Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Some people find it ironical ..."

Guess where I am. Go on. Guess.

Give up? Here's a hint:

Still not sure? Maybe this will help.

If you haven't figured it out yet, this oughta make it as crystal clear as the BLUE CLEAR SKY.

Yep. You guessed her, Chester. I am currently at a comfortable cruising altitude (35,004', to be exact), just north of Phoenix and south of Clints Well, Arizona. In case you can't tell, this is my first exposure to on-board wi-fi, and I've gotta be honest with you. I am riveted. Well, I'm riveted in a 2001: a Space Odyssey kind of way.

In fact, the whole thing kinda reminds me of this class I took at UGA. It was entitled Science Fiction & Drama, and there are not words big enough to express how much I dreaded taking it. It's not that I didn't like the professor - I loved him, in fact. It's just that, up until I registered for the class, my entire interest in science fiction began and ended with watching Trekkies and debating with my friend Stephen whether or not filking should be granted its own category at the Grammy Awards. But alas, the class fit my schedule and met a course requirement, so yada, yada, yada: I ended up spending a semester's worth of Monday afternoons in a Science Fiction seminar.

We read plays, like R.U.R., Carel Kapek's 1921 work that spawned the word "robot," and watched movies, like 2001 and Them!. That was all it took to hook me. Suddenly, I was all "Maybe I should rethink this whole musical theatre thing" and "Dawgonit, if the woman wants to be called 'Commander,' you show her the respect her rank deserves!"

No one was more surprised by this reaction than I was. I was also surprised by the common denominators we found in many of the plays, movies, and television shows that we surveyed. Without exception, the future, as it was portrayed in these works, was dehumanized and depersonalized. Jerry Seinfeld made this same point during his 1998 "I'm Telling You for the Last Time" retirement act (parenthetically, I saw him live in June of 2010 - his retirement lasted about as long as Garth Brooks' did - a fact which makes me very glad). As the Master of "Nothing" noticed:

"Any time you see a movie or a TV show where there's people from the future - or another planet - they're all wearing the same outfit. I think the decision just gets made: 'Alright, Everyone. From now on, it's just gonna be the one-piece silver suit with the v stripe and the boots. That's the outfit. We're gonna be visiting other planets. We want to look like a team here. The individuality thing is over.'"

That's definitely one of the things my classmates and I noticed as we discussed what we'd read and seen (maybe I should've just spared myself the semester and watched "I'm Telling You for the Last Time" ... again). Who knows how the future will actually play out - after all, it is called science fiction, but it's an undeniable fact that, with things like on-board wifi, what was once the stuff of fiction and fantasy is very quickly becoming our reality.

Here's where this entry - written from several miles high in a manner not even Stanley Kubrick could've imagined - takes a turn for the "ironical." The entry is actually just an opportunity for me to use a futuristic means of telling you about something old-fashioned - a good, old fashioned Christmas giveaway of good, old-fashioned Christmas carols.

Over the years, my friend Stephen has introduced me to many different types of music. I've already mentioned David Wilcox. There's also been Jump, Little Children and Eddie from Ohio and Guster and on and on and on. It seems only fair, then, that, for all the music he's introduced me to, I should introduce his music to the people I know. So, ironically, I'm using a new-fangled, high-tech medium to tell you of something that really has an incredible air of yesteryear. Each Christmas, Stephen, his wife Tamara, and several of their musician friends get together to record their favorite carols, and every year, they make it free for the downloading to anybody who's interested in a little holiday cheer that is focused on "the Reason for the season."

So if that's you, check it out.

And, if this season finds you traveling, you can even do that "checking out" while you're flying the friendly skies.

Stanley Kubrick would be blown away.


  1. Stephen will undoubtedly give you a 90% commission on all sales. Sine you are a theatre expert and not a math major, let me add that FREE CDs sell for nothing, nothing times 90% equals nothing. Stevie has not changed!

  2. That's mighty cynical of you, Daddy.

  3. Laughing...from deep in the belly and will probably chuckle all day from these comments. I thank you for the merriment! :D