March 10th, 2003

flavored with age

Something about comics

Last night I spoke to two friends in San Francisco (on general principles) and a friend in Phoenix (because he's getting married), and for some reason, in the course of all three conversations, the Hulk was mentioned. I don't know if something about me draws people into conversations about the Hulk, or whether I just happen to know a lot of people who are peripherally interested in the Hulk, but it just struck me as sort of odd. I have a feeling that at my funeral, Galactus will be mentioned in the eulogy.

The great thing about the Hulk (and here I refer to the retarded "bah, why puny humans not leave Hulk alone" version) is that he was not only the most powerful creature on earth, but was also completely guileless. He smashed, he crushed, he singlehandedly sustained the construction trade in the southwestern United States for decades, and you couldn't really get too upset because, hey, Hulk just wanted to be left alone. No matter how many times he came around to wreck up the place, you really just had to roll your eyes and sigh and bust out the Swiffer, because, well, he couldn't help it. You were dealing with the World's Strongest Special Needs Child.

And, of course, this gave him carte blanche to mock people's appearance openly and still come across as sympathetic. No matter how often he called people Rock Face, Green Hair or Metal Head, they just chuckled indulgently. I mean, if I called my co-workers Walrus Face or Girl Hands, I'd get fired in five seconds flat, and probably punched as well. But the Hulk could get away with it, because he didn't know any better.

Also because he could turn you into free-floating bone powder with a flick of his wrist.
flavored with age

Something about movies

Saw "Scotland, PA" last night, the adaptation of 'Macbeth' set in 1970s small-town Pennsylvania where there's Bad Company on every stereo and what's at stake is a dinky fast food restaurant. It wasn't without its flaws, but all in all it was a pretty damn good little movie: a bunch of terrific performances, plenty of funny moments, great '70s set design and feel, and a successful evocation of the source material in all the salient points.

Christopher Walken was it it. He's even creepy when he's trying not to be. His character (he played the relentless MacDuff as a new-agey vegetarian police detective, forever making jokes that don't get off the ground and listening to self-help tapes in his little car) is simultaneously single-minded and hapless. and the last shot of the movie is a bathetic hoot.

Good movie, says I. Somehow it escapes the "no Shakespeare adaptation gets made unless Julia Stiles is in it" rule. I'm thinking of writing a Shakespeare adaptation myself, just to annoy people.
flavored with age

Something about books

I went to Powell's yesterday with an agenda. I usually don't do this; I usually go book-shopping with a catch-as-catch-can mentality, willing to take home whatever grabs my eye. However, I've been doing some unusually focused reading lately, and I made a list:

- "Intimate Revolt", Julia Kristeva
- "Surprised by Sin: The Reader in 'Paradise Lost'", Stanley Fish
- "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", Thomas Kuhn
- "Contingency, Irony and Solidarity", Richard Rorty
- "Government", B. Traven

Needless to say I ended up with none of these. I picked up a Stanley Elkin novel and a book on the modern political history of the Gulf states, and went home and read about Nazis, weeping like a woman the whole time. Well, weeping like a very mannish woman, who is weeping over her inability to purchase a couple of books by postmodernist philosophers. Those kinds of tears are rare indeed, but no less real.