My Life in Words

It's a very difficult era in which to be a person

Posted by Carla Boyd on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 Under: Movies

I read a book recently called Gone Girl. Actually found out after I finished reading it that they're making it into a movie and I'm quite excited to watch it. It's a book about a man whose wife goes missing and he gets suspected of murdering her. The book comes in three parts, explaining different phases of before, during, and after. I won't go into more details because I feel that would ruin it and I'm pleased to see that the trailer avoids any spoilers as well. I find nothing worse than a movie trailer that gives away literally the entire storyline. But let's just say, I had never really read a thriller before and I'm so glad I gave it a shot. It was the first time a book managed to make my jaw drop. Definitely highly recommend it to anyone! 

What I want to talk about isn't really the book or the movie. I want to talk about a quote from the book that's stuck with me ever since I read it...

“For several years, I had been bored. Not a whining, restless child's boredom (although I was not above that) but a dense, blanketing malaise. It seemed to me that there was nothing new to be discovered ever again. Our society was utterly, ruinously derivative (although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative). We were the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can't recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn't immediately reference to a movie or TV show. A fucking commercial. You know the awful singsong of the blasé: Seeeen it. I've literally seen it all, and the worst thing, the thing that makes me want to blow my brains out, is: The secondhand experience is always better. The image is crisper, the view is keener, the camera angle and the soundtrack manipulate my emotions in a way reality can't anymore. I don't know that we are actually human at this point, those of us who are like most of us, who grew up with TV and movies and now the Internet. If we are betrayed, we know the words to say; when a loved one dies, we know the words to say. If we want to play the stud or the smart-ass or the fool, we know the words to say. We are all working from the same dog-eared script.

It's a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.  

And if all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we don't have genuine souls.  

It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I'm not a real person and neither is anyone else.  

I would have done anything to feel real again.” 
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

Now, I'm aware this is a very cynic view of people and life. Yet, at the same time, I do find that there is some truth to it. The boredom of the current generation is no secret. Social media sites are filled with people trying to "kill time", as though it's worth nothing. Time is treated like we have too much of it. We look at videos and pictures online to distract us from time moving forward, so we don't have to think about what we're doing with our time.

People spend hours discussing TV shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones because they are exciting. For once, the next episode wasn't completely predictable (unless, of course, you've read the A Song of Ice and Fire novels). 

Breaking Bad became the most talked-about TV show in social media history - a show about a regular, everyday-type school teacher who gets cancer, decides to deal drugs in order to save money for his family, and eventually gets so power hungry that he loses sight of what he was doing it all for in the first place. It was interesting because it was such a different world - drugs, money laundry, gangsters - and yet so many of us could identify with one character or another. It made our lives seem more exciting, less boring.

Game of Thrones is all about unpredictability. We're so used to the traditional model of the hero and we feel "safe" in the "knowledge" that nothing can happen to the good guy. However, in the world created by George R R Martin, everyone's favourite characters die all the time and it throws off the balance we're so used to. In good vs evil, we know who to root for - yet if we decide on someone and that person gets killed off, what are we left with? Essentially, we have to move on and root for someone else. While being set in a world of zombie-like creatures, giants, and dragons, I find it teaches us a lot about the modern world. Don't trust too easily, don't get attached to anyone, and being good doesn't always mean you'll win. 

I don't know if I believe that we don't have "genuine souls" and that the firsthand experience is never as good as the secondhand experience. I think there is a lot to be learned, a lot of beauty left to see, a lot of experiences left to be had. I may never be the first to do, know, or see anything, but that's what makes me part of it all. It's finding your own way of looking at things, rather than taking things in the way others want you to see them. 

PS. Special thanks to my sister Anna who gave me the book in the first place! I look forward to seeing this in the cinema together! =)

In : Movies 

Tags: gone girl  movie  book  gillian flynn  film  breaking bad  game of thrones 
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Carla Boyd Welcome to my random collection of thoughts, opinions, ideas, and advice.


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