Friday, September 12, 2014

On Hell, & Indefinite Site Break Starts October

As I mentioned last Wednesday, I'm off writing regular reviews. You'll still get two Reviewing with Others entries - this Sunday for Ai Weiwei, and in a week or two for Kill the Messenger - and then my forthcoming You're Next review is the last one that'll post here (though Snowpiercer was actually the last one that I wrote).

However, after the middle of October, the site will go on an indefinite break. It's been a long time coming - I wrote my July through October posts months in advance - but it stems from 95% good news and only 5% bad news. Either way, my online time is at a premium, and I can't afford to use it here... Great Moments In and Bill Murray posts are prepped through December, and there will be an End of Year wrap-up entry, but that'll be it.

Lots of people talk a lot of s--t about what they can do or what they will do, but you have to be able to back that up. The best way to back up your own hype is... well, it's just by doing:

The proof is in the pudding... And now I want Mexican pudding.

So do you want to know what "Hell" is, if it exists? A look back on my 666th post made me think I should do the same with hell here. I have some longstanding ideas on this topic, although I'm talking about fewer films this time out.

But first, here's one we should get out of the way asap: the end of Death Becomes Her definitely counts, but is unlikely to be experienced literally by... most viewers -

Firstly, Hell is a place where your words and actions have no power. The things that you do have no effect, are not believed, are interpreted the wrong way every time, or are not taken seriously. Christy Brown's cerebral palsy meant he could only use his left foot, and Helen Keller was missing 2 out of 5 senses (sight, hearing), and even those people found a way to communicate. If your method of expressing yourself always has no effect - or one that's the opposite of your intentions - then that's got to be a form of Hell.

In the really-real world, you can screw up and apologize or other people can screw up on you and you can accept their apologies. You can tell people that you love them, or you can explain to people why they should change their ways, or you can get two people to make up with each other. You and teach - as well as learn - new things...

But if people never believe you, judge you in the worst ways possible, or simply don't ever listen, then you have no power, and that has to be what Hell is like. Take it from a white-looking mixed-race kid from the slums of NYC: being powerless must be a key element of unending torment.

Secondly, Hell is a place where you cannot change anything. For many people, the concept of Hell is mere suffering and pain. But the worst pain is always what you feel inside, not what the body suffers. And the scary idea about the worst conceptions of Hell is that it's eternal torture.

One of the greatest truisms is that where there's life, there's hope. So long as you draw breath, you can improve yourself: you can grow and change, experience can influence your actions or reactions, and maturity can temper your perspective and emotions. But death seems like a static condition - at least for the people one leaves behind, it sure is. Your past actions decide how you're remembered, because you don't have any "new" moves to make.

But if you're alive (or, damn, dead and conscious) and in a situation that can never be changed, then hope has to dissipate. And, without hope, you're pretty well f--ked. However badly life sucks, it's gonna keep being exactly that bad.

Whatever mistakes you've made? You're stuck with them. Anything you want to improve? You're stuck with how things are there, too. Wanna see the bright side of things? You can't. Once you reach a certain point, everything looks scary or threatening, and no one has good intentions, because everyone is out to get you.

Please skip ahead to the 2:26 mark. What comes before looks great, but Annie's Hell is truly horrific.

Depression is a pretty good instructor on what Hell must be like. But even without it, I figure Hell involves a lot of fear, self-pity, regret, and anger. I figure it's being trapped in a tiny little box which one doesn't leave. I figure it's devoid of change, or power... I figure it's always assuming the worst of everything and everyone. It's pretty much the opposite of life.

And it's pretty much the opposite of my situation. I've just landed a new (time-consuming) job, made a few other improvements, and have felt an ability to change my lot in life. It's (partly) because of those elements that I have to move on from the site. The time that I had available before is now, simply, gone.

We'll still have four entries per week until mid-October. After that, it'll be a few Bill Murray and Great Moments In posts, as well as an End of the Year wrap up. I'll still respond to comments and emails, but my offline life has been growing steadily busier since May, and I can't commit to this blog, or most online stuff, right now. Let's try to have fun with the time we've got left, okay?

Hell is a place where one has been broken, and that damage is both irreparable and insuperable. Instead of picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and trying something new, you're stuck in the same old mess.

Right now, the future holds a lot of things - for all of us, I hope - and it's worth working toward a better tomorrow with confidence and happiness. Nothing good will come of not trying to improve one's situation, of getting stuck on the past vicissitudes of life and wallowing in misery - nor will it become brighter or happier by focusing on what you can't change, instead of focusing on what you can change.

I've been "lucky enough" to have had so many serious, life-or-death crises in my past that it's easy to see most problems in life as minor speed-bumps. And I've been fortunate enough to have lots of good news and activities and events that whatever makes me unhappy isn't going to bring my whole world crashing down. I hope it's much the same for you, dear readers. Onward and upwards, motherf--kers!

I really wish I had a clip of this whole funeral scene. It's terrifying.


  1. Congrats on the new job! Sorry that reduces your blog time but priorities are important.

    1. Thank you so much! It feels odd to step away, but I have yet to find a way to add more hours to my day =) first things first, right?

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