Don’t Fear The Reaper

Man I love that song and Blue Oyster Cult. Anyways this post is inspired by the sad fact that the great South African leader Nelson Mandela is sick and quite possibly on his deathbed at the age of 94. It’s funny how we take for granted that the people we love are going to be around forever-that our parents and grandparents, siblings, kids, pets-even though we know that’s not the case. Most people are afraid to discuss death and dying, and I can’t blame them although funny enough people said they would rather be in the casket at a funeral than giving the in memorial speech. Perhaps because I have lost too many people over the last decade I am a tad numb when it comes to the subject, as if I’ve already thought about how life is too short.

What annoys me is when parents try to hide the subject from their kids, as if their children are not going to have questions when their beloved Fluffy shifts off its mortal coil or a beloved grandparent or relative passes away. I wish my parents had been a little more honest about it, although they told me about Heaven and the afterlife which of course if it includes a heaven includes a hell, too. Honestly I’m rather curious about what lies in the great beyond, and if there is even a great beyond to begin with. Maybe when they stick your corpse in that wooden box; burn it in the incinerator; shoot it into space; do whatever….that’s the end. I guess since I think there is a place you go after you die I’m the optimistic type, and that’s fine. I would like it if we talked about death more than black metal bands do, however that’s just the fear preventing us from facing our own mortality. “Baby take my hand…”


Auto-Erotic, Accidents, and Almost Death: A Look At Crash

In 2005, I experienced a car crash that was absolutely brutal and completely life changing, to say the least. I was hit from the side, t-boned as they called it, so I lived while sustaining a concussion. My friend, who was a passenger and who lived while being only slightly injured, had to tell me what happened that day because I don’t remember. A day in my life is gone forever, and all I have left are pictures of a terrible moment that almost killed me. That’s a scary thought, one that I have never forgotten.

Some say your life flashes before your eyes when death approaches, yet that didn’t happen for me. I’m sure there was no white light, or the singing of angels, or anything else. Just that moment where I probably thought to myself “Oh shit, I’m going to die” as the other car rammed into my driver’s side, pushing me off the road and into a small plot of green grass resting next to the strip of hot July asphalt that ran on the far side of town. Next to a Country Kitchen, in fact.

Side Hit

This is my 1997 Ford Taurus-I took this and other pictures of the aftermath at the local junkyard. The car was completely totaled, and I woke up the next day having spent half the day in the hospital, and the entire rest of the night puking and wondering what the hell had happened to me. Not a good experience.

So with a tad hesitation I viewed David Cronenberg’s Crash (1996), not to be confused with the movie about racism that won Best Picture and which I never bothered to watch. Cronenberg in the 1990s decided that after over two decades of doing body horror he would tackle something new and fresh, and this can actually be considered a cousin to Naked Lunch in that both films tackle the artist and certain weird levels of making and creating something with one’s own hands. In this case with Crash though the art is achieved with car accidents, some staged, others that happened merely viewed and remembered by those obsessed with the horror and the spectacle, with sex involved too.

Which is not surprising, since many of Cronenberg’s movies have deal with sexuality and the human body one way or another. There is even elements of body horror in this film, moments that are quite stark and rather provocative , hence the NC-17 rating that was unfairly earned in my opinion. Why is that violence is so often given a pass, yet sex brings in the censorship police? It’s a tad silly how so many Americans are prudish when it comes to the subject matter of sex, and that’s why I think that Cronenberg included it in so many of his films. Arousal is a weapon even in these movies, especially when it comes to man vs. women sexual politics.

Back in 1996 I’m sure the movie was far shocking to people than it is now, and the fact that films such as Blue Valentine have also displayed sex graphically makes Crash a tad dated. For some reason I felt the film doesn’t go far enough, and maybe that’s because if had gone completely over the edge there is no way that it would have been released. However Crash does a fantastic job overall of giving you the sense of that deer in the headlights, that feeling of Death starring you in the face as you spiral head on into a tangled web of violence and bodies, metal and glass, plastic and rubber.

Not to mention you still get his thoughts on technology-its mutilation of the body, the graphing together of steel and human flesh. Disturbing, sure, powerful absolutely, and completely engaging to the last frame. No one quite makes films like David Cronenberg, and perhaps that’s a good thing because his vision remains unique and absorbing. Perhaps even absolute, a lasting take on modern society and the human psyche.

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