‘Did you ever happen to visit the cinematograph in your travels?’
‘Never,’ I answered humbly, ‘but I believe it is a dark quarter and little can be seen at all except the photographs on the wall.’ — Flann O’Brien
Over the years, I’ve developed a distinct aversion to movies. I’m aware that this is not a popular aversion. In fact, I’ve met fellow citizens who grow angry when I express it. But the Ullage Group is chartered to air the unpopular, so I think it fitting here. And besides, I’m sure there are others out there who also shun the flickering tedium; perhaps my example will encourage them to speak out without shame. It is to you that I address myself, my comrades.
To begin with, I particularly dislike having to sit through a film in a theater. Cramped seats, unpleasantly evocative of air travel, or of a long bus trip, jam me against strangers. Many of them eat popcorn, filling the air with the stink of rancid grease, which is not my favorite perfume. Bright lights in a darkened room hurt my eyes; over-amplified sound hurts my ears. I prefer a clean, airy, well-lit space. Our fellow citizens, comrades, find this inexplicable; they will never understand, and there is no sense in trying to explain.
A DVD at home is less offensive. That way, at least, you can let it run while you catch up on your housework.
We will have more to say about the actual information encoded in that flickering beam. For now, let me say that I don’t find the commercial product enticing. Watching actors recite ham-fisted dialogue in the service of one of the shopworn plots judged marketable seems a poor use of my time. The people who manufacture this stuff know all too well that their formulas have lost their savor; and try to spice them up with manipulative soundtracks and hyperactive editing. I find the result just as tedious, but more irritating. A bore is no more engaging when he bellows; spoiled food no more palatable when drenched in salt, corn syrup, and monosodium glutamate. If a movie were live, it might have more life; but, of course, it’s not. It is not only stale, but canned.
That’s enough for now. Take courage, all of my comrades who have also outgrown this foolishness; we have taken a step together, out of that joyless and stifling room. We will meet again, here under the age-old spectacle of the starry skies. We will meet again.
(Posted by Doug Skinner)