Monday, November 08, 2004

The weekend past

As of yesterday, Jody's been gone five months. It occurred to me last night. It's beginning to feel like a really long time. And yet, when I look at his name in the ICQ bar... our method of conversing was just so timeless, unfettered by images of location, that in a way, it still feels ongoing. I can't really explain that.

On Saturday I did manage to link up with P-Doug, and we went down in the valley to look over those buildings I found. Believe it or not, P-Doug had heard of them. Read about them a couple of years ago, but wondered where they were. Apparently, they form a pumping and water distribution station for the farms thereabouts in the 1920s. We agreed that the bridge abutments look like a good place to sit and read in the summer. We drove across Don Mills Road, and Greydon Hall does still exist, in all its glory, though it's surrounded by suburbs and schools now.

I went out drinking with Dave, who I haven't seen in months and months, and ate way too many chicken wings I shouldn't have. I really do wonder where all the will power I used to have went. I need to find it again, and fast. These pants ain't gonna fit forever if I keep this up. It was a blast to see him, though. We had a bit of a sticking point later in the evening when he asked me if I saw Father of the Pride while it was on. I told him no, I missed it, but that I didn't have much expectation that it would last when I heard the premise. He seemed put off that I could judge the show without having seen it. And there's something to that. But I didn't say I thought the show would necessarily be garbage, just that the idea — a bunch of lions in Las Vegas who act like lions on stage and then like humans behind the scenes — was a hard sell to me. The circus scenes would be spotty, and how many jokes can you really tell about performing animals before you're repeating yourself? As for the behind the scenes stuff, all that sounded like was domestic comedy in lion suits. Well, you don't need lion suits to do domestic comedy. Frankly, as much as I like anthropomorphic animals, I can see that in the backs of most adults minds, it's an unnecessary extra layer. Fetishistic. You can tell all those stories without animal characters. Animal characters, in the Western adult mind, are used to sugarcoat morality lessons for kids. It strikes us as condescending when it's aimed at us. It's cultural... it's hard to dodge. That's why, site unseen, I felt the show wouldn't fly, and I said so to P-Doug months ago. Now Dave is right; I owe the show a watch just to appreciate the writing, the art, and what they were trying to do. But I still feel justified in judging a premise on its own merits. Judging the execusion of it is a different matter. You don't believe me? Premise: human flight is a wonderful idea. Execusion: those guys flapping cardboard wings while running downhill in 1920s silent films. Concept and realization are separate things and can be considered independent of one another.

For what it's worth, I suggested something that might have gone a little further, though I admit it too is an uphill battle. If you must tell stories using animal characters, take humans out of the loop. Set it in the future, when humans are a long-dead curiosity, and some animals have learned to talk, build houses, and form complex societies. There's a springboard for social commentary that's wide-open and not tied down in any way to what's going on here and now.

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