paris tx

There are few scenes in the history of film that hit me harder than the Super 8 sequence in Paris, Texas.

Rarely do films like this get made. Especially now. Not without a dose of heavy handed social commentary and violence.

That’s not the case with Paris, Texas. It’s subject is simple: one man’s inability to face his problems. All of this juxtaposed against the vast American landscape that’s both empty and crowded…dead and alive. Wim Wenders’ vision of America is embodied by the character Travis, played by the enigmatic Harry Dean Stanton.

The first time I watched this, it was almost like a religious experience. I was 10 or 11 years old and stayed up late while watching cable to see some tities. Fortunately, nothing was on Cinemax so I switched over to HBO. Paris, Texas was playing.

I don’t know why I kept watching it (probably because you see some Aurore Clement side boob), but next thing I know, I was fully engrossed in the story. It was the first movie where, when it ended, I didn’t know what hit me.

It was probably at that moment when it occurred to me: THIS is why people love movies.

Some people hate Paris, Texas. Some say it’s too slow. Some don’t like Travis because he abandoned his family.

I personally like movies that take their time. And if you don’t like Travis’ decisions, it’s not like the movie presents him as mensch.

In fact, Travis…along with his wife Jane…are presented as two VERY troubled people. From the perspective of Travis, he had to leave at the end because he was utterly broken. I would go as far as to say that Travis’ entire existence consists of (unintentionally) ruining people’s lives.

This film is not only about Travis trying to reunite his wife and child (Hunter), but it’s also about ruining the lives of his brother Walt and his wife Anne who took custody of Hunter during his disappearance.

Another heartbreaking scene is when Anne fails to convince Travis and Hunter to return home, and she goes to lie down in Hunter’s bed. Even though Hunter wasn’t her actual son, she was still attached to him. And that’s the last scene Anne is in, never to be mentioned again.

But Wenders’ direction mixes realism with a childlike perspective (which resembles Travis’ emotional state) quite well. So, I think, that permits me to have a pessimistic interpretation of the ending: there was no way that Jane would maintain custody of Hunter, and Hunter would return to Walt and Anne with a better sense of his “real” family, which would likely cause further damage to everyone involved. Meanwhile, Travis, once again, ran away from it all.

Is my interpretation correct? I dunno. But that’s how art works.

So do yourself a favor: stay up late one night and watch Paris, Texas.

2051: a space monstrosity

To avoid alienating my audience with discussions on politics that are completely boring and academic, I’ve decided to make a return to fiction.

Once again, I will challenge myself by writing in a genre that I’ve never done before. This time HARD science fiction (if you know what I mean 😉) a la Arthur C. Clarke, albeit in first person because that’s the only way I know how to write.

And instead of descending into pure action schlock, as my stories tend to do, I will try to end this one on a hopeful note.

Per usual, I will be winging it and make no guarantees that it will be good.

“Fuck space!” I said to my executive officer while we were docking at Space Station Tranquility Bay orbiting earth. “This will be my last mission, so help me GOD!”

“You said that 5 missions ago, Bill,” the XO replied. “Personally, I love it out here. It truly is a never ending frontier.”

“Speak for yourself, Jackass!”

Dr. Sergei Jackass and I served together for 15 years. I was a military man. He was trained astrophysicist from some dump of a university in east Europe. We came from two different worlds, but together we made one hell of a team.

After our ship, the USV Jim Varney, completed docking maneuvers, Dr. Jackass and I were ordered to meet with Admiral Stockdale for debriefing.

“Captain Kananga, I trust that your mission was a success,” the Admiral said.

“Yes sir,” I replied, “the two years studying the black hole around Uranus was money well spent.”

“We gathered all the sufficient data sir,” Dr. Jackass interjected.

“Good. You men will have a fortnight’s rest and then report USV Carl Sagan for your next mission.”

“Wait a minute, sir,” I said, “with all due respect, there’s a reason why the Sagan is called the Starship of the Imagination: because your imagination is the only thing that works on that piece of shit. If you want to send me into deep space in that thing, then you can have my resignation.”

“Captain Kananga, I understand that you want to be on the front lines in the war in North Africa, but this is important. We need you out here.”

“What can be more important than fighting for peace and democracy?”

“Because this information is classified, I was going to wait until you reported to the Sagan. But I will tell you now. We have received a strange transmission from a planet orbiting Tau Ceti.”

“Admiral,” I said, “I’ve been on one end of the Solar System to the other, and let me tell ya: there ain’t no aliens.”

“Space Fleet Command disagrees. STRONGLY,” the Admiral replied, “take a look at this report.”

The Admiral handed me a folder filled with charts and graphs I didn’t understand. “You know I can’t read this shit,” I said, “I’m a soldier, not a mathematician.”

Dr. Jackass took the paperwork and was stunned. “My god,” he said, “Captain, this is for real this time.”

I paused and rubbed my face. “Tau Ceti is over four light years away,” I said, “there’s no way the Sagan could make that kind of journey.”

“The Sagan has been updated and outfitted with all the necessary technology for interstellar travel,” the Admiral added. “We need you Captain. Damn it Bill. We need you. BADLY.”

The Admiral extended his hand.

“Okay Admiral,” I said as I shook his hand, “one more mission.”

***

I celebrated my birthday while on leave. I was somberly drinking myself into oblivion when Dr. Jackass stopped by my London flat.

“Doctor, I don’t want to be lectured,” I said.

“All I said was ‘happy birthday.’”

“With all the heavy interstellar objects that we’ve spent so much time around, we’ve aged so much slower than people on Earth. I’m the same age as my son now! Nobody told me that was gonna happen!”

“Is this about not being able to fight in the war?”

I took another drink. “I don’t know doc,” I said. “I feel like I’ve let so much time on Earth pass. This planet’s gone to shit and I’ve been wasting time flying around space doing nothing about it. The resources dedicated to Space Fleet could have been redirected to fight this war. I feel useless. Old.”

The doctor poured himself a glass of Irish Whiskey. “Captain, I know we haven’t always seen eye to eye,” he said, “but the exploration of space is Earth’s destiny. War is a machine of humanity’s past. It’s time to put childish things away and build a future.”

“Dr. Jackass, you’re an idealist. I’m a realist. We don’t live in the future. We live in the present. And presently I’m drunk as shit, depressed, and want to kill people.”

“You’re too short sighted.”

“No, I see the universe for what it is: a vast empty wasteland, void of any meaning or God. And if there is a God, he has to answer for creating this shitty planet. I swear.”

“I think you need to sober up.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

mr. bright side

As we settle into the Cold War II and the ever present threat of nuclear war, it’s time to look at the silver lining: we might get better movies.

One thing I miss from the first Cold War is character study films of the 1970s. They should make more movies that look into the depraved lives of ordinary people in an uncritical manner. I’m sure they still make em but they’re probably shit.

Jack Nicholson was the king of these movies back in the day. Perhaps the best example being Five Easy Pieces.

I’ve decided to get back to my roots and start building up my Criterion Collection. So I recently purchased Five Easy Pieces along with Paris, Texas (The only time I saw Paris, Texas when I stayed up late and watched HBO when I was 10 years old. It blew me the fuck away. I had a weird childhood).

When you have a toddler running around that gets PISSED if you watch anything other than Blippi, it’s hard to find time to watch these movies. But I got far enough into Five Easy Pieces to watch one of my favorite scenes in film history: Sally Strothers’ random heartbreaking monologue on being forsaken by God.

The essay pamphlet that accompanies the Five Easy Pieces blu ray is pretty good. Apparently this early 70s state of being, where everyone’s fucked-upness was a given…and people talked while others listened…is an existence that’s no longer.

So it’s refreshing to look back at a time that was no less deranged, but far less judgmental.

“bitcher”: where free speach is MANDATORY

All the political ideologues claim they want to protect free speech. Well now’s the time to put their money where their mouth is.

Twitter’s a dumpster fire.

So allow me to introduce you to new kind of free speech platform: Bitcher.

Clearly I haven’t worked out all the kinks yet. Nor have I set up a website. Any Big Tech billionaire can take (or steal, if you prefer) this idea.

But here’s the general concept:

-For every Bitch (equivalent to a “Tweet”), there is NO character MAXIMUM. Only a character MINIMUM (which would greatly exceed the character maximum on Twitter). The idea being that participants MUST present a well reasoned Bitch. If any poster tries to cheat the system by circumventing the character minimum (i.e by stringing together random words and letters, or by typing something like “penis penis penis,” etc) then that Bitch will be flagged and removed and the poster will be suspended for a brief period.

-Each Bitch must have at least ONE hyperlink to an external source that is relevant to its subject. To submit a reply, the poster MUST click on the link. Replies don’t have to provide links, but must meet the character minimum.

-If a reply also presents an external link that’s relevant to the subject, the OP MUST respond within a given timeframe (ex: 48 hours). If there are an excessive amount of replies that fit this criteria, a minimum amount of replies from the OP will be set (ex: 5). Failure from the OP to reply will result in a temporary suspension.

-Name calling and obscene language ARE permitted. (Terroristic threatening and harassment are not)

-It will be highly encouraged on the platform to belittle and name call any politico on Twitter that has yet to join Bitcher (within the bounds of reason, of course). If they are interested in free speech, then they should have the courage to join Bitcher.

-It is my belief that the format of Twitter encourages snark, sarcasm, dunking, and just general stupidity with its character limitations. By setting a high character MINIMUM, hopefully this will minimize the effectiveness of those acts by FORCING the participant to engage thoroughly.

So you want free speech? Here’s your chance:

Bitcher: Where Free Speech is MANDATORY

world war (part iii)

Sry 😞

You can blame Putin for my absence. I’ve been distracted by Twitterverse’s brain rot due to America not being (directly) implicated in an international crisis.

I mean, what’s the world coming to? I thought America was supposed to be responsible for ALL the global fuck ups.

Smh

Anyway, recent events have reminded me that you should never trust someone that gets paid to express political opinions. Spoiler Alert: they’re full of shit and need to be ostracized from civil society.

So anyways, WWIII could happen. Check back with you later.

😘

pennies for the dead 💀 (part v)

“I don’t know Sheila,” I said, “you’ve faked demonic possessions before.”

“Try me, asswipe!” she replied. Then I pumped a few bullets into her chest.

Nothin

“Alright, so I guess you’re Jezebel,” I said. “Where’s Pete?”

“His soul resides in HELL for all eternity!!!!”

“Good, he’s a Boston sports fan,” I said, “he needs to know how that feels.”

“You will join him soon enough!”

“Sorry sister, I already live in Ohio.”

I pulled the trigger again but I already emptied the revolver. I threw the gun at her and started running down the hallway while screaming for my life.

I hid in the closet under the staircase. Of course, it didn’t take long for her to find me. Using her demonic powers, Jezebel began to eat my soul. I started praying. “God, I regret everything,” I said.

Then God responded. Thunderbolts began raining down on Jezebel from some unseen force and she retreated into the shadows. I was still alive.

I crawled out from the closet. In front of me stood a wizard-like figure dressed in white robes and holding a staff.

“Thank you Jesus,” I said.

“I’m not Jesus,” the figure replied. “I’m Joe Morris.”

I stood up. “Joe Morris? Shouldn’t you be 120 years old?”

“119 to be precise.”

Then Pete ran down the hallway. “Ty! I’m still alive!” he said.

“I thought you went to hell,” I replied.

“I did. It ain’t such a bad place. I got to meet Dave Cowens.”

“He’s still alive dumbass.”

“Are you sure? By the way, did you piss your pants?”

“I did. It’s a side effect of my elavil prescription. Where did Jezebel go?”

“She went back to hell to lick her wounds,” Joe Morris said. “We must go to the cellar, return to hell, and make sure she never returns.”

“Fuck that,” I said. “This ain’t my problem. I’ll just collect the money from Dorthy and be on my merry way.”

Right then, a possessed Dorthy flew down from the ceiling and attacked me. While I fought her off, Joe Morris released more thunderbolts from his staff. Finally, she flew off of me and began writhing on the ground before whatever cursed spirit that possessed her left her body. Dorthy was dead.

“Mother!” Pete screamed.

“She hasn’t been your mother for a long time,” Joe said.

I took a moment to gather myself.

“Alright,” I said, “I need to change my pants before we go to the cellar,”

TO BE CONTINUED…

a quiet life (part iii)

Look, you guys have been clamoring for this.

I don’t want this story to continue. YOU do.

Therefore I am holding you personally responsible for everything I write henceforth.

***

“You can’t use racial slurs in conference calls!” the Human Resource officer told me.

“Susan, stop,” I said, “you know how much you turn me on when you’re angry.”

“I’m afraid that you will be suspended without pay until the Board decides what to do with you,” she responded.

“I’m not racist!” I declared. “I was simply stating what the Papa John’s guy said in HIS racist phone call!”

“You are hereby suspended. Please vacate the premise.”

“Bitch,” I said as I stood up.

I was so upset that I got drunk and drove to a cockfight. As I was placing a bet, my friend Don noticed something was wrong.

“What’s on your mind Bill?” Don asked as we were sharing a crack pipe.

“I don’t know anymore Don,” I said. “I feel like I’m stalling. All I’m doing is filling my time with sex, drugs, and absurd behavior. It’s gotten me nowhere. I don’t ask for much. All I really want is a quiet life. Sounds simple enough but I can’t seem to get out of my own way. I’m lost and the walls are crumbling all around me. Is it possible Don? Is it possible that I am the problem?”

Don took a hit off the pipe and thought for a moment.

“Nah,” he finally said.

“You’re probably right.”

Then we picked up some hookers off skid row.

lamentations

Think hard enough and you’d realize that life is pretty stupid.

Sure it’s easy to marvel at the miracle of consciousness, but when you consider the immensity of the universe, there’s nothing miraculous about it.

Your suffering is pointless.

The universe is the totality of all there is, all there can be. All possibilities are both infinite and determined.

God has abandoned you.

All is vanity, all is darkness. Consider Voltaire: we live in the worst of all possible worlds.

In this world void of hope, there is one beacon of light:

Arby’s: Put Some Meaning in Your Life