As I emerged from the porch of Santa Croce, I was seized with a fierce palpitation of the heart; the wellspring of life was dried up within me, and I walked in constant fear of falling to the ground. – Nineteenth century French author Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle)
Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there
I’ve thought about Bob Dylan’s song “Not Dark Yet” for over ten years now. Ever since a lonely plane ride back from Texas, where I’d just help relocate my best friend. Some moments press down a sadness and leave a mark. Songs are like that, too.
“Boring,” “boorish,” and (my personal favorite) “profoundly terrible” are some of the nicer descriptors that can be found in the reviews of the Wachowski siblings’ latest movie. At just over two hours, this space-opera-cum-heroic-fantasy is acknowledged as visually appealing with its impressive special effects, but declared decidedly drab in the plot department. Worse than merely drab, however, some of the more literary minded commenters pronounce Jupiter, the main character, as nauseatingly implausible. Now, while I do agree with them that Jupiter is most definitely not a classical hero, I wonder at our underlying assumptions of heroism that leave some of us with the feeling that Jupiter got the crap side of the stick in this movie.
Somewhere between Philadelphia and Baltimore there is a poorly marked road. It is a suspicious dirt path lined with tall trees. While a normal person would perceive the sound of the wind rustling through the trees as one of the God-given gifts of nature, I understand it to be the spirit of the forest whispering an ominous and scratchy, “Get out!” My parents, however, are braver than I am, and we keep driving until we reach a wooden sign in the shape of a giraffe that reads “Zoo.”