Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

I already linked to it today in a post on Gawker, but I think it bears repeating:

Please watch Country Boys, Frontline's sad, horrifying, and sublimely moving portrait of two boys growing up in rural Kentucky. One can too easily forget how many varying shades of life there are in this precarious, listless nation of ours. Country Boys is a stark reminder that "we" are not--we in New York and other big cities, we the educated--all that exists here. We are not, by any measure, the only people who fall prey to this forgetful government (by all reasoning we suffer its injustices the least), or who fumble for some vague dream under these spacious skies.

Chris is smart as a whip, he's well-spoken, he's ambitious. But he's also from poverty more extreme than I think most of us imagine white Americans (this is not racist, I don't think) could possibly live in. He drinks and does drugs. He talks slick and he talks big and he fails. Because, really, he's been lying the whole time. He's riveting. Cody is religious but horny, badly damaged by an early childhood of utter violence and horror. He adopts, as so many rural adolescents do, a Goth persona. Though his has an extreme born-again bent. These boys, in the film, fumble along and try to make their small way in this worrisome world. The stories are both soaringly hopeful and exhaustingly, mind-fucking-bogglingly depressing. And they are so, so, so worth the watch.

You know, I'm complaining, in my head, right now about having to take a nice train ride in the middle of the night to my parents' summer house, for a weekend of food and family. I'm sitting here on my fancy Mac computer in my nice-enough, furnished, cabled and interneted Brooklyn apartment. And I complain. Yes all human shit is relative, but how lucky am I? How lucky are you?

Sorry to get all... I dunno, preachy. But I find American lives fascinating. And I find it ridiculously spoiled how fortunate mine has been.

I mean, I'm not about to go do charity work, because I'm a lazy drunk, but I hope that you'll feel (for transference's sake) as bad as I do, on our country's birthday, about what a broken place this tract of land can truly be.


C O said...

Your blog is pretty awesome... you should maybe consider updating it :)

Justin said...

Nice post. The poorest places in America are in Appalachia, far away from our beautiful cities.

Anonymous said...

"Yes all human shit is relative ..."