At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Summertime Blues

Things are slow here at the "learning resources center." Very few patrons asking reference questions. I haven't received any reviewing assignments or any issues from LJ or Choice in a while, so I can't while away the hours by either reading or writing reviews. I finished going through the reference collection looking for weedable titles, and sent my recommendations to the appropriate faculty. Most of them rubber-stamped the list. Some of the items made me nostalgic for my 1970s childhood; e.g. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About CB Radio and The Solar Energy Source Book.

I staved off boredom this Saturday by spending money, first here in town (where I picked up Led Zeppelin II for a buck and this book of photography for $2 at garage sales), then in Lubbock, where I bought holy cards at Brother John's Catholic Goods; incense at The Odyssey, a New Age boutique near Tech; wine, port, and vermouth at the Strip; and croissants, muffins, and coffee at the Market Street bakery. I went tent shopping at a couple of sporting goods shops, thinking a cheap escape from the ugly tedium of west Texas would be to go camping in the Sangre de Christo mountains of northern New Mexico. After some unsuccessful browsing at the used bookstores on 34th Street and a matinée showing of Whale Rider, I had a falafel sandwich at Lite Bite Mediterranean Restaurant and drove home. Sunday I spent in sloth.

Whale Rider is the first foreign/indie film to come into Lubbock since A Mighty Wind a month or two ago, so I was careful to arrange my consumerism around the screening times. The movie reminded me of Smoke Signals, which I saw years ago in South Bend. Both portray young aboriginals negotiating a compromise between tribal customs and modern values. Whale Rider has less humor but more emotional pull. The young lead actress, Keisha Castle-Hughes, is almost as photogenic as Natalie Portman, and in traditional Maori headdress and face paint is indeed a little reminiscent of Queen Amidala. I could lodge my usual complaint that the film's theme is stacked in favor of liberalism (e.g. the religious, patriarchal, traditionalist character is highly unsympathetic, and the denouement vindicates feminism), but why bother? One of the perquisites of winning the culture wars is that you get to impose your own laws of aethetics.


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