Many What Ifs

Self has often pondered what it might be like to be a movie critic.

First of all, she’s mad about movies.  Anyone who’s read this blog for a month or so would know.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if she got hired somewhere as a film critic?  And got paid for her reviews?

It would certainly be better (financially) for her if she got paid to write movie reviews.

Then, she wanders over to Eric D. Snider’s blog (which she reads quite often, several times a week).  In one of his posts (She thinks it’s the one where he rounds up his activities in 2012), he mentions that he saw 503 movies last year.

503 movies!  La-la-la-la!  Is that how many movies one must watch in order to be considered a serious movie critic?  And here she was thinking that, since she watches on the average about six movies a month (She means, in a theater, not at home on cable), she has the chops to be a movie critic!

Self just woke up!

*     *     *     *

Tomorrow night she wends over to Berkeley to watch Benito Bautista’s “Harana.”  She bought her ticket online, as an added motivation to go (She hasn’t been to Berkeley in almost a decade and isn’t sure she feels relaxed enough to wander about by herself).  Does any one of her FB friends care to go?  Do any of her writer’s group want to go?  Can she call up a niece?

Ixnay, ixnay all over the place.  Finally, in desperation, self dials The Man’s cell.  “I’ve bought you a ticket,” she tells him.  “I’ll drive.  All you need to do is sit beside me and snooze.”  OK, quoth The Man.  Finally!  She succeeds!  It has taken so much effort, and so many going-back-and-forths in her mind, that self is quite spent after this phone call and thinks she needs to go and buy herself a new clematis.

*     *     *     *

Last night, self steeled herself to watch the concluding episode of Parade’s End.  The war or something has broken the frozen sea inside Christopher Tietjens.  His wife and son installed at the ancestral home, his wife having desecrated the grounds by her petulant destruction of an ancient cypress tree which was blocking the light from the main house (It was a pagan tree, hung with mementos from the darkest past, a symbol of the wild, unruly passion lying dormant in the British aristocracy’s soul), he returns to his cold, empty, lonely life in a flat in London, and —  that Blonde Suffragette comes!  Christopher says he will never divorce his wife, but after a little while spent in Miss Valentine Wannop’s company, he succumbs to desire.  END OF STORY!

Self must admit, she was in the wife’s corner.  First of all, the wife had so many flaws.  She was completely, completely corrupted.  She wore the most fabulous gowns.  Her eyes were so sad.

Naturally, she cannot compete with the virginal freshness of the Blonde Suffragette, and self on some level realizes that Christopher has certain physical needs that only someone with a figure like Valentine’s can satisfy.

So, self bears the brutality of the ending (Christopher in bed with Miss Valentine — possibly the most ham-handed ending ever, which includes gratuitous shots of the little missie’s ample physical gifts).

She thinks that in Parade’s End Part II, there should be scenes of the complicated marriage that ensues.  For one thing, although Christopher seems happy, he can never be completely happy because he is English.  It is just impossible for an English hero not to be constantly asking himself, “Should I be this happy?  Is this completely normal?  What makes my partner so placid and content?  Do I WANT to be placid and content?”  And so forth and so on.

Self would give the whole series four out of five stars.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Dateline: Redwood City, California (In the Business Section of the 23 February 2013 Economist)!

The article is called “The Price of Reputation.”  It’s about a Redwood City-based company called Reputation.com which “has 1.6m customers.  For $99 a year or more they get a basic ‘reputation starter’ package, which monitors when they are mentioned online and alerts them if anything sensitive comes up, such as ‘your real age, name, address, mugshots, legal disputes or marital problems.’  For $5,000 a year, the firm will ‘combat misleading or inaccurate links from your top search results’ (most people do not look at results much below the top page or two).”

Reputation’s founder, Michael Fertik, is 34 years old (Crikey!).  His goal is “to launch a data vault —  like a bank vault containing all the data that constitute a person’s reputation.”  According to Fertik, the current internet “business model” is one where “giant firms give customers something free, collect data on them without their knowledge and sell it to third parties to do with whatever they like.”  A firm like Reputation.com would let “the consumer . . .  decide if they want to sell information about themselves to companies that want to get to know them.”

The article ends with the characteristic British tongue-in-cheek utterance:  Reputation.com “has the advantage of that most valuable thing, which it must protect at all costs:  a good reputation.”

OK, so how does this square with Law # 41 of Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power?

Establish your own name and identity by changing course.  Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.

In self’s humble opinion, you can only slay the overbearing father once.  Because after that, there will be no more overbearing fathers (to slay).  Naturally.  And, what then?  Your reputation is trash, you’ve bitten the dust, you’ve revealed your moral turpitude, you’ve — Self, cut it out!  Right this minute!  Whence all this negativity?  You ought to enroll in a course about letting the sunshine into your life!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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