You can go right to the new parts here. There’s a bit more to come in this chapter.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Alanis recently, though mostly not “Jagged Little Pill,” which was very popular (#1 album of the 1990s, #1 album ever by a female artist) but isn’t really very good. Her more recent albums, though nowhere near as popular, have been much better. She has an annoying banshee wail of a voice, the tendency to sing her own lyrics as if she isn’t familiar with the English language and doesn’t know how to inflect it, a deep sense of the responsibility of her position in the world, and a sense of humor that nobody seems to notice (listen to “Eight Easy Steps,” and how can you miss the fact that the jokes are all on her?). What’s not to like?
I just saw an interview with Kevin Smith where he reported that he teared up when she played “Still” for him the first time. It plays over the closing credits of the movie “Dogma” (in which she plays God) and it is a very moving song, about how awful people often are, and (by implication) how much better they could be:
I am the harm which you inflict.
I am your brilliance and frustration.
I’m the nuclear bombs if they’re to hit.
I am your immaturity and your indignance.
I am your misfits and your praised.
I am your doubt and your conviction.
I am your charity and your rape.
I am your grasping and expectation.
I see you averting your glances.
I see you cheering on the war.
I see you ignoring your children,
And I love you still.
And I love you still.
By the way, after writing this entry, I thought of another question in “Dogma” which is answered by the end of the movie (or, as Smith would have it, the “flick”). Bethany is complaining to a co-worker about men, the other woman wonders if she’s thinking of “joining the other team,” but Bethany says that women are insane. Her friend says that she needs to go back to church and ask God for another option.
This question is answered by the end of the movie as well.
Later: A friend recently asked why I disliked the movie “American Beauty” so much (I had said that I thought it was the worst of the Best Picture Oscar nominees the year it won). I said:
It was meretricious (a favorite word of my father’s). It pretended to depth that it didn’t have, it pretended to concern about the female characters which it certainly didn’t have, it posed serious questions about life and gave pretentious answers consisting mainly of flapdoodle, it had preposterous and arbitrary plot developments (beware of movies where one character needs money and another suddenly happens to have a lot of it for no good reason except that it makes the plot work), it had mechanical character development (the rigid Army man turns out to be a closeted and repressed gay, the “fast” girl turns out to be a scared virgin, etc.), it deplored the middle-aged man’s lust for the aforementioned “fast” girl, but it encouraged the audience to feed the same way about her that he does.
That’s all I remember, but I think there was more.
By the way, I allow the “sudden appearance of convenient cash” in Kevin Smith’s last movie (“Clerks II”) because it was a comedy, and because (for those who were paying attention) the existance of the money had been clearly established in a previous movie. As I indicated in a blog entry, Smith is a much more careful writer than his “dick and fart jokes” image would suggest.