25 February 2011

Stop trying to shock me

I've never appreciated the media's attempts to shock me into liking things. I find the constant bombardment of extreme scenarios annoying, and I tend to avoid ostentatious ceremonies and performances (see award shows). Also, I find horror films laughable, Reality TV makes me want to shrug my shoulders and say "eh," and commercials warning of impending heart attacks or plaque build-up rarely impact my thoughts. I do, however, love suspense, but I prefer the kind with substance rather than eerie music interrupted by a bursts of sound.

Why am I talking about this now?

I watched Dorian Gray.

I'm a little behind on this one, but that seems to be a trend for me right now. Anyway, I liked the book quite a bit. Oscar Wilde's portrayal of Victorian duplicity is admirable. And even though I was a bit bored during the ridiculously long inventory of all of Dorian's extravagance, the payoff at the end was more than enough.

Wilde's novel was intended to shock people (and it succeeded), so I even began the movie intending to be shocked. The first few moments were excellent. They were shocking, but promised explanation, and (knowing the book) I recognized it as a great place to start. It set the tone and the mood perfectly, and I settled in for a good movie. For the next half hour I admired the sets, costumes, dialogue, and even the acting.

But once they were through with the novel's substance they began their self-indulgent portrayal of Dorian's moral demise. Nothing beyond what Wilde alluded to, but annoying to have to sit through. For the next half hour, you don't see hedonism in any form other than sexual immorality, which might be the reason some people will watch the film.

The rest of the movie wasn't too awful, but the mood was ruined. Why did they have to take a half a chapter's worth of material and balloon it into 30 minutes? I realized that error meant they didn't have the proper time to do the characters of Sybil and Basil justice. They were created for balance, and without them, the movie lacked . . . substance. It became a cliche and a disappointment.

I'm not the only one annoyed by this, am I?

17 January 2011

Regarding the time I took a couple months off . . .

. . . sorry. Glad to see you stuck around. You all look great by the way.

I was busy (work); I was lazy (mmm sleep); and I was distracted (Wii, family, shiny things). I was doing what I've noticed most bloggers do from time to time. I doubt many noticed - and if you did, I have a feeling you were and are okay (but thanks for noticing).

Still, in this newly started year, I return to my favorite avenue for the sharing of my thoughts.

So here's a thought I had today: I don't dream big enough. I just tweeted that sentiment, and now I want to write something more substantial.

Thanks to my subscription the npr's podcast (I'm a nerd, I know - I embrace it), I finally listened to MLK Jr.'s entire "Dream" speech. I've heard the last few minutes countless times - okay, maybe 20 - but I hadn't listened to the whole thing before. And it's worth all the hype that came with today.

I tend to pick apart speeches. I hate dislike them, especially ones from politicians. Most can be boiled down a single trite comment. This speech proves they can say so much more. The anaphora "I have a dream" is just the tip of the iceberg. MLK Jr. also repeats "now is the time," "we cannot be satisfied," "let freedom ring," and of course "free at last."

He uses jokes, allusions, contrasts, familiar places and quotations, and excellent illustrations. My new favorite quote from it is "This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism." Big words. Another thing I noticed was he is unashamedly religious. He beliefs come from somewhere greater than one person and one family.

Anyway, you already knew the speech was good. And while I generally boycott the concept of making resolutions, perhaps I will strive towards one: To dream bigger. I like to keep things practical. Which really means I hesitate before doing anything big or small. I mull things over and over and settle for the option most likely to succeed. Probably not the best practice. After all, if we never dreamed the impossible dream, we would never know what's possible.

I got this from donteatthepaste.com - great stuff there :)