A Clutch of Grouse (May Cause Seizures)

Over an exquisite brunch my friends and I bemoan the state of the world. All of us are pessimistic. The species is doomed. Two friends live in a block-long five-story apartment complex in Oakland for which there is one green bin. It is emptied once a week. It is never more than one-eighth full, almost entirely what they’ve contributed. Nobody else bothers. At the meditation center where another friend volunteers to clean up, few practitioners pay attention to what should go into which trash bins, though they are clearly labeled. Nor do they empty their cups down the drain before they toss them into the trash, ergo, slush. Isn’t the point to pay attention?

Speaking of slush, the media’s narcotic attention to Twitter. I am a straw away from cancelling the Times. So much twitching, so little light cast on people working to throw the grabbers out of the trough.

According to Farhad Manjoo in an article in that faulty paper, Americans spend on average 11 hours a day looking at a screen. Is it any wonder the culture has a slippery grasp on compassion? Of course I consume this statistic by virtue (so to speak) of a screen, and pass it on to you by pixels to your screen.  Read quickly. If you want consistency, get thee to a bakery. None of us are saints, except maybe Mr. Rogers.

Approximately 2.5 of my 11-hour allotment today was in the front row of the Alamo moviehouse on Mission—the only seats available for the 3:30 showing of The Incredibles 2. I am a not Pixar/Disney fan. Never was, never will be, but I saw #1 before it was #1 back in 2004 and was more than a little surprised to like it so much.

Fourteen years. Ago. My.

Incredibles 2 relies on the same basic premise of 1, that superhero-ing is illegal. It takes that slightly charming construct and smushes it to the ground with mayhem, car crashes, train crashes, boat crashes, you name it and you’ll see it go flashing past. The warning screened before the start of the movie, that some scenes might trigger epileptic reactions, was worth taking seriously. These peaks of noise and CG pyrotechnics are separated by valleys of exposition trying to get us to care. We do not. The baby superhero gets a few laughs from the kid next to me.

Fight after fight, kicking, punching, gouging, shooting. What would Mr. Rogers say?

Now that we’re post-racial, it’s crystal clear from the movie how liberal values have won the day. There are black and brown heroes and girl and troll heroes and even I’m pretty sure gay heroes in bit parts. It would be churlish to point out The Incredibles are all white, although the teenage daughter looks like she might be Asian/adopted. Perhaps another ethnic base to show some love, I don’t know. There are some flagrant oddities, why Mom Incredible is known as Elastigirl. And how she got that figure, that really big butt in relation to a wasp-waist. And why our viewpoint for several seconds is right up behind that big butt, sniffable almost.

Someone else will have to analyze what exactly is going on chez Pixar. What is clear to me is this: Hollywood, it doesn’t matter your thoughts are pure if your head is up your butt. Serving up violence as entertainment, mainlining it to kids, is not incredible. It’s despicable.

I hereby quit going to movies although I may go to see the documentary about Mr. Rogers. Last night I found a link to an article about him.https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a27134/can-you-say-hero-esq1198/

Thank you God.

If I see the movie, I’m going to need a box of kleenex.


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