the skies are not cloudy all day

I’ve been up to no damn good, that’s for sure, so let’s start with the happy news that Roman Polanski is going home. It’s something I didn’t see coming, forgetting as I did how often American prosecutors fuck up a sure thing with overreaching and pointless Puritanical needling. The American authorities wouldn’t have had any problem crossing all the requisite T’s if they sincerely believed that their case met the smell test, but the L.A. justice system has always treated the Polanski case as a grudge match, and their refusal to provide Roger Gunson’s testimony to the Swiss is surely a sign of the bad faith that awaited Polanski had he returned here. (Gunson was the Assistant D.A. who attended the meeting in chambers where Judge Rittenband instructed the trial attorneys on how to argue their cases, and who later disputed a critical piece of the case’s history as it was described in a L.A. Superior Court ruling.) Since I’ve always favored the spirit of the law over its letter, yesterday’s news hit me as something close to the best of all possible worlds: the Los Angeles D.A.’s office was seen openly humping its own pooch, and while Polanski couldn’t entirely shake off what he did that long-ago night by just skipping the country, he did manage to avoid the sanctimonious jackals who’ve been nipping at his heels for 30 years. The one drag about it all is the inevitable one: the idea that he was freed due to some foreigner’s idea of a “technicality” is sure to feed the xenophobia and victimization fantasies of our rightwing brethren until the end of time. Ah, well…at least they can still lock up Mexicans on sight in Arizona. That ought to count for something!

Man, if only I had a life half as interesting as Roman Polanski’s…The big recent highlight for me came when the only woman I’ve really been attracted to in the last couple years left town last week. She wasn’t available anyway, but she was right up my alley, vivacious and chatty and blonde and cute, and—in what has to be considered a positive sign—a couple years older than me. (Being both a confirmed ageist and a confirmed old fart, I look forward to the day when I not only become prejudiced against myself but order myself off my own lawn.) Still, I was glad to know her, not only because she’s a warm and lovely person and all that crap, but just to see that I can still carry a torch that hot for anyone. As for the fact that I didn’t make a fool of myself over her either before or after she told me she was leaving, well…that was just a bonus.

Feeling stale comes pretty natural to me, but my posting here started seriously dwindling, both in quantity and quality, right around the time I started thinking about buying a PlayStation 3. Well, having had one in the house for a couple of weeks now, I’ve definitely confirmed what’s long been suspected: I’m too much of a jellyfish to be trusted with a game console. But a couple things worked to delude me into thinking that buying one was a good idea, starting with the debate that followed Roger Ebert opening his big yap, and then hearing that a popular gaming house just released a game said to be a Peckinpah-Leone mashup. (Which it is, especially if you picture The Wild Bunch as written by Larry the Cable Guy.)

Anyway, in answer to Ebert I’d have to say, yeah, Red Dead Redemption is art—too many aesthetic choices have gone into it for it to be anything else—but it’s art for the shut in, the shut down, and the suicidally depressed. Michael Bay’s worst movie was never this escapist if only because movies don’t force you take over the decision-making within a story, which means that some part of your frontal lobes remains free to maintain that essential bit of critical distance. But your consciousness is overwhelmed in a game that forces you to barrel over mountain roads in a rickety wagon as yahooing outlaws pour lead at you from every direction; it flattens your brain even as it revs your body up. Red Dead Redemption’s imaginary landscapes are beautifully rendered in all times of day and types of weather, but the two primary emotions the game gives fire to are stress and an illusory sense of achievement. You’ll accomplish at least as much if you treat yourself to a nice, long wank, and even Sergio Leone had more on his mind than just that. At least I got a Blu-Ray player out of the deal, and that restored version of Visconti’s The Leopard looks mighty fine, even if it does have an alarming shortage of gunfights.

One Response to “the skies are not cloudy all day”

  1. Slogger Says:

    If you haven’t already read this, you might find it interesting.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2010/mar/21/tom-bissell-video-game-cocaine-addiction

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