Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Sitting: Plying Patience
Lately I've had to employ rather a lot of patience (this time it's due to an annoying attack of sciatica). Since I haven't been able to do what I want and need to be doing, I decided to entertain myself by watching some videos online.
After I watched a wonderful movie, I was surprised to see in the huge list of comments that many people had marked it down as dull and boring. That seemed odd to me, seeing as how I had found it well-modulated and nicely paced--a really good bit of storytelling with some heartbreaking moments that truly hurt. The movie was, by the way, Mr. Holmes.
I imagine that those who were bored wanted FX and explosions and close-ups of bloody guts, not to mention a surplus of gratuitous nudity, since few movies appear to be complete without such these days. But it seems to me that too much of these things dulls the senses, leads one only to need more and more and more, and closes the mind to quieter things that want intimate observation. The movies that bore me are those with too much action and too little character content: I want to see what people become, not what happens when you blow something up.
A few months back, I recommended a movie to a friend--telling her that it was one of the most beautifully illustrated things I had ever seen: The Garden of Words (Kotonoha no Niwa). She watched only about two minutes of it before she became utterly bored because she couldn't be bothered with subtitles and couldn't imagine why I would think that she should.
When I was a kid, I had a TV in my bedroom--fairly unusual for children in the 1960's but I was the only child in a household full of adults who wanted me to entertain myself quietly. Quite quickly I learned that this meant turning the TV volume really low if I wanted to keep my privileges. I was enthralled when I discovered that, very late at night, the local PBS station played silent movies and subtitled international movies that I could easily watch with the sound off so that no one was the wiser to me being up long past bedtime.
Perhaps that's why subtitles don't scare me now. Indeed I am grateful that I learned the patience for using them. Many actors currently seem to be sloppy speakers--rushing lines and inflecting badly--so that I keep the Closed Captioning option turned on whenever possible so that's it's available for clarification.
During my enforced time of sciatica-sitting, I have also managed to watch much of a popular primetime series (thank goodness for Hulu, since I have no other access to TV service whatsoever): Nashville. But it wasn't long before the show began to grate badly on my nerves--there was nothing of redeeming value, none of the characters grew greatly during the course of the storylines. And I was a bit shocked by the comments in support of some of the more offensive characters. I gave it up as a bad choice before I watched all of the episodes.
I realize that what I really want to be watching instead are "JDoromas" (Japanese TV Dramas). The shows have only about 10 episodes as a general rule. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end to the story. Characters have something to learn, and they change as a result.
It's not as easy as clicking on Hulu to find JDoramas because they are fan-subbed and often probably posted illegally. The sites that have the shows tend to be polluted with all manner of bots and worms and unpleasant advertisements. But it's worth the risk to see shows that have meaning. Frankly I think it's a lot riskier to watch stuff with too much action, too much gore, too much sexual content, too little emphasis on humanity.
Since I'll probably sitting for anther few days, maybe I'll just go watch Tokyo Bandwagon again--it's about an extended family that runs a used book store. And it's worth any amount of patience to read the subtitles for something that makes you feel as good as that show does.