I'm discovering the only problem with being an increasingly public person is increasing numbers of people are listening to my ravings, as those numbers increase, so is the likelhood some of them are just not going to like me. Not now, not ever. But that applies to every PCR writer, some of whom have raised the hackles on the public's neck, and heck, to any published writer or television pundit with a skeptical eye and ascerbic wit. Our more flamboyant filmmaker types have discovered these reactions also. Being able to handle this and move on separates those who are more likely than less likely to compete in the world of multi-media, let alone actually make it.
Now, of course I want to be loved, who doesn't? But if that can't be had, a good healthy dose of respect will do just fine. The holy grail would be both, but it's not very common--at least not for me.
Among other things I do to entertain myself at my dead-end convenience store part-time night job (the one with the number combination in the title), is to talk politics to whoever'll stand still long enough to let me jaw-jack with 'em. Now, 99 times out of 100 they leave after a few minutes with that smile that says "well, what does he know, look where he is". (These are folks without access to my website of course,...ahem, coff coff.) But once in a while.....once eeeeeeevery so often...I hit a nerve.
Case in point. My boss and I have rarely exchanged any more than the most casual pleasantries coming and going. After shift-change, I'm outta there. For some reason, last Saturday morning he heard me say I blamed our poor economy on George W. Bush and our involvement in Iraq. And he freaked. For over an hour we vigorously debated and he defended the current administration's policies on Iraq and that the economy cycles in ways no president has much power over; further, that our presence in the Middle-East could not help but have a peace-keeping effect on surrounding countries (I'm over-simplifying for the sake of brevity here, but that was the gist of it). I shot back with my usual conspiracy theories having to do with how the war was orchestrated for power and money, how the 9/11 terrorists have not yet been dealt with directly, how we were lied to to get the war underway, and that Hussein's capture has only led to more orange alerts (over-simplifying this, too, but you get it).
Fast-forward to Tuesday morning. 5:00am, the phone rings. I answer, "Good Morning, 7-Eleven" (God that's painful). A dark, menacing male voice on the other end --- no, not my boss's --- says, "Can I ask you a personal question?" I said, "I guess." He says, "Did you ever serve in the infantry?" I'm thinking, OK, this doesn't sound like a porno question. Graveyard shift phone calls are, you know, prone to that sort of thing. I said, "No. Who is this?" The menacer says, " This is (don't recall) of the (blah blah) infantry where I was a (blah blah) green beret/navy seal/special forces (or some such thing)." He commented something else I simply don't remember, but it was harshly judgemental in that "you-pinko-leftist-hippie" sort of vein. Struggling to keep cool I asked, "OK, so what does this have to do with 7-Eleven? I don't even know who you are." He retorts, "This is Sgt. Nathan (don't recall) and I was in (blah blah) of the special forces, and I did serve and I just want to make sure we're clear on that." CLICK.
"Make sure we're clear on that" sounded ominously like he wanted to make sure I know who the guy totin' the gun carrying the bullet with my name on it is. Not an explicit death threat, I grant you, but the closest I've ever come. And it had to be someone who heard my debate with the boss. Now.....which one of those drunken yahoos did I piss off? And worse--will this have a chilling effect on my rhetoric? NOT F&*KING LIKELY! However, I decided it might be more...prudent....to debate politics in a less public place. Hey, what can I say, I was provoked!
PCR's most prolific letter-writer turns "pro".
Moved to action by his mention as a most valuable player in the PCR year-end issue, Andy Lalino, award-winning filmmaker, and most worthy opponent to our own Terence Nuzum on movie minutiae matters, has taken the great leap forward by pledging us a weekly column called "Oddservations". Check out the first issue and get to know Andy. You probably won't agree with everything he says (I don't know anyone like that anyway), but you have to admit he's certifiably insane over the period most influential to his development as an artist: the '70s and early '80s. And he's a fanboy who cares (and "scares"). That's important.
WITH ANDY MOVED TO HIS OWN COLUMN, WE NEED MORE READERS TO GET CLICKING ON THOSE COMPUTER KEYS AND SEND IN CRAZED THOUGHTS TO OUR SCANDAL-STARVED LETTERCOL! YOU CAN DO IT!!!