William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

21. lessons from the ogres

Saw Shrek 2 tonight with Andy. I think it's an essential film, and it would seem others agreed, as it became the highest-grossing 'pure' comedy of all time during its theatrical run. (Finding Nemo remained slightly ahead but is more of a comedy-drama.)

When I first saw the movie, I wanted things to end the way they didn't. This time around, I didn't even remember that they had agency, so invested was I in my notion of what they should have done.

It was a different experience to see it now, knowing now that people have the capacity to connect on the inside. Not so long ago, I honestly didn't know that. I was an adult, but bereft of love. Now if anybody can pick up the connect-on-the-inside lesson from watching this movie, that's an automatic 10. For me, a happy 9.

There are other things that are important to know. Crest 3DWhite toothpaste will not help you find your soulmate. Anybody you should date will tolerate your not having used Odorono*. Wearing Axe says “I'm insecure and superficial, here's something for me to physiologically hide under!” while one of its ads says, “It doesn't matter if you're handsome and just saved someone's life – she'll fly away as soon as a shiny object approaches.” (Great job on presenting an ideal human blueprint for consumers, Axe!) If you can find someone like you on the inside as well as the outside, that's probably a promising match.

Generally, I feel like the “opposite attracts” maxim is applied at a macro scale when it's inappropriate – like how quantum physics is tossed around unknowingly. Or it could be that we're not aware of what things are really opposites. Plus and minus are opposites. Cold and hot are opposites. Male and female might be opposites. Country and rock are definitely not opposites. Neither are rap and gospel. Conservative and liberal might be opposites, but Conservative™ and Liberal™ certainly aren't. Neither are India and Pakistan, nor Israel and Palestine, nor Iran and the USA, nor the Koreas, nor the Chinas. But we act like they are.

* - I'm pretty sure The Who knew that. And yeah, I'm echoing Dan Savage. “Sex is a savoury pursuit” is among his great soundbytes.

* * *

It's a dark, dark night out – a good one to be inside. When you go out at night and don't have the stars or city lights for company, it's a bit frightening. I suppose eventually you would adapt to the dark, but I am unwilling to spend a night alone in the woods in order to learn firsthand. In fact, I would like to live my whole life without being lost in the woods overnight.

It's really scary sometimes that there's more inhabiting this world than just people. But we are animals too, and we're walling ourselves away from other animals on the basis that we have something that they don't. It's profoundly infantile. It's like we have a later bedtime than our younger brother, so we lord it over him.

I'm not saying we can't eat animals, nor saying we should give ourselves to the mosquitoes. I think we could stand to be more aware of the living world around us. Hopefully in a way that keeps us secure – I would love to have a rooftop observatory on a house around here so I could see the stars and hear the wind in the trees and hear the loons cry and not have to worry about being eaten.** It's an artificial experience of nature, but artificial is what we do best.

** - Unless Hannibal Lecter is in town. Oh, he's not real?

* * *

I didn't come up with the saying that the perfect is the enemy of the good, but it applies to a lot of things. The hilarious part is that the admittance that we ourselves are imperfect, even if it's not merely teeth-out, doesn't automatically mean we'll accept less than perfect. We can go on petulantly demanding perfection for years. I'm appalled at many of my previous stunts – I say 'many' because I can only be second-hand appalled at the ones I've forgotten about. I'm half upset that I had such childish notions of things, and the other half upset because everybody could see it.

Actually, thinking about it more, it's the view that we are somehow strange, defective, bad goods, that we would be rejected if we showed our true selves – I think that's a lot of what drives the perfection chase beyond the threshold of ridiculous and/or self-defeating. If we let anybody see us do or accept something less than perfect(ly), we give ourselves away. They'll see that we're depraved and unworthy.

I think we're not depraved. A worldview I was exposed to held that we're all depraved and that the punishment is death, but believing in and accepting the Lord as your Saviour lets you access His forgiveness. That's a little fucked up. It screws with your head, seeing a fellow dastardly-deeds-doer everywhere you look. You go looking for evil. ("That's Satan in you now!")

But I think we're not depraved, even though we're imperfect and temporary. I have no proof. I also want to doubt that we're “basically good”, inasmuch as the notion goes that there's an inner part of us that just loses control while an outer shell of negative emotion gets to reign unimpeded. I think our whole being gets, for instance, angry. I think we dive right in. I think some of the most awful things we do are some of the most pure. But also some of the best things.

We're complex animals, I'll give us that. But neither saints nor devils.
Tags: reviews, sherbrooke 2013

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