The zoo I went to today was pathetic. Basically there was a highway running right alongside the animal enclosures, and the actual space that these animals had to themselves was miniscule. It was a sad scene. But what was more entertaining than the poor caged animals? A group of students drawing the animals, of course!! Passersby seemed much more interested in what we were drawing than anything else. There are huge frickin' elephants, from a different continent, standing right over there, and you're looking at my drawings of them? It didn't really bother me as much as it just amused me. Here are some of the more dumb, obvious or just plain silly things I overheard…
Numerous mothers to kids and vice versa (African Elephants approx 100 ft away): “Look at the artists.”
Mother to 3yr-old daughter: “What does an elephant do?”
Older sister to younger sister: “Look at those poops… Do you want poops like that?”
Child to mother: “Why are these people drawing?”
'Intelligent' Mother to child : “He's (elephant) eating sticks, that ain't good.”
Young girl to a fellow drawing student: “Elephants are, like, so easy to draw.” When given a pencil, she proceeded to draw a bubbly looking elephant. “There, easy.”
Little girl to elephants: “Here kitty, kitty, kitty…”
Luke Skywalker is an annoying, whiny farm boy. He never shuts up, he's always bitching about something new, and he's always causing trouble. He hardly grows up in the later movies either. He whines to Yoda, cries when he loses his hand, jumps off a ledge when he finds out his father is an evil Sith lord, and he can't even stand up to the Emperor. OK, so maybe some of that is justified, but overall he never quite solves his own problems, and he really isn't the hero that he's made out to be. Now that I think about, none of the main characters in the original trilogy ever solve their own problems or ever make the right decisions. The only way they survive is by pure, dumb luck. Now those Jedis in Episode I really take charge. They know what they have to do and they do it (for the most part). Unfortunately, most everything else in Episode I was horribly conceived. Does George Lucas realize how many kids' dreams he crushed when he wrote that the force comes from some microscopic creatures in your blood? Damn, now I can never be a Jedi.
Instead of acting out imagined adventures with a stick-sword, as I did growing up, I have taken to learning actual sword combat. Learning from an incredibly skilled teacher, I have gained some skills in sword sparring, and I've learned many Celtic/Norse sword forms. On top of that, I've had a year of stage combat training, and a year and a half of fencing. I am fascinated by this stuff. Will I ever find myself in a situation where I'll need to draw a sword and fight a duel? Probably not. So why bother dedicating a part of myself to something like this, which is (in all practicality) useless? Good question. I'll let you know once I figure out why people rock climb, mountain-bike, ski, surf, compose music, paint, write, run, skate, read, act, argue, bungee-jump…
Why am I constantly searching for an escape, or a way to reinvent my reality? What is it about science fiction and fantasy worlds, or superheros and altrered realities? My entire life has consisted of pretending. When I was young, I would spend afternoons after school in the woods with my buddies, wielding sticks as swords, or squirt guns as lasers and we'd create the most incredible adventures for ourselves. I would watch action movies and recreate the adventures through elaborate set-ups of my toys all over the house. In a way, I was the typical boy growing up, but I never really grew out of it. I discovered books, more movies, and computer/video games where I could imagine more worlds and participate in more adventures. This part of me has still not given up. I watch a ton of movies and I continue to imagine. In fact, my ways of escaping this world have almost increased since I was younger.
A short thought from a class today: In discussing the style of German expressionism in film, a question came up. What is a more “real” representation of reality? When movies have extremely detailed sets and realistic props and characters, is that an acceptable representation? The German expressionist directors created a world where the film sets were abstracted, convoluted, and much more artistic. The sets often reflected the emotions of the characters, whether it was paranoia, claustrophobia, loneliness, excitement, or fear. Perhaps this style works better at representing what our world really is. Is our reality made up of a bunch of rigid characters and complex set pieces, or the interactions and emotions the characters are struggling with?