Posts Tagged ‘Water’

Three Right Feet

February 15, 2008

Something strange is going on in the Strait of Georgia.  Over the past few months, several feet have been found.  Human feet, that is.  Curiously, they’re all right feet.

A few months ago, two right feet, both in size twelve running shoes, washed up on islands about a hundred miles apart in the channel between Vancouver Island and the mainland.  Recently, another right foot washed up on another of the Gulf Islands.

So, where did they come from?  There have been no reports of people losing right feet in boating accidents.  Occasionally, light aircraft serving the forestry industry go down, but the workers wear work boots rather than runners.  DNA tests have not matched any missing persons.

I suppose it’s possible they were victims of animal attacks.  Theoretically, three separate idiots could have taunted killer whales and found out how they got their name.  Similarly, it could have been bear attacks on the coast.  But, missing persons like those get reported.

Then there’s foul play.  They could have been the victims of gangland killings, their bodies disposed of at sea.  Alternatively, it’s possible the feet were pounds of flesh forfeited in lieu of payment of a debt or as punishment for being behind in payments.

There’s another possible explanation.  These men could have lost their right feet as punishment for being bad dancers.  They could have been unfortunate enough to have very high maintenance girlfriends who really, really wanted to go on ‘Ballroom Dancing’, but let them down.

“You idiot!  I was going to be on television!  Everyone would have been watching me!  Looking at me!  They would have seen me in my beautiful gown!  Then they would have seen me win and adored me!  And YOU ruined everything!  Well, since you have two left feet, I guess you don’t need your right one!”  Chop.

But three of them?  That just doesn’t seem likely.

Three right feet.  Three right feet.  See how they…  Sorry, that was just tasteless.

How to End a Movie – With Conviction

January 8, 2008

I watched ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ last night.  This is a movie I ignored on its release, dismissing it as an attempt to glorify religion.  Sometimes, first impressions are accurate.  Sometimes, they’re off the mark.

To my pleasant surprise, it turned out to be the kind of movie I would like to make about the crusades.  My only complaint is that it didn’t go far enough.  Like some other films framed by a religious context, it pulls back from the brink of the logical, sensible conclusion.  The slaughter in the name of one god or another, carried out by fanatics obsessed with the idea of owning ‘heaven’, should be enough to put anyone off the idea of religion.  There are a couple lines in the film that drive home the fact that we’d be better off without it altogether.  “You have taught me a lot about religion…”, comes to mind.

But then, near the end, the main character’s Muslim counterpart, another one of the few ‘decent’ people able to see past the different brands of chicanery and superstition and that how one person treats another is a better judge of how good he is, says something like, “Why do you think god does not love you, with all you have achieved?”  Why reassert faith in god at this point?  It seems obvious to me that there were no gods willing this carnage – that we, and we alone, decide on a course of action, choose to take life or not, and achieve things.  Faith in oneself and one another seemed to be the message throughout the movie.  Maybe the producers were afraid of a backlash if they appeared to be advocating atheism.

A couple of Canadian films are guilty of the same thing.  ‘Water’ is an excellent movie set in a Hindu ashram, or widows’ home, in which one young woman is reduced to prostitution and a child, widowed before reaching puberty, is raped.  Yet, even this story of institutionalised abuse and confinement has a character saying “Never lose your faith”.  All I could think was, “For your own good, that child’s good, and the good of humanity, please lose your faith”.

‘The Black Robe’ is another Canadian movie about a 17th century Jesuit missionary who travels with Indian guides to a mission far from anything he recognizes as civilization.  It’s clear throughout the story that he is in the wrong and yet, at the end, when he seems to realize this and that his faith has been misplaced, the Indians, who have been ravaged by disease brought by the other missionaries and now have a choice of killing him or accepting baptism, choose baptism.  The closing shot is a cross with the sun shining behind it, which seems to assert the very religion which has been presented as inadequate and misguided.

Are we really so afraid of offending religious interests that we don’t even have the courage of our convictions to reach a logical conclusion?  Could it be that we have taken respect for religion too far?