me hut journal november 2003  

November 24

Still no real freeze so far this year. It looks like tonight might be the night…but an extraordinarily warm season so far. Roses are blooming, everything seems to believe that it is spring.. So much going on..but going so much that it seems like nothing. Not a good attitude on my part. The Jean-Louis Costes show was certainly something, causes a lot of chat on the ed list. I have a persistent flatness that seemingly is only capable of being dispelled very momentarily, and lately mostly under the influence of alcohol. I can't ell if I'm jaded, bitter (I hide it well, eh?) or just old. The liens between work and play have become miserably confused..something that I fervently wished for at one time.
Does INTENSITY of life equal to anything about life itself? Does it speak to 'life itself' whatever ever that would be, bare life… It's not a question older folks like to think about maybe, relegating it to sophomore philosophy, wherein is relegated all such questions about life, perhaps not having that much life left to consider as a mutable, changeable entity which-is-yet-to-be. Perhaps even the thinnest, manest, stingiest life harbors as much exuberance in its own way as the most exhausting, stimulated (maybe even simulated) life. Who is to possibly say except those to whom each life happens in its own inexplicable, indefatigable way? Or is thought to happen to by someone else

Maybe the section below, a quote from E. L. Doctorow's CITY OF GOD is pertinent. I can feel some of it in my bones:

"'He realizes he is talking compulsively, but he can't stop. 'Maybe I am crazy, but I swear to you something is on with movies in a way even the people who make them don't understand. I mean, something weird has happened, so that I'm convinced that the people who ostensibly make them are no more than instruments of the movies themselves, servers, factotums, and the whole process, from pitching an idea for one, and getting the financing and finding a star, I mean, the whole operation, while seeming to depend on the participation of directors, producers, distributors, and so on, and for all the animosities and struggles among them, the struggles for control, the interference of studio heads, and profound dicta of the critics, in fact the entire booming culture of movies -- al of it is illusion, as the move is supposed to be, a scripted reality, whereas it's the movies themselves that are in control, preordaining and self-generating, like a specie with its own DNA. The human agencies who realize them, are subsidiary, like garden bugs who come into being to pollinate flowers, or those birds who live to ride atop the backs of African rhinos and beak away their lice.

There are more movies than ever, you have to agree at least to that, they are a population explosion, in theaters, on television, on cable, on tape, on discs, they're everywhere, you can't escape them, they are creatures, movies, incredibly astute, complex creatures who persuade us that they are manifestations of our own culture, with individual identities but participating in genres, just as we are individuals within ethnic frameworks. You think I'm nuts but it's possible, I mean you just ought to consider that possibility, that movies are a malign life form that came to earth a hundred or so years ago and have gradually come to dominate not only our feelings but our thoughts, our intellects. They are feeding on us, having first forced us to invent them and provide them with the materiality of their existence, which is film, or, latterly, tape. Maybe you would have a better idea of what I am saying by thinking of them as having the same desire to suck us up into themselves as a tapeworm in our guts, one planetary tapeworm living in the guts of the earth, using up the cities, the country side, the seas, and the mountains.

But I don't expect you to agree, I know what you're thinking, and not even if I invoke those pseudoscientific horror movies to you, wherein one person, a scientist perhaps, sees some great threat to humanity that he cannot persuade the world of until it is almost too late -- a giant bug, a plague or alien specie from space, a King Kongism of disaster is what I'm describing -- even knowing that convention and having seen versions of it over and over -- the awful knowledge given only to the lonely hero, and perhaps his loyal girlfriend, herself the daughter of an eminent scientist, who e will die during the course of the film -- because you have been watching too many movies!
But I offer to you as evidence my own life, which has somehow attracted the attention of the movie creatures, as they apparently have you, and look at me sitting here on this set with you, and already you think I'm just an actor reading his lines, that's the role you're supposed to be playing, but whether I am or not, I can testify that I'm turning into a shadow, and it's a terrible feeling wherein even you most intimate passionate feelings are, you suspect, words on a page written for you to act out.
"And I can even tell anymore if this is the first time I'm saying this or the second or the one hundredth. Can you tell? Am I the real person, or the film image? And you? I just don't know. And even when I finish this monologue and the director calls, 'Cut,' I still won't know, because he too may be nothing more than an image, a shadow, an arrangement of downloaded ones and zeros.'
Cut! A voice calls from the darkness. And he hears bravos and a scattering of applause from onlookers that may or may not be a soundtrack."

Nov 30

I saw two bumper stickers on the same car today. On the back window read "Copyright concepts, not sounds"
On the bumper read: "Question Everything"
Apart from the absurdity of each I was momentarily stunned and thoughtfroze by the contradictions. Almost rear-ended the damn thing.



robert cheatham