Essay on escapism

As soon as we put it like this, as soon as we imagine, or try to imagine, the extraordinary confusion, creative and otherwise, that might occur, the many and fragmented ways people might enjoy and share and despair of putting together reflections and entertainments in words for each other, you can see that it is not going to happen; there is still an enormous demand for the long traditional novel, for works that reinforce the idea of individual identity projected through time and achieving some kind of wisdom or happiness through many vicissitudes. There is simply no form of escapism, mental immersion, or sustained illusion quite like the thousand-page fantasy narrative, whether it be the endless Harry Potters or the Millennium trilogy; if to have that experience we have to guarantee a substantial income to its creator then society will continue to find a way to do that, in the same way European soccer clubs still find ways to pay exorbitant salaries to their star players. Copyright, we see, is not essentially driven by notions of justice or theories of ownership, but by a certain culture’s attachment to a certain literary form. If people only read poetry, which you can never stop poets producing even when you pay them nothing at all, then the law of copyright would disappear in a trice.

With Jim Henson, Frank Oz directed The Dark Crystal (1982) , a delightful children's fantasy tale with Muppets. Henson also directed the George Lucas-produced Labyrinth (1986) starring teenaged babysitter Jennifer Connelly in an enchanted land inhabited by Henson's Muppets (as monsters), trying to solve a fantastic, challenging maze in order to rescue her baby brother from the evil Goblin King (David Bowie). The last film produced by Jim Henson was British director Nicolas Roeg's adventure-fantasy The Witches (1990) - adapted from Roald Dahl's novel of the same name, with trademark special effects through animatronics, and Anjelica Huston as a frightening Grand High Witch that threatens to turn two young boys into mice at a seaside hotel convention of witches.

It won’t do to dismiss Baywatch as the start of the summer inanity (movie inanity is a year-long problem). But consider the beach-movie idea to which Baywatch is historically inferior. Alexander Mackendrick’s sex farce Don’t Make Waves (1967) depicted the edifice of American morality as nearing collapse. In Daniel Petrie’s The Lifeguard (1977), a rare character study of male concupiscence, the casually macho Sam Elliott faces moral obligation. And, best of all, recall Eric Rohmer’s serene, erotic farce Pauline at the Beach (1983). All dealt with the sexual mores of their times, but TV culture never gets that deep and apparently has not inspired erotic reflection even in a reboot.

Essay on escapism

essay on escapism


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