Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Gilhooley Response

Okay today I am posting with the kind permission of my brother Tom, aka Tater Tot, aka Tato-matic, an older e-mail( on a lighter note) in which, well descerning central truths from the arcana of pop culture he has made his own discovery. So without further adieu here goes:

- - - I think I may have figured out a central point or inflection point of ALL EXISTENCE AND THE MEANING OF LIFE. It of course has to do with the movie"Donovan's Reef."
I won't bother to debate the core value of this John Ford classic. Its importance is so obvious and deep that simple debate is at best redundant,I'm sure you'll agree with this.
Over the last two months AMC has showed this cultural center point about 20-30 times. I've watched it at all hours of the day and night. I have made note of all the intricate dialog and visual banter. This thing is replete with significance and fundamental truth. But of the many truths the one that is of most importance is the scene when in the middle of the bar room brawl Gilhouly finds a couple of silver dollars on the floor of the bar after having bumped into the slot machine, then without thought or hesitation puts it in the slot machine. Now there are several things going on at once here:
1. The act of gambling in the middle of a fight.

2. Putting money in a slot machine that one knows is "busted."
3. Pulling the handle very hard and listening to the machine protest.(Dwoot...dwoot)
4. Putting a second dollar in the thing, again with the predictable result.
5. Accosting the poor machine violently evoking still more mechanical protest.
6. Returning to the fight in disgust.

My point is this one small scene in the movie the entire history of mankind may be seen with some clarity. In about 20 seconds we get childish behavior, denial of fact, emotional stress and retaliation,repetition in the face of defeat, pure violence and destruction....and finally , bitter resignation and a return to pure pleasure/pain. This embraces much of the human condition all in one scene. Each time I watch the movie I see this truth with more understanding and certainty.
In truth, Gilhooley is everyman. Our core response is Gilhooley's response.
It is as central to our soul as sex or greed. This central truth is always wanting to win no matter what, perhaps it stems from some weird survival instinct but I think it is more fundamental than survival.
It is the Gilhooley Response.

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