Tuesday, August 12, 2008

it is intense

i took my really cool 14-year-old niece maggie to "the dark knight" saturday, along with our kids and their significant others.
when it was over, i asked maggie what she thought. "it's intense," she said, smiling.
she said there were parts of the movie that made complete sense to her, and a few parts that were a little jumbled. i remembered that i felt the same way after the first time i saw it. it took me a while not only to sort what happens in the plot but also what the movie's digging down into. neither one is simple.
(by the way, i realize maggie's only 14, and that "the dark knight" could've been too intense for her. but her mother - my sister - doesn't like intense or suspenseful movies, and maggie starts 9th grade in a few weeks, and she'd be the only kid in her high school who hadn't seen this movie, and maggie's wonderful and smart and mature. so, i figured, hey, be a good uncle and help a sister - and a niece - out. plus, i got to see tdk again. maggie did fine, btw.)
maggie and i kicked it around and ironed out the plot details - "the dirty cop was who again?" - and then i suggested a few thematic issues. that it's about the dilemma of what to do if the world is screwed up. or someone is telling you something that sounds possible and logical and yet you know isn't deep-down true. or your heart gets broken. or you don't feel like you can handle what's been asked of you. and, mostly, that it's just about good vs. evil.
in response to its being about good vs. evil, maggie said, Yep, that makes sense.
and it hit me again - this is pretty much it. this is the real stuff. this is what human beings struggle with. what's good and what's not. how to behave. what is true. what do we do with pain. what's my part. what do i serve and how do i go about that.

if you know someone - or you are someone - who isn't exploring and experiencing those questions, beware.
because the other preoccupations are about whether the cable tv repairman called on time, or whether one notebook looks better than the other, or why didn't such-and-such call me back, or why are waiters so incompetent. and someone preoccupied with those, has all the other big questions beneath the surface - but the more s/he is upset about the surface things, the more s/he is avoiding the big things.
the stories do the work for us, if we're not careful. let the batman go into that dark place for me - that way i can walk out of the theater and check back into the little matrix the culture and i built together. the one that keeps me asleep.

screw that. fight the good fight. it's within you.
it's about good and evil, what is true, what is worth doing, and what to do with our pain. how to serve. what matters.


Anonymous said...

"Surface things"! Like the to-do list?! You just had to go there, didn't you...

nonprofitprophet said...

Yes it is. Good v. Evil. Anything and everything you do or fail to do tilts the balance one way or the other. Unless you are Harvey Dent then its hard to balance. ~npp

Rick Diamond said...

i think that's the point of having harvey dent be part of this story, right? he embodies that part of this same struggle. he tries to keep it all in balance with his good work and smiling face and dedication - and making his own luck with a special coin - but when push (the joker) came to shove he couldn't stay balanced. it's precarious. dangerous.

nonprofitprophet said...

strange twist on peer pressure angle, but I totally am in touch with your comment! Sometimes, in life, it doesn't take much to push us one way or the other... so its good to have friends like YOU! ~npp

Chiron' said...

Wait a minute!

Be-Ware? How can I beware? I'm still trying to figure out how I'm supposed to Be-have! (Well, that's what everyone keeps TELLING ME!)

You can fight the good fight if you want to, but to my vision...
The simple truth is: There IS no spoon.