September 27, 2004
Weekend happenings

I had some work and some play over the weekend, and not enough sleep thanks to a slight religious clash. I had invited a friend of mine out to see Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow on Saturday night, but since he was Jewish he was observing Yom Kippur until after sundown. And then he wanted to go out to dinner first since he hadn't eaten all day, so we saw a 9:40 showing of the movie. Which would not have been a problem except that I had to get up at 7 the next morning to sing in the church choir. So I kept yawning in church, although actually I imagine that was good for my voice, since it opened and relaxed my throat. (Some even recommend yawning as a warm-up exercise.)

My friend is not normally an observant Jew at all, although he does keep semi-kosher (no pork or shellfish). When I asked him about this contradiction, he shrugged and said, "It's how I was brought up." I expect that accounts for a great deal of religious practice and non-practice in the world. But for Yom Kippur he had gone to a service that was specifically aimed at non-practicing Jews, sort of like Fr. Jim's program for lapsed Catholics I imagine. It was held at a Marriott hotel of all places, and he said he liked it, although I didn't glean much info from him about what happened there (just a lot of prayer and Torah readings, which I would have expected).

The movie was fun, though it had serious flaws, mainly the fact that the heroine was a bleeding idiot. Stupid heroines generally annoy me but I guess I took this especially personally because a lot of the idiocy arose from a trope that appears fairly often in movies like this: that newspaper reporting is really all about photography. The lady is a reporter and her running gag of sorts is that she'll do anything for a great picture, and will risk life and limb in order to preserve her camera and film. Far be it from me to deny the power of news photographs, but honestly, when you're scooping major political events pictures are not essential. Nobody got pictures of the Watergate break-in or of Bill Clinton's sex acts, yet careful reconstruction of these events seared them into the public consciousness anyway (for better or worse). So I wanted to grab ahold of this woman and yell, "Look, you're the only reporter getting the inside story on a mad scientist building a robot army in a plot to destroy the world. You don't even need a @#$&ing picture!"

But of course films are made by filmmakers, and so it's not surprising that they would think pictures are everything. In fact, the reporter whose idea of "getting the story" is taking lots of pictures of it is an apt metaphor for the whole movie, and what's entrancing and annoying about it. Actually, since the movie presents such a beautifully realized world with such underdeveloped characters it's one of those cases where the fan fiction could turn out to be more interesting than the original movie. I'd love a story just about Angelina Jolie's character, who personally I think should have been the female lead.

Anyhow, the rest of Sunday was spent mostly reading up for an article I'm working on (speaking of the boring non-visual elements of reporting). I slept like a log last night, and had a dream where I was a young female character in some story whose plot I forget now, but it was a Madeleine L'Engle-ish metaphysical sci-fi. Toward the end somebody showed me -- but wouldn't give me, since possessing such a thing would be more than humanity could handle -- a collection of actual sayings of Jesus that didn't make it into the Gospels, and addressed matters that have been controversial since. (I'm sure the dream was inspired by this post.) The only line I remember was something to the effect that if you have a dispute over a reading of Scripture or a conflict between two passages of Scripture, pick the one that sounds most lyrical and poetic. As you might imagine, in the dream that was rather disappointing but now it's mainly amusing. I guess some dreams, like some movies, exist mainly to entertain.

Posted by Camassia at September 27, 2004 09:40 AM | TrackBack
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