Saturday, February 19, 2005

fisher stevens and the masks we wear

i've been thinking some deep thoughts this morning.

last night, i babysat until around midnight. i like babysitting- the money's usually better than what i make at my full time job, and i usually have 1/6th the kids to watch. last night, after we finished artwork and dinner, we sat down and watched a couple of movies. i don't generally like plopping kids down in front of the t.v. while babysitting, but that's just the way the evening flowed. anyway, when i packed the babysitting bag yesterday, i initially picked out one of my favorite movies- the princess bride. (it was a rough week, and there's nothing like rattling off lines from that movie while watching a young cary elwes (anyone else think he vaguely resembles val kilmer?) to lift the spirits. actually- let me take that back-real genius works better, but i'm afraid i can't tote it along when babysitting- there are just way too many lines in that movie i don't want to explain to a 7 year old.)

anyway, the princess bride didn't make the cut. in fact, it wound up back on the shelf in favor of the gods must be crazy (one of the girls' favorites from my collection) and short circuit 2, which i hadn't watched in a while, and you most likely have never heard of, aside from a brief mention in just about every article on fisher stevens written since the late 80s. (whatever happened to him, anyway? i suppose it'll give me something to do later, when i should be working on next week's lesson plans instead.)

i hadn't realized the related themes until this morning, as i sped to work. in short circuit 2, two of the main characters want nothing more than to fit in. johnny five, a robot with a distinct personality of his own, wants to be treated like a human, even though he is obviously different. his friend ben, is indian and wants to become an american citizen- so much, in fact, that he spends most of the movie studying for his citizenship test. the movie teaches a couple of valuable lessons- first, fisher stevens with a tan and a dye job, can be made to look convincingly indian. second, (and more importantly- and not just because i can work in a little depeche mode here...) people are people ("so why should it be you and i".....sorry.) and everyone deserves to be treated the same. both johnny five and ben spend the duration of the movie worrying about "fitting in". however, this led to some deep thoughts this morning- does anyone really "fit in"?

on the other hand, in the gods must be crazy, the african bushmen have no desire to fit in with modern society. xi, one of the main characters in the film, spends the duration of the movie trying to return a discarded coke bottle to the gods who dropped it from the heavens. (actually, it came from a litterbug airplane pilot.) during xi's journey, he has several interactions with "civilized"man, and in the end, he returns to his tribe, rather than choosing to assimilate himself into mainstream society.

perhaps we all outwardly try to fit in. i mean, there are two sides to everyone, right? there's the "public" you- the person you let everyone see- the guy/gal new acquaintances know, and there's the "inner" you- the person only you (and maybe close family members and your significant other and one or two very close friends) know. perhaps our "public" persona is something we create in an attempt to "fit in", whereas the "inner" person is our true self. why two personas? is it because we (okay, i) fear not "fitting in"? like, if someone doesn't like you, is it easier to say "well, they don't really know who i am anyway?" rejection is always easier to take if you can rationalize and say "if they knew the real me, it'd be different". it's as if we need a tough shell to protect our insecurities and vulnerabilities from the outside world.

i just heard an ad for "The greatest american hero" on dvd. i watched that show when i was little- ran around the house singing the theme song and everything. i tied my favorite blanket on like a cape and jumped off the couch regularly when no one was looking. (note to mama: just kidding- diana did it.)

that show could fit in with today's deep entry as well. however, the caffiene hasn't kicked in yet, and deep thoughts make my head hurt after awhile anyway. besides, curiousity is getting the best of me, and i have to google fisher stevens.

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