Sunday, June 13, 2004

I grew tired of the "primarily" in my motto, above. Seemed wishy-washy. I like the religious ring of "devoted" because that's basically how I feel. Religion without God or gods, just voices from beyond the self.

It's been a Pound-free weekend for the most part. Yesterday was flawlessly beautiful but I had a hard time enjoying it because of a particularly vicious and continuous allergy attack. Went to Taughannock Park with Emily and the dog and dozed lakeside, reading Greil Marcus' Lipstick Traces in my more lucid moments. Helluva entertaining book. Saw some of Terminator 3 on HBO last night: the Governor catches bullets in his mechanical teeth! It had some of the cheesiness and thus some of the startling pathos of 50s science fiction. When John Connor and Claire Danes (yes, I'm conflating character and actor here) find themselves trapped in the 60s era bomb shelter that will ensure their survival for Terminator 1 (the ruthlessly circular timeline of the first film has been restored here; the more hopeful vision of ultraviolent Terminator 2 died with the Sarah Connor character), there's a genuine sadness there which the perfunctory porn of nuclear explosions that ends the movie only serves to heighten. What humanizes it are not so much the actors but the set: the 1960s technology has a humanist feel entirely missing from the sleek, soulless techcenter where much of the action takes place (the most frightening detail is a tiny TV set with a presidential podium and blue curtains like those in the East Room of the White House, designed to allow the President would address the nonexistent postnuclear nation within a simulation of normalcy). It's like that episdoe of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the actors go onto the set of the original series via the holodeck: its plastic materiality, its analog "setness," simulates human warmth in a way that makes the carpeted corridors of the Enterprise-D seem very cold indeed. I'm part of the last generation to grow up in full consciousness of the nuclear threat; probably a younger person sees the nukes at the end of T3 as just special effects, no more threatening than the aliens in Independence Day. But that sort of thing will always give me the shivers. I remember a 1988 movie called Miracle Mile that I saw late at night on TV one summer when I was twenty or so: it stars Anthony Edwards (and, weirdly, Denise Crosby, who played the butch security chief on the first season of STTNG) and depicts the final hours of Los Angeles before a nuclear holocaust. The tone of the film is weird; it seems like a romantic comedy, and for a long time watching it I was convinced it was about how people might behave if they only THOUGHT a nuclear war was coming. Just as I was getting used to this paradigm, the film makes an abrupt left turn and the missiles start raining down. Anthony Edwards and his love interest crash their helicopter into the La Brea Tar Pits (get it?) and exchanged soulful looks before they become part of the giant mushroom cloud. And that's it. The End. A weirdly honest movie about nuclear war in the way it fools you for a while into thinking that things might be all right, that even the worst might be surivable. And then: nope, the character you identified with along with everyone and everything else is annihilated. It scared the bejesus out of me.

Today it's gray and windy out and rain is on the way. The dog's on my lap and I'm puzzling with InDesign and thinking about a cover (I really like . Hopefully I'll figure it out and Aubergine will be printed soon. If you're a contributor, be sure to e-mail me your physical address so that I can send you a copy, if you haven't already done so.

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