap of the twelve year old girl? It might be comparing apples and oranges, but this seems another insidious tentacle of sexism or, at least, "blaming the victim". Somehow, if it's involving sex, we still blame the girl, even unintentionally, by excusing the man. He is, after all, only a man and at the mercy of his own desires. (of course, pedophilia has been shown to be an notoriously difficult disorder to treat...) It must be the girl at fault here...

One Hour Photo:

a creepy movie. Granted, Sy wasn't right. But, did anyone else really identify with, have sympathy for, Sy Parrish?  At the end,  he confesses he was abused by his father and, suggested by the sparse, washed out cinematography, the wounding was only compounded by a cold, alienating consumer culture. The limbic systems of the isolated, I would image, are less regulated by human company and are "off". His is a catch-22: you can't be normal until you're with other people but, you can't be around other people until you're normal. The way I see it, the poor guy never had a chance.

I Heart Huckabees:

Existential detectives!?! 

'nuff said.

Graham Greene:

according to an acrimonious article written by an angry Catholic, Graham Greene was a closeted bisexual, adulterous, alcoholic atheist who did not die in a state of grace. (His behavior is not excused by a bipolar diagnosis, and yet, the diagnosis makes sense) If all this is true, I love Greene's lapsed Catholic ass. He may have been a sinner, but if you read any of his work, it is obvious he also grappled with the meanings behind things. (See I Heart Huckabees)

I Heart Graham Greene.

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