A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

For the news media, the Christmas Day tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo is the gift that keeps on giving. Especially since celebrattorney Mark Geragos heard the sirens and signed on to represent the Dhaliwal brothers, survivors of the attack.

One thing that the story I read in the Mercury News doesn’t explain, however, is why Geragos, best known as a defense attorney for the likes of Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder, is on the case. Seems like the Dhaliwals need a plaintiff’s attorney. Who’s suing whom?

But what really caught my interest was something that the Merc quoted Geragos as saying about the security guard who allegedly failed to respond to the brothers’ pleas for help: “She was completely diffident.”

I think I’d be diffident – i.e., timid and shy – if someone told me a tiger was on the loose. Although on the other hand, diffidence is not something you want in a security guard, so maybe Geragos has a point.

Or perhaps he meant to say “indifferent”? I hope he wasn’t trying for “disinterested,” which too many people use to mean “uninterested,” when what it really means is “impartial.” But that’s a gripe for another day.

Anyway, see what I mean? This is a story with something for everyone: zoo-lovers, zoo-haters, lawyers, lawyer-lovers, lawyer-haters, the morbidly curious, and even wordfreaks.