Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Netflix and Chill: Cold Days

 It's been some snowy days here in the Inland NW. And the drifting, muffling snowscape gets one to thinking. And when the thinking gets too much—for not one of us is interesting enough to be alone with our thoughts for too long—I watch Netflix and chill. My mind releases those tangled thoughts and soon I'm watching show X, relaxing, not caring. Of course, I would have the luck to stumble upon a disquieting episode of the animated kind. 
The story goes something like this: a castle is haunted by monsters and the king of the land offers his daughter to anyone who would slay the monsters. Well, no one comes close and the bones of the vanquished a mountain they make. One day, a young man comes along and walks into the castle, and one by one, slays all the monsters. Except that when the monsters die, they take the form of children. The king and his people are shocked, and they duly hang the man despite his protests. End of story.

What follows is a lecture by a polyglot professor about the different versions of this story she unearthed throughout her career. In one, the man is a moor and he uses djinns to dispatch the monsters, and the townspeople try to hang him, but he escapes. In yet another version, he allies with the monsters and wreaks havoc upon the townspeople. 

Near the end, the professor stated that none of the stories offered hope, and thus it deserved to be buried—as it was in all the traditions she managed to find it in. But she didn't end it there. She went on a rant about the epidemic of happy endings today and how that hasn't prepared us for anything but going to the mall and not really that if we include the chickens coming home to roost in terms of shootings at the mall and not just that but also it hasn't prepared us for ISIS or anything really, and she was visibly sad and shaken by this world that had so turned on her, and she was losing hope, because at the end of the day even she showed her kids infantile happy endings. Why? What else could she do after a hard day's work where she only wanted a smile to go on? So what was one to make of a world as this, but that it was the sickest joke perpetuated by a sick creator?

At this point, quite taken aback, I was not certain if this rant was hers or part of the show or a continuation of the story. She ended it with that platitude: "Every hour wounds, the last one kills."

And that was it. The disquieting snow was still falling and I couldn't rid myself of the rock planted in my chest by this show. I found the next superhero show and started to forget. Perhaps it's the same for people as it is for a person: that one needn't know oneself (one's peoples) too much lest the knowledge inhibit good living.

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