01 September 2009

And then there was America's Got Talent

I have been looking for a book club book for the meeting I will be hosting at my house in October. Somewhat selfishly, I want a book that is about either modern day (ok....I'll extend the modern definition to the 50's if I must) Egypt or Lebanon. The ladies of book club have wanted to see pictures of my trip and I thought this would be a great way to incorporate it. Well, let's just say that this is easier said than done because a requirement is that it needs to be in the library and the book I think I really want to read (recommended by at least two FB friends) is not found in our underfunded library system (I say that completely based on the size of our city because the anyone who visited the Gray Branch Library in Washington Couty TN can appreciate anything that is not in trailer).

I am impressed by the things that you can find in your library. After years of academia and rows and rows of books that no one in their right mind would read for pleasure, finding the joys of the local library is like Christmas. Aside from the one obsure video store in town, it is the only place to find foreign films. Tonight was pork roast and foreign film night in the Hodges household. Needless to say, Liddy slept through much of the movie as she cannot read.

As it is Tuesday night and until the fall TV season starts, there is really nothing on. I could not take another week of "America's Got Talent". So I put in my new video find and watched Under The Bombs. (I found this in my search for book club books) It was in Arabic with english subtitles and it was about a mother who returns to Southern Lebanon during the war of 2006 when she cannot locate her sister and her son. According to the jacket, only two actors were hired and the other members played themselves and it was filmed on locatoin....this is the part that made it more real for me.

Now, maybe it was the translation, but I couldn't understand why she would leave her child with her sister while she was in Dubai (especially after finding out she had two miscarriages) or why her cab driver (the other main character) fell in love with her and I would even say I didn't understand the understory of his character at all. For instance, he has says he has children in the movie, but we have no idea where they are or what happened to them. Knowing a little more about him would have added a depth to the movie that it just didn't have.

Putting these film annoyances aside, the film (movies have George Clooney, Jennifer Anniston, the Wilson Brothers, etc in them or so the McDonald's commercial says) had an amazing point about how life is during a war and showed me a side to war that I did not understand when I was visiting Lebanon. I would say the point the filmmakers were trying to express is that innocent lives that were lost because of governments that had a postition to push rather than human lives to consider. The film makers didn't seem to promote one ideology of the conflict over another. And throughout the film you hear stories about loved ones lost; mothers having to leave some of their children behind and you get a sense of what looking for someone that is a refugee (in their own country mind you) feels like. As Americans, I feel confident saying....WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE. Perhaps Katrina victims, but that is as close of a connection I would draw.

When the movie shuts off (Wags gave me a universal remote to my DVD player that I am too stubborn to set) what is still on?...America's Got Talent and my heart saddens. Seriously, what are we really trying to escape/distract/zone out from? Are our workdays that stressful? Is the economy that depressing? Is the commute that deadly? Or do we really hate socializing that much? I had just watched two hours of what I would consider a difficult situation, but no one turned on "The Real Housewifes of...(fill in blank city)". I am saddened because the culture that I know, love and am a card carrying member of (thank you again Barbara T. Wilson for granting my freedom when it was stolen from me in the tube in London in the summer of '95) is oblivious to the world around them and I see no signs of change to this established behavioral pattern. In fact, I think we even invent more ways to isolate ourselves from one another. For all the great things that come out of social networking and Al Gore's Internet nothing replaces those human connections to each other and to the others of this little planet we all live on. But hey that's enough of a view from top this lemon tree. My culture may not understand real costs of war but at least we've got talent (ok except the comedians...they all seem to be from Canada--or as I like to call it USA North).