Sci-Fi, Mental Health, Poetry Foundation — A Lost Weekend
Posted on October 14, 2012
This weekend, Heron went up to Sacramento, and when she’s out of town…I watch Sci-Fi movies. Heron loves some pretty good movies, but it’s hard to get her into Sci-Fi. I don’t push it.
But this weekend, I walked down to Broadway Video in Long Beach, and I asked one of the guys for a movie rec. Told him I wanted to see a movie kind of like Blade Runner. So he suggested THX 1138 — a George Lucas movie starring Robert Duvall. Now, I had never heard of this movie, but I trusted the guy at Broadway Video, because he initially recommended a Kubrick film and an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick book.
Well, this movie, THX 1138, is everything I love about a good Sci Fi/dystopia story. Here’s the plot overview from IMDb: “Set in the 25th century, the story centers around a man and a woman who rebel against their rigidly controlled society.” Man, this movie pulls out all the stops to present a world controlled by machines where they imprison their citizens with psychological manipulation. It was like watching a movie infused with 1984, The Allegory of the Cave, and anything written by Foucault. At the heart, it’s a story about forbidden love and the repercussions.
There’s just something about these movies: a man fighting against society: to free himself from convention — literal and metaphorical — to understand what it truly means to have liberty. That’s what I want my memoir to be like. In a lot of ways, coming-of-age stories (bildungsroman) have a similar idea in mind. A young kid rebels against society in order to remain an individual, but what he finds is that he becomes a part of the society — for good or bad.
But THX 1138 is pretty intense. They keep their citizens sedated so they will remain calm at all times. In fact, if they don’t take their medication, then they’re brought up on drug evasion chargers. It’s like watching, at times, a series of psychological experiments. There’s this one seen, which is the cover, where the “authority” has Robert Duvall’s character in a room. They’re trying to rehabilitate him. So they keep him in line with a series of electrified sticks. Well, just check out the video.
So after this, I finished Freud’s “Civilization and It’s Discontents.” I’ve been meaning to finish it for so long. Guilt, Freud sure hates guilt.
But all this just kept me thinking about mental health. Psychological freedom. How is that possible? All of my favorite movies and books are about a main character, in one way or the other, struggling against society for freedom and truth. Is truth freedom? The truth will set you free, as they say. Ah, what am I even talking about? I will develop these ideas over the next couple blogs.
I need to really work hard this next week, because I have about five major deadlines the following week. Something I’m working on right now is balancing several projects and learning to stay focused on each project during certain time periods. It’s difficult, but I’m managing. Communication becomes difficult when you have so many projects.
Oh yeah, I was mentioned by the Poetry Foundation for my article at the LA Weekly: In Defense of the Future L.A. Poet Laureate. Okay, goodnight everyone. Tomorrow I’m going to share a post on the first time I read Slaughterhouse 5.