Quite recently, I’ve been lamenting the death of the traditional animated film. Most of Hollywood’s major animation studios (i.e. Disney) has been saying that there’s no more money to be made in traditional animation; all the money’s in computer animation now. I, really, don’t want to believe that. I think there’ll always be a place for the traditional animated films. “A resurgence is just one good film away,” Mr. Anderson told me recently. But then, I started reflecting on the past few years. There was a time not too long ago where I was first in line for every animated film. But not so since about 2002. So, this afternoon, I rented every major traditionally animated film that came out in the past two years (the ones from Disney and DreamWorks) and watched them.
God>> OK, I’m going to explain this once and for all. This is why there’s evil in the world.
[A train rolls by, drowning out God’s voice. All we see is God performing a series of bizarre hand gestures. The train rolls into the distance.]
Bob>> Wow. When you explain it like that, it all makes such perfect sense.
– From the short-lived cartoon God, the Devil & Bob
I’ve been called many names in my life. I’ve gone by many names in my life. But the one that always rattles me the most is “evil.” Perhaps it comes from having been raised on a steady diet of comic books, cartoons, and morality fables. Naturally, most little boys want to grow up to be Prince Charming, Superman, or Snake Eyes. Very few people want to be the Evil Sorcerer, Lex Luthor, or Cobra Commander. With these pop culture fables having formed the foundation of my moral compass, I have always tried my best to be the good guy. When someone points at me and accuses me of being evil, I often find myself, like Daredevil, just sitting in the shadows muttering to myself, “But I’m not the bad guy.” In essence, whenever I’m accused of being evil, I’m naturally consumed by self-analysis trying to figure out exactly what I did was wrong.
I had a brilliant idea the other day as to how change the system for the better. Yes, I’ve rallied against the system for a few years now, and I’m starting to get tired of the taunt from those in charge: “Well, I’d like to see you propose an alternative!” This, of course, has replaced the previous taunt of, “Well, I’d like to see you do better!” because that led people to do things like run for office and actually do better. This idea has to do with reforming our education system.
Recently, out of morbid curiosity, I rented the special edition of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. I’m sure we all have memories of watching it in our youth. It’s a movie that still holds up well over the past 20 years. True, some of the special edition touches seemed out-of-place. You could tell when some new animation was dropped in because, suddenly, E.T. just moved so much more fluidly than before. But once you got past all that, you still had this touching story of a boy and his alien. This was a pop culture phenomenon when it first came out in 1982. But when this special edition came out in 2002, it was promptly deemed a bomb after being in release for just one week. So, I kept asking myself one question: how come people no longer embrace E.T.?
I do crazy things at work when it gets slow. It’s probably stuff I shouldn’t do. Because we are in the produce section, the salad dressing is right next to us. I’ve been compelled to do this for as long as I can remember. You should try this at home. It’s a lot of fun. What you do is you get yourself a bottle of a good oil & vinegar salad dressing. I find Italian is the most common. Set it down in front of you. Shake the hell out of it. Then, watch it separate. Better than a lava lamp.
It all appears to be one uniform substance when you put it down, but then it begins. The oil begins to cloud together. It slowly – very slowly – begins to rise. It’s like clouds, joining together, preparing to blanket the sky. Like little pink bubbles the break through the surface of the vinegar and rise, rise, rise. It tries to go higher, but the lid of the bottle seals its universe.
The vinegar settles to the bottom. It brings with it most of the colour; its glorious whitish-orange colour. As the oil rises, this wondrous colour just melds together and begins its journey downwards. It touches the bottom of the bottle and just spreads out, encompassing as much as it can in the nether region of this bottled universe.
And in it all are the chunks of vegetables; the spices; the seeds; the flavour. The dance about in the elixir, flowing with the tides of first, the vinegar, and then, the oil. It’s an endless ballet as the particulate dances with each other. It’s a zero-g figure skating routine as they are suspended in the centre of our hermetic world. As the seconds tick away, gravity begins to reassert itself, and the particulate chooses to join the colours at the bottom. They know better than to fly up to the sky and risk getting their wings burned.
I still don’t know exactly how long the entire process of separation takes. I can only stare for about five minutes or so before I realize I should get back to work. But it’s very relaxing and a quick break from washing lettuce and looking for rotten tomatoes. I continue my existence; my zero-g figure skating routine, dancing between a pink sky above me and a colourful existence below me. Dare I rise to the sky and risk getting my wings burned, or do I sink to the colours and particulates below? I do not know. I just continue floating in the middle.
Remember that classic episode of The Flintstones? Fred was tired of always being bossed around by Mr. Slate. So, one day, Fred was complaining about this to the Great Gazoo, and Gazoo snapped his fingers and said, “OK, Fred, you and Mr. Slate have now switched places. You are now the boss!” Well, while spending his first day as boss, Fred thought it was great. He bossed around Mr. Slate and made Mr. Slate feel as miserable as can be. But then, Fred discovered that the boss has to answer to an even more powerful boss, and that boss was even meaner than Mr. Slate ever was. Fred asked the Great Gazoo to switch things back, and Gazoo did. Fred learned a very important lesson that day about the business world: shit runs downhill.