Thursday, May 10, 2007


I saw the opposite of last week's angry Metro guy* on the red line today. He was a large and unshaven man who was so happy that he kept delightedly laughing loudly while squirming in his hard plastic bench. He was also intoning some running commentary like a radio announcer and rubbing his hands together. Mothers were not letting their prams roll too close to this guy and sadly I wasn't close enough to hear what he was announcing, either; but I thought his gaiety was pretty infectious in a lunatic kind of way. I was heading to see a movie in Silver Spring after doing a little reading over a falafel sandwich platter at the little Lebanese Taverna Café* in the mall there. My book is David Skal's The Monster Show,* which I became interested in after mention in my dear friend Ian's MySpace blog a while back.* The man working the theater's concession stand struck up a conversation about the book while brewing my latte. He'd read an essay from it as part of his film school syllabus and he'd really enjoyed it. I'm only halfway through the book, but I've already learned a lot about the history of monster movie-making, even while mucking through the junky post-Freudian subtextual conjecture Skal has either cobbled together or imagined for himself as the crux of these films. In Skal's thesis, a bald-headed monster or a tall man or a wound or a prop is never just a cigar. The concession man said he thought Skal tried to legitimize b-movies by imagining their social impact as greater than it maybe really was (I'm vastly over paraphrasing). I think Skal tries to legitimize himself, a sad state considering that he is overwhelmingly legit as a historian without all the pop-psychology. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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