Monday, January 23, 2006


My Favorite Movies

A correspondent writes about my blogger profile:
I am a bit puzzled, though, by the apparent clash between your Favorite Movies and your Favorite Books. Perhaps you might write about that (if you haven't already) in a future post.
The movies are just pure escapism. Anyone stuck in a boring job behind a desk or on an assembly line can sympathize with the Turkish soldier quoted by Colin Thubron, Journey into Cyprus (New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1976), p. 242:
"I was four years in England," he said, "in a canning factory at Newton Abbot, twisting a knob day after day -- twist, twist, twist. In the end I got fed up and came back home. What sort of life is that for a man -- twist, twist, twist?"
What sort of life is it for a man, sitting in front of a computer, tapping away at the keys day after day -- tap, tap, tap?

After forty hours of that, who isn't ready for some escapist entertainment on the weekend? So it happened that I watched Steven Seagal's Under Siege for the umpteenth time with undiminished enjoyment last Sunday afternoon -- after a trip to the library. Ancient literature is also another way to escape from the dullness of modern life.

Does the violence in these movies bother me? Not a bit. I agree with these sage words from that compendium of good sense, Tom Brown's Schooldays by Thomas Hughes (part II, chapter V):
After all, what would life be without fighting, I should like to know? From the cradle to the grave, fighting, rightly understood, is the business, the real highest, honestest business of every son of man. Every one who is worth his salt has his enemies, who must be beaten, be they evil thoughts and habits in himself, or spiritual wickednesses in high places, or Russians, or Border-ruffians, or Bill, Tom, or Harry, who will not let him live his life in quiet till he has thrashed them.

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