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This is Old
The Fourth of July in Question Took Place in 2016
Nobody Back Then Could Guess the Future
No Matter What They Tell You Now
The Blue Fairy, or the Girl with the Sky-Blue Hair, as she’s called in this translation of Pinocchio, she’s a little girl and then… and she’s identified as a sister… you know, a metaphorical sister to Pinocchio. Later he comes back and she becomes his mother figure very explicitly.
You know, they keep the figure consistent in the Disney film, as you have to. I—maybe it’s working on a TV show for… four years now, almost. Maybe that’s why I have more sympathy… for the effort to turn it into… to structure it! Because, in the best way, the book doesn’t care about structure. The Fairy, first is a dead—a little dead girl. And then she’s a fairy and then she dies—again! She dies for a second time, which is confusing. And then when she comes back she’s grown up… and becomes his mother figure and only then… you know what? I’m sure this has been covered a million times in [sigh] I don’t know, fairytale journals. I’m sure there are academic journals devoted to fairytales and I’m sure you can go anywhere on the internet and see similar observations.
So, yeah. The, the, the, the Fairy. The Girl with the Blue Hair. First she’s a little dead girl who speaks to him without moving her lips. Terrifying. Then she’s… a fairy. Then she’s a sister figure. Then she’s dead again and has a gravestone. Then she’s a mother figure and this is what inspires Pinocchio to become a real boy… I mean think about that! Think about those Freudian… he wants to grow up so he can be like his mother figure. He wants to grow to the age of a father, basically, to be with the mother figure. That’s the way it comes off, anyway.
Well, tomorrow is the Fourth of July. We’re having Stanley Cream over. We’ll eat hot dogs and watch King Lear.
My brother-in-law was on a trail on a narrow bri—about to cross a narrow bridge when he saw a bear at the other end of the bridge. So that was exciting. He escaped unharmed, as did the bear…
Stanley Cream came over yesterday, the Fourth of July, as promised, and we watched King Lear…
There was a violent, raging thunderstorm—I mean in real life—so… it really fit in with the movie, it was, uh… couldn’t have been… more appropriate. The thunderstorm started… right around the time in our viewing when Lear is visiting Goneril’s place and she kicks him out. And it went, it kept going, Paul Scofield really stretched out that word “blow.” I’m not gonna imitate it.
Then uhhm… what else can I tell ya?
Well, at the end…
Goneril just takes Regan and dashes her head upon the stones! And uh… that’s what happens to Regan. And then Goneril’s kneelin’ there on her knees and she kinda sways around and around and bangs her head on a rock and cracks it, I suppose. It’s… a tough way to go. Maybe she felt guilty.
Well, Stanley and I were, uh, surprised. We grabbed my copy. I went to the hallway and found my copy of King Lear and we looked at the death of Goneril and Regan in the play, which happens offstage [throat clearing] entirely.
Goneril has apparently p—we hear all this from a character who’s just known as “Gentleman.” A gentleman comes out saying, uh, holding a knife and saying something like, “Oh, ‘tis hot, it smokes!” I think that’s the line, I might be paraphrasing it slightly. That this knife that Goneril has just used to kill herself, I think, and she’s poisoned Regan but we don’t… see any of that.
[Coffee being poured into mug.]
I was hoping that the storm would delay, or cancel, I mean, the fireworks display because I just don’t like hearing fireworks. They give me the jitters. The cats don’t like the fireworks. I imagine there’s no animal who enjoys… fireworks, aside from the human. I think of little squirrels just having heart attacks and dropping out of the trees. I bet it happens! When fireworks go off. Much louder than thunder.
Well, I’ve tried to live up to my promise and, and watch Elizabethtown. What promise? My promise to no one. I did it for my friend Johnny Griggs, a great defender of the film, though he never asked. And… it was streaming and I started watching it, and I thought, I bet this has been fifteen minutes and I’ve already noticed four allusions to Billy Wilder. [Coughing.] At least four. Uhm, you know, Cameron Crowe—the writer and director of Elizabethtown—loves Billy Wilder. There’s an attempted suicide, a favorite, uh, plot device of Billy Wilder.
A man going to fetch his father’s body, a la Wilder’s Avanti!.
You know, a wild Christmas party at the office, a la The Apartment.
I’m going to stop saying “a la” now.
And I can’t remember what else. But I went to bed without getting very far into the movie. And this morning I got up and I… made myself some oatmeal. Uh, buh, and you know, it’s been a while since I made oatmeal and I really made way too much. I mean you might as well be eating a cake! At that point.
But Elizabethtown! I got up, made my oatmeal, sat down and thought, I’ll watch some more of this. Because… one thing I don’t understand is it starts with a guy, he’s in trouble because a shoe he designed has been recalled. Now, it’s my understanding that if something is recalled, it would be because of a, you know, a defect that would endanger the public in some way. I don’t think you recall something just because it… is unpopular. But… mmmmm… given no context, it seems that the shoe was simply unloved.
But I’ll never know, because I woke up, uh! Jesus! I really talk in circles. Or—nuah, that’s an insult to circles.
[Throat clearing. Pause.]
So they, uh, er, during [stifled laugh] the night as I slept they discontinued the streaming of Elizabethtown. And it’s vanished as if it were never there.
Jack Pendarvis has written five books. He won two Emmys for his work on the TV show Adventure Time. During a period of light employment, he spoke into a digital recorder whenever the mood struck him and transcribed the results, accumulating the two thousand pages from which this column has been extracted.