News from the Bark of Beyond

Life in the Bark of Beyond goes on in a very narrow sphere at the moment, but I’m not complaining. Yesterday afternoon I went out to put water in the bird bath. My poor dogs have had no excitement for 10 days. I’ve wondered if they’re a little bored, but I saw something that made me wonder if they needed me at all. I don’t think so. They have a stable relationship based on dog entertainment.

Teddy was digging a hole. Teddy has little feet, and he dug furiously to get a hole a couple inches deep and a few inches wide. He had an antediluvian rawhide pencil and his goal was to bury it. When the hole was big enough, he tried to put it into the hole, but the hole was too narrow. He struggled with geometry for a little bit then realized he could turn it and then schmush it down and it would fit fine. He proceeded to use his nose to push dirt back into the hole. Garnished it with some dead leaves and called it good.

Moments later, Bear, who had not seemed to be paying attention at all, sauntered over, dug up the rawhide with one swipe of her paw, put it between her teeth, shook it hard several times to make sure it was completely dead, and brought it into the house.

I thought, “This is a game.” I think it was. Teddy didn’t care. He had no proprietary interest in that rawhide. He wasn’t saving it for later. He was hiding it from Bear.

Otherwise? The big news is I made it to the store to pick up groceries yesterday, and when I got home I realized I’d forgotten to order dog food, but I did have four boxes of facial tissue… It’s OK. I have plenty at home. The dogs won’t starve.

I’ve been thinking about movies. I read an article lately about movies made in years gone by that couldn’t be made today. The article focused mostly on movies from the 80s (assuming the age of its writers and audience?) and it struck me that there’s something to it. Not only 80s movies, though. NONE of the James Bond movies could be made today. Not that I think racism, sexism, etc. are OK. I don’t, but I don’t think movies were meant to teach those things; maybe to put them up in front of people so they would SEE it. That was Aristotle’s idea of drama, that it reflected life for people to see themselves more clearly. No one knows what Aristotle wrote in his discussion of comedy because it’s been lost, but I’ve read some Greek comedies and they’re hilarious — and gross. I find myself really bored by most of the new movies I see. I have also been viscerally disgusted by other kinds of performances that are pretty common now. I hardly ever watch American movies or TV. It seems that the Brits are less motivated to sanitize their media but maybe that is based on my choices. And then I think, “You’re 71 years old, sweet cheeks. YOU might be passe.”

Back in the 1930s Hollywood made some rules — the Hays Act — about what movies could and could not show. I’ve seen a few films made before that time and they were amazing. A hooker who discusses Nietzsche with her John? Yep. I wish I could remember the title of that movie, but…

26 thoughts on “News from the Bark of Beyond

  1. It’s sometimes weird to be too old to matter. A couple of “vintage” toy stores have opened here recently. One is called “The Toys of Our Lives” and sells toys as long as you weren’t a child before the 1970’s – and, from photos, the ’70s section looks pretty small. Those folks are almost too old.

    • It is weird. Then I think, “We raised these people. We taught these people.” And then what makes someone “matter” is what they spend money on. Then I think that while I consider a lot of the stuff coming out now to be predictable and insipid it’s because I’ve seen a lot. And the 70s were 50+ years ago which is also weird and flying on planes back then was a nightmare for me because of the smoke. A couple of the people I work with now are in their late 30s early 40s and they say the weirdest shit to me, like “You’re my hero” “I want to be just like you when I’m old.” Compliments? I guess. But weird. I’m sure I said stupid stuff like that, too, in my turn, and the old folks to whom I said it had the grace to say, “Shucks” or “thanks” inside thinking, “She has no clue.”

  2. The dogs playing a kind of “hide and seek” is too cute! And that photo of Teddy nearly sitting on Bear’s head – what was he thinking? Not to worry – I think that some of the movies from long ago were made for audiences in a specific time with a unique point of reference. Similarly movies made today would baffle those long ago movie goers. It is only the truly genius films that remain relevant from decade to decade and age to age…

  3. I am often shocked when I watch an acclaimed movie from before I was born or before I was old enough to watch movies and hear dialogue that is unintentionally or gratuitously racist, sexist, or just plain ignorant.

  4. It is an interesting notion as to how far we should sensor. Do we do it to such an extent that the folks we see on the big screen bear no conceivable relation to us? Would that subliminally adjust us and our attitudes or would we seek our subversive underground movies instead!? 🤔

    • I really hate hypocrisy and when I consider what happens in the US in real life, I’m not sure our current censorship culture is making us better people. I think of Huck Finn and his disgust with civilization, “But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.” I think humanity has always had to struggle and will always struggle with its fundamentally confused nature. I think art should reflect that. 🙂

  5. Bear and Teddy, you two are the cutest. It’s obvious your relationship is stable! Finn wants to join the game. She’ll take the rawhide straight to MAK and make her throw it before Teddy begins the game all over. I’m so happy to hear you made it to the grocery store. That’s a big deal. Back to stable. This morning I had a “stable” plan. By this point of the night I’m mostly spent. Today I had unexpected visitors (it was family). My day was completely unstable. I’m going with the flow of the unexpected. I watch many foreign films. Many shows by BBC (and documentaries that I LOVE so much). I’m watching more TV than I have in my past…sadly. My jaw has dropped at many movies (and of course I can’t think of ONE as I’m typing you) from the past. And then I’m disgusted, too, at some things I see now. There’s a show called “Shrinking” on Apple TV that I just completed. My Mom would have NEVER let me watch such as show in my day, lol. I like the older family shows from the 70’s. Perhaps its nostalgia, or wishful thinking. They bring me comfort. I appreciate your takes on Aristotle and having people “SEE IT”. It’s not TEACHING it. I don’t know if I’m out of line in my thinking, but when I was at the middle school, and technology was gang buster in 2003, I was concerned we’d censor so much that we took away the ABILITY for the STUDENTS to determine what was appropriate or inappropriate. Then again, some thought I was weird. Many hugs, much love, and many extra tissues from the Finn and me! 💛🤗🙏

    • Many hugs to you and Finn. 🩷🐾 The dogs are amazingly good nurses, particularly Teddy, but I will be glad when this is finally all the way gone, my car is fixed and my laundry situation is dealt with. All minor problems, but still problems. Yeah I don’t know — I watch little fragment of things like the Super Bowl half-time show and I’m appalled and I’m no prude, it’s just disgusting to me to watch someone with a big ass gyrate around to some kind of meaningless pounding music — it reminds me of the “Feelies” in Brave New World. Actually a lot reminds me of Brave New World. I just keep telling myself I’m basically “over” because I’m not buying stuff or breeding or any of the things that define utility among human beings. It’s OK. Luckily I have choices. The superficiality of social movements, too. We should be focusing on things more substantial than “body positivity” but we’re not. The lesson should be, “Be kind. Love thy neighbor. Worry about the mote in his eye when you’ve dealt with the beam in your own. Judge not…” etc. But no. It’s tiring. I guess I miss walking the dogs! 😀 Your concern over censorship in 2003 echoes mine. Blacking something out doesn’t remove it. It’s there. Again, superficiality vs the substance of how humans should treat each other. But that’s just my thinking, maybe, and I’m still kind of sick and I don’t have any answers even when I’m not sick. Teddy and Bear send greetings to Finn and hope her upset tummy is resolved ❤️

      • YES!!!! This is exactly how I feel, MAK. I even used the half-time show as an example recently. It disgusted me and I CAN’T understand the popularity of it. Every moment is skin deep! It’s infuriating. Ok, I’ll stop now. It WEARS ME OUT. Yes, we have a choice. I’m so glad car is fixed and laundry situation better. Finley says thank you for caring about her and her itty bitty tummy. It’s better! Please keep getting better and we’ll try our best here! 💛💕💚🐾🐶

  6. An interesting post as always. We tossed our boob tube back in 1974 so I can’t compare, but so many things have been “cleaned up” to the point of unrealistic. Not sure if we have actually gained. As you say, what you see on the streets…

    On the other hand, 50s TV and books written before my time were very strict about behavior and bad language. Main characters were to be role models. However, gradually programs descended into more violence. Books seem to lost all censorship.

    Seems things have gone both ways. I recall the violent cartoons of the 50’s + 60s? Children’s books have also been redone. “The Big Bad Pig and the Five Little Wolves” is a rewrite where the five wolf cubs make a friend of the bullying big bad pig. Checking out Bible story books I see that some of these stories have also been sanitized. David knocked Goliath down. Gideon chased the Midianites away. You don’t have to display the very worst evils out there, but I’m not sure if it’s right to present an unrealistic history to children, either. Maybe part of the same question you’re pondering.

    • Exactly the questions I’m pondering. 🙂 One funny thing, though. When my ex and I got to China, we had been given twin beds. NO married couple in China sleep apart without dire necessity. We were newlyweds. We asked for a bigger bed. They came and made Jim’s bed longer (he is 6 foot). Later I learned that they got the idea from old American movies where the code required married people sleep in separate beds. They thought American couples slept that way!

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