"The Gospel is bad news before it's good news."
"All the news that fits." That's the catch-phrase coined by the editors of Rolling Stone, who perhaps felt the New York Times was being too elitist. Not good news, not bad news, just news. Views. Perceptions shared without threat of judgement or false dichotomy. Because good and bad, fit-to-print and unprintable, even lines drawn between the known and unknowable which bear the greasy imprint of human touch, are all dualistic misconceptions which seek to qualify and hence weaken the primal awakening that is "news." News, reality, the isness and essence that permeates and procreates us all. There may indeed be goodness in the world, and that would certainly be a groundbreaking story we'd all love to hear, but the news itself should never be labeled as such. And the evil which men do, well that's probably news to no-one, but if it were slipped into a late-night telecast, 'ware the anchor who wet-eyed and sorrowful suggests that it would be best had the dismal reality of <insert-your-own-story-here> never surfaced at all. News is news is news, as even gnues knews.
A ready justification for categorizing news is the assumption that one must recognize the depths of our brokenness in order to realize the wonderful gift of grace. That sounds oddly like suggesting that Tomas [in Kundra's Unbearable Lightness of Being] had to first plunge into the chasm of adultery before learning to cherish the sweet rapport of monogamy. I think that there are other, more straightforward paths to seeing the news. When Birdy [in the file Birdy] opens himself to Al after his long internal incarceration, it was not because he had suddenly seen any celestial light or broken free of a dusky perdition--it was because he "had nothing to say." He choose to open himself, and the implicit confession was that he could have done so at any time. And Maude [in Harold and Maude]--when did she speak of bad news? She was portrayed as one who had run with the wind and stood in the light since time immemorial. I think she lived so freely precisely because she saw there was no line to draw between good and bad, light and dark. You drive a hearse? That's cool! But so is tumbling in summersaults down a grassy hill. As long as it's a part of life, it's news to be heard and responded to.
Acts 9 speaks of Saul's blinding on the road to Damascus, how he had to lose his sight before he could truly see. That has become a popular image in modern storytelling, that a man might learn to see only after being cast into eternal night: although the point was not emphasized, in some ways the character of Alfredo fulfilled this expectation. However, further film clips from the semester seem to testify otherwise, that perhaps literal or ritual blinding is no more than it sounds. When Haze Motes blinds himself "for Jesus," all he achieves is cutting out the visions of light and joy; the horror he maintains inside his head. A more miserable example is that of Tsuramura [Kurusawa's Ran], who was finally left alone, atop a wind-swept wall, beloved by none, utterly berefit of his every last comfort. That is what blinding accomplishes, what Nietsche's abyss brings you--simply one more aspect of seperation from the whole around you. To be sure, the suddenness of the seperation may shock the victim into an enhanced awareness of his remaining connections, but whatever the gain, an undeniable loss has occured.
The blind leading the blind--Haze Motes following Alfredo following Tsuramura following Jesus who is stumbling because the blood keeps trickling down into his eyes. And what is this blindness, this fatal flaw in our human perception? A disavowal of grace, that strange and wonderful mixture of pleasantry and sadness, understanding and confusion, comedy and tragedy that make up the reality of life. If we do enter into a course leading to higher awareness of the news, we may well see the adverse before the joyous, if only because the lies we tell each other to take the place of truth are generally happy ones, thus the greater contrast brings deleterious news into high relief. Only later, after our senses have become slightly accustomed to the pain and brokenness in the world, can we be amazed anew at the reminder that there is, indeed, a beauty remaining in the world.What tragedy and comedy have to do with fairy tale.
Fairy tales are the magical-mystical invasion of the shadow-realm into the bounded sphere of human awareness. There are light tales and dark tales, tales that are happy and tales that are sad, tales that leave indelible scars on the souls they touch and tales that pass as fleeting as a dream. The sole constant throughout the folio is that they burst forth from the world of f‘ri‰, a habitat foreign to the mark and minds of men. When worlds collide beware! for at the crossroads doth understanding end and one's fate falls under the auspices of the Fey. Typically, man attempts to bring such phantasmic stories under his rationalizing thumb by clumping them into predictable, comprehensible categories. These are defined anthropocentricly as stories in which man is left to suffer and fall by his own devices (Tragedy), and those in which man benefits in some way through his brush with the Beyond (Comedy). (Stories in which man is harmed in some way by his contact with the ineffible are dubbed as "horror" and said to have nothing to do with Gospel or truth. But then, mankind wouldn't want to believe in horror stories, would it? Better to trust that we are either on our own (and we've got guns oh yes we do) or being aided by some uncontrollable yet noble force, rather than fear that there just might be something Out There which has nothing to do with humanity, has no appreciation for our arts or technology, no intrinsic compassion for our relationships, which simply does not care, but which can affect us all the same.)
Cinematicly, Mickey Rourke has played some of the more insightful characters to glimpse the truth of Comedy and Tragedy within Fairy Tale. In "The Pope of Greenwich Village," his compelling smile haunted the screen as he persistantly found a comedic side to every ill-turn. Transformations within his life and perception occured almost visibly on the screen as he fought to rise above the seperation of tragedy into the unity of comedy. "Diane, come here!" he bellowed after learning of her pregnancy, then immediately recanted with "no, no...stay there." He took the sorrowful alienation that was human life and converted it into comedy without losing himself in the process. What made Charlie particularly fascinating was that the transformation repeated itself endlessly, daily, making his character much more faerie-like than Ray Kinsella's or Harold's, who each underwent one major metamorphosis within their life and then seemingly left Avalon. As the drunken poet who was kicked from pub to pub in "Barfly," Rourke's ravaged visage insisted that the true measure of mankind was to be found in the gutter, in the tragic loss of life and will that existed in the dredges of humanity's bottled existence. In that film, transformation occured as Eddie (?) took all the filth and crap secreted by a festering species and moulded it...cultivated it...let it flow as the black stain from his pen and returned it back to mankind as a thing of beauty, art reflecting a humanity found to be not entirely undeserving of the name.
"I never may believe these antique fables, nor these fairy toys. Lovers and madmen have such seething brains...The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, doth glance from Heaven to Earth, from Earth to Heaven. And, as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown...the poet's pen turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name."
Other artists have tried their hand at elucidating the connection between human Tragedy and Comedy, and the otherworldliness of Fairy Tale. Terry Gilliam has directed and appeared in a number of such productions, including "Brazil" and the Pythonian clash with Avalon. One of his newest, "The Adventures of Baron Munchousen," showed that the tragedy of human brokenness was made laughable if only by our own submission to it. The fairy tale of the Baron's victory over the Grand Turk had already come true, and all that was lacking was popular acceptance. Rationalizers such as the Pompus Civil Servant and the Pharisees of an earlier age are unable to grasp the truth even when struck across the face with it, precisely because it is rooted in the unknowable forces we can only wave at and call "magic." Donaldson speaks of the "wild magic that destroys peace"--and so it does, destroys our peace of mind, any mind that seeks to limit and define the wild potential that exists beyond the keystone of conventional thinking. Another of Gilliam's efforts, the screen version of "Watchmen" (as of yet unreleased), features the sad character of Jon Osterman. Jon, known as "Dr. Manhattan" after a freak accident with an Intrinsic Field Seperator, was gifted with powers beyond mortal compass or comprehension. When WWIII threatens, it is in part through his intervention that humanity is saved from a crippling blow from which it may never have recovered. The "savior," coming from beyond our earthly horizons (he teleported from Mars, in fact), delivering us from the peril of utter self-annihilation.
"This is magnificent--and it is true! It never happened; yet it is still true. What magic art is this?"
The fairy tales which come true, in the deeper-less-literal sense of the word, are those in which we place our trust and faith in forces beyond ourselves. Charles Foster Kane was a man who sought to live everyman's fairy tale, repleat with castle, beautiful princess, power, &c., but insisted on doing it all himself. Had he admitted to a little weakness before the incumbant governor in the "singer"'s room, begged for a little forgiveness from his first wife, allowed his companymen to share a little in the dream he was crafting...well, he might have gotten somewhere. But in seperating himself from everyone around him, placing himself on the lonely pedestal of power, he cut out every outside source which may have been able or willing to help him. Hence the tragedy, permitted by man himself to defeat the wonder and sublime majesty of fairy tale; Hidetora committed virtually the same sin in "Ran." Tomas in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" was a man who almost let the comedy of life drive out the fairy tale. His preternatural weightlessness kept him ever out of touch with the ground on which, in the end, all tales must depend. Grace must come from above, but it is sent to bring light to our lives on this earth, and we cannot accept the gift of freedom if we are ever galavanting about in our supposed liberty from bondage.