When most people imagine an ideal vacation, they head toward the equator in their minds. I dream in the opposite direction, magnetically attracted toward the nearest pole, to places like the Scottish Highlands and Denali National Park. Perhaps this, in addition to hockey love and frequent youthful border crossings, explains my lifelong Canada crush. Or perhaps mutual adoration set in after my star turn in a 1970s television spot for the CBC kiddie show The Friendly Giant (I was discovered in a Toronto park, mastered my line “I like Jerome the Giraffe” like a pro, and received one pre-Loonie Canadian dollar for my trouble.) I don’t know–as with most crushes, I’m less interested in understanding it than enjoying it. And I don’t think it has a thing to do with my getting a lot of enjoyment lately out of the newish CBC arts site. A few highlights:
– An appreciation/lamentation of Arrested Development–appreciating the show, lamenting the non-viewers who are dealing it a slow but certain death–here. Notable quote:
Maybe Arrested Development is the last great sitcom we’ll get for free.
– A snappy overview of recent movies about weddings, here. NQ:
As the movie wedding approaches, the bride is destined to be relieved of that thing called “agency,” and she’s grateful for it. At the end of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Nia Vardalos, looking like a cloud vomited on her, thanks her family for their intolerance and intrusion. For a while pre-nuptially, she was actually in the process of toughening up and learning to stand up to her bossy family, but weddings demand the softening of women. Even the excellent The Philadelphia Story required Katherine Hepburn to slough off her haughty Hepburnness so Cary Grant could steal her away from the uptight idiot she only thought she liked. The transformation from calloused cellar sweeper to Cinderella princess is easy; just stick a toe into a glittery, loan-financed slipper. In modern wedding movies, love and marriage turns Type A career women–Roberts in Runaway Bride; Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner–into…what?
– An anti-book-club rant, here. I’ve never been in a book club, so the author’s pretty much singing to the choir here. In my experience, enough years of grad school tend to undermine the appeal. I myself am far more inclined to form a television club.
– This nuanced piece about the problems, aesthetic and ethical, inherent in making a film about genocide. This subject has been on my mind in a half-processed way lately, simply because I want to go see Hotel Rwanda but have failed to try to talk a friend into it. Nobody in my circle is apparently inclined to go. That doesn’t mean they won’t–but it does mean that to get them to, I have to do something akin to talking it up. Hmnh. Given the subject matter, I haven’t found any way of doing this that won’t surely sound bizarre or even ghoulish.
Of course, such unimaginable moments have occurred, and are occurring, but do they lose their power when they become cinematic tropes, reducing horror to a plot point or a hero’s redemption? The danger of moviemaking is that it somehow levels genocide, and evil becomes as significant, or insignificant, as the predictable beats of a thriller or an epic weepie.