Monday, December 6, 2010
It's a Madonna pap smear
When Slacker first came out in 1991 I couldn’t take it in because I was trying so hard to distinguish myself politically and socially (oh wait, I still am) that anything that became popular I considered mainstream, ie: not good because it was not radical (radical ironically meaning that everything was as politically correct as it could be, that the proper stance was taken in terms of race, class and gender. Oy vey.) Plus, I didn’t have a cool air and I wasn’t laid back (oh wait, that’s still the case) so anyone who was, I just promptly wrote off as pseudo (that was a favorite word left over from senior year in high school), as stupid, and, well, as a slacker.
With the distance of almost twenty years though I really appreciate this movie. The vision that we’re all interconnected but entirely isolated and alienated resonates. It’s hard watching over-educated white folk going off philosophically, and it’s hard seeing resignation and wandering, because, frankly, it hits a bit close. But there are wonderful quirks, there’s wrenching suffering, stabbing humor. In one vignette, for example, an artist-type has prepared a stack of cards with aphorisms on them that anyone can just draw at random and contemplate for however long he or she wishes (usually less than a second). One card reads: “Withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy.”
This is a portrait of a population and a time, our time too. But, as usual, I couldn’t see that in the moment of 1991. When will I just let my own immediate senses be the judge?