Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"I'm not crazy, my reality is just different from yours."

It has been difficult to return to writing here, even to just jot random notes about the movies I've watched. It's not that I don't want to do so, and it's not the laziness of older age; I think my reluctance has more to do with wanting to protect what has become my own little bubble of sanity and security. Movies, after all, have much value as escapism. As the ad campaign for 'That's Entertainment' put it, "Boy, do we need it now".

Ticket Booth, Times Square, 1954. Photo by Frank Oscar Larson.
Last night, the anchor of the CBS News program introduced a segment by saying, "It has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality". My cable box has the capability to 'rewind' whatever has just been shown, kind of like a videotape could be rewound to replay something, or instant replay on a sports program. I had to go back and listen to that introduction again. At first, it was because I couldn't believe the anchor, Scott Pelley, had actually said it. Then I watched it again to savor the moment. And a third time to accurately note the wording of the quote. Frankly, I'm still amazed. It's not something I ever expected to hear on a news report. Certainly not on one of the major networks, and certainly not on CBS, once the center of great reporting by journalists like Edward R. Murrow, and Walter Cronkite, now fallen on the same hard times that beset most news departments under the purview of their networks' entertainment divisions. It would seem that even CBS News has had enough. The sad thing is that most people probably don't realize how important and unprecedented it was to make that statement.

 It is snowing at the moment. It is, as a voice somewhere in the back of my head would put it, "coming down at a pretty good clip". I don't have a particularly wonderful view; Putney Road gets a lot of traffic as it's the main artery going north to the land of shopping malls, empty stores, pizza joints, supermarkets, discount palaces, auto parts, and fast food. A couple of old mid 19th century mansions, once the homes of the local gentry, are in evidence peeking out from under trees, and from behind hedges of evergreen. Even with the traffic, it is still mesmerizing, calling forth the little boy still trapped somewhere within. It's probably the boy who is so entertained by the movies. Certainly the movies lead me to reading a number of books which became favorites. I often bemoan my books being in storage, but I suppose it's better that way. Just before they all got packed into boxes for the trip to a friend's early 18th century barn, I had to sell off quite a few of my best, my favorites, my - yes, friends. It was during a period of unemployment uncertainty and had to be done to raise the necessary emollient for modern life. I don't quite know what I still have left. I would be crushed to discover I sold my Compleat Sherlock Holmes, my annotated copies of Dickens, my reference edition (including manuscript) of 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Through the Looking-Glass'. The Alice books have been on my mind a lot recently.

The quote which serves as the title for this post is from one of the Alice's. With the beauty of the falling snow visible before me, the image of falling down a rabbit hole into a world of nonsense seems a fit metaphor for the current political situation in these United States. I've occasionally railed against the present unpolitic politic on Facebook, which does not lend itself to writing of more than a few sentences. People seem to read a paragraph or so and move on. People post links to articles with wildly exaggerated headlines they think bolsters their reality, without having read the accompanying story. Only liberals and reporters seem to be bothered by statements which stress "alternative facts", as noted by one of President The Donald's hench spokespeople. I could go on and on, but I don't want to at the moment. I'm feeling peaceful while looking at falling snow, and such moments of peace are few and far between just now.

I'll try to force myself to come back later, or tomorrow, to make a few notes about some of the movies I'm already beginning to forget. After all, tomorrow is another day. (cue swelling music)

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