June 30, 2003

Am I the only one who’s seen an upswing in incest spam over the past month or two (“father goes down on daughter!!!“)? I’m rather surprised to see this sort of thing in my inbox, since there’s been such a crackdown on it lately.

I managed to read through two books this weekend, which is a refreshing change after several months of struggling through only a few books.

Book #1 was Feel This Book, a parody self-help book by Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo, and it was as hilarious as I’d expected. Book #2 was Killing Monsters by Gerard Jones, a tremendous work about childrens’ reaction to modern media, particularly violent vidoe games and comics.

[Grave of the Fireflies artwork]

I also (finally) watched Grave of the Fireflies, an anime film about two siblings tossed about by the maelstrom of 1945 in Japan, which I’d stopped halfway through the first time I watched it. It was excellent, of course, though nothing like what I thought it’d be.

I expected to be an emotional wreck after watching Grave, as I usually am after experiencing anything that features the suffering of children. But I wasn’t massively affected by it.

I think this is because Grave focuses directly on the physical, factual events of that era. It lacks any spiritual dimension whatsoever. Oh, we see the ghosts of the protagonists looking back over their history, but they are purely representative devices. Grave says, “Look, here is what happened.” But it is so direct that it never delves into the deeper issues.

In a sense, Grave is a remarkably shallow film, and this is to its credit. Grave is a work of fiction, but things like this happened in 1945, everywhere in Japan. This is about remembrance, a memorial to the horrors of that time. Increased depth would only detract from the presentation of this truth.

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