you’re locked in here with me

“I heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, ‘Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.’ Man bursts into tears. Says, ‘But doctor… I am Pagliacci.’ Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.”

Who watches the Watchmen? I just did. Old pun – cue rimshot.

I read the Roger Ebert review – the man is the best reviewer alive, hands down – and he had in his diction a sub rosa befuddlement. Like there was something(s) he saw in the movie that really didn’t (don’t) make sense. A salient point – something Ebert always catapults to orbit towards the end of his review – didn’t seem to emerge. It was as if he had just been shot at.

I read the comic in a marathon digital binge during Winter Break of ’08. Noting that, there’s a commonality between the movie and the comic: neither of them can keep their feet on the ground.

I urge you, anonymous reader, to go back and please, take a look at Watchmen in the medium of your choosing. Powerful stuff: Rorschach’s vaporization (movie only), “never compromise, blahblahblah”; Manhattan’s soliloquy on Mars; scenes with Dan Dreiberg and Laurie Juspeczyk being themselves instead of their alter egos. There’s the point, here at the forest-level rather than tree-level, that at any occurrence we can assume a limited number of rationales, and that often, these are not informed so much by our morals as by our aversions. The things that occur to us are essentially without meaning – what we infer about them, to make events seem “right” or “wrong” or “sinful” or “righteous” – is the gestalt of our history and our goals. Which is no new philosophy, so god only knows why I’m enumerating it for you here, but anyways.

There’s a moral thunder to the story, and then, at the end, Veidt levels the Big Apple with a giant faux-alien in the name of world peace (alternatively, in the movie, the Schlong Superman Dr. Manhattan). There’s just a deadpan absurdism that subverts the real philosophical meat of the story.

Roger Ebert watched it again in IMAX “for the experience”. I watched it again to remind myself that sometimes, the maddest ascetics say the wisest words.

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