Some Delius
Chausson: Symphony in Bb, Op. 20

Time For Me to Read The Moviegoer Again

Rod Dreher quoted this, in a post about celebrity:

Nowadays when a person lives somewhere, in a neighborhood, the place is not certified for him. More than likely he will live there sadly and the emptiness which is inside him will expand until it evacuates the entire neighborhood. But if he sees a movie which shows his very neighborhood, it becomes possible for him to live, for a time at least, as a person who is Somewhere and not Anywhere.

A few days ago I was watching the movie Alabama Moon with my wife. I don't especially recommend it, at least not for grownups. Some children may like it, and in fact that's why we were watching it--the DVD was part of a big gift basket my wife had bought at our parish's Christmas bazaar, and we wondered if our grandchildren might like it. (Verdict: very doubtful, as there are no spacecraft, superheroes, or battles in it.)

I had a vague notion that some parts of the movie might have been filmed where I live. Several locations did look familiar. Then came a scene set in a hospital, and I was almost sure that it must have been filmed in the local hospital (labeled, for purposes of the story, Tuscaloosa General, which I think does not exist, as if you care). This gave me a completely absurd moment of elation. And later, when I looked for information online and found out that it was mostly filmed in Louisiana and so the hospital was probably not ours, I felt an equally absurd moment of letdown. 

It's still possible that the hospital scene was filmed here. The film credits thank Fairhope along with Covington, Louisiana. And it really looked like Thomas Hospital. But of course I don't really care. 

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Once, I stayed for a couple of days in a cabin at a state park not far from here. A few days later, I watched a movie that was fairly tedious, but at the end, the main characters were sitting on a little dock in the park on which I had sat. I felt very special.

AMDG

Of course. And it's such nonsense.

I'm not sure it is nonsense. Because it is universal, I think there is some underlying importance. Maybe it has something with heaven. The recognition of the everyday in a more public setting indicates that there is something further up and further in.

AMDG

Hmm. I don't see that but I'll think about it more. Percy's analysis certainly isn't nonsense, but the sense that one feels the place to be in some real way authenticated or "certified" is pretty irrational.

Irrational is exactly right, because it's not something you think through, it's completely affective.

My example above is just that, an example. I am not sure what the underlying cause is, but I think there is one.

I'm a bit confused, you weren't being satirical when you talked about the experience with the hospital, were you. I mean, you think this feeling really happens, right?

So, in the comments of the Minor Novels post, I mentioned The Moviegoer, and then you posted this, and then when I was looking for the address of a book discussion podcast to send a friend, I saw that they had just finished a series on The Moviegoer, and since I have the book, I am going to read it. It just seems fated.

AMDG

I think maybe I will, too.

Yes, I was definitely being satirical when I said "of course I don't really care." That could have been followed by :-) or ;-). In fact of course I do care.

When I said the feeling is "irrational" I meant that it doesn't involve any change in the objective physical reality of the place. A better example is that bit in Lost in the Cosmos where Percy describes a scene which seems vague to the "patient," and then places it in the context of some sudden danger. A sniper maybe? Anyway, Percy says "Can you see it now?" The change is "irrational" in that nothing has changed with what the viewer is seeing or with his eyesight--it's totally in his consciousness.

Well, that's what I meant, but I didn't know it was what you meant. ;-)

AMDG

I finished The Moviegoer, and oh my goodness, I have not been this excited about a book in a long time. It may have been the first novel I read by Percy, and I had forgotten that it was almost entirely opaque to me. I really wanted to like it, but I couldn't figure it out, and I really didn't think Binx and Kate were worth the effort. So, along with listening to the book, I also listened to a podcast discussing the book on Close Reads, and it was very, very good, and now I think the book is great.

Some time ago, I listened to discussions of a few other books on Close Reads, and they kind of drove me crazy, especially their discussion of Brideshead. They just did not understand thread of Catholicism at all, and completely missed what was going on in that last chapel scene. Now, there is a new woman on the show who really gets it, and the men, who were there previously, seem to have come closer to a Catholic understanding.

AMDG

I finished it, too, and will post something about it soon. I'm not familiar with Close Reads.

I totally misread the book, too, when I first read it. Well, not exactly misread, just didn't get it beyond a fairly superficial level. But I enjoyed it a *lot*.

This surely is the Close Reads you're referring to, right?

https://www.circeinstitute.org/podcasts/close-reads

But the list of "latest" episodes stops in 2018. ??

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