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The Joy of Fucking You

Saturday 12/22/18



I have now seen Love Actually for the first time. Anyone who knows me would be shocked by this, as I am Mr. Christmas. I watch, listen to, and read Christmas stuff year round, even during this period of my life when the holiday is so acutely painful for me--but I look forward to the day when I am in my house in Rockport, on a morning just before Christmas such as this one, and I am happy. A morning where I look back and think, "Hmmm, those people in your inner circle were right, it was a good thing, sir, you kept pushing and creating, though I don't know how you got through it, to be honest, looking back." I'll watch anything Christmas.


I guess with Love Actually I wanted to be reasonably focused in watching it, as it has its reputation as a modern Christmas classic. Well, it's spectacularly bad. It's not even a movie! Come on! It's like forty characters, each of whom gets six lines, zero development, and they are mainlined into this movie version of a fruitcake. Having said that, I didn't hate it. I know what it's for--it's for you to see once, and then when it comes on the TV and you're doing stuff with your family making gingerbread houses or drinking wine at a party with the neighbors, you leave it on. You flit in and out. Nothing coheres, you don't have to watch it straight through, and it's better if you don't. What a fructose-y mess!


But you know who would like it? Pangloss! Do you know who Pangloss is? Pangloss was the philosopher in Voltaire's Candide (1759) who, after something horrible happens, is always like, "Nah, it's for the best, this is really a good thing, in fact, it's quite awesome!" By the by: guess how Cunegonde, the heroine/love interest of Candide got her name? It's a play on the word "Cunt." It's true! I wonder how many people who teach Voltaire have any awareness of this, and how many, if they learned it, would then say, "We must never teach Voltaire again, for he is very bad!" In college, I once wrote a paper based around a Voltaire letter I found, when he wrote to his young lady friend--she was like eighteen--"I want to be the only man who has the joy of fucking you." I may have titled that paper "The Joy of Fucking You." In fact, it's almost certain that I did. I did.


But look at Liam Neeson in this film. His wife dies, and what happens? Well, in no time at all--days--he's cool with that, he's hooking up, and his kid is hooking up because he shows the kid the way to get this done, and he's in love, the kid is in love, it's new (blended) family time. The wife's horrible, cancer-based death was for the best! Pangloss would be rock hard watching that play out. And Martin Freeman in this film. With that woman from Gavin and Stacy, a show I liked. The heavyset guy from that is the one who went on to fame. Smithy. I don't know his actual name. He seems to "trend" several times throughout the year. Or once a year, anyway. But what is Martin Freeman doing? He's a good actor. Even if Sherlock is so overrated. I wrote about it once for Cineaste. If you like Sherlock and you think it's amazing, watch Jeremy Brett in the Granada Sherlock Holmes series, or, better yet, watch him in it after you read my piece touching on it in The Daily Beast some time between now and Tuesday. I like that Troggs song, though. "Love Is All Around." I like the Troggs a lot. They were quite lascivious. At the end of "I Can't Control Myself," their singer Reg Presley actually starts grunting like he's cumming. Who does that? That's nuts. One of the great singles of the 1960s. I really think they were one of the most influential bands ever. They were the original primitive-chic.