Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thisaway & Thataway

I think the best way to begin this is to state, for the record, that my thoughts (and conversations at work prove this) are best mapped if you compare them to an episode of the Simpson's.

You might think that the main story line is going to be about selling chocolate at school, but in actuality it's all about how Abraham vanquished the Capital city bull...or something, and along the way you get to see Maggie doing something cute, Lisa doing something smart, and Bart being Bart.

Also, my brain never sleeps.

You see, I woke up wondering what is to become of "clockwise" and "counter-clockwise" when we've gone so far into the future that everything is digital. Oh laugh at me now, but back in 1999 I had to teach a student of mine how to read the analog clock in my classroom. I taught 7th grade. She was also not alone in believing/understanding how the 9 could possibly equal 45 minutes, just the only one to actually voice this out loud. It was both funny and disturbing. The class of 2004 (oh my, really? They're that old now?!) grew up only knowing digital clocks and watches. (I know I promptly went out and got my baby brother a Mickey Mouse ANALOG watch, just to hedge my bets a little.)

So...what's it to be then? I know, I know, there were ways of saying clockwise and counter-clockwise before clocks, but um, do they trip off your tongue? Or did you just google them the way I did? (Sunwise is a favorite, as is "deiseil." And "senestrel" or "weddershins" for the counter, which I should have known, it being in so very many Discworld novels (turnwise being it's opposite). I commented as much on Facebook when someone put up a link to this video - which is super informative on it's own. That's when the title of this post was brought up. Simple enough, really.

Which then led me to ponder the movie I saw last night. (I did warn you.)

So I got out! And watched Cowboys & Aliens. What can I say, the lure of Han Solo AND 007 (not that I've actually watched any of the new ones) in the same movie was too much of a temptation. And if you love rough men trying to out-gravely-voice one another? This is so your movie.

It's not getting very good reviews though, well, fair-middlin', but with the stars and the storyline? You'd think more people would like it. But there is just something in the film that keeps you just on "this side" of giving it that 4th star or the A-. I think I've figured out what that is: there are only black hats in the movie.

I thought at first that the incident with 007's hat was put in for comic effect. That man surely did love his ill-gained hat. A black hat, no less. But it hit me somewhere in my "weddershins" thoughts that that was the point. The western films and tee vee shows I grew up watching were ALWAYS the good, the bad, and the ugly. Or the cowboys vs the Indians. Or the black hats against the white hats. And there it is; you can always tell who the villains are because they wear the black hats! But here? The hero? He was very much not a nice man. Neither was Han, nor the aliens. Where, then, is the white hat that to whom can put our movie-audience-good-juju? It throws you off kilter. Just when you think you know who the "good guy" is, it turns out he's not, or he dies, or he gets lassoed by aliens, or his fingernails are just so icky-dirty that you hope the alien does get him!

It messes with your head.

But still, I liked the movie. Possibly because it messes with your head. It seems society doesn't get entertained by sappy/over-the top/happy endings anymore - there would be fewer talk shows/reality tv and more soap opera/princess movies if we did. So maybe that's what they were going for. Most cowboys weren't Roy Rodgers, and what good are aliens if they're not out to get us! Decades of Star Trek have taught us that! (I may be watching "Enterprise" for the first time ever, currently, but what little coolness points I've accumulated won't actually let me admit it.)

Happy Saturday!