Into the Wild bummed everyone out at Art Factory’s Cinema Under the Stars this past Wednesday. I’ve been emotional lately; it teared me up as well.
Not, probably, for the same reasons it did everyone else: The glassy-eyed, smiling death at the end of the movie.
No, I cried because Chris was mostly right. About modern life, about what it means to be free. If he hadn’t been right, he would not have inspired the people he met, would not have been loved. Would not have been envied. But he was. And I know the feeling. More than one blog reader has confessed to me that he fantasized about being homeless like me.
Whoa, that’s some imagination, huh?
Chris was also wrong, I think. Permanent disengagement is not any sort of final answer, although it might alleviate some pain, the very real pain of re-engagement with bricks and mortar, dogma and mammon. Every once in awhile, anyway. It has been a kind of relief for me.
But the most painful part of this movie is being forced to concede the common brutality of being human. [The scene where Chris wanders around LA, tries to stay at a homeless shelter, gets the shit kicked out of him by a railroad cop. You believe, in those moments, that’s all the truth there is to find in a city like that.] Are there any other species who allow their members to be homeless and destitute and abandoned and so violated? Not even lone wolves have it so bad.
A running theme in my head this month. What’s so frakin’ special about humanity? The price paid for Dahlgren; The Mars Trilogy; Car Wheels On A Gravel Road; Distant Voices, Still Lives; Hairspray; Our Lady of the Flowers; Entertainment!’ Alfred Kinsey; Hazel Dickens; New York City; Prague; The Internet; et al. is Darfour, Tibet, Tuskegee, Aushwitz, Gaza?
Is there some balance in this? A question I ask myself all the time. Knee deep in it.