Last night I took in Peter Bogdonavich’s “The Last Picture Show” for the second time. It’s on Netflix’s instant streaming if you’re interested.
I love the film for its character arcs, its beauty, and its desperation. I also love it for moments like the one above, where Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) finally has his fill of the cavalier attitude the townspeople take towards death and tragedy. He’s exhausted from the hopelessness around him and almost – almost – takes it as his cue to pick up his life and move on elsewhere.
What really prompted me to share this clip, though, are the attitudes of the town elders to the prone body of the simple, innocent boy below them. The snide, cold, and passive-aggressive comments they make over the boy’s dead body are sickening, and we could take it as a sign of the cruelty of the older generation at the time of the film’s settings (the 1950s).
But that’s not true, is it? We see it all the time. We read it in comments responding to news events and hear it in real-life conversation at the dinner table, at parties, and at bars. There’s so much schadenfreude – the joy one takes in the suffering of others – that it’s almost suffocating, and it’s hurtful when I hear and see it done towards people I know, respect, and care about.
I suppose that old adage holds true: the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s just that lately, I’ve grown tired of being part of any conversation in that tone. I’m exhausted from listening to people who were never there tell everyone else what happened with a presumption of knowledge and expertise, despite their ignorance and lack of compassion. I don’t want to be the man who sees the wreckage and the body, figuratively speaking, and says “serves the boy right for having no sense.”
I want to be better than that.
- Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…
- Listen to me LIVE as guest co-host of Alternative to Sleeping tonight at 10pm!
- Realtors: “WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH” George Hearst III: “NONONOO SSSSHHH IT’S OKAY, it’s okay…here. Here’s a pacifier.” Kristi: “#oops.”
- Open Mic web series premiere tonight @ Lark Tavern
- Trust Me, You’re Going to Want to See This