Also, has anyone else realised that Gran Torino is a Western?

I’ve been doing some reading about genre, right, for two essays that I should be writing at this very moment, that will pop round and soundly kick my ass later in the week.

Firstly, genre is a fairly fluid thing. I mention this only because after reading so much I don’t want to give the nerdly overlords of the interwebs the idea that I think genre is really easily summupable. Early genre theorists would have us believe that there is a like, five or six definite genres, and the lines between them are clear and the point of them is either to help audiences clarify their expectations, help advertisers and such promote shows and films appropriately or to help establish the quality of a certain text, as compared to others of its genre. But the idea of genre is reasonably complicated.

That isn’t exactly what I wanted to talk about, but reading this article about how genre can be obvious from any number of things, setting, characterisation, casting, plot etc gave me an idea. It mentioned the hero in the Western. He (sorry for the gender crap, but that’s how it goes) is traditionally removed from the society he unwillingly exists in, but at some point fights to save this society, then rides off into the sunset* because he is forever at odds with the man, or the establishment. Or prairie living or some such.

And I realised that Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino is EXACTLY THAT HERO. Which, I think, is a nice little remix on the traditional western.

*the article mentioned death as another possible scenario here, the main point being that the hero is removed from the scene.

Things I’m Average at No. 119: Knowing Shit About Shit*

Things happen all the time

Like, all the time. Some of them are bad, some are fun and some are awful. I, as it turns out, know very little about any of them. I have vague sort of opinions about stuff, about what I think is wrong and what is right. For one thing I think Tony Abbott should maybe stop opening his mouth and for another I think the extent to which we have fucked up our environment is a little hysterical.

When soldiers from Israel board a boat of activists and people wind up dead, that is horrifying. What people do to each other is grotesque, sometimes.

This particular tragedy brought to the fore how little I know about what is actually going on the world. It was seriously like “Israel? Right..They’re not the goodies. No. Are they in, Iraq? Or just near it..”. That is how poor my grasp on important gear is.

My ignorance is actually legendary. Well, no. It’s not, but within my head (and I choose to assume the heads of those I live with) it is sung about in halls where Vikings drink mead and toast the gods. When someone says they are an engineer, I still need a moment to imagine them doing anything but shovelling coal into a train engine in stripey overalls and a tall hat.

Except, as a sort of qualifier to the first statement, I do know shit about, like, actual shit. As in useless bits of bellybutton fluff info that no one cares about. Like I know a little som’ som’ about vagazzling, I know about snail slime, and I know the lyrics to just about every Celine Dion song (thank you mum) that exists.

So in summation, if you asked what the song “A New Day Has Come” is about, I would mention how it’s a break out classic, layering the themes of motherhood and a re-blossoming career side by side and that quite frankly, it gives me goosebumps. If, however, you were to ask me who Foucault is, I would respond with “ooh. Um.. Politics? Philosphy. He wrote… like, something big. Ish”.

Prioritise much?

*This particular item is not actually no 119 in a long list of things I’m average at. 119 is an arbitrary number chosen to give the impression that the things I am average at are so numerous, that were I to chronicle them the list that would result would be lengthy and its contents numbering beyond 119 and increasing exponentially as my self awareness about my deficits grow.