Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wish I Was Elsewhere

Ayn Rand wrote "Fountainhead", a fantastic book where she explained concepts of achievement and mediocrity through characters such as Howard Roark - as the striving for personal excellence, Peter Keating as the clueless yet exalted mediocre and Ellsworth Toohey, as the one who knows the difference and maliciously encourages the latter.

I watched this film - "Robot". Not to be confused with Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot" (now a major Hollywood motion picture starring Will Smith). This can be called Rajnikanth, Robot. Or Rajnikanth, Terminator. Or Rajnikanth, Mask. Or Rajnikanth, Bicentennial Man. Or Rajnikanth, Rubbish.

After 3 hours of relentless exposure to its gamma rays, I want to kill myself now. Not because it's a film that i wish i had made, or that i feel inadequate (I wish!). It's because i'm surrounded by people who are raving about this regressive piece-of-shit work... and the only reason can be that it's too socially uncool to do otherwise.

Themes covered in this film:

a) A perfectly understandable cause of suicide/mortification is being rescued naked from a burning building. In a choice between life and modesty, it's best to choose modesty.

b) It's all right to be almost-gang raped by your neighbors and then, a few screenshots later, look at them smugly across your balcony because "Heh heh, my pet Robot beat you! Nyah nyah nyaa nyaaaaaah nyaah." Don't involve the cops, don't stand up for yourself... just get a robot.

c) And now that you have a robot, it's okay to use it to beat up people in your neighborhood just because they annoy you, cheat in an exam that will determine if you are fit to be a doctor... oh, and speak to mosquitoes!

d) All robots - and machines really - can be taught emotions through speed-reading of self-help books and a healthy shot of lightning. And voila, we have a robot that is insane with lust and irrationality. Oh, and also a quivering lump of pathetic because "he's in love".

e) There is a species called Robo-Erectus. Half human, half machine with gobble-de-gook scientific claptrap explaining how metal molecules will fuse with human DNA through the act of a human copulating with.. yes, the robot who is now erectus.

f) It seems robots can be created but not destroyed. Even when completely dismantled, and powered off, and thrown into an out-of-town garbage dump (yes, because our scientists are smart enough to create an android, but still can't sort out the pesky problem of effective recycling and disposal), at the end of the day, the robot can still find its parts amidst the mile long garbage heap, and it can still speak to humans from behind plexiglass. Robots thus are beyond the laws of physics.

It's sad that the only thing to commend this cult film that has crossed all the usual boundaries of language and star power, is the computer graphics and animation team that is entirely from Los Angeles.

As a filmmaker, I'm really depressed that this garbage perhaps is the real standard i have to hold myself to.

Maybe Peter Keating is the real hero in this world. And maybe we're all Ellsworth Toohey.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's Not Me, It's You

Someone told me recently that i was emotionally unavailable. To him and others who agree, here's what i have to say:

Go to hell. That emotional enough for you?

Before you sit on that little high horse and tell me all that i'm doing wrong and how it is my emotional unavailability that is attracting the kind of people it is, look back at your life and find me moments when i haven't been 'emotionally' available to you. I've been there to sit and bat the breeze in the middle of working days, i've been there to listen and talk till 5 am in the morning, i've always been available to go out - to a dinner or a movie, i've kept your awful secrets and loved you regardless, i've always picked up the phone and spoken to you whenever you have called, i've gone out of my way and called in favors for you, i've made a fool of myself to amuse you, i've respected your privacy and given you space whenever you have asked for it, I've helped you with your work, i've forced you to celebrate life guilt-free after a year of seeing someone die, I've welcomed you into my home, and i've held you when your world shattered.

And here's the truth - when i was hanging out in the middle of the workday, i could have been working and meeting my deadlines instead of staying up till 4 to make up for lost time! when i listen to you till 5 am, i could be easily sleeping and getting ready for my early morning appointment! when i go out with you at a moment's notice, i could be going out with anyone else, or sitting at home reading a book or watching back episodes of House; i could blab about your secrets or just shut you down under a barrage of guilt-driven morality trumpets, i could just not answer my phone and say "my phone was on silent mode" or "i hate talking to people so text or be gone" (responses to when my calls have gone unanswered - and i'm glad because you sometimes don't even bother coming back with a reason).

And you say, "People need to hear that you care about them." Sweety, if i didn't give a shit, you sure as hell won't be the person feeling secure enough in our friendship to be able to tell me some "home truths". It's because you know i care about you that you can talk to me about your shit, know that i'll be there at the other end of the line for as long as you need. And after all that you say, "You should call more often." Hmm. I HAVE called when i've needed YOU. When i'm about to down a bottle of pills, you've been in a meeting. When i've really really wanted to do something, you haven't been in the mood or you've pulled me to do what you want. When i've wanted help with work, you've been evasive. When i've been desperately unhappy, you've told me to "get over it". And i have sucked it up and put on my happy face because i've sensed you coming to the end of your tether.

So i've learned to not lean on you too much. I believe that the time you give me is precious and it's a privilege - so i will not burden it with phonecalls about the minuitiae of my life because, let's face it, we all have those. And over the last 12 years that i've lived on my own, with my family too far away to help or even be physically available, and my friends in different parts of the world, and my boyfriends leeching the lifeblood out of me, and jobs that have been earned without family recommendations or contacts, and pregnancies that have been dealt with, and illnesses that have been borne alone, etc etc i've learned to sort out my own shit.

Now here's also something i know - maybe you need to be needed, and you figure i don't need you. The truth is, i Do. And I know that in a hundred different ways you have been there for me. I recognize that and i love it. I'm careful with it. I don't call you emotionally unavailable when i clearly see so much evidence to the contrary. But i also know that if you're not there for me, i'll be okay. It's been training my life has given me. But i do WANT you, not for what you can do for me or how you can be useful to me, but because i genuinely like you, that you are an amazing person in your own self, regardless of whether i may benefit from you, and I love the fact that i'm allowed a peek into your life. That i shall always be there for you, even if you are unable to return the favor sometimes. It's unfortunate you don't understand what a huge compliment i'm paying you.

So instead, i write.

PS: If I'm attracting mirrors who reflect my emotionally barren life, what does that say about you?