Thursday, June 27, 2013

reinforced values

You know what's heaps of fun, is telling people about what I'm doing right now. Telling people with  normal lives, normal jobs that I'm just living off savings and tilting after windmills. Filmic windmills. Hollywood windmills. Windmills draped in razor-wire, surrounded by land mines.

There is nothing particularly possible about trying to break into professional screenwriting, and nothing particularly sane about trying to do it on savings whilst watching your bank account dwindle daily.

But there it is.

You'd think I'd have the hardest time fessing to this in the dating world where I sometimes foray, but no. The hardest place for me to talk about it is to the sort of normal, middle-class white protestants amongst whom I was bred, born and raised.

They're incredibly nice about it, but I still feel like apologizing.

And then there's the suggestions.

Like the guy at the soccer game who suggested that if I couldn't make it, perhaps I could find a job at one of these megachurches with the big film departments, writing little bits of propaganda for their stabs at Sunday-morning relevance. Ay, Caramba!

Or maybe I could go write movies for Rick Santorum, who's just landed a new job as CEO of Echolight Studios, a "faith-based film company." They're throwing buckets of money at making entertainment that can be, as Mr. Santorum puts it, "strength and light for people who want to be uplifted and reinforced in their values."

Yay.

That's always been my dream, you know. To make art that sounds like a Thomas Kinkade painting, and serves primarily to reinforce what people already believe about the world. God forbid I'd ever write anything that challenges what they believe. That makes them think. That makes them wonder. That rolls around in life's big questions without offering any straightforward, easy answers. Life is easy, my friends. And when it isn't easy, it's the job of artists to make it seem easy, so we can go on being happy little cogs in the consumptive machinery of the military-industrial-religious complex.

And I say it again -- Ay, Caramba!

How does this happen? How do people put together millions of dollars to make movies that are essentially schlocky, depressingly-duplicitous propaganda?

Fear, I guess. Fear that if we allow anything but sweet, saccharine niceness to invade our lives, we'll end up somehow "infected." Fear that if we don't provide easy answers to hard questions, the childrens will slip out from under our thumbs. Fear that love and grace aren't big enough, and that we're riding a razor's edge between survival and damnation.

Ugh. 

These people need to watch more movies. Perhaps they may find some wisdom, there. Some freedom. Perhaps they'll find their way to father Yoda, who will teach them that fear leads only to the dark side.

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