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Friday, December 27, 2013

The Apple Tree. By John von Daler

                 I have the same problem with Norman #Rockwell that I have with Thornton #Wilder (Our Town): not enough pepper and too much sugar in the stew. The small schoolhouses, the good people around a fire engine, the sweet policemen all tuckered out from duty do not portray life as I know it, only some ideal in which we desperately want to believe.

                Watching #Bergman (Fanny and Alexander) I get the opposite feeling. In his movies as in Flannery #O'Connor's books, evil is ordinary and often prevalent.  When Bergman's preacher tells his new stepson that he feels that the boy almost is grown up and that he therefore will speak to him as one adult to another, you know in your gut that the following speech will be belittling beyond words.
                What am I complaining about? They are only movies, pictures, plays or books. But we define ourselves through them.
                As a new-baked grandfather watching my grandchildren meet the world, I see how much they will have to take and how much they often will give. That is when I start thinking that we are going to have to talk about the mean things not as if they were rotting fruit on a tree in some outlandish country across the sea, but as our own homegrown apples that hang close to the trunk.
                When that thought occurs to me, I despair of Rockwell and with a sigh sit down to yet another trying session with the Swede. You see, I take my entertainment seriously.

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