Trying to get some things done…
I gave up candy bars as a form of solace
I gave up trying to please everyone
I gave up ice cream
I gave up smiling when I don’t feel like smiling
I gave up lies
I gave up violence
I gave up shouting at my kids
I gave up not listening to my wife
I gave up coffee
I gave up TV
I gave up Internet
I gave up insomnia
I gave up staying up late
I gave up overeating
I gave up meat on Fridays
I gave up driving too fast
I gave up sugar
I gave up wanting to be something I’m not
I gave up fear
We watched Into the Wild last night. I can’t say I liked it, really, but I would say I appreciated it. The main character is not really very likeable, and I guess Sean Penn (the director and author of the screenplay adapted from John Krakauer’s book) consciously didn’t try to make him likeable. The lad’s idealism and the chip on his shoulder regarding his relationship with his parents both have an air of contrivance I found abrasive. And yet you can’t help but admire the boldness with which he sets out to erase his identity and set out on a journey of simplicity and freedom that leads to the wilds of Alaska. And there is a small but powerful epiphany at the end, which elevates the story beyond a mere tale of adventure and misguided youthful idealism.
(Here’s James Berardinelli’s review of Into the Wild. Berardinelli’s Reel Views is usually my first stop when I’m looking for a movie review.)
Today is our patron saint Walker Percy’s birthday, born on this date in 1916 (died May 10, 1990).
A few days ago, Quin brought up Percy’s mention of Mt. St. Helens in The Thanatos Syndrome. Well, here’s another Pacific Northwest reference, from The Moviegoer this time. The scene is a meeting of stock brokers in Chicago, where Binx and Kate have traveled by train, confronting the failure of flesh poor flesh en route and the Genie Soul of the Windy City. It seems to me Binx’s irony softens quite a bit here and his sentiments towards Stanley Kinchen of Spokane are really quite sincere:
The delegates are very decent fellows. I find myself talking to half a dozen young men from the West Coast and liking them very much–one in particular, a big shy fellow from Spokane named Stanley Kinchen, and his wife, a fine looking woman, yellow-haired and bigger than Sharon, lips curling like a rose petal, head thrown back like a queen and a tremendous sparkle in the eye. What good people they are. It is not at all bad being a businessman. There is a spirit of trust and cooperation here. Everyone jokes about such things, but if businessmen were not trusting of each other and could not set their great projects going on credit, the country would collapse tomorrow and be no better off than Saudi Arabia. It strikes me that Stanley Kinchen would actually do anything for me. I know I would for him. I introduce Kate as my fiancee and she pulls down her mouth. I can’t tell whether it is me she is disgusted with or my business colleagues. But these fellows: so friendly and–? What, dejected? I can’t be sure.
Kinchen asks me if I am going to be in the Cracker Barrel. He is nervous: it seems he is program chairman and someone defected on him. He takes me aside.
“Would you do me a favor? Would you kick off with a ten minute talk on Selling Aids?”
We shake hands and part good comrades.
Little Joan-of-Arc McCain begins to grasp the ballness of ball.
The Wisconsin Poet introduces and reads from J.F. Powers’ masterpiece, and does a fine job of it. Yes, he mentions me in the intro – I introduced him to this oddly neglected book, just as James McCoy once introduced it to me No, that’s not why I’m blogging it. Our man sounds good.
Oh, and now that he’s no longer reading my own little book, it’s not unseemly for me to say this: spread the word about CRI and Cover to Cover. Add it to your sidebar. Bring the love.