Slow news day. Slow life day. Fine by me.
I encountered the term “Slow News” in another context - HuffPo, I think, advertising a print version? Unclear on the details, since the term instantly barked up some back-of-the-throat bile. It’s like “Slow Food” or other “slow” things that are part of the “Slow” movement. Our lives are so fast-paced, pure pell-mell hell, that we need to reconnect with things that are not fast, and thereby baste our brains with the virtues of simplicity and honesty and careful, cautious attention. To which I say GET OUT OF THE PASSING LANE.
No, seriously: these things give me hives because I see a lot of middle-aged people sitting around in a living room, with all the right magazines on the table, the proper voices burbling on the radio in the kitchen, Volvos out on the street with COEXIST bumperstickers, and a bowl of organic carob-dusted peas on the table, or something. You know the stereotype: earnest types who still believe everything they believed in college. Who get a little thrill when they think of Woody Guthrie’s guitar: this machine kills fascists.
Number of fascists killed by that guitar: Zero. At press time.
I’m sounding cranky, but I’m not. I would be cranky if I was required to sit in a Slow Anything gathering, but I’m not, so let them do as they wilt. The insistence that we’re all so stressed by the pace of modern life is problematic, though; for one thing, it’s an old complaint. Go back to Bran ads in the 20s and you’ll find people obsessing over the effect of modern life’s hectic rush on your ability to compact and extrude sufficient feces; go back to the 50s and you’ll find ads with people who are so overloaded by modern life that they are smoking too much - not a bad thing per se, but if it’s a harsh cigarette that doesn’t have the mild flavor and easy draw of an L&M, they’re asking for trouble. (I find it hilarious that Phillip Morris used to warn against Cigarette Hangover - for heaven’s sake, those things were straight-up unfiltered mainline nicotine injectors; when I smoked cigarettes I couldn’t even make it through a Camel without feeling as if I’d inhaled the accumulated effluvia that rolled off a freshly-poured tar roof on a boiling summer afternoon.)
The amount of stress expands to fill the amount of space freed up by convenience and progress.
The emotions of someone trying to get to the bottom of their email on Friday are probably identical to the emotions of a caveperson trying to convert that wooly mammoth to grub and garb before it rots completely. Our definition of what matters constantly gets easier, but it doesn’t mean we discount the things that matter appropriately.
Times when ads in Life magazine didn’t talk about stress: oh, that would be about 1941 to 1945.
No one would ever talk about a Slow Internet Movement, would they? We’re too accustomed to instant information! It’s time we yank out the broadband and go back to 300 baud modems, and let the information trickle in at a rate commensurate with our ability to absorb it.
Watched "K-19" last night; I'd seen it before, years ago. Liked it a little then; liked it more now. Serious question: it's a movie about a nuclear accident on a Soviet sub. Is there another culture besides the United States that makes movies praising the camraderie, dedication, patriotism and decency of a crew whose official mission was the destruction of our cities? If it had been ham-fisty, with eeevil ramrod commies and secret democratic officers who wanted to defect, it would have been silly. It was not silly. It's the Soviet version of "Das Boot," I suppose - you can't divorce it from its political context, but you do.
It is possible to find things to respect about the enemy, to find attributes and actions that stand apart from the conflict. On an unrelated note, a writer at Frisky talks about the men who saved their dates from the Aurora Madmen, and gets prickly about the idea that there's something gender specific about the good press they're getting.
I can respect and be touched by these men’s sacrifices. But I’m also wary of some byproducts of the heroism myth, the idea that a few good men will have courage under fire and put “women and children first.” The Post crowed over these men’s “old-fashioned chivalry,” which are funny words to use, when you get right down to it. Why does masculinity have to have anything to do with heroic behavior? Their sacrifice was noble, sure. But
My old friend, the fulcrum of the but. Just about anything written after the words "Their sacrifice was noble, sure. But" is something I can probably live without.
Since I'm obviously a trog, let's compound the offenses with cheesecake. But there's a reason for this. Over the last few nights I've half-watched some "Airport" movies, just to remind myself of the deficiencies of the airplane disaster movie. Really, there's not much you can do. It's aloft. Then there's a problem. Then it lands. The 1975 version is dreadful. Sid Caesar as a guy who takes a cross-country flight so he can see his cameo appearance in the in-flight movie? Right OF COURSE OH sure. (And it's "American Graffiti," which he wasn't in.) Gloria Swanson appears as Gloria Swanson. She wrote her own dialogue. The woman learned nothing from Sunset Boulevard.
That's her personal assistant. Who is she?
When I imdb'd the actress, I was surprised: my junior high crush.
From "Planet of the Apes."
The thing I remember most from adolescent recollections: she glistened.
Today: Florida Motels! And lots of 'em. Enjoy.
But take them slow.