We’re still trying to work out what the lesson is here. Maybe you readers can help.
On Labor Day weekend we saw an independent movie called Herman’s House. It’s a curious story about a Black man who has spent 40 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana. An artist from New York hears about him. She begins to correspond with him. Visit the website for details. The movie had no denouement – it just called for an end to long-term solitary confinement. The prisoner is still in solitary.
Afterward, the 20 or so people who watched the film milled around in the anteroom nibbling cookies and sipping lemonade or coffee. One member of the audience was restless. “So, what did we learn from this?” he asked. No one answered.
Naturally, IFO had an opinion, which we share with you now. The story showed how delusional the artist was, how realistic the prisoner was. It showed how deep the divisions and mutual dislike still are between North and South in the US; how men and women have radically different world views; how friendship can cross cultural boundaries. But we knew all that, so we didn’t learn anything from it.
Next day, we randomly picked up one of the few books in our personal library that we haven’t read yet. “The King of Ragtime,” is a biography of Scott Joplin, a Black man. He died in 1919.
For background as we read, we put on one of our many CDs of Joplin’s music.
We agree with music critics who call him the American Chopin. We’ve already posted about his great opera “Treemonisha.” We have several recordings of it and have seen live versions in Bend, Oregon, Memphis, Tenn. and Paris, France.
Last night, we went to Beaverton to see the movie “Jobs.” It was very moving – pardon the pun. We understand why critics didn’t like it: too many scenes shown lacked context, too many important parts of his life were left out, and too many people in his life were left out. But come on! It took several days to read his biography and 56 years for him to live it.
Here he is with the Apple 2, considered by many computer buffs to be the best computer the company ever made. Some people are still using theirs today.
The movie also failed to capture Jobs’ intensity. Intensity is a mental state and difficult to portray. It was also difficult to show how much work is involved in creating and running a company. Most of that also involves intense thinking – hard to demonstrate to people who have never done it themselves.
Leaving the theatre last night, we were struck by the coincidence that Scott Joplin and Steve Jobs have the same initials. SJ Hmmmm. We used to be a reporter at the Salem SJ.
What do we learn from that???