topicality-go-lucky

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here, and although I did make it part of my mission to only write when I feel I have something to say, the odd part here is that I’ve actually had things to say. I have something like three entries started, one about the hipster fetish over mustaches, one about the impact of the word “nigger” (yeah, even writing it is tough), and one about the Sean Avery controversy a while back and the place of women – and particularly the body, both male and female – in men’s sports. But for some reason I’ve been unable to bring myself to actually complete these thoughts to the point where they remain important to my current state of mind. Even this Amtrak train of thought, this one right now, is beginning to lose steam for me, coming to a slow, creaking halt somewhere in the flatlands of Kansas… or maybe Missouri.

I guess with our constant stream of information, ranging from CNN.com to the status update on Facebook, the need to stay current has microscoped from the weekly to the daily to the minute. I’ve been constantly feeling behind the 8-ball, as if the thoughts I’m thinking at 5:16pm not only aren’t relevant by 5:17pm, but were already thought, articulated, and expressed by someone with much faster processing at 5:15pm. How do you stay current in an era when now is so last minute?

I guess certain philosophies are perennial, so no matter when you think them, they are fundamentally so universal that they speak to virtually any moment in the history of time. But those ideas are so few and far between that I constantly feel like I’m chasing after myself if I’m neither a) thinking of a larger point about the human condition (or, failing that, the role Google plays in our daily lives), nor b) capturing the zeitgeist before the zeit even has the time to come up with a geist.

Yeah, I’m being too hard on myself. But I find it interesting that I even have the resources to be this type of hard on myself. Information is not a limitless commodity, and in this day and age, when the supply can’t quite keep up with the (manufactured) demand, when an exponentially multiplying litter of information salesmen are trying to peddle the same amount of stock, it’s hard not to get down on yourself for not yet building a better internet mousetrap.

So, to save myself from these doldrums, I will now spout what is ultimately a completely useless opinion that I have yet to really see anywhere else. You ready for it? Your brain salivating yet? Okay, here it comes:

Angelina Fucking Jolie is up for best actress for Changeling?! Are you serious? Her performance is everything I hate about the Oscars: it’s a Performance with a capital P. It goes from smiling to crying to shouting to yearning; but, to use the semiotic terms, it’s a bunch of signifiers without the signified. It’s all the tropes of a great performance without the actual heart or core of an actual great performance. What further chaps my hide is that there are more than a few other great performances out there that were totally overlooked by the Hollywood elite in lieu of this critical darling – how about Sally Hawkins from Happy-Go-Lucky for starters? Is it because it’s a comic performance in what is ostensibly a plotless movie that she was so sorely overlooked? Her rendition of Poppy is a total delight that has all the depth and complexity of a normal human being, and further than that, a normal human woman. But because Poppy’s outlook is a decidedly brighter one than most of her fictional sisters this year, because she chooses to meet her challenges with rose-colored glasses, it might seem to the passive viewer that she is simpler, less challenged. On the contrary, it takes great depth and perception to play a character so happy with life despite all the dangers and horrors which we are constantly surrounded by, reported to, updated with. It’s because of that challenge that I am deeply disappointed that someone as hackneyed as Angelina could possibly receive a higher recognition than Ms. Hawkins. The Academy voters (of whom my boss is one – but I have no influence here) need to look past the screaming tears for once and allow best female actresses to be something more than the hooker/neglected housewife/Nazi deathcamp guard (okay, that’s a new one) and actually allow them to be, well, happy-go-lucky.

And that’s my topical rant. There. I feel much better now. And now, in my current afterglow, I’m slowly considering that the reason I like Poppy so much is because she supercedes (but doesn’t ignore) the world around her – all the noise, pressures, streams of information – and chooses to be cheerful. Maybe I could take a cue from her. I think I will.

sallyhawkins

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Published in: on January 24, 2009 at 1:57 am  Comments (1)