Showing posts from April, 2020

Life in the Circular Ruins

Death and the Compass "It's like a plate of shrimp," explains a would-be philosopher in Alex Cox's 1984 movie  Repo Man . "You think about a plate of shrimp and somebody says plate or shrimp, or plate of shrimp. " It's an attempt to explain what he calls the "lattice of coincidence" that lies atop the world, available to us only in glimpses as we fleetingly tap into the cosmic unconsciousness. It's a notion that wouldn't be out of place in a Jorge Luis Borges story, so it's fitting that my introduction to Borges came, in a roundabout way, through the movie.  Included in a box set I bought mainly for Repo Man back when buying physical media was still a thing is another movie, Cox's 1996 BBC/Spanish TV production of  Death and the Compass .   Stylized somewhere between Dick Tracey and Blade Runner , it's a mess, but its cultish appeal and its philosophical heart are undeniable, and it ultimately led me to seek out the B

Not Quite Quarantine

So we're in the middle of a pandemic. I guess I should be writing about it, but every time I try, it seems disingenuous somehow. Thousands have died, there are places in the world where hospitals are overrun and societies seem on the verge of at least partial collapse, and we're just starting to see the worst of it here in America. Things, are, as they say, not looking good. But here in my immediate circle, everything is, for the moment, okay. I don't mean to diminish the gravity of the situation or imply that everyone's circumstances are the same, but, in many ways, things are better than okay, they're idyllic for us. As I draft this, I'm sitting in the shade watching my seven-year-old son run around in the sprinkler like it's any other spring day. We've spent a lot of time outdoors, walking on the local trail system, doing yard work, lazing in the Eno hammock. We're eating five-star home-cooked meals and having occasional takeout. We're watch