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- I have vexation with representation.



- A lot of folks (especially activists) mistake agreedom for freedom.  "Agreed is good."



- There should be an apparatchik app. An App app. From Apple. Apple's App app.






- David Lynch's stuff is like Magritte's This Is Not a Pipe and questions face values, or it says "This is a pipe. Get over yourself."



- Forgiving the dorky hairdos, ham-acted villains and purple-tinted EVERYwhere, Miami Vice wasn't a bad show.



- The State of the Union Address is always better on mute. This approach doesn't work when it's on the radio.



- Sometimes I'm in a Hokusai state of mind. Other times I'm in a Snakes on a Plane state of mind.



- Shakespeare's Falstaff dared to be Derridean four centuries early: "What is honor?  A word...Air."



- It is said that jazz great Charlie Parker's pals hit a chicken with a car once, and Bird got out, scooped the hurt thing in his arms, took care of it all the way back to where they all were staying - and cooked that son-of-a-bitch for dinner.



- Anyone with half a hare's brain can make a thematic and motivic connection between Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko and Henry Koster's Harvey.  But I insist on dragging in Frank Capra's absolutely perfect It's a Wonderful Life.  Not only does it star James Stewart, who also played the lead role in Harvey, but it deals with the worthiness of one man's existence and the impression on temporal events that each one of us makes.  Though Harvey is closer to Darko, both Harvey and Wonderful nod metaphysically against the darker brother, so to speak.


In Darko, Donnie is lured (in a somnambulant trance) to an outdoor meeting with "Frank," a being from the future dressed in a grotesque (demonic) rabbit costume.  He tells Donnie that the world will end in 28 days and that they both can do anything they want, including manipulating time.  Due to this meeting, Donnie's life is spared because a detached jet engine falls onto his house and obliterates his bedroom while he's away.  After a lot of plah-plah-plot and the unfortunate deaths of his girlfriend and a Halloweening guy in a rabbit suit (Frank), Donnie comes to the conclusion that everything would be alright if he would have died in the engine crash.  He uses a wormhole to travel 28 days into the past and makes sure to be in bed when the jet engine crashes into his bedroom.  Problem solved (in that tangential universe, at least).


In Harvey, James Stewart plays a seemingly mentally unbalanced, nice-as-can-be fellow (up there with Dostyoevsky's Idiot or Forrest Gump) named Elwood who chooses to be pleasant rather than smart due to his mother's advice.  Elwood is best pals with an invisible 6-foot-tall rabbit (or "pooka") named Harvey who has power over time and space (and, indeed, the power of time travel).  While Donnie Darko is smart but unpleasant and self-loathing, Elwood is likable and likes himself.  Unlike Frank, Harvey inspires edification and social grace in his human counterpart.  Donnie is driven to vandalism and rather odious behavior to achieve Frank's roundabout goal.


Enter It's a Wonderful Life, the epic chronicle of everyman George Bailey, who believes that his life has veered drastically from his original exotic plan and comes to the point of suicide once misplaced money from his savings and loan company renders him jail-worthy.  Just as he concludes that he's worth more to his family dead than alive and is about to leap from a bridge into an icy river, his guardian angel, the seemingly simple (Elwood-like) Clarence (another odd companion who can only be seen by a protagonist), beats him to the deadly water and prompts George to dive in to save his life.  With St. Joseph's aid, Clarence creates an alternate reality in which George has never been born so that George can see what the world would be like without him.  This gift leads George to realize that his existence has been a direct and indirect blessing to many people.  Back on the bridge where he'd decided to commit suicide earlier, George prays, "I want to live again.  I want to live again.  Please, God.  Let me live again."


George Bailey is the metaphysical opposite (the light shadow) of Donnie Darko.  Now, Donnie's vandalism leads to exposure of a dangerous child-porn scumbag, but the core of the film seems to be Donnie's inevitable choice of death rather than life.  I felt no uplift, sensed no heroism at the film's end.  I can imagine his prayer:  "I want to die.  I want to die.  Please, God, let me die."  And Donnie committed suicide with flying colors: essentially hurling a jet engine at himself.







My 2010 book, Abyssinia, Jill Rush, is still available.










David Herrle  2/2012











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