Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gifts of the Magi: Three Personal Epiphanies

This week, many people around the world will celebrate The Epiphany, commemorating the visitation of the newborn Christ by wise men* from the east, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In the interest of being copacetic, today I am celebrating the gifts of enlightenment I've received from three modern magical men. 

Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel – I can't entirely say why, but this song never fails to reach the still optimistic part of my being that I often think is dead.

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon – The scope, the language, the imagery, and the dream-logic – This novel taught me more about what fiction can be than any book before or since. 

Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders – Generally speaking, if someone uses the terms “lyrical” or “haunting” to describe a film, I pretty much want to dump a pitcher of water on their head. This film, however, is both haunting and lyrically beautiful, charming and wry and was my personal gateway into foreign** films.

Today's lesson:  Cherish the gifts of the wise men and women whose Yum has influenced and increased your own.

Next: Probably something boozy and weird...


*Thus, the reason baby showers are now generally women-only events. Unguents and nards, gentlemen? You wise guys never heard of a blankie or a binky or a onesie? Sheesh...

**I really, really hate this term. Not only does it leave my Netflix queue basically in chaos (half of the titles falling under that heading without further indication of actual genre), but it is essentially meaningless in the modern film industry. Take for example, the Christian Bale Batman series. The director, screenwriters, the lead, and a significant portion of the supporting cast are British, yet they are considered “domestic” films in the US. Sigh... Follow the money, I guess... and kudos to you for following this long, rambling diatribe.

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