February 17, 2005

A Modest Proposal

In 1729 Jonathan Swift proposed in a whimsical sort of way that the endemic social problems of Ireland could be permanently solved if only the good folk of the Emerald Isle would consider devouring their own offspring. If Swift had lived in contemporary America, the Goon suspects that he’d probably have written exactly the same essay, only without the irony.

The 2002 movie Orange County was not a massively well-received, nor even a particularly successful film. But in the drear and gloomy isolated college town (equipped with plenty of creaking belfries, ambulatory lunatics, ‘Smoothie’ bars etc.) wherein the Goon resides, it was a big hit amongst the normally catatonic student population. As a matter of fact, the local Formica-encrusted Movieplex let students come in to watch it for free for a few evenings. Succumbing as always to the ineluctable curse of natural curiosity, I rented a copy. And stared straight into the face of blackest evil.

Shaun Brumder is saddled with a vapid, pill-popping mother, a Christopher-Hitchens-esque father, a worthless stoner of a brother and a sweet-natured, bone-stupid girlfriend named Ashley who’s obsessed with fluffy animals. Strangely enough, he finds his life to be just a trifle unsatisfactory. Then he finds a book buried in the sand on a local beach. He reads it: it is magnificent. It makes him laugh, and teaches him how to dream. And it hints at the existence of a world beyond the blow-dried vacuity of suburban California.

This experience leads Shaun to reach the entirely sensible conclusion that it’s time he got the fuck out of Dodge. So he trudges off to Stanford in search of his new favorite author, who teaches there. Various monotonous teenage hijinks ensue that are too pedestrian to bother recounting. But the upshot of it all is that our hero realizes that Home (however unspeakably vile) is Where The Heart Is after all. The last scene puts him back on the beach where he first found his treasured volume. He promptly re-buries it, and then declares to his dumb honky beachmates, with a declarative passion usually reserved for marriage proposals and Shakespearean elegies, "I’m gonna go surfin’!" And the crowd of slack-jawed sophomores goes wild.

Film is the most powerful medium for propaganda that humanity has yet devised. The Nazis understood this; Americans apparently do too. The only difference seems to be this – the message of German propaganda films from the 1930s was "Foreigners are evil! Hide from them!" Orange County has an only superficially less contemptible moral: Don’t even think about deviating from your upbringing in even the very tiniest of ways. And for God’s sake, whatever you do don’t read anything.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have given up you damn fool! Quitter! Quitter!

8:11 PM, April 12, 2005  
Blogger LordGoon said...

Au contraire, I have merely been going through an abnormally cheery period in my otherwise destitute existence, and resources of bile have proven hard to summon up. Things will rectify themselves before long, of that I have few doubts.

10:01 PM, April 12, 2005  
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5:11 AM, August 25, 2005  
Blogger edbrooks48647966 said...

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11:36 AM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger LordGoon said...

The insertion of a large carving knife into my urethra.

An evening spent watching four uninterrupted episodes of the _Tonight Show_ .

Diptheria.

A job on Dick Cheney's PR team.

Pursuit by a pack of hungry leopards.

A sandwich containing live bees, and a grilled human finger.

All of these ordeals I would rather endure than having to read a single entry from some weblog about the daily life of a park ranger.

But hey, thanks for asking.

1:31 PM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger LordGoon said...

And by the way, what the galloping Jesus did you mean by the statement that you find my weblog "inquisitive?" Surely the furry beasts and birdies of the American wilderness deserve better company than that of a functional illiterate.

1:34 PM, February 08, 2006  

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