Wednesday, February 16, 2005

“Don’t fight it, Miles, it’s no use. Sooner or later, you’ll have to go to sleep.”

The Movie: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1956 (Daniel Mainwaring, screenwriter, from the novel by Jack Finney; Don Siegel, dir.)
Who says it: King Donovan as writer Jack Belicec
The context: Jack has been taken over by the pods, and urges his friend Miles Binnell (Kevin McCarthy) to give up, too.
How to use it: To predict inevitable defeat. It might also make a decent political slogan, for the right candidate.

I'm supposed to go to Cambridge today to pick up my car, but I'm going to have to postpone it. The sniffles I had in Florida have turned into a sinus infection, and there's just no way I can make a three-hour drive this afternoon. In fact, I may sleep for most of the rest of the day.

Dizzy was so glad to see me yesterday that he ran circles around the vet's lobby, and right into a boot-scraper that cut his nose. He seemed completely unbothered, but it's scary to see a dog bleeding. I'm not sure why it disturbs me so much more than seeing a human bleed, but it does.

It's an interesting phenomenon. Los Angeles is full of people who seem far more interested in animal welfare than in the welfare of their fellow human beings -- and I felt self-righteous about that, until I thought about it. I watch violent films and TV shows all the time; I've even been to a boxing match; but you'd have to put a gun to my head to make me watch a dogfight. I don't even like to watch those Serengeti documentaries, although I'm grateful for the food chain.

Maybe it's just because we assume that humans have the ability to make independent decisions about their welfare, and can defend themselves in most situations, and animals often can't. George Pelecanos' new novel, Drama City, explores this beautifully -- its main character is an animal control officer, and Pelecanos draws clear parallels between the ways bad men treat humans and the ways they treat their animals.

If I feel bad about an animal's injury, there's at least some hope that I'd be sympathetic to an injured human; if I ignore it, there's no hope for me at all.

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