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.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bull Durham

I led a meeting last night at the UNC SKS, starting with "Crash" Davis' famous "credo" speech. I had never actually watched Bull Durham before, so I figured this would be the time to do it. (I hate it when people reference work that they've never actually read . . . and I always found it miraculously impressive when Terry Gross showed that she actually had read the books of the person she was interviewing, and not just relying on her research assistant.) So I watched it the night before.

My gosh . . . it's been almost 20 years since that movie was released. I had no idea. It ages well, though. You can tell it was made long ago because, even though the story is dominated by sexual themes, you don't see any bare breasts or even so much as Susan Sarandon's cleavage through the whole movie. And the movie's writing itself was rather pointed in ridiculing Nuke's adolescent wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am sexuality, and glorifying the long-slow-wet-kisses-that-last-three-days school of the older, wiser Crash Davis. Here is a movie willing to take its time, to be romantically sly and teasing in an era of flash and skin.

I especially loved the voice-overs of the characters while they were actually playing baseball. I had always heard that baseball was a cerebral and psychological game, but never really understood what that meant until I watched this movie. I had always presumed it was called "cerebral" because of its fixation on statistics, and complex strategy of line-ups and what-not. But what I didn't realize was how much the pitcher and batter were trying so hard to get into each others' heads. Suddenly what I originally took to be a feat of brawn and speed (hitting a homer) was revealed for what it really was -- a struggle of wills and intellects.

Really, the whole movie is a parable about the dynamic tension between mind and body, and mind and soul. "Nuke" starts out all Body; "the gods reached down and turned his right arm into a thunderbolt", but he doesn't have the wit to control it. Crash and Annie are full of brains, but stuggle to control their own minds. Only enough of both will allow any of them to "go to The Show" (move up to the Major Leagues).



Post a Comment

<< Home