"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Sunday, October 10, 2004
an-i-mal Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, from animale, neuter of animalis animate, from anima soul -- more at ANIMATE
1 : one of the lower animals as distinguished from human beings
2 : not generally possessing technological or cultural skills
Everyone has their pet peeves in movies. Mine are growls.
Yeah, that's right. Growls.
And not just any growls, mind you. If the movie has a wolf, a lion, even a badger or a dinosaur, I'm completely OK with it. What bothers me is when things that aren't human that are supposedly smarter than us start the growling business.
For example, there is the alien in the John Carpenter remake of "The Thing" starring Kurt Russell. All in all, the movie is pretty good. Explorers find spaceship under the ice. Alien eats scientists (another pet peeve, why do they always eat us? Do we taste that good? Is there a cosmic Fodor's guide that says "Earthlings are really tasty niblets?") After that, alien impersonates scientists. And a dog, but that would clutter matters, so we'll skip that part.
Anyway, there's this one scene when Kurt Russell is testing the blood of each member still living of the scientific team. And, as we go into the test, every single member of the team is acting normal. But, wouldn't you know it, once the alien is discovered, the alien that was so advanced it was able to build a spaceship capable of flying all the way across the galaxy to have us for dinner, it growls.
All of a sudden, alien becomes wild animal. And that bothers me, because I don't think that's how things work.
Are there other movies the same? Hundreds. Almost every vampire movie, almost every single campy sci fi movie of the fifties and sixties. And even more up to date ones, like the Alien movies and a host of others.
Is it somehow that we can't be scared of something unless we feel that it has a bit of wild animal in it?
Let's go back to that same scene in The Thing. Wouldn't it have been truly creepy if the alien had simply pled over and over that it was in fact the scientist? I think the scene could have been far more frightening that way. The movie would have had the potential of evolving from a standard fright fest to one that would really make you a bit uneasy about the people you showed up at the theater with.
This whole growl thing says something about us as a culture, I just know it.
But what it is, I have no idea.
Let not thy will roar, when thy power can but whisper.
Dr. Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732