During the short, but wonderfully satisfying winter break, my family and I loaded up our trusty mystery machine, and ventured up to the majestic dá’aw, or as people from the bay area enjoy calling it, Tahoe. However, in recent years the Tahoe region has become polarized between the weekend residents, who are rich enough to afford a second home along with fancy Bogner jackets, and the locals who are annually trying to scrape together enough money in order to afford a season ski pass. Yet, for how terrible this sounds, the system actually works as long as the bears or the beautiful cast of Twilight who are secretly residing in the woods, are patient enough to not eat anyone before their credit cards are maxed out. And in a really roundabout kind of way, this got me thinking about the subject of escapism.
My recent Tahoe excursion, along with the recent news that James Cameron’s latest epic, Avatar has grossed a billion dollars world wide, led me to the realization that as human beings we need escapism in order to survive our own lives. Throughout my investigation, completely based on my own biased observations and devoid of any scientific principle, I have come to the conclusion that we jump down our rabbit hole of choice, movies, in order to enter a world that is ultimately fair.
True Fact: without any stylization or exaggeration life would make a terrible movie. First and foremost the rewards for the protagonist at the end of the film are completely missing. This is evident, because if they were there, girls would occasionally return my text messages. Unacceptably often, main character and their acquaintances will die for reasons that weren’t their fault, such as getting hit by a drunk driver or slipping in the shower. However, the worse offence of Life: The Movie is that the bad guys rarely die in a climatic final battle. After 8 years, two wars, billions of dollars, and thousands of lives, there is still a certain somebody the US Military still can’t seem to find.
I believe that we essential reject our world every time we sit down to watch a movie. Take for example when you are watching Star Wars Han Solo will never say to Luke Skywalker “Sorry Luke we can’t afford to fly the Millennium Falcon into battle with you today, budget cuts.” Another example would be Die Hard. We know Hans Gruber will not have a sudden surge of common sense and rig every floor of Nakatomi Plaza will explosives, even though he knows John McClane will be the cause of his demise, again.
However, escapism does have a dark underbelly, and that is when it manages to transforms into sexism. Every Friday night, myriads of people flock to their local multiplexes to view movies that could all share the same title: Scantily Clad Women, Explosions and Guns. Or if you like, Scantily Clad Women, Explosions, and Guns 2: More Explosions and Less Clothes. Now these movies are all well good up to a point, they usually fill their role as two hours of cheap entertainment. However, when I stop to contemplate the potential effects of these movies, I become a tad frightened. See there is nothing wrong with having sex symbols, until you remember that you are turning real women into just that, a symbol, and despite what certain actresses may say during interviews with gossip magazines, no one enjoys being a blow up doll. Yes, some argue that men are objectified as well, and to some extent that argument is correct. However, I find it very hard to believe that the objectification of men in the film industry is for the benefit of women. Because most of the women I know don’t enjoy the company of steroid abusers that solve all of their problems with chainsaws and one-liners.Yes it is a sad fact of life that sex sells extremely well. Yet, do you know what also sells? Education. So maybe with few chainsaws and Michael Bay in our escapism and a lot better-developed characters and plot lines, we can take these new lessons of fairness found in movies, and apply them to our own society. Hell, maybe our world isn’t too far-gone, and we should do everything we can to improve it. Just a passing thought.