Letters for December 31, 2009

A Christmas story

I found myself walking begrudgingly through a mall yesterday, tailing behind the girlfriend who had the guiding purpose of finding a crafts store for her needlepoint supplies. I’m glad she had a purpose and direction as I felt myself slipping into that statically numb hollowness that comes from such a place at such a time. The kind that drags you along the swift current but without thought or sensation. Fine time to traverse any such epicenter of the holiday commercial feeding frenzy. The chum was all around and the scent of blood thick. All eyes were cast intensely outward to the endless pulsating stream of shiny and sparkly things: clocks that looked like singing fish, coffee mugs with self defacing slogans, customizable keychains and all other forms of temporary importance.

As we passed by the long line of shoppers and their genetic duplicate baby shoppers, all waiting their turn to see the man dressed as Santa, I noticed something quite striking … no one seemed the least bit happy. Wasn’t this a time for celebration, of loved ones, friends, blessings, messiahs? Weren’t they supposed to enjoy all of this abundance, the luxuries and sensory pleasures? For the love of love, why weren’t these people bursting at the seams with piercing joy? The parents, jaws clenched and eyes distantly glazed, bracing themselves with the heavy load of colorful boxes and bags; the children tiered, over-fed and overstimulated on the verge of tantrum; the poor young guy playing Santa himself, a mythical saint of boundless jolly and giving—all looking utterly dejected by the ceremonial procession. What went wrong?

The Dalai Lama once said that our purpose for being is happiness. Over a billion people formally and devoutly follow this path. Many more than that would agree with the idea, even if just conceptually. So why then are so many, with so much, so unhappy? Where have we gone wrong? It seems true that man is more fond of counting his lackings than his blessings, spending his life in a state of want, rather than a state of content. Many saintly people, some commonly revered and worshiped, have repeatedly told us that if we counted up the blessings as we ought to, we would see that happiness is always and readily available.

Each and every one of us is engulfed in such blessings. Every sacred pulse of the heart, every rhythmic breath, every bite of food, every gaze upon our loved ones, every melodic chirp of the birds, every sway of the trees, endless blessings. It is clear by statistics that the outward pursuit and accumulation of things does not create well-being or fill the internal cup, more often leaving us in that strange state of feeling disgustingly full yet empty and parched for more. So here’s to real fulfillment. Here’s to awareness and thankfulness of the innate abundance that is all around us, that truly nourish us.

These are simply thoughts and may not apply to everyone or perhaps anyone. But it seems accurate to me. I hope in this mutated, maddening frenzy of a holiday we’ve created that you are able to count a few blessings, love and enjoy the real abundance that is always with us. I hope you are able to know happiness this season, and every season that life takes you through. For it could very well be the whole purpose.

Love to all on the RN&R team.

Anthony Basile
via email

Birth of a nation

Re “Clueless” (Letters to the Editor, Dec. 24):

I want to thank RN&R for printing the Obama “birther” letter by Mr. Rich Reamer on Dec. 24. The best way to defeat this kind of gross ignorance is to put it on public display so we can give it the mocking it deserves.

I have to hand it to Mr. Reamer for his ingeniously twisted logic, that President Obama might have been born in Hawaii, but that doesn’t make him a “natural-born citizen” because his father was Kenyan. And the toy poodle breeding argument was rather amusing, in a stupid-hillbilly sort of way. Is it possible to make your racism any more overt without actually putting on the white sheet and burning a cross?

But his conclusion that unless both your parents were citizens at the time of your birth, you aren’t a “natural-born citizen” is just hilarious. I guess that means the first seven presidents were illegitimate since their parents were all officially British citizens. Heck, Thomas Jefferson’s mother was born in London. Guess that makes him a half-breed in Mr. Reamer eyes, unworthy of the presidency.

It would be nice if Mr. Reamer and his birther friends would get a life so we could amuse ourselves in a more constructive way.

Kirk Caraway
Carson City

Scary movie

Re “Big blue turd” (Film, Dec. 24):

Yeah, the plot was pretty much FernGully, but I think I’m safe in saying that FernGully wasn’t exactly a masterpiece; there was room for improvement. And yes, the message was blatant, but Avatar and FernGully’s blatant environmental message is apparently one we all need to hear. You’re damned right we are getting preached at, and I hope people continue to preach at us in such a beautiful and visually stimulating way until we stop acting like the selfish and downright evil corporate bastards as well as the warmongers who seem to be running the world.

Wake up, people! As far as the movie being predictable, how would you prefer it to end? It’s a movie! Not all movies are predictable, but so very many amazing ones are. Get over yourselves and enjoy this man’s hard work and hear the message he’s trying to scream at you.

Jatye Walker
Fayetteville, Ark.

What about Bob?

Re “Big blue turd” (Film, Dec. 24):

Bob Grimm’s review of Avatar was tasteless. Avatar was the first movie I have been to for a while that was able to keep my attention through the whole movie. Usually after snowboarding all day, if I go to the movies, I will be nodding out halfway through. Titanic was one of those movies that I fell asleep in. The story line to Avatar reminded me of when the Spanish invaded Mexico and stole most of their gold. This film gives a very important message of how cruel imperialism and capitalism can be. Leaders demonize another culture to steal their resources. The message of this film is that all people are equal and most people have good character, while a few bad apples can make society seem rotten The graphics in this film were amazing, and this was the most entertaining film I watched in 2009. Happy New Year’s!

Dillon Keith Brannan

Slow Bob in the lower dimensions

Re “Big blue turd” (Film, Dec. 24):

I saw this movie years ago when I took my daughter to see something called FernGully. I was pissed that I did not know there were 2D and 3D Avatar showings. The one I got was the 2D, and I missed most of what I wanted to see the damned thing for. Also the line for popcorn was terrible at Park Lane. Back to the river for me.

Rick Fiddler

The matrix

Re “Big blue turd” (Film, Dec. 24):

It’s like we saw two different movies. Yes, the story was just OK, and the characters not too well developed. But who cares? It’s still the most beautiful, immersive thing I’ve ever seen in a movie theater and the reason why movies exist. Get over yourself.

Charlie Ballard
Boston, Mass.