Anyone who watches a movie is actually watching a movie about themselves watching a movie. There’s whatever’s going on on the screen, and there’s all the different thoughts and experiences you’re having while you watch it. You watch them both together, and whatever dance they end up doing is the real movie.
Maybe in the movie there’s an elf woman fighting a dragon with a sword. That’s part of the movie. But also part of the movie is the thought, “That elf actress is skinny. I hate that I’m not skinny. If I was skinny I could be a famous movie actress too and be rich and go to parties with other rich people. They probably have all kinds of free appetizers at those parties. Big plates full of prawns. Sweet baby Jesus I would grab double fistfuls of those prawns and just shove them into my guts without chewing like a fat fucking penguin, om nom nom. Yeah. Yeah eat those prawns you fat bitch.”
Movies are like ninety-minute “how to be a person” lessons. They teach men to punch bad guys off cliffs into lava. They teach women to hate their bodies. They teach men and women that capitalism is totally working out fine for everyone. Once in a while they remind you that the FBI is your friend.
Famous actors and actresses mostly spend time with other famous actors and actresses, so there are no normal people around to say “Oh, no, don’t get another facelift. You definitely should not do that. Your face looks like it’s wearing a condom.” They do strange things that even richer people tell them are perfectly normal, so every few months you read about one of them snorting cocaine off a baby or something but they don’t understand why it’s a problem until they google themselves.
“Ohh,” they then say. “So that’s what regular people think about that.”
They memorize scripts which tell them how to pretend to do things so that people can pay twelve dollars to watch themselves watch other people pretending to do things. The scripts are written by near-sighted alcoholics with callouses on their hearts from having to watch their stories about real human beings turned into vehicles for weird stretch-faced Hollywood mutants. Sometimes the CIA or the Pentagon shows up and gives them money to kill another part of their soul. They take the money because movies taught them that money makes you adequate, and they want desperately to feel that way.
“This is how you be a person,” say the actors on the screen. “You chase after the car and the girl and the money and the success. You be extremely attractive but it’s no big deal because it’s normal and everyone’s supposed to look this way. You say funny things you totally made up yourself right here on the spot. You kill bad guys (join the Marines). You act cool and confident even though you’ve never felt like you understood life even one time ever since you were born. You remain tightly wound up in the trance of egoic consciousness and never once turn around and realize your true nature. You never relax and start coloring outside the narrow lines of this tightly streamlined model we are feeding you. You keep looking for superheroes everywhere except in you.”
Other actors show you how not to be a person, and the people in the chairs boo them and laugh at them because they are losers and criminals and a bit less attractive than the other cast members and they color outside the lines a little bit and are clearly just doing it wrong.
When you watch a movie you have to forget you’re watching a movie to really lose yourself in the story it’s trying to take you into. That’s why no movies ever have someone in the corner of the screen saying “Now remember, this is just a movie, it’s not real” every few minutes, even though that would make horror movies way less scary and in my opinion far less unpleasant. If anything distracting happens in the theater, like someone throwing popcorn or gulping down throatfuls of prawns, the spell is broken, and you remember that you’ve been watching a bunch of actors pretending to do things in fake costumes on a fake set according to the fake script written by the fake screenwriter.
And maybe you remember you were watching yourself watch the movie, too. And maybe you realize that you’ve kind of been acting too, in a way. Maybe you realize that all the thoughts buzzing around in your head about how you ought to be and what life is supposed to look like are no more real than the dragon the elf lady is stabbing at with her fake katana. And maybe you stand up and look around at all the other people watching a movie about themselves watching a movie. And maybe you are floored by their beauty and their majesty, just as they are, even though they’re still completely locked up in the show. And maybe someone says, “Sit down, asshole, we can’t see the movie.” And maybe you say, “You don’t have to be how they’re telling you to be! They don’t know how to be a person any more than you do! We’re all making this up as we go along, and your true nature is boundless and completely unconditioned!” And maybe they say “Well that’s great but we’d still like you to sit down though, please.”
In Hollywood they get the people who are the best at being skinny while pretending to do things, and they never stop pretending to do things. They pretend to make movies and they pretend to be artists and they pretend to be basically decent people who haven’t lost touch with their humanity at all while doing unspeakable things behind locked doors guarded by armed security guards. They watch the world age around ageless plastic faces through medicated eye holes and remember less and less often what life was like before this catastrophe started.
“This is what I wanted,” they assure themselves over and over again. “The movies told me so.”
This is just a movie.
It’s not real.
Remember, stretch-faced actor.
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