At Home He's a Tourist

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

Saturday, July 24, 2004

I've got a phone interview coming up with a library in a major metropolitan area! If you believe in prayer say one for me.

This is L.L.'s last week. She says that God told her to quit and start a jewelry business. D.W. will replace her at the cataloging desk, and the Boss is looking into hiring a recent grad of our university to replace D.W. as serials librarian.

L'auberge Espanole recently came out on DVD. Don't see it. It's a boring Eurotrash version of The Real World about eight grad students from across the EU sharing an apartment in Barcelona. There's a hallowed tradition in cinema according to which the easygoing Mediterranean lifestyle has a liberating influence on overly repressed people of northern European stock (e.g. Room With a View, Enchanted April, Under the Tuscan Sun) and I can usually enjoy these movies as fun escapism. L'auberge Espanole is trying to carry on this tradition but the main character, a young Frenchman who trades rainy Paris for sunny Spain, never seemed to me any more likeable for all his hedonistic escapades. He inserts himself with ease into the partygoing set of European hipsters, but given his constantly taciturn personality this social success seems mysterious, as if miraculously arranged by the screenwriters. The fact that he cheats on his girlfriend, yells at his mother, and seduces a friend's wife makes me all the less interested in the outcome of his self-searching. The moral outlook of the film, by the way, is typically leftist--the residents of the auberge tolerate and even celebrate all sorts of debauchery, but the least hint of prejudice or stereotyping throws them into a hissy of self-righteous indignation. The right-thinking counterpart to this film is Whit Stilman's Barcelona, in which acerbic American brothers, one a naval officer, the other a businessman, deflate the pretensions of the trendily anti-American locals.

Also saw The Terminal, a sweet Spielberg confection with little nutritional value, and The Anchorman, which is uneven but has enough good jokes to make it worth a matinee ticket. (Best line in context: "Aqualung!")


Anonymous Anonymous said...


This "God told me to" stuff you hear from Texans always scares me. I usually dismiss it as a figure of speech, but I'm always curious if the person is hearing voices or just feeling very comfortable with an idea and ascribing the cause of that comfort to God.


9:09 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

The latter, I assume, although maybe in fact Texas Baptists are God's chosen people.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with the telephone interview.

I guess I'm more cynical than you are about God-talk. I've been known to describe the "God wants me to to X (which I coincidentally wanted to do anyway)" argument as simply a means of making God a convenient scapegoat for one's own desires. Why doesn't she just say "I'd rather own my own business" or "I'd rather work with jewelry than with MaRC records"?

-- Felix

1:06 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

A student here told me that God commanded her to dump her fiancé and marry someone she saw crossing the street--which she did.

1:12 PM  

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