“But the bulk of Facebook and Twitter users are more centrist. They aren’t particularly interested in the latest partisan wrangle. For these users, “posting online about politics simply carries more risk than it’s worth,” Bail argues. By absenting themselves from online political discussions, moderates allow the extremists to dominate, and this, Bail says, promotes a “profound form of distortion.” Extrapolating from the arguments they encounter, social-media users on either side conclude that those on the other are more extreme than they actually are. This phenomenon has become known as false polarization. “Social media has sent false polarization into hyperdrive,” Bail observes.”
– From the December 27, 2021 New York Times article “POLES APART: Can American politics survive an era of hyperpartisanship?” By Elizabeth Kolbert
This 2008 masterpiece by Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson is one of those movies that transcends genre. Although marketed as a horror film, it’s really a love story, but trust me — it’s not like any love story you’ve ever seen.
Films like this are a mystery — it doesn’t seem possible to plan this kind of magic out. No, there is some kind of alchemy going on here, it’s as if the movie gods smiled down on the production, giving it their full blessing. It shouldn’t work, and yet it’s undeniable.
Impossible road block number one? The leads are two twelve-year-olds. Yeah — the film lives or dies by the performances of two children. What the fuck?! How is it possible to get performances like this out of kids, much less capture it on film?
No spoiler alert needed since the film is marketed as a vampire movie, which it kind of is, but not really. What we have here is an impossibly charismatic, lonely, androgenous pre-pubescent boy who is constantly bullied meet and fall in love with a 12-year-old vampire of unknown gender who has lived centuries.
The actors are mesmerizing — the boy’s longing is painfully heartbreaking. It’s impossible not to be moved by the innocence and purity of his love.
The girl is other-worldly; her performance must be seen to be believed. Together they each provide precisely what the other one needs.
The Swedish location only heightens the sense of loneliness — always snowing and cold, the sun never seems to shine, and there is no warmth anywhere.
Just an endless night of existential loneliness, assuaged by the love of a creature doomed to live forever.
I remember hearing Ethan Hawke discuss this idea in an interview, and it really stuck with me. He postulated that people aren’t interested in plots — they’re interested in other people. Therefore, as an actor, his mission was to create a character who was complicated and messy. You know, the way people behave in real life.
It’s only in retrospect that we can make any sense out of what happens to us — only in hindsight do the events we experience lead to what might resemble a coherent story. In real-time, it’s all a jumbled, confusing mess.
So why plot a novel? Or a short story, for that matter? Why not just let the story unfold in real-time, then look back and find the plot afterward?
Maybe the characters trump plot — and if they’re real enough, maybe they’ll tell you what’s going to happen.
Time is promise, But uninvited circumstance And wounded souls Eventually barter it away. The owner of my borrowed time Will arrive at random to insist All what remains of me vanish . . . . A shadow of a shadow Passing into mist.
So, I and my last day Will take a journey together When we both are spent, That leaves the familiar Once infused in all the days, To stand at the edge of night, And wonder in the dying light Exactly where we went.