The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Shooter" (2007)

Tony Snow’s cancer has spread to his liver. That’s not even slightly funny, and politics aside, prayers are in order. I wish him well.
The question of the stages of life as they relate to gender are certainly fascinating…and potentially divisive. The following thought I found useful, though:
“I think the old woman needs to learn to separate herself from her role as mother, grandmother, etc. To gain some distance from the family. Not to love them less, but achieve some equanimity with respect to the relationships that defined her. Difficult to negotiate and achieve. To learn how to be alone without being lonely.__I believe these two stages of the journey are mostly for women.”
Phrased this way, yes they are. However, all human beings must learn to separate themselves from all roles. Men have traditionally taken care of the things OUTSIDE the home…and with retirement, and simple age-related incapacity, must learn to cease identifying themselves with those roles. Those who cannot die within a year of retirement. Ultimately, all external definitions fail.
Saw “Shooter,” Mark Wahlberg and director Antoine Fuqua’s new action thriller with serious political overtones. I thought it rocked, but had very definite anti-government leanings that might prevent some from enjoying the fantasy of a lone Marine fighting to clear his name. Interesting that Fuqua is the third black director Wahlberg has worked with: F. Gary Grey (“The Italian Job”) and John Singleton (that odd “black exploitation flick with a white star” “Four Brothers.”) Must be that old Marky Mark magic. Interesting, in the light of our discussions about black sexuality in film, that in none of these does Marky get laid. It’s almost as if the directors are saying: “O.K.—if I can’t have black men having sex, and have to pick up my big paychecks with white stars (directors get approximately 5% of the budget) then I ain’t showing your pale ass either.”
Kinda funny…

At any rate, "Shooter" deals with a Marine sniper (an intense Wahlberg) who is pulled into a web of intrigue, and set up as an accused assassin. He spends 9/10 of the movie trying to clear his name, and that's about all I'll say. Great fun, well-staged action, and some hilariously satisfying conspiracy theory stuff. Tananarive and I were howling. Give it a very solid "B"
“24” was great fun last night. I have to admit that if Wayne Palmer dies, my interest in the show decreases. Two seasons ago, “24” had three really strong, intelligent black male characters. Then they killed David Palmer. Then they killed CTU agent Curtis Manning. Both with throat shots, both episodes broadcast on MLK day. That was tasteless as hell. Now Wayne is near death. If he dies, it is impossible for me to look at this as other than deliberate insult. I grew up watching movies where black characters died protecting white people. Maybe I’m being too sensitive…but can anyone out there remember a television show in which every white male character died? Anyone? Ever? In 60 years of television?
How much time does the average person spend preparing food and eating it in a day? It occurred to me that the whole IF thing, if it pans out, doesn’t include another fascinating statistic: if the average person spends, say, 3 hours a day eating and preparing food, then that person would save 45 hours a month by going IF—another work week, which is great if you love your work. An additional 12 work weeks a year is another 3 MONTHS every year. That’s 25% increase in useful time on top of the 30-40 percent increase in life span, in addition to the increase in health, energy, healing factors, sexual energy, decreased obesity…
Of course, the IF program is not for children, so some of the benefits of saving time are lost if you have a family. But this is looking spectacularly interesting, if the data holds up. Actually, this is looking like the single most exciting development in health I’ve ever seen.
On the subject of adulthood, Wikipedia (God, I love it!) lists the following attributes of an adult:

. Self-control - restraint, emotional control.
. Stability - stable personality, strength.
. Independence - ability to self-regulate.
. Seriousness - ability to deal with life in a serious manner.
. Responsibility - accountability, commitment and reliability.
. Method/Tact - ability to think ahead and plan for the future, patience.
. Endurance - ability and willingness to cope with difficulties that present themselves.
. Experience - breadth of mind, understanding.
. Objectivity - perspective and realism.
Look at the following:
1) A career that brings personal satisfaction, financial reward and social contribution.
2) A healthy, energetic body that YOU would find sexually alluring (modified for age, of course. But I can think of no good reason not to be in the top 5% of your age group in fitness and health!)
3) A healthy, passionate relationship with a mature adult Significant Other.
4) A bountiful inner life of prayer and meditation as a daily pattern.

I would think that a person who can accomplish those four things is an adult in almost any meaningful sense of the word. Certainly, a woman who negotiates with her partner to remain home with the kids is exactly as contributory as the one who makes the living—I’m not trying to put down Domestic service at all. A man who stays home while his WIFE goes out to earn a living will have a bit more trouble being respected by the world, however—I’ve seen some real problems crop up there. In multiple cases, the problem was that the woman stopped being attracted to him, and started affairs with a dynamic man at work. Ah well…
I keep trying to zero in on the most critical aspects of this whole “The young person grows up, and the old person faces death” (satisfied, Suzanne?) aspect of the structure of myth and fiction. I can feel pretty confident on the first aspect. I would say that if you have the following things, you’ve made it:
1) An accurate reality map, and a way to test it to failure.
2) An accurate assessment of where you are in your life’s journey.
3) A clear set of balanced goals.
4) The ability to tell the truth.
5) The ability to keep your word…especially to yourself.
6) Empathy for other human beings.

I think that children rarely have any of these things. And by inference, working to develop these attributes is a gateway to adulthood.

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