oneirophrenia: (Swank Terminator)
Just watched an exceptionally good film called Lightning Bug which, like a similar exceptional film by the name of Million Dollar Baby, I will never be able to watch again.

The film concerns a young southern feller by the name of Green Graves (excellent name, BTW), who wants to be a special FX makeup artist in Hollywood and ends up working on the town Spook House. But he lives with his tragick, though ultimately worthless, mother and his younger brother, who gets a bit too into the local church. Then there's the absolute piece of shit "stepdad," Earl, and the tightassed local church lady--whose daughter, played by the eminently gorgeous Laura Prepon (who also produced the film) who just looks unimaginably pretty as a proto-goth girl, Green becomes involved with. This is one of those films that is ultimately, in a way, uplifting...but getting there is unbelievable torture. Cathartic torture, indeed...but it all just strikes a little too close to home for me.

See...I know how small towns with their useless--and I do mean useless--redneck residents can strangle you. This film is about ultimately escaping from that, but...in order to escape, you sometimes have to literally strip yourself to the bone. And while that's never been a thing I've had to do--luckily--I finally went through it by seeing so much of myself in Green Graves. I've had the fortune to grow up in an old coal patch, son of the vicious Croat and Slovene races, both of whom take no shit from anyone; and in my life I've simply never had to deal with the usual bigotry and stupidity of small towns. My ancestors were the victims of that, but they survived and never passed it on to their descendants. I may have a church in my backyard, but never once have I ever felt its shadow lying hard and heavy upon my back. And I may live just up the street from worthless redneck garbage, but that garbage has never filthied my yard or shat up my porch--it knows better. You fuck with a Pegritz and we will smite thee unto the twentieth generation. I am very lucky: I grew up with the best of what small town life has to offer, and none of the worst.

I'll tell you one thing, though...this film has proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the subsapient DNA trash that calls itself "southerners" in this country are so far beneath my contempt as to be less than roaches. Now, this of course doesn't mean that I think all people from below the Mason-Dixon line are worthless--I've met plenty of exceptions to the rule, and naturally they will be exempt from the coming pogrom (y'all know who you are). But had I an ounce of godlike power, once I got my relatives and friends (and, of course, their loved ones as well) out of there, I would burn the entire southern and midwestern regions of this country bare of all life. Every remaining man, woman, child, cow, and sheep. Most of the bacteria, too. The sky would be blackened for a century with their ashes.

I'd also like to burn a church to the ground right about now. Preferably with its congregation still in it.

But I will do none of these things. I will let the rage and hatred burn through me and pass on as smoke and words. Films like this are made to enlighten, and nothing is more purifying than rage and hatred: it brings to light by its burning that which needs eliminated...but, at the same time, it warns you to rise above the slop of common "humanity" and its curdled memes lest you become no better than it is. One of the reasons I'm a teacher is that it lets me stamp out ignorance constructively and lets me rage against common, allzumenschliche stupidity in a way that can possibly build up the stupid rather than just rubbing them out. But don't get me wrong: if I had half the fucking chance, I'd do my share of rubbing.

Oh, hell...never mind my kneejerk redneck-hatin'--I know I'm one of 'em, too...just a strange kind of redneck. Who wants to be a Goth-boy robot. It's a very moving film. Y'all need to see it.

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oneirophrenia

April 2007

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