Saturday, May 21, 2005

“This is this. This ain’t something else. This is this.”

The Movie: The Deer Hunter, 1978 (Deric Washburn, screenplay, from a story by Washburn, Michael Cimino, Louis Garfinkle, and Quinn K. Redeker; Michael Cimino, dir.)
Who says it: Robert De Niro as Michael Vronsky, a steelworker and hunter on his way to Vietnam
The context: On a hunting trip, Michael shows his friend Stanley (John Cazale) a bullet, and yells at him for goofing around about something Mike takes very seriously.
How to use it: To make someone focus on the matter at hand.

I've probably seen this movie a dozen times, and I'm still not entirely sure what this line means. If you have a theory, feel free to post it.

I went over to Hallowell City Hall this morning, home of the Gaslight Theater, to work on set construction for their summer musical, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. Hallowell is a much smaller town than Gardiner -- in fact, I think it's the smallest official city in Maine -- but its town hall is much nicer. Gardiner's Town Hall is one of those brick-and-glass buildings from the 1960s, with a weird roof that looks like the Flying Nun's hat. Hallowell's is about 150 years old, with long windows and a beautiful, curving wooden staircase.

As usual at the beginning of a construction project, this morning's work was mainly demolition of what was already in place. My favorite Too Much Joy t-shirt was the perfect fashion choice: it says "Create" on the front, and "Destroy" on the back. I don't know what I'm going to do when this t-shirt gets too ratty for me to wear any more.


Anonymous said...

Get a new one made! Atlantic Avenue has several T-Shirt shops that will make up a custom shirt that says anything you want on it. They will even make you a shirt so offensive you will be arrested on sight if you wear it in public, around here anyway.

AnswerGirl said...

Actually, the Too Much Joy website still sells these shirts... I just wonder whether I might be getting a little old for it.

tod goldberg said...

This is like a moment from Repo Man. I turn on the stereo and put on Too Much Joy's fabulous rendition of Seasons In The Sun, to be followed by their touching ode to past lives, My Past Lives and then I get on the computer, click on your blog and, well, here we are. A post about Too Much Joy t-shirts. I should play the lotto tonight.

AnswerGirl said...

And what makes this even more amazing is that I really WAS a guy named Urg in 50,000 B.C.

Anonymous said...

I saw this movie in the theaters and this line stuck with me. Now at 47, I've finally figured out what it means.

It means that things are what they appear to be. There is no need to discuss it existentially or philosophically. It's not an instrument, a projectile, a means of destruction, a commodity... The bullet is simply a bullet.

You are either prepared for life or you aren't. You either get a deer or don't. You win or lose. You survive or die. Reality is the most important perspective.

The meaning escaped me for over 30 years, but the phrase stuck. If I didn't explain it well, hopefully life will. Good luck.