Friday, April 01, 2005

Slay Your Inner Demons with a Pair of Nunchucks

Four cups of coffee and two doughnuts later, I am very sorry indeed. Let's just say I can barely control my fingers enough to type, and I don't think I will ever sleep again.

I just bought season one of HBO's Carnivale. I'm sure I'm a bit late catching that train, but I am absolutely loving this show. It's like Twin Peaks with a slightly more discernable plotline. Maybe I'm reading a bit too much into this, but I'm totally mesmerized by the opening credits. Tarot cards emblazoned with religious images mutate into camera footage and photographs of the depression era. I can't help but notice that the Tower morphs into the White House. If I correctly recall the Tower's meaning from my brief stint as a phone psychic (yeah, it is a sham, more on that later), it represents a series of cataclysmic events. This, of course, echoes the events of that era and the events depicted in the show. I also find it somewhat amusing that Franklin Roosevelt turns into the Judgement card which is fitted between the Sun and Moon cards. You gotta love the layers.

I'm totally obsessed with movies and various other media saturated with the theme of good vs. evil. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Wars, and books like the Harry Potter series all fall into this category for me. I think the whole good vs. evil thing is a fantastic metaphor for humanity's inner struggle. After all, life is made of choices, both good and bad, and we're always battling with ourselves to do right or wrong. Naturally, the choices we're presented with are never so cut and dry. Life deals us some pretty convoluted situations.

My father is entranced by the concept of moral ambiguity. He thinks that life itself is so confusing that this theme is the most realistic and therefore artistic (think Sideways). I like to go a step further. Yes, life is confusing, but you have to make a choice based on all that ambiguous information. We may never know the ultimate result of our choices. We may not even understand which choice we made, but we make a thousand seemingly insignificant decisions every day.

Which brings me back to good vs. evil. As far as people go, no one is purely good, and no one is purely bad. Thus, the everday battle consists of people trying to be mostly good or mostly bad. As someone said, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," and a lot of us try pretty darn hard to be good. The ultimate battle is you vs. yourself: to be naughty or not to be naughty (this is the part where you cringe because I mercilessly ripped Hamlet to further prove a point I've already beaten you over the head with). My point is, our own inner conflict is the ultimate battle.

Monsters and mythical creatures like vampires, werewolves, banshees, and fairies all represent some dark thing about ourselves that we battle against. Lust, violence, and grief are all instinctive emotions that we feel we must suppress. These feelings can be fictionally depicted as beings with their own volition. Heroes can fight them in hand-to-hand, kung fu action scenes with big-ass swords and pointy, wooden stakes. How freaking rad is that?

I think that coffee made me a little too excited.


Morally Ambiguous said...

Is this another way of phrasing the Greek idea that the spirit is good and the material is bad?

girlspit said...

No, not really. That's a bunch of crap, in my humble opinion.

Dad said...

So riddle me this:

"America turns its mass-produded
Urine antennae toward
Caesar's arrogant ganglion, while
History is advocated by utopians as
A substitute for defecating."

Reportedly from a poem, title unknown by an architect named Daniel Libeskind.

girlspit said...

Ok, so this makes my brain hurt. I don't know if it's an insightful comment on our society's relationship with the mass media or a "deep" thought the writer had while tripping on acid. Or he could mean we piss on the past, and optimists say that's ok because the past is a bunch of crap anyway. Maybe. Like I said, it makes my brain hurt.

Dad said...

I showed it to Sarah, my assistant, and told her that I had read e.e.cummings and Dylan Thomas and managed to figure out what they were saying, but his guy is totally impenetrable so far as I can tell. It made my brain hurt, too.

Dodge said...

good post, I love Carnivale and anything related to the battle internally or externally of good vs. evil.

girlspit said...

I'm with you, Dad. If I can get The Wasteland I figure I should be able to get most anything. This guy should stick to architecture. Poetry, or any writing for that matter, does little good if your audience can't understand it. Writing is about communication. If you fail to communicate, what's the point?

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