I’m not a movie expert because I like Netflix. All of the people on my Netflix friend’s list can attest to the fact that I have some, um, interesting taste. It’s just that the last couple of years I’ve been seeing this funny tune pop up in movies touting the proper way to measure a worthwhile life.
No, the tune isn’t about violence or sex, though it may use those two to play a minor key in support of it. Cave-paintings recorded graphic violence and sex long before movies so that’s nothing new.
I labeled the tune the Existential National Anthem. Its a few notes, peppered throughout movies underscoring that a life must be measured in love. With a nice catchy tune, powerful performances or painful tragedy a movie like Rent could easily play the Anthem full blast and the message comes through loud and clear…other movies like Crash may play it differently. People can live tragically horrid lives but its okay if they had love or made contact or whatever.
Here are some of the lyrics: it’s not about tomorrow, it’s only about today. It’s not about what other’s think or the repercussions thereof it’s about us. How is a life measured? Measure with love. It’s not unique to Rent.
Saved: It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe and stand on that. Intolerance is in contradiction to love. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: enjoy now…ignore the consequences of our problems. Love will thrive and fail–but it doesn’t matter…it’s all about the moment. Matrix Trilogy: Revel in your humanity because you choose your destiny by what you do now. Doesn’t matter who gets hurt in that quest. Life is a simulacrum anyway–you decide how to define it.
I’ve got this Schaedler ruler at work. It’s a nifty mylar ruler, precisely cut so that you know when it’s resting flat against whatever your measuring. Fantastic tool working in picas, points, metric and inches (fractions or decimals). The thing can even tell you font sizes!
Some people at work look at the thing and refuse to use it resorting to rulers of wood (which gets nocks), metal (which get dings), or computer monitors (which is variable if your on screen and resolution. Now, where you’re looking for precision you should be using a Schaedler–but some people ignore it or resort to their own way of measuring things.
This whole measure of love bit gets me because it’s so relative. On Prisonbreak a child molester criminal momentarily became a sympathetic character when a boy he loved died. Neo cuts through hundreds of innocent people who are plugged into the Matrix for the sake of his girl Trinity. A measuring stick is no good if it changes sizes in different conditions.
Well, every movie doesn’t have this tune–it kind of just plays a note here or there. And man it can make any of us feel good when we look at the screen and measure our own lives against those on the screen. “I have a husband and stayed with him.” Or, “at least I love my kids–doesn’t matter how I spend my weekends”. Log onto myspace and see how many of your church-going teenagers spend their evenings and weekends. It’s fine that we’re dressed nice on Sunday but the rest of the week is my time.
Our measuring tools are all off. I wonder if we’re singing the Anthem too.