Regarding Sarah, among other things

Frame from 'Regarding Sarah'

In a discussion about music becoming meaningless, these two great moments:

“e.g., a type of music symbolizes rebellion rather than provoking rebellion, symbolizes outrageousness rather than being an outrage…” (frank kogan in the first issue of why music sucks, 1987)

i am afraid of the analogous phenomena happening: blog as signifier for experience, rather than experience itself.

I saw a great short film recently that had some smart ideas in this vein. Regarding Sarah is about an aging woman who starts videotaping her life because she is afraid she won’t remember it. Hilarity ensues, and eventually it becomes clear that the short film itself is Sarah’s final “highlights reel” about her life; once she completes it she will give up her recording habit.

(Aside: I wish you could watch this film online. How does that work for indie filmmakers? Is it helpful to show more people the film, or does that screw up festival applications and such?)

I remember the turning point of the film being something to the effect of, “It got to the point that I could allow myself only one hour of real living each day, or I wouldn’t have time to edit and review all the tapes.”

This was so analogous to the kind of media overload that people complain about on the internet— there are so many blogs to read that I don’t have time to write my own blog, there is so much writing to do in my own blog that I don’t have time to see people— that I may have started to hyperventilate.

I definitely started hyperventilating when Sarah began turning all her cameras off, one by one, saying for each one “I will no longer record myself sleeping, but I trust that I will still sleep,” and so on. (By the time the directors’ Q & A came around, I was all squeaky and kind of hiccupped out my question. It was dumb. Next time: deep breaths.)

The film ends with something like, “and I trust that God is recording everything perfectly, so it’s ok if I don’t remember it.”

I thought this was a new and strangely technological role to give to God. This is the first time I’ve seen a relevant spiritual reaction to excessive urges to record and interpret your own life. “When there was only one set of footprints, that’s when I blogged for you.” That would actually probably be comforting for a lot of bloggers.

The ending also brought a very old quote bubbling up from the depths of my memory. I’m afraid it is Perry Farrell.

I get off on athletes when they start getting all inspirational
Then they gotta go and mention Jesus and ruin it

I have no interest in relying on God to make life meet my expectations, whether by counting on a higher power to record my legacy or by any other method. I thought all those good ideas about media, time, memory and experience could have been pushed further than that. (My internal meanie-meter is going off right now, but I can’t find a way around it.) Why settle for faith in complacency when you could have a weird epiphany about technology, right?

I don’t know what that epiphany could be yet, but I think it might have something to do with these star employees from the tragic half-baked ideas department:

  • we are all fundamentally alone (an oldie but a goodie, right?)
  • lowering your standards is one way to trust more easily, but there’s a more powerful way that has something to do with love (this one is half-baked both in the sense of “that’s deep, man… [exhale]” and in the sense of “not very thorough”).
  • expectations: if they are wrecking your life, they are probably the wrong ones. (Also known as, “just because you want something impossible doesn’t mean God should do it for you.”)

And… insert some kind of joke about how I’ll keep you posted, except if I figure this out I’ll have no urge to post, by definition, but I’ll probably post anyway… except, you know, funny and not morose like this. Whee!

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