Dead Like Me, that is. Very cool feel-good black comedy. It's "black" only because it's about so called grim reapers, who quite literally live among us. They are the dead living, as opposed to the zombies that scare us as the living dead. They are dead, but retain most of their corporeal constraints � one happily missing constraint is hangovers after a night of heavy drinking — and their work is to "reap" the souls of the dead, though not for any apparent purpose.
So, they need money, food, a home, etc.; and they fall in love and are heartbroken when it's not reciprocated. They are, in other words, dead but not departed. They remain connected to the lives they left behind.
Not a bad thing to wake up to on your DVR, sipping your morning chai. I'd call it Existential Heaven.
[Existential Heaven |Dead Like Me | TV]
Rather than quietly delete all the chain emails I get from some relatives, I occasionally read them, out of respect for the people who send them. They're windows into the world I fled from, but still carry in my heart.
This particular chain email told the story of a man going to the masjid (mosque) for the fajr namaaz (pre-dawn prayer). He leaves home after performing wudoo (ablution), and, on his way, trips in the dark and falls. His clothes get dirty, so he returns home to clean up and change. He performs the wudoo once again before heading for the masjid. On his way, he falls a second time, and repeats what he did the first time. On his third attempt he finds a man holding a lamp, who says that, after seeing the man fall twice, he wanted to help him get to the masjid safely. Upon reaching the masjid, the man with the lamp refuses to go in. When the man asks why not after helping him get there, the man with the lamp explains that he is Satan, and that he had been causing the man to fall, but the first time he fell and returned home to cleanse himself, and headed for the masjid again, God forgave all his sins, which is what Satan wanted to thwart. The second time God forgave all the sins of everyone in the man's household. If the man had fallen a third time, then Satan was afraid that God might forgive the sins of the entire village, so he decided to help him get to the masjid.
The moral, the email claimed, was that one must not let Satan succeed by putting off the good that one intends to achieve, in the face of hardship. Struggling through the hardship could lead one to a reward of value.
My reading is a little different. It's that one does not need to go to the masjid in order to defeat Satan. And, if one easily makes it to the masjid, then chances are that one has accepted help from Satan. We know that Satan is cunning and does not give up, so it's foolish to believe that Satan has been defeated simply because he's helping you get to the masjid. It's more likely that he has changed his tactic. In other words, reaching the masjid is neither necessary, nor sufficient, for defeating Satan. He can only be defeated by one's actions in the world.
Hmmm...sounds a lot like karma, as described in the following quote attributed to Sai Baba of Shirdi, who is said to have been born of Hindu parents, and adopted and raised by Muslim:
If saying such stuff doesn't make me an "infidel," then I must rely on not believing in the literality of a singular, anthropomorphic God, whose sole messenger is Mohammed. However, I also have no reason to make it to the masjid, so have no need for Satan to help me get there. I do tend to leave my shoe laces untied, though, and often trip and fall, and get dirty. The primary ingredient of the soap I use to wash up is Islam. It's not a brand I consciously choose; I've never used anything else, and have never wanted to switch. I used to be allergic to it, but that has slowly subsided since I got out of the confines of the world of my birth.
[My del.icio.us: philosophy | karma | religion | Islam | infidel ]
A lot happened this year, apparently, but I know that a lot didn't happen this year. I guess that's the case with every year. Well, it ain't this year anymore, it's already next year, and I have an apartment full of hot men, asleep, who seem less bothered about my mess than I. One of them just knocked on my door to see why I was still awake.
The evening began with a nice albariño, and moved on to mojitos and tsunami cocktails, riding a sumptuous feast of fish and chicken curries, and chhole, and sambhar, and baked duck, and pork with sauerkraut, fueled with basmati rice and Italian and French breads.
We watched the episodes of Boondocks that I had taped, and laughed. I declared that Mr. McGruder deserved a Presidential Medal of Honor.
Chocolates and cookies also graced our palates off and on, and some folks left to seek the comfort of their own beds, but only after being entertained by the humor that the libations released from the rigors of our intellects.
A digit changed, but life remains the same. What more could I ask for, while I try like hell to be more like myself?
* TMAGC = The Movie About Gay Cowboys
Was I glad to have the good folks on TV tell me what I'd really be seeing before I went to see this movie! Without their investigative journalism, how would I know that its actual title was Brokeback Mountain, The Movie About Gay Cowboys? Calling it just Brokeback Mountain in the credits and the posters was of course a marketing ploy to draw in unsuspecting moviegoers wanting to see a sweeping, picturesque love story from the American West, where rugged sons of the frontier, like the Marlboro Man, once freely roamed. However, to be fair, even though they weren't regular cowboys, they smoked many a manly cigarette throughout the movie, so the advertising wasn't entirely false.
Come to think of it, the movie was a sweeping, picturesque love story from the American West. But, the cowboys weren't exactly roaming free. They worked for this guy, see, who put all sorts of rules on where they could go, and what they could do, and he decided whether and how much they'd get paid. As I said, they were not regular cowboys, no real sons of the frontier. So, anyways, well, there's now all this hype about this big Hollywood romantic epic. Not that I like these chick-flicks, but, if you gotta see one of those, there's no reason to pick one that's also tragic, now, is there?
You know what, though? I can't explain it, but the tragedy in this movie makes sense somehow. Maybe because it's not about regular cowboys. Hmmm...that Annie Proulx sure wrote a compelling story:
I'll never think of cowboys in the same way again -- maybe I will, but that's beside the point. Ang Lee has indeed made "a great American love story" that deserves a place among the best Hollywood romances. You can take my word for it, because my senses had to labor to accomodate this movie, just like they usually do when in the midst of a Hollywood movie experience. It's duly impeccable and heartfelt, with superlative performances...speaking of which, it was Heath Ledger's excellent performance that sustained my senses through the two-plus hours of not-so-unearned emotion.
What can I say? This genre doesn't do much for me, but the movie stayed with me despite that. Honestly, I'm not sure if I wanted to run out of the theater because it was predictably depressing or depressingly predictable. So there you have it. This movie ain't bad, but I'm not sure I liked it.
[My del.icio.us: film � movies | Annie Proulx | Ang Lee | Brokeback Mountain | Heath Ledger | Marlboro Man | Hollywood | gay | cowboys]