Sunday, April 6, 2008

WAR IS OVER! (if you want it)

A brief look at three experiences/thoughts as to why pacifism rocks.

1. First, let's examine the title song. I love the Beatles, and when people ask me to choose a favorite, I am often at a loss for words. Ringo is the adorable underdog, George is the quiet, tortured genius, and Paul is the cute one who did the most consistently good work post- breakup. And then we have John. John, the edgy rebel with the razor sharp wit and the high ideals. Sometimes I hate him (mainly when he's under the influence of Yoko), but for the most part he fascinates me. His songs with the Beatles were usually my favorite, for their wry, clever lyrics and pure rockin' out-ness. After they split, his songs were hit and miss, but there were a few gems. When he stuck to real music with real messages, and wasn't just trying to be all avant-garde with primal screaming and loops, he could write. And his anti-war sentiment rang true.

2. If there is one thing I hate, it's admitting I'm wrong. But in this case, I have to. In my first post, I declared Dada as the worst, most nonsensical art form ever. I now go on the record to say that just isn't true. I simply didn't understand the reasoning behind it. Now that I do, it blows my mind. First off, Dadaists were not the self-indulgent, lazy, pretentious free-loaders I always thought they were. For one, they were completely pessimistic (something I can relate to ). Stuck in the midst of the worst wars humanity had ever seen, purveyors of Dada were looking back throughout history and weeping, seeing that despite thousands of years of experience civilization had learned absolutely nothing. All the academics in the world, with all their elaborate thought processes and theories, had been unable to stop the slaughter occurring on a worldwide scale. The only conclusion: if reason couldn't solve anything, perhaps chaos could. Thus, Dada embraced the random, the mundane, the chaotic. Their works were 'anti-art', anti-establishment at its first and finest hour. With their oddities, Dadaists were giving the nonsensical world around them the finger, and trying to find peace and harmony from the things that were overlooked, thinking the ignored items and ideas could possibly hold the key to perfection.

3. I am taking the most kick AWESOME class in the entire world this semester: Shakespeare and Film. My professor is amazing (and my idol. I want to be her), the topic is fascinating, and the people in the class itself are hilarious and freaking geniuses. Anyway, before my love letter gets more verbose, back to the point of the story. For class this week, I had to watch the Kenneth Branagh version of Henry V. The one problem with that was I usually hate Kenneth Branagh with the passion of a thousand burning suns. I find him pompous, overrated, and quite frankly, a worthless specimen. But that all changed upon viewing Henry V. An amazing quintessential war flick, everyone MUST SEE this movie. That is not a request. That is an order. With a talented cast featuring a young Christian Bale, Ian Holm, Dame Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi in a scene stealing role as Chorus, and the superb Emma Thompson who, in my opinion, can do no wrong, it would be a sin to skip seeing this. Branagh actually plays a very sympathetic King Henry, with you hating his actions one second and then irrevocably loving him the next. The monologues are played perfectly, and will have you on the edge of your seat, rapt with British patriotism, regardless of your nationality. But what is easily the best part of the film is the battle itself, and the immediate aftermath thereof. It's rousing, heart-breaking, and tear inducing all at once, plus it has the capability to make anyone an instant pacifist. It is cinematic beauty. I walked into this movie skeptical and walked out a firm believer. If that isn't a sign of a fantastic film, I don't know what is.

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