Thursday, October 16, 2008


Life imitates the movies in cities where I hang my hat these days---New York, LA, and now Tokyo.  Wherever I look--on the streets, in the subways, in the parks--I am reminded of scenes and characters from movies I love.  During my last trip to Tokyo, as Jase and I soared through town on the elevated subway trains, I flashed back to the original Japanese version of the charming and funny ‘Shall We Dance’.  Vivid memories from the film of sleek trains whooshing back and forth overhead as the central character wanders the city streets below.   J & I amused ourselves by singing tunes (sotto voce—this was Tokyo, after all !!  no one sings in the subways....) we could remember from movies or Broadway musicals, further reinforcing the sense of being in fantasyland.

I think that's why I always had an empathetic affection for a character like Ronald Reagan, with whom, despite disagreeing with just about everything he stood for, I shared a common bond of  blurred distinction between cinematic fantasy and reality from time to time. 

Last night's presidential debate gave all of us a chance to take a final measure of the men who would be commander in chief.  Barack was coolly impressive, as usual, and McCain, despite several effective thrusts and parries, came across as a sad and desperate pol who had run out of new tricks and fallen back on the tired lame old slogans from yesterday's battles. 

I know I was not the only one who was disturbed by McCain's erratic behavior during the last 2 debates---the oddly timed smirks and facial tics, bug-eyed glares and contemptuous treatment of Barack.   For the better part of last evening, and sadly so, he brought to memory a film image I finally recognized, of a naval officer scarred by personal history, proud and patriotic, but under the stress of command reveals the most unappealing side of his essential self.  Yep, he’s one of my favorite movie characters of all time—Lt. Commander Philip Francis Queeg.  

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