Faster and more Intense

Carrie Fisher began her last book with a run down of some of the significant events of 1976 — the year the filming of Star Wars began (and never really ended) — and she mentioned that, “as always, a lot of accomplished and famous people died.” Nowadays the same things are going on, “only faster and more intensely.”

That line was almost the only direction George Lucas gave to the original cast, almost, he did also give Carrie the judgement that there was no underwear in space (Jabba’s palace was another matter). These anecdotes and more are being passed about at lightspeed on the Internet with Carrie Fisher’s death causing anguish and tributes from all over the place.

Now her mother, Singing in the Rain star Debbie Reynolds, has died of a stroke. A tragedy compounded, is there something in the air? 2016 is being continuously lamented on Facebook, Twitter, and all the platforms that make up the vast catalogue of connectivity. But it is sadly likely that these miseries will only intensify, and overwhelm the most dedicated obituarist. 

A bitter thought! I reason that with the post-war generation moving to the geriatric zone, and even the most stalwart members of the pre-war generation feeling the terminal tug of time, the daily harvest of notables will continue. In short: more are becoming less much faster. 

So many people have written touchingly about The Princess Leia, and about the other recent dead as well, I’ve wondered if it’s all a bit trite, a tad false, the bite of celebrity culture. This whole bearing of the soul online thing. However, Facebook is collegial, and the fact that people can genuinely feel sorrow and grief at the expiry of someone they only knew of, but not knew properly, is a testament to what is good in people. 

Then of course there is the bad, the hounding of Steve Martin for a ‘sexist’ tribute to Carey on Twitter, comes to my mind (because I only just read about it and have the patience of a caffeinated seagull). This sums up the idiocy of the twitter trolls rather well. Martin wrote: 

“When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well”

That tweet has since been deleted. Trolls will be trolls even if they don’t quite know it for themselves. They condemned Martin for putting the sex symbol before the actual person. How dare he mention that he found Carrie Fisher an incomparable beauty in the context of him (Steve Martin) being a young man. And his nerve in praising her wit and intelligence afterwards, as if the dimensions of someone’s personality become more apparent as you get to know them. My, my, how awful. 
(If my point in the above paragraph is unclear, please read it again while imagining the sound of every eye in the galaxy rolling about)

I can’t bear my soul any further, and who cares, right? Carrie Fisher is as alive to me today as she ever was, and yet stunningly not at the same time. I’m reading her book The Princess Diarist (based on journals she kept during the 1976 shoot) and it’s very good. Wittily written with no regrets, a final tribute to the franchise she is indelibly part of, that immortalised those hair buns and that metal bikini. Now, as she said herself, she has drowned in moonlight–strangled by her own bra. 

All I want to say right now, instead of tripping over a long, unwieldy tribute to Carrie Fisher, is that she’s an indispensable ingredient to something that continues to dominate the lives of those like me (child-adults who never really grew up and share our clichéd existence with legions online and nobody present). Take away Leia and what are we left with? Just boys with blasters and sabers. Jedi without the force. Add Carrie Fisher and we have Star Wars. Farewell your highness, so sorry about the bra!

Just a fleeting opinion….

I have found it impossible to write anything these last few months because of an avalanche of negativity that has buried me. I am sure it’s not just me and judging by the massive chorus disparaging 2016 in general this is a common devastation.

How do you catch a thought and draw it out into an essay, blog, or column without being thrown by another beloved artist dying? Or the pestilence of the new agent orange (Donald Trump) being authorised to ruin the planet, the death of the last actor in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis (Fidel Castro), the resignation and ascension into political heaven of a Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Opinion writing means throwing together assumptions and using them to analyse some event that has barely just happened. It is a reactive thing, and I believe my own work reveals a corkscrew of changing thoughts and impressions. These fleeting opinions are attempts to place thought into a rational context, to work through ideas which are not always palatable after they have been posted. Several posts have been removed for the reason that I fear I muddled the message, the metaphors don’t match up with the context and the result is poor. Like I made something subterranean when I was really trying to get altitude.

There are so many political bloggers now, and such a spread of trash for the purpose of click bait (see the explosion of fake news disseminated on social media during the US election) that I don’t want to be a part of it anymore. This site uses my own name, which was for principled reasons as well as ego. I wanted to be accountable in the sense that if I tear someone’s guts out in a post, I am at the very least not hiding in anonymity. I thought this stops me from being a troll. It doesn’t. All it does is leave me exposed.

I hope my scribblings don’t get taken too seriously, and that the hurtful ones can be forgotten, or ignored. I am a living thing, not static, a process — a verb. So are you. And the fleetingness of our life’s activity is what makes it worthwhile. Better to flicker for a second than not to light at all.

I’ll pull up now before I get too carried away with metaphors! I just want to thank those of you that read and follow my blog, and to ask your indulgence while I slowly transform it into something better. I love writing about literature, film, television, and pop culture, so we’ll see where that ends up.

For the future I’ll happily talk politics and world affairs in person or via a podcast, but not so much through this blog.


The real Joe Boon