What I won’t watch

I don’t know when I first noticed being uneasy watching a drama, probably when my mother took me to see House of Wax, starring Vincent Price and all that he implies. I don’t remember what I felt during the movie, but I remember having nightmares afterward. And then there was Psycho.

Over the last several years I’ve come to avoid some entertainment, no matter how great an achievement somebody thinks it is. Since my experience here is mostly what I think, I try not to think about some things, no matter how well they may be packaged and presented. I remember admiring Casino’s story and acting and execution. It was very well done, and a couple of times I wanted to quit watching and do something else. One of the characters found a way to be so cruel or callous or petty that I didn’t care anymore what happened to him. I stuck it out for the sake of analysis, though I don’t think I’d do the same today. Now when my knee jerks, I pay attention.

Not long ago, I got around to watching Deadwood, a television series that got rave revues earlier this century. The first season was a humdinger, and still, a couple of episodes into season two, I realized that I didn’t care enough about the characters to give part of my life to learning about them. They weren’t even real people, so I was learning about how some people imagined these characters would behave, and I don’t have time for that, especially since the main goal of most of them was money.

That’s what keeps me from wading through Breaking Bad. I think ways to make money would interest me more if I hadn’t given up even the idea of making money, and I have no sympathy with anybody who anguishes over a job, or compromises his principles for it, or lies for it, which eliminates a lot of main characters. I know people do all that, but I don’t have to watch a made-up version, for Pete’s sake. I see people every day.

In her last few years, Janice stopped reading Elmore Leonard’s novels. When she refused one I offered her, I said, “How come?” She said she was done reading about stupid people, which many of Leonard’s people are, in addition to being small-minded and amusing.

I accept fogeyhood. As much YouTube as I watch, I cannot get through a collection of people failing, often painfully. I can’t watch them, and I don’t try anymore, though I can kill a lot of time with Russian traffic accidents. Go figure.