Play Misty for Me

July 27, 2020


Everyone experiences situational depression. Conflict. Unresolved resentments. Sometimes it really is just the humidity. Having a bad day. You either accept the situation or change it. Regardless, it always ends. It is not clinical. Professional help and medicine are seldom required. What you are experiencing is neither clinical nor situational. Sadness descends upon you like mist. By no means pleasant it isn’t debilitating either. You can see through it. You can operate heavy machinery. You probably won’t drink over it.

Many people insist on finding a culprit for their misery: someone or something to blame. The world is filled with people making this mistake. One feels like shit because of a spouse, a boss, a relative, a neighbor, the President of the United States. You know better than to assign blame for melancholy. Yes. You’d like to make the blues situational. Then you could rectify the situation or be its victim. For years, you were the blindfolded child swinging madly for a target. Creating situations to meet your depression was understandable… and also idiotic.

You now have healthy ways to mitigate woe. AA taught. Others you picked up all by yourself. Be of service. Go for a run. Pray. Basically, do anything but wallow in it. You cannot think your way out of depression. If anything, thinking caused it. In the wild, animals do not get depressed because they do not sit around thinking. Food and shelter is their constant priority, their only priority. Put a bear in a zoo and it becomes depressed, anxiously pacing back and forth, sullen and surly. Domesticated, it turns neurotic.

Your mother was (and maybe still) clinically depressed. She has spent her whole life (and so yours) dealing with this problem. You read somewhere that far more women are clinically depressed than men. Maybe that’s because historically women have been domesticated more than men, anxiously pacing back and forth in their kitchens, sullen and surly in equal measures.

To be Continued.

“You were made to be ruled!”

Recently, I watched The Avengers for a second time. The first go around I was impressed but not blown away. For my money it didn’t live up to the hype. Obviously, many disagreed. The Avengers is one of the most successful films of all time, up with if not surpassing even Titanic, Avatar and the Harry Potter films. Granted, in America “successful” means money made. We film connoisseurs know better, right?

Yet, a writer I respect told me to screen it again, this time paying more attention to the script, written by Joss Whedon.

I was glad I did.

A passage stands out, uttered by the film’s villain, Loki. One doesn’t need context in order to appreciate it. Here it is, verbatim:

Loki: Kneel before me.
[the crowd ignores him and are running around]
Loki: I said. Kneel!
[everyone becomes quite and kneels before him]
Loki: Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.

Gulp. The possibility that Loki is correct -and evidence would suggest that he just might be- is chilling. How else do you explain following a beast like Hitler? Or even the partisan screaming during political debate. Maybe we do want to be ruled. Especially if we’ve been frustrated by the (false?) promise of freedom. Indeed, Loki later offers this piece of advice:

Loki: Freedom. Freedom is life’s great lie. Once you accept that, in your heart…you will know peace.

Clearly, this is not your father’s super-villain. Let’s face it. Whedon’s dialogue is probably as close to Shakespeare as most of the film’s audience will ever experience. Nihilism. Communism. Darwinism. Loki is talking some heavy shit.

I can’t help but think of the two candidates vying to become President of the United States. In a way they both have a bit of Loki in them. Sometimes I feel Obama wants everyone to kneel to a greater good as he defines it. Succumb and be happier. Romney’s inner-Loki is blunter. He makes Private Sector sound like a Fortress of Solitude, unknowable to mere working class mortals.

Anyway, I wonder how many people even thought about Loki’s words at all. I’ve already admitted I didn’t the first time. I was too busy waiting for Hulk to smash.