Living Mythos: Fuck You, Jobu.

Screenshot from the movie "Major League". A fit, shirtless man holds the flame of a lighter to a cigar in the mouth of a short wild-haired voodoo loa figurine in a locker.

People will find transformation and transcendence in a McDonald’s hash brown if it’s all they’ve got. – Patton Oswalt

I’m a huge believer in taking your inspiration anywhere you find it. Anything that makes your life better, gives you focus, helps you live, no matter where it comes from is a good thing. Even if it was from something as horrible as Mein Kampf, as long as it doesn’t encourage you to hurt others along the way. The ‘philosophy’ I am going to talk about here is not from anything like that, though it is from a strange place to find inspiration: a crude, dude-ish, unthinkingly-problematic-product-of-its-time 1989 sports movie called Major League.

Major League is in every way an 80s sports comedy movie. A group of misfits wind up on a team together, drive each other insane for a while, get molded into shape by a kindly old mentor figure, and – genre-wide spoiler alert – ultimately defeat the much more professional and well-oiled Bad Guy Team in an exciting last-minute sportsball upset. Along the way there are funny moments and crude moments and touching moments and crude moments that were considered funny when it was made. Major League in specific is of course a baseball movie about a fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians (years before the mainstream were talking about the problems inherent in that name and logo), and if you can get past the dudebro 80sness of it, it is actually quite a good example of the genre. As a writer, I’m always impressed by how virtually all the main characters each got a moment to be the big hero during the inevitable bottom-of-the-ninth showdown against the New York Yankees, and it is the the one of these who made the others possible whose hero moment has a valuable lesson. [Read more…]

Living Mythos: Molly Grue’s Mistake

Screencap of the scene from 'The Last Unicorn' where grizzled, cynical Molly Grue meets the Unicorn for the first time. She says, "Where were you when I was new?"I’ve held off on this sort of topic a little. Now that I come to think of it, the reason for that is actually a sort of faint internalized shame, so now I am going to take a dose of the medicine I offered in my previous post and go for it.

Starting today, I will from time to time dip into one of my favorite topics under the title ‘Living Mythos’: pop/geek culture and the philosophies and life lessons found therein. These will be sort of straddling the line between personal reaction and cultural criticism.

“The Last Unicorn” is a 1982 animated feature produced by Rankin-Bass based on the eponymous 1969 book by Peter S. Beagle. It is a quirky, slightly deconstructionist high fantasy musical that stands a good chance of breaking your heart. [Read more…]