Sunday, August 17, 2008

Masters of Illusion --WARNING: BIG WHINE

I wanted to be a magician when I grew up-- for about three weeks. Master of Illusion, doing card tricks, and making the coin disappear in the plastic box with the false bottom. (Oops! I gave the secret away! See! I'd make a lousy magician.)

I loved watching the magic shows on TV. Like the magician who could turn his lovely assistant into a tiger, then back again. I tried that on my sister. I kept saying the magic words over and over again, but she never got the hang of turning into a tiger. She never disappeared, neither.

Then, I got into advertising. Talk about illusion! Everybody is worried about their product and the image it portrays! What color label most appeals to their target audience of females 17-35. Having to choose the right font for a church to make it seem hip, but not too hip to exclude families.

It's like the kids in high school who need to wear the right jeans, comb their hair the right way, not wear certain colors. Is there ANYTHING a kid won't buy with the word Holister on it? Shoot, way back in my middle school days, you needed to have the right brand of a thick tube of candy-flavored lip gloss hanging around your neck by a cord, and the huge handle of a plastic comb hanging out your back pocket. Or, frankly, you were not cool.

We caught on, though. It's all an illusion.

Like a movie. There's some magic makers there. I swear I want to get a time-share on the planet Naboo. And, how long before you went back in the water after seeing Jaws? Ever shudder taking a shower the morning after seeing Psycho?

One of my favorite directors is Zhang Yimou. He directed Raise the Red Lantern and To Live, both with my favorite actress Gong Li. I could feel the torture of the Cultural Revolution in To Live, and I really want someone to tap my feet with little hammers, like in Raise the Red Lantern.

He also directed the absolutely magical 2008 Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremonies. 2008 drummers perfectly synchronized. Master calligraphers. Dancers. Singers. Joggers all over a globe. Fireworks. Some bizarre movable type board, that moved up and down in letter forms, and water-like drips, and-- there were people underneath each separate character-piece. There was thousands of years of Chinese culture displayed for the world. The Olympic opening ceremonies were the chance for the Chinese to put their best smiling face forward, and say, "Welcome to our home, world!" And, they chose a fantastic film maker to put together their image.

And, for some folks, the illusion was ruined because one little girl sang so beautifully, and another little girl mouthed the words.

Really? You want to pick on that? Miss I-Really-DO-Look-Like-My-Facebook-Photo-All-The-Time? Or, are you really a Mr? You can't find any other itsy-bitsy Chinese elephants in the room to pick on, but a prepubescent lip syncher? That really blew it all for you, Mr. I-Buy-Only-Family-Oriented-Under-Arm-Deordorants? That whole bit where the children dressed as the 56 minorities in China soft-shoeing the Chinese flag up to the soldiers who take it from them wasn't disturbing? I'll bet the 2008 drummers all synched up was looking a bit intimidating to Taiwan-- er, I mean, Chinese Taipei, or to the not-so-autonomous region of Tibet.

Really? Lip synching? The whole illusion is blown, and China sucks because the actual singer didn't look the image someone wanted to portray? Did you watch the rest of the ceremony? (Say, did you know Zhang Yimou was banned from China? And, now he is a welcome celebrity?) The show was AWESOME! It almost made me forget about the city-wide pre-Olympic political dissident round-up.


So, I woke up this morning to a wrestling match with my boy. (He's getting better. Nearly had one of my arms pinned down.) When I got around to saying good morning to my honey, she was working on her computer. "Blogging?" I asked.

"No," she said. "I'm making you a MySpace page."

I smiled a very big smile. I've got a groupie! who makes a MySpace page for me, like a politician, or an actress, or a tattoo artist. Wait-- You didn't think those MySpace pages were the REAL politician/actress/tattoo artists, did you?

Oh, btw. Way back when, remember the Taco Bell chihuahua? That wasn't the dog's real voice.


Actually, my wife made me the MySpace page so I could access and read HER MySpace blog.

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be."

--Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

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