Sunday, September 5, 2010

Film and TV Conversations

"You don't own a television?" my friend asked incredulously.

"It's true," I said.

"Don't you feel like you're...missing out?"

“On what?”

He just raised an eyebrow and moved on to another subject. The next several times we got together he’d grill me on whether I’d heard some bit of local news or headline; the times that I hadn’t, he’d observe, “Ah, not keeping up, are we?”

Being a chap who makes his living on web sites, I then started keeping tabs on news in my pal’s part of town via online channels; then I would ask him about it. After a few exchanges when it became apparent that I knew more about his local news than he did, the harassment coming back my way stopped.

It’s easy to keep up with events without recourse to a tool that transforms you into a passive receptacle.


Another time a colleague queried me about my taste in items from the cinema after I talked about enjoying one of the Tolkien movies.

“Sean, you like war films,” she began, “but you stay away from movies that romantic scenes between couples.”

“That’s true enough,” I replied.

“Don’t you see the inconsistency in that?”

“How so?” I asked.

“They both are realistic depictions of life events, but you object to only one of them. Why do you boycott one and not the other?”

“I certainly don’t like gratuitous violence,” I said. “But fight scenes are still dramatized things; it’s not hard for me at least to recognize the acting of a combat scene.”

“But can’t you say the same thing about love scenes between couples?”

“Well,” I replied, “not really. After all, you can pretend to be dead; you can’t pretend to be naked.”

I won the round, though my friend kept on with her preferred entertainment choice.


Folks close to me recognize that I seldom go to the movies anyway, and when I do my taste in films is, compared to theirs, sedate. I try to take a polite interest in their movie-going – it’s natural enough with folks you care about to ask what they’re up to and how they enjoyed some outing or activity.

One person, though, got into the habit of telling me. “Let’s not talk about this Sean – you’d be offended by this movie.”

Optimistically this change of subject was an act of courtesy towards me. It also put the onus on me as the killjoy. But I was having none of it: that some people have so saturated their appetites with a taste for amoral worldly themes was a reflection on their compromised preferences, not on any undue sensitivity on my part. So after receiving this treatment a few times, I finally answered, “Well, I’m offended only by offensive things.”

Ever since the change-of-topic mantra is now simply, “I don’t think this is a film you would enjoy.” Fair enough; I can live with that.


Kindred Spirit said...

Such witty comebacks! This is one of my favorite posts, Sean; and I think that it should really be filed under your "Gnomish Wisdom" heading. Tolkien would be proud. :)

Sean said...

Done. Very kind.