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Friday, December 30, 2011

Bored and Disgusted

For perhaps the first time in my life, I am totally bored with movies, and books, and feel like all of fiction and film ought to be tossed out the window and stomped to tears of paper and sherds of plastic discs, turned into mulch (of only something so useful could be made of it all) and used to manure a garden of marigolds. 

Mission Impossible 4 wasn't that bad, nor was the latest Sherlock Holmes flick, but how many explosions and perfectly-executed acts of specially effects enhanced daring-do can one stomach?  I find myself already bored to tears with my Amazon Prime membership a bare two weeks after starting it--the free offerings are mostly musty old Hollywood movies of the sing a song, do a dance, have standard love triangle and hijinx ensue sort, and the newer, screw this person, screw that person, have heart to heart with gay best friend, finally fall into bed with Mr. Right genre.  It's all thoroughly banal.

And then in print, I read into the early morning hours only to be betrayed by an author I've been broadcasting to friends and family as a new favorite: Boris Akunin, writes in Russian yet isn't depressing.  Yet his last mystery, Sister Pelagia and the Red Cockerel, has him trying to outmaster the Master and Margarita, with its sudden veer into the supernatural, the superstitious, the ahistorical, and the weirdly blasphemous (or is that giving him too much credit).  For volumes his "female Father Brown" has been carefully sleuthing, balancing faith and reason, finding rational explanations for seemingly irrational phenomena, leading us on a tour of 19th-century provincial Russia, presenting in a microcosm, like Miss Marple's equally removed St. Mary Mead, the types and archetypes, the villains and saints of that time and place in history, offering the author chances to examine the cultural and political developments since from the viewpoint and in the words of his bygone characters.  Now, in this last adventure he sends these characters scurrying off to St. Petersburg and the Holy Land, interacting with a neo-Sodom settlement of happy homosexuals financed by an American philanthropist and a proto-Israeli commune operating in strange accord with its Circassian warlord neighbors, following a Holy Fool who might be Jesus who's been transported to 19th-century rural Russia via a system of time-warping caves with the unwitting assistance of a red rooster.  Akunin's hitherto reasonable, if impetuous nun tracks this Emmanuel from peasant village to the Garden of Gethsemane,  all the while pursued by a rabid band of zealot assassins dispatched by a member of the Holy Synod who want to get rid of this "antiChrist" while at the same time murdering numbers of other people, mostly bystanders of mixed innocence and ignorance.  It's wacko, like Akunin must have gotten tired of the careful, beautiful research and writing that distinguished his previous work and just decided to throw everything into a huge overheated boiler and damn the torpedoes, whatever nonsense came out, just so long as everyone died or was miserable or unaccounted for at the end, and some pseudophilosophical blather was spouted, well, so be it.

Pah.  A lesson on me.  Every unhappy family or film or book is all alike, ultimately dehumanizing in some way, and to dwell on it further is useless. 

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