I’m Voting for Dukakis

Donnie DarkoDonnie Darko is an awesome movie. I like it more and more every time I watch it. I like movies that leave out a whole lot of the thought behind the main idea. All the work put into coming up with an idea is just background. It makes the story more intriguing and fun to think about.

There are some interesting questions that have occurred to me about the movie: Why does the author Graham Greene figure so prominently in the movie? His name didn’t necessarily have to come up so often. Has anyone read any of his stuff? I’ve wanted to, because Shusaku Endo, a favorite author of mine, has often been compared to him.

Donnie’s school is interesting. It’s a Catholic school, but its religious nature is never explicitly highlighted in the movie. The movie in general seems somewhat God-less, but there seems also much that lurks beneath the surface…

By the way, the ideas of time travel in the movie and other materials released with it are pretty mystical-sounding. What exactly does the spiritual have to do with the story of the movie?

And who the heck is the fat guy in the jogging suit??

Maybe I should watch it with the director’s commentary on.

The official Donnie Darko page is pretty fun. Check it out.

The Whole Human Being

Maya AngelouI’ve never been very interested in Maya Angelou; she’s just never come across my path, literarily speaking. Similarly, I haven’t gotten much into podcasts, but both interests were sparked last week as I listened to an interview on KCRW with Maya Angelou. She and the host of the show have some interesting conversation about American culture and about her life, but it really gets good at the end. Her last statement about literature is so great, and she goes on to talk about what truth is, and how universal it is. It’s great. The following is one part of her final monologue about literature, but you should really hear her say it. Very poetic, and poetically delivered.

I think that literature at its best is where we are all tending, wending our way to that human condition, the honesty of the human condition, that can be found in literature. And sometimes what we have to do to get there is to divest ourselves of pretentions and attitudes and posturings and preenings and you come to a place where you can read James Baldwin, whether you are asian, or Spanish-speaking, or white, or black, or Jew, or Muslim, you can read Baldwin or Edna St. Vincent Millay; you can read Norman Mailer, or Amiri Baraka. You can read Singer, Barshevis Singer, or Nawal Al-Sadawi, or Kobo Abe or Confucius, and say, ‘This is the truth. It’s the human truth. I was not a Spaniard in Spain during the civil war. My real name was not Garcia Lorca, but he told the truth. That is the truth. I was not in Ireland. My name is not Sean O’Casey or Edna O’Brien, but that is the human truth.’

Podcast of Bookworm interview with Maya Angelou on iTunes

KCRW’s podcasts