Sunday, June 14, 2015

Novel Novocaine

Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Bay are developing a movie about Rwanda’s Cycling Team, on whom Labann reported in 2013. Sure, must be time for a big budget blockbuster on competitive cycling, considering how much it’s been in the news, often for the wrong reasons. International pelaton lives in a narcissist bubble; even traffic is shut down so they can serve selves. Not to forget deprived youth who collectively do far more pedaling, Dope (2015, Rick Famuyiwa, dir.) is a post hip-hop comedy arriving at theaters this Summer (limited release on Juneteenth) in which black teens on BMX bikes roaming Inglewood, CA come of age; garnered acclaim at Cannes and Sundance. Last year’s allegorical fantasy The Giver (Philip Noyce, dir.) is set in a future supposedly without emotion or pain, though everyone is given a bicycle, chief form of transportation, on their 9th birthday and relegated to a slave role on their 18th. Retirement is no issue; once you’re used up you’re tidily sent elsewhere, as are infants who don’t measure up. You’d have to take drugs daily to be so compliant to rules and impervious to bicycling’s many discomforts. One pill a day will make you small.

In all cases based on what’s actually happening in today's society, actors with imaginary names will stand in for actual persons, who are always the real stories. Novels and screenplays magically indemnify authors and producers against liability when narratives make some antagonists upon whom they are based look bad. On occasions, authorities have been known to locate sources and prosecute if a movie raises public’s hackles. Directors and novelists receive awards and rewards for doing so. Documentarians and journalists generally get suits filed against them by lawyers in suits, because it’s all about disseminating spin, maintaining appearances, and never portraying truth. Ask filmmaker Michael Moore, called a creep for making almost undeniable observations. That’s how illogic can win, by renouncing the messenger when you can’t refute the message.

Novels aren’t always new. Neither are movies. Many are written to formulas: Hacks plug in different names and places and, voilà, escapism. Some psychologists criticize them for their linear rigidity and rhetorical manipulation of readers. Yet some argue that fiction describes reality better than nonfiction, because too few who diarize, journalize, or pen memoirs stick to unvarnished facts, rather color observations with bias or hyperbole, as do fisherman who exaggerate size of catches, and politicians who manufacture legacies for themselves. It’s clear that all writing ultimately derives from actual experiences embellished less or more by imagination. Nevertheless, spend 75% of time concentrating on nonfiction books per se, maybe in the hope of discovering something both factual and useful. Not one convinces anyone of its reality, but each may raise questions worth asking.

Books represent arbitrary conventions, blogs, one-sided opinions. Nothing really occurs in life as described, because words don’t exactly equal lives, which tend to drag along boringly until punctuated by crises. Only events get described to telescope narrative time or readers skip ahead. Absorb stories even faster from films; saw tens of thousands over 5 decades. Logic remains the biggest victim of tall tales. Society always urged reading and writing for money, so obliged. Researching and writing over 500 books instilled a deep dissatisfaction with almost everything except honest essentials. Sorry if that makes Labann hard to get along with, but you can always escape into psychotropic bliss should entertainment not fill your craving abyss.

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