To the Editor:
This year’s Academy Awards ceremonies included several films that had predictable endings, since they were based on true incidents. Films such as Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, and Argo (which ended up receiving the Oscar for Best Picture), told stories of events with which most moviegoers were familiar. These films were not documentaries, hence the “historical accuracy” was tweaked somewhat in order to enhance the dramatic value, and to give audiences the cinematic experience they have come to expect in such films.
But how do such movies retain the tension, the drama, and the excitement when the outcome is not in question? First, the stories themselves are riveting, well-scripted, and masterfully presented via the collaboration of actors, directors, cinematographers, editors, special effects experts, etc. Another reason may be found in a variation of a well-known quote: “It’s the journey, not the destination.” While the precise attribution of this quote is debatable, the application has great merit – both in the movie business, and in life.
Since we’re all going to die, that, too, is a predictable end. Yet, few can deny that life itself holds the answers to what gives meaning: the journey, both metaphorical and literal. How do we get from “Here” to “There.” What do we do with our lives? How do we function as human beings occupying the planet with over six billion other humans – not to mention insects, and all the components of nature? What choices do we make... and what are the consequences? Is it really all about love?
When asked the question, “What is the opposite of love,” most people automatically say, “hate.” To demonstrate this concept to a group of high school students, I used an example I had seen at a workshop: a line made of flexible plastic was placed across a table with the word love taped at the beginning, and hate at the end – as far apart as could be. Then the line was bent into a circle, and at the juncture, Love and Hate were right next to each other. The point was that they were extremes of an emotion that comes from the same place. One can turn into the other in a moment. The experiment ended with “hate” being replaced by “fear” – winning narrowly over “indifference” – so said the majority.
While the meaning and manifestations of the term, love, were close to unanimous, agreement on the opposite was more of a challenge. I have been thinking about this – especially lately, especially in the aftermath of the recent tragedy here, creating darkness, obstructing the journey of our town; a journey towards healing, the need for the light provided by kindness, understanding, cooperation, and good sense. It seems that following the incredible outpouring of love for this town from around the world, a thick black fog has descended. Smells like gun powder. Makes me choke.
Some of the recent “performances” by gun advocates have been Oscar-worthy. Unlike Hollywood, this ending is unpredictable. Looking for a Love Story...but it feels like Fear.
173 Boggs Hill Road, Newtown February 27, 2013