Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lone Star

Downtown Eagle Pass
It's funny, I was watching this excellent John Sayles movie and wondering what town this was filmed in and then I looked up and saw the music store where I bought a harmonica, across the street from my bank. I walked on this exact sidewalk when I went to Mexico...which is two blocks over their shoulders.

The movie calls the town "Frontera"* but there's no such town. And they reference "Presidio" which is a town nowhere near Eagle Pass...on the other side of the big bend.

If you watch Lone Star it's pretty much exactly where I live. Surprisingly, this movie had a profound impact on me even though I had never lived here before I watched it as part of my Film Appreciation 101 class at Canada College in California. Sayles wrote, directed and edited it, which is very rare among professionals. Editors usually take over so the director can move on to other projects...but Sayles had a precise goal with this movie which is to overlap past and present as the 40 year old murder mystery is unraveled...and he figured out a way to seamlessly edit present and past locations/scenes without special highlight the deep history that impregnates a land, ghosts mingling with the living. Now that I live here it's like he actually filmed a parody of the real lifestyle and characters. It's too realistic. But since almost no one lives here Sayles knew his broader audience would be illuminated and entertained. To Texans of the border this movie sort of makes fun of them. I went to the liquor store recently and overheard a woman say, "All I done t'day is git old." and her humble expression and dignified resignation will be found nowhere in the world but this area of Texas.

Other filming locations are Laredo and Del Rio and I've been to all of those. It's less magical now, but still a good movie. The odd thing is that they are actually walking toward the old courthouse. Sayles was almost filming in real time. They are one block from the place where Buddy Deeds' memorial plaque is (It doesn't exist in the real world) and the next scene is them giving the speech in front of the plaque. Normally locations aren't even close to each other but cinema magic makes it seem like they are. In this case, it is.

*Chris Cooper has just finished his speech where he says, "They ought to put up a banner, 'Frontera, Texas: Gateway To Inexpensive Pussy'"

On a Lighter Note

I wonder how kids are going to learn not to bully each other in grade school when their government bombs village weddings using un-maned drone attack planes, then lies about it, then covers up the truth, and then prosecutes the person who revealed the truth...and sends the whole bill to the taxpayers of the United States, who didn't authorize any of it. I really wonder sometimes. What is a kid supposed to think about all that? How could I expect to be trusted? Most 10 year old kids don't know the word "Hypocrite" but I think they understand the basic concept of double standards...that contradict the fundamental message...and force you to rearrange truth and reality with propaganda and evil.

If I had a twelve year old kid I would interview him and ask him how he makes sense of a nonsensical situation. And the sad part is that I'd be watching a human being adapt to insanity.

I'm trying to make sense of it myself and am having a hard time. My government assassinates foreign kids...lies about it...takes oil from invaded nations for use in Nascar races...villainizes the NSA employees who try to tell the truth, then launches an Anti-Bullying campaign for grade schoolers...because picking on fat kids and calling them names is BAD.  

Confused face emoticon (Confused emoticons)

Is that really happening?
I have no good explanation. Something has gone horribly wrong.
The next thing you know Hooters will refuse to serve a mayor accused of objectifying women.
Kids, don't trust anyone older than 16.
We've all lost our minds.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

"Therapists use cognitive behavior therapy techniques to help individuals challenge their patterns and beliefs and replace "errors in thinking such as overgeneralizing, magnifying negatives, minimizing positives and catastrophizing" with "more realistic and effective thoughts, thus decreasing emotional distress and self-defeating behavior"

The element of this passage that stand out is "catastrophizing". I don't know if I overgeneralize much...I'm acutely aware that I can do this to defend my pitiful ideals. I do magnify negatives, but I wonder if it's justified when those negatives include the decimation of all natural forms of life to be replaced by Apple Corporation robots....yes? Same goes for turning things into a catastrophe.

I've definitely met a few people who were classic examples of this trait. I rented a room to a dying artist in Los Angeles. He had AIDS, all his friends and lovers had died. Judging by the porn he left behind, I guess he was gay once. He had lost his job, all his savings...his health...he had a dog and some old model train sets. I actually wrote a full length stage play with him as a character. He had stories to tell that made himself out to be the victim of the most insane catastrophes ever. And I was indifferent mostly to his past; he had a piano and was interesting and pathetic so I rented him the room. What followed could fill a book of crazy tales that I don't want to deal with right now. Suffice to say it did not work out and I'm certain he's dead now. The highlight was his crashing a full size moving truck into the house.

Anyway, I'm sure he felt that his life was, in fact, a catastrophe. But the way the stories were told made him to be the victim...and I think that's the symptom therapists look for. It is true that getting a fatal disease IS a catastrophe. Who can argue with that? But the victimization syndrome is a separate issue and this guy took it to an extreme.
I remember laughing because everyone kept saying, "Oggy, why did you rent a room to a dying, hysterical, unemployed gay artist?"
My answer was defensive, "Right, so it's MY fault he shit in his pants and threw the pants into the corner of his room to rot. I'm responsible for that."

I think my point was that I don't take any responsibility for his action. None. He was fucked up, not me. I made a bad decision based on what followed but I did not personally drive his moving truck into the side of the house or hang 200 pounds of cooking pots over the sink on a rack that eventually broke in half and fell onto the faucet, breaking it off and flooding the kitchen. He did that. He glued a bookshelf to the wall. He put Christmas decorations all over the front fence and then lit them on fire. I'm not going to victimize myself and you aren't going to hold me responsible for him being fucked up.

Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.