Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


There are some movies you can't properly enjoy with your spouse. Now, Janet and I have a very high degree of compatibility on the popular culture front, since I have a high tolerance for dramatic chick flicks, and she can watch action films like Batman Begins and still have a good time. But there are limits to that tolerance . . . on both sides. Janet had suggested The Ice Storm, based on reviews, and it had arrived from NetFlix. But now Janet was out of town for the next few days . . . I flipped through the scenes on the DVD, and watched just enough to see that it was going to be one of those aren't-human-relationships-fucked-up movies with too much sex and too few characters worth caring about. So . . . with no wife and nothing else to watch, I did what any self-respecting geek would do.

I rented anime.

Now, I'm not goofy about the minimalist style of japanimation. But grew up on Marine Boy and Speed Racer, which was enough to enoculate me to the peculiarities of the style. And then when I went off to high school, the co-ed lounge was populated with a cultish following of Star Blazers and other epic mech-laden series. So space anime has a nostalgic pull for me. And wandering through the Blockbuster, I saw the name of the one and only mech manga I had ever actually read: Appleseed.

It turned out to be suprisingly good. It was well-plotted, with a good mix of straight action, political intrigue, and interpersonal tensions. It avoided the primary sin of trying to douse the audience with too much exposition . . . at least until we had seen enough to get interested. The movie opens in media res with a fight in a ruined cathedral that was on par with The Matrix for cool choreography. Now, it used to be that the soundtrack anime fights were a long, monotonous series of grunts and yells ("Unhh! GGGGGGRRR! Ahhhh!"), but since the Matrix movies that seems to have been replaced with an unending, deafening barrage of machine-gun fire. No matter . . . the hardware is sexy and even the heroine is sexy. (How is it that anime women . . . ALL anime women . . . have chests out to here, and yet never so much as bounce? They must make titanium brassieres in the future.) The trademark immobility of faces is still there, and someone distracting, but I still enjoyed the character. There's something about young superhuman women, with big watchful dark shadowy brooding boyfriends. Maybe I'm enjoying Deunan and Briareos . . . or maybe I'm just missing Buffy and Angel.



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