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The world needs saving but I have issues..


Again, a picture unrelated to the issue at hand other than it is one of the places I walk through or around every day, and at least some of those times, thoughts are in my head.

Been watching and mostly enjoying Flash Forward. For those who have not seen it, the concept is that almost everyone on Earth blacks out for a few minutes and has a vision of the same day in the future. Networks are set up to gather these visions and form a picture of that future.

Our main character played by Joseph Fiennes a typically self obsessed and tightly strung leading man, had a vision of being in his office under attack, and drunk. He is a self described alcoholic and has not had a drink in seven years. His vision has been particularly fruitful in providing leads as to the nature of this worldwide event but he has not let anyone know about the fact that he was drinking.

Now it is understandable that for him this is not something he wants to either come true, or to let anyone know. Yet once it comes out, all his so called friends and colleagues turn on him. Suddenly those productive leads are considered potentially worthless because he had been drinking in his vision.

This seems to be a common figure in contemporary melodrama; the alcoholic, the modern whore/madonna image in that he or she is pure as driven snow as long as they are not drinking but then as worthless as mud if they slip. They cease to be human but are mechanisms under complete thrall to demon rum; no will power at all once one drop of that magic potion hits their tongue; and as non drinkers they tend to be puritanical bores whose suffering is only matched by our own in having to put up with these ridiculous figures.

Thank god, there has been criticism of the whole concept of alcoholism, and that for most every problem drinker, moderate drinking is an attainable state. For a good read about the recovery movement and the history of this tiresome idea, take a look at Stanton Peele’s Diseasing of America.

But where I was going with this, and will have to continue on the next post, is that it seems to me that in this modern culture, at least in popular films and television (I would not venture to say this about people in real life), personal issues seem to override the good of society or of saving the world.  In Dark Knight, Batman is considering hanging up his vinyl suit because he is conflicted.  What seems to happen is that the world is hanging in balance as the hero risks it and every other life on the planet to save one special person.  Somehow I think this just was not happening in the old days.  The old heroes got their priorities straight..first you save the world, then you take care of yourself.  Superman in Superman Returns was a throwback in that respect and might be a big reason on why I found that to be a stronger film than Dark Knight.

To be continued…

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