Movie Notes: Margin Call

N and I watched a movie called Margin Call. About 60% in I figured out that it’s about the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. About 95% in I figured out it’s about Lehman Brothers.

OK, I didn’t really figure it out. N told me.

There’s a reason I’m not a movie critic. I need somebody to provide running commentary for me to get what a movie is about. And N has a sore throat, so he’s been keeping silent.

I really enjoyed the movie. Mostly it was because N was sitting right there, and I’d enjoy staring at a blank screen as long as he’s close by. But the movie is perfectly fine. Every actor is a celebrity, although they aren’t given too much to play. The drama of “OMG, I’ll lose my job after making millions of dollars a year” seems kind of thin. I wanted to reach through the screen and pat these drama queens on the head, saying, “It’s ok, it’s just a job.”

The symbolism is very heavy-handed. Like when the two evil capitalists talk over the head of a cleaning lady like she’s not there and that symbolizes how they never thought of the damage their Wall Street shenanigans would do to people like her. Or when the movie ends with one of the Lehman Brothers bosses digging a grave for his dead dog. “It’s a dog eat dog business, and now the dog is dead.”

Since I’m on the subject of movies, can anybody explain who the people watching All Quiet on the Western Front are? Are they lacking a TV set and have been banned from all social media? Have they gotten too little war footage in this past year that they want to watch more war in their free time?

By the way, Erich Maria Remarque, the author of All Quiet on the Western Front, was massively popular in the USSR. I find him soppy and tedious, so I never understood the Remarque craze.

Even more mysterious are the people who want to watch Women Talking. Whose life is so problem-free and happy-clappy that they need this utterly fake wallowing in non-existent misery? If your life is too saccharine sweet, instead of chasing reality by way of fake woke dramas, Google “what happened in Bucha” or ponder the fate of the over 100,000 Ukrainian children deported to Russia. That’s the kind of real-life horror that suffices to inspire a hundred more seasons of Law and Order: SVU.

One more thing about Margin Call, though. It’s not woke. I looked up the date. It was filmed in 2011. Twelve years, and what a difference in terms of wokeness.

Have you been watching anything good recently?

Familiar Narrative

Absolutely true. I’m for freedom of speech, so I don’t want Tucker to be silenced or censored in any way. But people need to be aware of what they are listening to. If they still want to hear it, great.

It’s very entertaining to watch how both the wokesters and the anti-wokesters diligently copy Soviet ideas and slogans, thinking that they’ve invented something new. This is an enormous failure of our education system that people sincerely perceive this Brezhnev-era narratives as something fresh and subversive.

Who was it that said the US won the Cold War? Whoever it was had absolutely no idea.

Frame of Reference

People sometimes forget or miss that when I comment on how things are done in America, I’m not comparing them to a Platonic ideal but to what I grew up with or experienced elsewhere.

For instance, I get many complaints about my posts on how well children are treated in America. Everybody has a story or several about a time when somebody was mean or inhospitable to their children and it sounds like I’m denying this in my posts.

But I’m not. I’m simply writing from a different frame of reference. I go to a 7-year-old birthday party, and there are no moms standing by the play structure and yelling, “Johnny! Stop! Get down! You are going to hurt yourself! What are you holding? Drop it! I said, drop it! It’s dirty ! There are germs! Put on your jacket! You are cold! I said, you are cold! Come here! Stand there! No, not over there, there’s a draft! Here! You are going to get a cold! Go over there! No, I said, over there!”

In America, it doesn’t happen. Moms stand there with beatific looks while kids go absolutely crazy. And that’s wonderful. Kids should be kids without constant editing. Yesterday, I was waiting for Klara during her robotics club, and another mom came up. I told her that kids had been playing in the mud and to expect her son to be mega dirty. She lit up and said, “Wonderful! What a joy! This is why I love this school. Outside play is a priority here, and that’s exactly how it should be.” Not a word about germs or messy clothes or how she’s going to slaughter the boy for muddying up his shoes or losing his gloves. To me, this is paradise. But people who have never seen the alternative don’t get why I’m so excited.

My mom saw that I let Klara paint a mural in her room and almost had a heart attack. The mural is colorful and huge. It goes from floor to ceiling and narrates the story of Klara’s life as she sees it. New episodes keep getting added. I wanted to explain the scenes in the mural to grandma but she was so disturbed that she had to leave the room immediately. Her verdict was that I’m raising a future serial killer by way of this mural. I reminded her that when I was Klara’s age, a teacher also predicted that I’d become a serial killer, and as we can see, it didn’t happen. But she still couldn’t get over the trauma of my permissive parenting.