18 March 2007

Trying Too Hard for Significance

David Byrne's Journal includes a recent account of a trip to the set where "Big Love" is filmed.

That sentence may require some explanation, so here goes. David Byrne was a founding member of Talking Heads, which I'm told was a seminal New Wave band. Big Love is an HBO program about a polygamous household -- one husband, three wives.

Obviously, the very existence of such a show has led to some efforts at psyching out the point of view. Whose ox is being gored? in religious, political, cultural terms? and why?

But Byrne doesn't really seem interested in any of that. Read the journal entry and you'll see that he's much more interested in the set on which it is all filmed. http://journal.davidbyrne.com/2007/03/3507_big_love_s.html

The main character runs a successful building-supply business on the "Home Depot" model, and maintains three separate homes, with one wife and his children by her in each. The three homes share a common backyard.

" I love these places — you’re in the set and it’s completely believable as a suburban home or an office and then you look up and there is no ceiling and huge AC hoses loom outside and the view through the window is a massive photo backdrop of the mountains that ring suburban Salt Lake City. "

This sets him off in pursuit of depth. What is real? what is fake? Isn't the sight of mountains the same visual experience if its a well-done backdrop as it would be if the show were filmed in Salt Lake City? Or, at least, I think that's what he's trying to get at. You decide.

My point? Maybe writers shouldn't strain too hard for profundity and should let the superficial be the superficial. A TV set is a TV set. It may be a fun place to visit, but doing so won't turn you into Rene Descartes.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.