Sunday, February 1, 2015

235. Movies

“What’s up?”

C.W. was sprawled on the couch at our farm watching TV. At least I assumed it was C.W. The form I saw was more from a late 1960s crash pad than anything modern. I’m talking tie-dyed shirt, faded jeans, and long, late-John Lennon hair. The only thing that jarred was a pair of modern running shoes.

Don’t ask.

He answered, “Watching a movie. Interesting one, too.”

“What is it?”

“Something called ‘Not Clean or Pure Harry’ and it’s not bad.”

“Say what?” Then I saw a young Clint Eastwood snarl “Well do you, punk?” and I understood. “Oh, it’s ‘Dirty Harry.’”

“Ain’t that what I said, punk?”

“Uh, well … oh never mind. What do you think of it? I probably looked a lot like you do the first time I saw it.”

“Interesting,” he said. “I see it as a study between the polar extremes of human physiology as concerns the maintenance of an orderly society.”

“How so?” I said.

“You have a character—it’s just a movie, you know—and the character touches what may be an archaic remnant, that is the visceral desire to protect the tribe or individual from outside forces or disruption within the established order.”

I looked him. “My,” I said, “aren’t we getting intellectual in our older years?”

He ignored me. I said, “How old are you anyway?”

A commercial appeared so he turned to me. “In your years?”

“In earth years.”

“Probably a couple of centuries, On Falloonia, we measure time by the development of our ability to be cognizant of universal truths and not by a concept based on solar orbits.”

“Anyway,” I said, “so the Dirty Harry character is just a residual urge from our evolutionary development?”

“It’s just a movie, you know.”

“Well yeah. Is that all there is to it?”

“No, balanced against that rather prehistoric survival instinct is the knowledge that societies must learn to live within a framework of established and accepted social structures, hence the conflict and tension.”

“So the prehistoric wins this time, right?”

“Nobody wins,” he said. “It’s just a movie, you know.”

“Seems to me that Dirty Harry wins.”

“He prevails,” C.W. said. “That is different from winning.”

“How so?”

C.W. thought. “He prevailed against his opponent,” he said. Then he broke into that wicked little grin he uses so well. “Tis a consummation devoutly to be desired by our visceral side, right?”


“But tomorrow he must live in a world of more subtle tones, would you agree?”

“Well, yeah.”

“How many of those who cheered when the bad guy’s body exploded would want the Dirty Character to be their arresting officer if they were caught speeding on a deserted stretch of highway at midnight and he was in a bad mood?”

“I see your point.”

“The film does what it was intended to do,” he said. “That is to sharpen our cognitive skills. No more. No less.” He nodded. “It’s just a movie you know.”

“I wish,” I said. “Fast forward to modern times. That actor who plays Dirty Harry is a producer and director of films now.”

“Oh,” he said. “So his films are excellent vehicles with which to sharpen our thinking skills.”

“Uh,” I said, “not exactly.”

“What then, to introduce us to higher level thinking?”

“Uh,” I said. “That may be the intent. It hasn’t been the result with his latest.”

“Impossible,” he said. “What has it done?”

“Seem that it has made folks want to kill one another.”

“Impossible,” he said. “It’s only a movie, you know.”
Well don't we wish things were this simple? - C.W.
 Click an ad. We need more ammo.
- C.W.

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