Monday, February 14, 2011

Ethical Grey Area between the Sexes

Too much glory is given to actors and directors. Writers are the real unsung heroes.

It is not exactly riding coattails it is more devious than that.  Stealing glory is closer to it.
Anyhow in a perfect world it should be a crime: White Collar Crime, Thought Robbery, what you may call it.

I do understand some of these writers are getting good money but when it comes to glory and credit they seem to be stepped on by more voracious limelight thieves with no principles.

Writing is the soul and bones of a movie.

You can put flesh on as an actor or a director but if you start with a freak you finish with a freak.
It is the same thing in music. An interpreter is a pretty voice and a pretty face that hasn’t really put any blood, sweat, and tears in the work he mimics.

Now back to stories and short stories.

This story here that I first learned about in Paul Kelly’s song “Everything Turns to White” is quite fascinating to me in its potential for discussion and commenting.  One could write a whole thesis on this subject.  The story itself though I just found out is not from Paul Kelly who is an excellent writer on his own and did a great job here condensing a 16 pages short story in a 4m40s song.

The original “song” if it can be so called is from Raymond Carver’s “ So Much Water, So Close to Home”.
The main characters, Stuart and Claire Kane, I understand have also been dealt with in Altman’s Short Cuts from the writings of Carver again.

Unlike Carver it is quite evident that I, unfortunately, am not a minimalist since I take ages just to get to the bloody point but here it is.

In Kelly’s short words it says:

Late on a Friday my husband went up to the mountains with three friends
They took provisions and bottles of bourbon to last them all through the weekend
One hundred miles they drove just to fish in a stream
And there's so much water so close to home
When they arrived it was cold and dark; they set up their camp quickly
Warmed up with whisky they walked to the river where the water flowed past darkly
In the moonlight they saw the body of a young girl floating face down
And there's so much water so close to home
When he hold me now I'm pretending
I feel like I'm frozen inside
And behind my eyes, my daily disguise
Everything's turning to white
It was too hard to tell how long she'd been dead, the river was that close to freezing
But one thing for sure, the girl hadn't died very well to judge from the bruising
They stood there above her all thinking the same thoughts at the same time
There's so much water so close to home 

They carried her downstream from their fishing; between two rocks they gently wedged her
After all they'd come so far, it was late
And the girl would keep; she was going nowhere
They stayed up there fishing for two days
They reported it on Sunday when they came back down
There's so much water so close to home
When he holds me now I'm pretending
I feel like I'm frozen inside
And behind my eyes, my daily disguise
Everything's turning to white
The newspapers said that the girl had been strangled to death and also molested
On the day of the funeral the radio reported that a young man had been arrested
I went to the service a stranger; I drove past the lake out of town
There's so much water so close to home
When he holds me now I'm pretending
I feel like I'm frozen inside
And behind my eyes, my daily disguise
Everything's turning to white 

Carver covers a little more of the bonding between the fours, the whisky, the bowling, the poker games etc and also the inevitable aversion of the wife. Beatrix Christian somehow made it even more interesting and twisted in adding previous instability from the wife and the race card too.

I say more interesting but the story did not need to be more interesting in fact. I do understand the need to extend on a short story though to make a 2 hours movie but it could be remade in a 3 hours movie sticking to the original easy because there is so much meat in the eternal dilemna.

Male psyche vs Female psyche.  Legally Right vs not Legally Wrong.  Morally Wrong vs Morally Right.

The end justifies the means or does it? Especially in the original story where the killer gets caught.

Mind you it never takes care directly of one of the main ethical issue that I am sure every woman has been thinking of:

the friends and family of the missing victim and the HORRIBLE delay on CLOSURE.

If the story was written today one could add forensic science to it but I don’t know if it was as relevant in the 70’s.

So here it goes ladies and gents have a long debate at home tonight! J

I can “understand” almost empathise with the male side even though I have never ever been one of those “bloke’s bloke”. I know the “tribe” mentality, anthropology some would say.

Also there is a big factor here that might be relevant to both sexes I am not sure since I can’t remember the complete study but there is a strong psychological factor here of bending to the majority’s will even if you know you are wrong just to fit in.  Not sure how much it would interfere with women now as I can only imagine one female outcome but then again I can’t imagine 4 females walking miles in the woods just to go fishing. J

I would really like to think that even the odds are extremely slim that I would ever end up in a situation like this I would have done the right thing but I have been a victim of peer pressure for a long time though.  I can only tell you that at this right moment I think I would have the courage and the integrity to go at it alone and do the right thing.

But there are a whole bunch of mitigating factors like fatigue and maybe dependency for instance if I was no good at orientation and no one came with me my best intentions would be futile.

All I know is I understand very well both psyches and naturally and ethically side with the women but even though I cannot excuse the blokes I find it hard to accuse them as well since the poor guys are so limited.  

I mean the average scope of male compassion, empathy, understanding, respect for life and all that ethical grey area is hard for the common Neanderthal, almost impossible.  Add beer and whisky and male bonding and group interaction and you have another My Lai.

Apparently it is wrong to think in Black or White in this world some people say.

If White is Right and Black is Wrong then WTF is Grey?

Order vs Chaos is another issue here. 

Anything added to pure water makes it impure somehow no more H2O.

So here we go again one should definitely write a new modern bible and tell us which is which.
No more slavery and genocide and women bashing but a common sense of decency and right and wrong and virtue and truth and integrity.

On a final note it is always fascinating to me that some of the best writers / artists are often drunks and self-destructed prematurely.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Faith in Humans?

I am kind of puzzled lately by the media reaction (if not the people since these two are totally separate entities at times) over looting in a natural disaster:  name and shame and all that game.

For one thing there is a show call Shameless and there is a reason for that.
Most Yobbos, Bogans, Chavs, Rednecks don’t have any shame at all most of them don’t even have a conscience.
The one that surprised me the most was the owner of a bottle shop “losing his faith in humans” because he had been robbed of his booze while vulnerable.  You work in a bottle shop for crying out loud where did you get your faith in humans to begin with?

And why or why the surprise pray tell? What planet have you been living on?

Yes you may find a lot of “good” people in a disaster. Yes many of them will fill endless bags of sand to help each other for many reasons and motives: a sense of belonging, a fear of rejection, a million reasons some very good, some very bad or wrongly motivated. 

The perfect test is would you leave your children alone for one week with this “good” stranger?  And yes there is some good on this planet at times but why do people think of mankind as a whole as intrinsically good I will never know.

There will always be some mad ignorant mischievous peasants and some mad ignorant mischievous authorities at any time, at any place on this planet. Not to expect evil is senseless and dumb.  This is why we lock our doors at night and this is why we try to have a similarity of law and order.

Just look at all the evil civilian killing and raping done by both sides in any war?

It all seems to be a stoned hippie fantasy to me like someone has been smoking too much of the good stuff or is on some sort of oriental philosophy trip deluding themselves that men are just hindered by ignorance and greed and once they see the light they will be okay.

Law and order will always and I mean always be struggling and at times really struggling against lawlessness and chaos it is the law of the universe.

So go on living in your bubble if you wish but keep locking your doors and warning your kids about “strangers” which happen to be of the HUMAN race also.