Big Talk, Real Slow

big.talk.real.slow@gmail.com
I am writing this the night before the Royal Wedding.
This will be posted 4-6 weeks after the Royal Wedding.
How do you feel about the commemorative plate now?

I am writing this the night before the Royal Wedding.

This will be posted 4-6 weeks after the Royal Wedding.

How do you feel about the commemorative plate now?

One of my customers today was a train conductor.
He told me the divorce rate was 75%. As high as cops. It’s a hard job. Always on call. You will likely miss Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries.
He loved it though. He told me that he’s paid by the mile. That is one of the most beautiful things I ever heard: Compensation based on motion.
He told me the trains were the pulse of the economy. He doesn’t believe we’re out of this recession yet. He talked about Japan and how the earthquake is being felt here.
Factories don’t rest, they either live or die. The folks at the Honda plant in Alliston, Ontario are down to three days a week (“It was either that or people were gonna get laid off. Better less days than no days.”) The assembly line keeps going, producing cars, but they’re low on computer parts, so when a car is finished, they take the computer out and send it back, so that it can be slotted into another car, to keep the line going. They have tons of cars built, all without computers. They’re completely useless, adding nothing, but the folks in Alliston don’t care. They’re paid by the hour.

One of my customers today was a train conductor.

He told me the divorce rate was 75%. As high as cops. It’s a hard job. Always on call. You will likely miss Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries.

He loved it though. He told me that he’s paid by the mile. That is one of the most beautiful things I ever heard: Compensation based on motion.

He told me the trains were the pulse of the economy. He doesn’t believe we’re out of this recession yet. He talked about Japan and how the earthquake is being felt here.

Factories don’t rest, they either live or die. The folks at the Honda plant in Alliston, Ontario are down to three days a week (“It was either that or people were gonna get laid off. Better less days than no days.”) The assembly line keeps going, producing cars, but they’re low on computer parts, so when a car is finished, they take the computer out and send it back, so that it can be slotted into another car, to keep the line going. They have tons of cars built, all without computers. They’re completely useless, adding nothing, but the folks in Alliston don’t care. They’re paid by the hour.

Consider Steven Spielberg: the creator of the summer blockbuster, the  film brat who reinvented cinema and brought people back to the theater,  the cocky kid who seemed unstoppable with hit after hit after hit.
Consider the first of his two 1993 classics,  Jurassic Park.
No, really, let’s think about Jurassic Park: How well the CGI holds  up; how the first half is almost entirely dialogue driven, with  intelligent people debating intelligently about the implications of  dinosaurs being brought back to life; how pains are brought to make the  idea deadly serious, which in turn makes the danger deadly serious; the  way the characters are allowed, for one glorious minute of cinema, to be  in utter awe of the fantastic in front of them.
Consider how the first half perfectly sets  up the chaos of the second; how the action switches between two  locations, distinct, but playing off each other; how the brute force of  the T-Rex is balanced by the cool, calculated menace of the raptors.  Consider how good, I mean genuinely fucking good, the kitchen scene is.
Consider how this isn’t done anymore:  Ironic quips instead of awe, cheap effects instead of enduring  spectacle, explosions instead of engagement. Consider how the  blockbusters that Spielberg helped create have regressed.
Consider young Spielberg, more specifically Close Encounters of the Third Kind:  How Roy Neary is consumed by visions, a compulsion to see something in  his dreams come true. It haunts him. He simply can’t get it out of his  head. “Dammit! I know this. I know what this is! This means something.  This is important,” he says at one point. In the end, that dream, that  desire is worth more than his family, it’s worth more than himself. It’s  enlightenment.
Now consider my  favourite scene in Jurassic Park.  Hammond, (played by fellow director Richard Attenborough, himself no stranger to manufacturing fantasy) the man responsible for the park and its wonders, confesses to  another character:

“You  know the first attraction I ever built when I came down south from  Scotland? Was a Flea Circus, Petticoat Lane. Really quite wonderful. We  had a wee trapeze, a roundabout - - a merry-go - - what you call it? A  carousel - - and a seesaw. They all moved, motorized of course, but  people would swear they could see the fleas. ‘I see the fleas, mummy!  Can’t you see the fleas?’ Clown fleas, high wire fleas, fleas on  parade… But with this place, I - - I wanted to give them something  real, something that wasn’t an illusion, something they could see and  touch. An aim devoid of merit.”
Again, consider Hammond: His age never more  apparent, surrounded by a broken dream, one that’s been sold and  “slapped on a lunchbox” as one character says.
One last time, consider Steven Spielberg.

Consider Steven Spielberg: the creator of the summer blockbuster, the film brat who reinvented cinema and brought people back to the theater, the cocky kid who seemed unstoppable with hit after hit after hit.

Consider the first of his two 1993 classics, Jurassic Park.

No, really, let’s think about Jurassic Park: How well the CGI holds up; how the first half is almost entirely dialogue driven, with intelligent people debating intelligently about the implications of dinosaurs being brought back to life; how pains are brought to make the idea deadly serious, which in turn makes the danger deadly serious; the way the characters are allowed, for one glorious minute of cinema, to be in utter awe of the fantastic in front of them.

Consider how the first half perfectly sets up the chaos of the second; how the action switches between two locations, distinct, but playing off each other; how the brute force of the T-Rex is balanced by the cool, calculated menace of the raptors. Consider how good, I mean genuinely fucking good, the kitchen scene is.

Consider how this isn’t done anymore: Ironic quips instead of awe, cheap effects instead of enduring spectacle, explosions instead of engagement. Consider how the blockbusters that Spielberg helped create have regressed.

Consider young Spielberg, more specifically Close Encounters of the Third Kind: How Roy Neary is consumed by visions, a compulsion to see something in his dreams come true. It haunts him. He simply can’t get it out of his head. “Dammit! I know this. I know what this is! This means something. This is important,” he says at one point. In the end, that dream, that desire is worth more than his family, it’s worth more than himself. It’s enlightenment.

Now consider my favourite scene in Jurassic Park. Hammond, (played by fellow director Richard Attenborough, himself no stranger to manufacturing fantasy) the man responsible for the park and its wonders, confesses to another character:

“You know the first attraction I ever built when I came down south from Scotland? Was a Flea Circus, Petticoat Lane. Really quite wonderful. We had a wee trapeze, a roundabout - - a merry-go - - what you call it? A carousel - - and a seesaw. They all moved, motorized of course, but people would swear they could see the fleas. ‘I see the fleas, mummy! Can’t you see the fleas?’ Clown fleas, high wire fleas, fleas on parade… But with this place, I - - I wanted to give them something real, something that wasn’t an illusion, something they could see and touch. An aim devoid of merit.”

Again, consider Hammond: His age never more apparent, surrounded by a broken dream, one that’s been sold and “slapped on a lunchbox” as one character says.

One last time, consider Steven Spielberg.

Me: How was it?
You: It was pretty fucked up. I mean, by city planning acedemic conference standards. Do you know Geoffrey West? 
Me: No.
You: A physicist. Met him a bit at the luncheon. Boring as fuck meet and greet, but he was pretty cool. Y’know, cool for a physicist. Anyways, I didn’t really know much about him, but he was doing one of the keynotes that day. It was something like “the math of the city.” 
Me: The math of the city?
You:  Yeah, I know right? Anyways, I go to this, and I’m covering the event too, a condition of my attendence, and I’m up front taking photos. He gets up there, and, he’s a small guy, so, the podium kind of hides him, but it suits him. He’s really soft spoken and, after a little fiddling with the mic he starts his talk. 
Me: What was it on?
You: Exactly what he said he would talk about: the math of the city. He starts off and you can sense that everybody in the room doesn’t take him seriously. He’s not a city planner, no background in urban studies at all, and even admits to only casually skimming Mumford. He starts to talk about how there are underlying principles in every city, even going as far as to say that there are equations to figure out a city. And-and, he’s going and the tone of the room shifts as he starts to present these findings. Equations and proof. Fucking damnable proof. Everything got heavy.
Me: Heavy?
You: Heavy. Like, tense, you know, tense. I remember the end of his talk “What we found are the constants that describe every city,” he says. “I can take these laws and make precise predictions about the number of violent crimes and the surface area of roads in a city in Japan with 200,000 people. I don’t know anything about this city or even where it is or its history, but I can tell you all about it. And the reason I can do that is because every city is really the same.” And there was this pause, a dead pause. No applause, no questions.Me: Was it, uh, did it—did it make sense?You: Oh yeah. Questions are thrown at him and he answers each one, and  even somebody like me can get that he’s got a solid point. It’s fucking  scary. Again, this silence just falls on everybody. Then somebody threw a chair at him.
Me: A chair?
You: Yeah, just whips it onto the stage. Then a professor from Cal Tech jumps on stage and  bites his arm. West is clobbering the guy with his free arm, but more people  rush the stage. Eventually, there are too many people around him, so a  circle forms around that, people hissing and fucking yelling. Somehow, somehow, he gets out of there. His glasses are gone, he’s bloody all over,  he stumbles off the stage and this entire time I’m taking pictures and  suddenly he’s right there at my fucking feet, dragging himself across the carpet.Me: What did you do?You: What do you think? I bashed his fucking head in.

Me: How was it?

You: It was pretty fucked up. I mean, by city planning acedemic conference standards. Do you know Geoffrey West?

Me: No.

You: A physicist. Met him a bit at the luncheon. Boring as fuck meet and greet, but he was pretty cool. Y’know, cool for a physicist. Anyways, I didn’t really know much about him, but he was doing one of the keynotes that day. It was something like “the math of the city.”

Me: The math of the city?

You: Yeah, I know right? Anyways, I go to this, and I’m covering the event too, a condition of my attendence, and I’m up front taking photos. He gets up there, and, he’s a small guy, so, the podium kind of hides him, but it suits him. He’s really soft spoken and, after a little fiddling with the mic he starts his talk.

Me: What was it on?

You: Exactly what he said he would talk about: the math of the city. He starts off and you can sense that everybody in the room doesn’t take him seriously. He’s not a city planner, no background in urban studies at all, and even admits to only casually skimming Mumford. He starts to talk about how there are underlying principles in every city, even going as far as to say that there are equations to figure out a city. And-and, he’s going and the tone of the room shifts as he starts to present these findings. Equations and proof. Fucking damnable proof. Everything got heavy.

Me: Heavy?

You: Heavy. Like, tense, you know, tense. I remember the end of his talk “What we found are the constants that describe every city,” he says. “I can take these laws and make precise predictions about the number of violent crimes and the surface area of roads in a city in Japan with 200,000 people. I don’t know anything about this city or even where it is or its history, but I can tell you all about it. And the reason I can do that is because every city is really the same.” And there was this pause, a dead pause. No applause, no questions.

Me: Was it, uh, did it—did it make sense?

You: Oh yeah. Questions are thrown at him and he answers each one, and even somebody like me can get that he’s got a solid point. It’s fucking scary. Again, this silence just falls on everybody. Then somebody threw a chair at him.

Me: A chair?

You: Yeah, just whips it onto the stage. Then a professor from Cal Tech jumps on stage and bites his arm. West is clobbering the guy with his free arm, but more people rush the stage. Eventually, there are too many people around him, so a circle forms around that, people hissing and fucking yelling. Somehow, somehow, he gets out of there. His glasses are gone, he’s bloody all over, he stumbles off the stage and this entire time I’m taking pictures and suddenly he’s right there at my fucking feet, dragging himself across the carpet.

Me: What did you do?

You: What do you think? I bashed his fucking head in.

DJ Jazzy Jeff (née Jeffrey Allen Townes) sits in front of his Smith-Corona typewriter. He has writer’s block.He has sent former co-star Will Smith over 150 unsolicited scripts. Each is a thinly-veiled attempt at a reunion. The first few, sent a year after Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s finale, were simply just variations of the show’s format. As the years changed, so did he. DJ Jazzy Jeff isn’t completely oblivious to the march of time, and as the tastes of the American Public have changed, so have his scripts. He’s tried the single camera approach, he’s tried incorporating cutaway gags, and cringe humour. He’s tried the faux-doc style, and has even tried a musical episode (he, of course, did the score). DJ Jazzy Jeff sits in front of his Smith-Corona typewriter and starts to type. He’s got a good feeling about this one. He smiles as the words flow out.Smith has yet to reply.

DJ Jazzy Jeff (née Jeffrey Allen Townes) sits in front of his Smith-Corona typewriter. He has writer’s block.

He has sent former co-star Will Smith over 150 unsolicited scripts. Each is a thinly-veiled attempt at a reunion. The first few, sent a year after Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s finale, were simply just variations of the show’s format. As the years changed, so did he. DJ Jazzy Jeff isn’t completely oblivious to the march of time, and as the tastes of the American Public have changed, so have his scripts. He’s tried the single camera approach, he’s tried incorporating cutaway gags, and cringe humour. He’s tried the faux-doc style, and has even tried a musical episode (he, of course, did the score).

DJ Jazzy Jeff sits in front of his Smith-Corona typewriter and starts to type. He’s got a good feeling about this one. He smiles as the words flow out.

Smith has yet to reply.