~ kusala
[ ku-sa-la: Pali term meaning wholesome, skillful, good, meritorious. ]
[ Action characterized by this quality (kusala-kamma) is bound to result (eventually) in happiness and a favorable outcome. ]


2006-05-03 - 12:19 p.m.

Daily Life is Harrowing Enough, Thank You

As interesting a cultural and "arts" phenomenon as it probably is, I don't think I'll ever be seeing United 93. It also seems to be a critical success, even among the most cynical reviewers (see link above). It has apparently overcome many of the potential pitfalls and skepticism about making a good, unmythologized account of things (even though I hope everyone realizes that it's still just a dramatization of what people think may have happened based on some cell phone calls and the flight voice recorder).

I think the truth about why I don't want to see this (other than that I hate Amurrica) is that I don't ever want to see any hyper-realistic, almost real-time dramatization of any fatal plane crash. I spent a few years experiencing total anxiety -- born of overempathizing -- every time I traveled on an airliner. I have finally, somewhat recently, gotten to the point where I just experience the flight, sometimes even enjoying the vistas, without the fear. However, if I let my mind and imagination wander too far into that place that conjures all the "what ifs," I would certainly become pretty damn basketcase all over gain.

A couple of things did grab me, though, from a recent Los Angeles Times news story (May 1, 2006) on the film:

Filmgoers like Dana Sharpe, who went to a Saturday matinee in Houston, came looking for answers.

"Look how we live now it's so different because of what happened that day," said Sharpe, 36, who works in marketing. "I wanted to know what happened that day when everything changed."

How we live now is so different? I know this is just a quote from one woman, but the writer did choose to include it in the story. I feel compelled to ask, "Is it really so different, the way 'we' live 'now'?"

Other than maybe instilling a nagging fear that "this may happen again," I don't see that our intrinsic "lifestyles," on the whole, have changed very much. Are we really more introspective, spiritual, empathic, or interested, perhaps, in foreign policy than we were on September 10, 2001? But maybe that's not what Ms. Sharpe meant by "different."

Also, this segment:

Many churchgoers were drawn to the film by the tale of Todd Beamer, the passenger who was credited with the rallying cry "Let's roll," said Karen Covell, founding director of the nonprofit Hollywood Prayer Network.

The story of Beamer praying with a GTE operator and quoting the 23rd Psalm before the uprising has been told and retold. His widow, Lisa Beamer, wrote a book about the heroes of the downed flight and has become a popular speaker at churches.

"He became a hero to the Christian community in America to all people of faith," Covell said. "He and the others gave up their lives but stood up for their beliefs."

Excuse me, but whatthefuck???! A hero to the Christian community?

The thing that sprang immediately to mind when I read that was wondering what the "Christian community's" thoughts are on Todd Bingham, "the gay hero" of Flight 93 (and The Advocate's Person of the Year that year). [NB: I have my own issues with the reification of Bingham and the gays' claiming of him as their representative hero, but that's another issue.]

So we have at least one Christian Hero and one Gay Hero. Are any other interest groups laying claim to any other victims of Flight 93?

Anyway, personally, I'm waiting for Deepa Mehta's Water to open any day here in this burg. After all, cinema in India is so uplifting...

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