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April 26, 2006

We need to talk about…

Yea! My essay is finished and will be printed tonight and handed in tomorrow. And then there will be four homework free months ahead, to read, and write, and hang out with Stuart. We are celebrating by going to the Library Bar at the Royal York Friday for posh martinis. I am looking forward to this weekend. What else, lots of Toronto fun, food and adventure on account of Stuart’s mum visit. We went to the zoo on Friday and it was wonderful. I liked the butterfly house, and a gorilla who climbed right up to the viewing window, sat down and stared right into my eyes. It was an incredibly moment, and a bit frightening, but quite profound. And then the gorilla defecated, which sort of put a stop to all that but still. I also liked the flamingos.

I am now reading The Female of the Species by Lionel Shriver, who wrote We Need to Talk About Kevin, which you might know was the best book I read in 2005. The Female of the Species is Shriver’s first book (I think) and like all her books before Kevin, not altogether successful. It started slow, and I resisted it for a chapter or two. But now I am enveloped and can’t wait to get to the end. I also read For the Time Being by Annie Dillard, which exists more to be read than to be explained. But what she does with form is really quite incredible, and it’s chock-a-block with stuff that should be known. The Jewish mysticism threw me a little bit, but then again it usually does.

My friend Sarah is off on her Siberian Adventure. The website hasn’t been updated for a few days, and according to it, they haven’t left yet. How does one update a blog from the Trans-Siberian Railroad? They are travelling by land from Japan to London, and I can’t wait to travel along as a vicariate. In other news, as you probably know, Jane Jacobs has died, which means it’s about time I read The Death and Life of America’s Great Cities– and so I will. Camilla Gibb takes the Trillium Prize for Sweetness in the Belly, which just might be my favourite book of 2006. The Spears/Federlines are pregnant again, well according to US, but it will be exciting for them to have another child around the house to neglect. Curtis Sittenfeld didn’t make the Orange Prize shortlist, thank goodness. I’m awfully fond of The Accidental by Ali Smith, but I like Hilary Mantel and Zadie S. too. Exciting!

Am disturbed by Flight 93. I saw the preview in the theatre a few weeks back, and it was so profoundly upsetting. I can’t imagine sitting through the whole film. And I disagree with the woman whose daughter died on the flight that “The public needs to know, they need to remember and know what the families have gone through”. I am sorry, but I don’t think they do. To many people this film might exist as a memorial of sorts, celluloid proof the people they loved died for a reason, but there is something terribly self-indulgent about that. A film like this exploits our society’s preoccupation with outward acts of mourning and our yearning for communal experience and connection. But it is such a shallow connection. And no amount of reenactment will really allow us to comprehend what happened that day; only distance can possibly provide for that, and some perspective.

3 thoughts on “We need to talk about…”

  1. PatrickMH says:

    Concerning Flight 93, I bet a lot of Americans wonder what they would have done in the passengers’ situation. I bet many of them fear they would have sat paralyzed, and are troubled by this suspicion. It may be that the film could work to help some Americans move their way through an experience that has worked to make them feel hemmed in. Would have to see film to get a better sense of this, though.

  2. The Chapatikid says:

    Only in America can a national tragedy become fodder for a sensationalist Hollywood film. Having said that, I shouldn’t judge the sensationalism factor without seeing the movie. Although, by the previews, I was concerned that several of the male passengers are portrayed as Bruce Willis-esque characters here to save their nation. Is there any value in making a nation reinforce its stereotype of puritanical heroism? I don’t think this film will be a “Munich” — and more’s the pity.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A lot of people feel closer to things when they see them on the big screen, often feeling less involved if they are left to learn a story from pieces of bound paper. Sure you can touch it, but it doesn’t speak to you as if you were really there and nor can you see images that actually put you there. As a ‘society’ we yearn for communal experience because as ‘humans’ we yearn for it. Only thing is, as a society we don’t often provide adequate opportunity for communal experiences to be lived out.

    Kerry, I agree with your opinion that this film is exploiting, but I can’t go so far as to say that we are pre-occupied with communal experience. Pre-occupation has an element of non-adaptivity that suggests seeking for communal experience is not advantageous to us as people. We need such connection to function, but our society often fails to provide this to communities and that is what’s being exploited and perpetuated.

    Do I want to see the movie? I would rather spend my time learning about how we can develop a more understanding, less hate motivated international community than dwelling on the impulsive reactions of people forced into a situation by our lack of community in the first place.

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