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Out of Africa

The Moviegoer Hits the Road


A very special New Year's greetings to you from the Moviegoer.

I know that many of you have wondered about the brief hiatus that I have taken. The reason for my absence was that I was engaged in a governmental project which required some foreign travel. I was flown to the jungles of deepest Equatorial Africa in order to conduct a cross-cultural anthropological investigation of cinematic practices and mores among the !Pelikula bushmen. I realize that many of you are shaking your heads in incredulous disbelief. I have but three words for you doubting Thomases: Locws in everywhere.

While my report--which will soon be released by the National Endowment for the Arts as a hardcover book. Simon and Schuster as a trade paper-book, and Sega as a CD-ROM videogame--is extremely abstruse, banausic and completely irrelevant (the ABCs of any good scholarly report), there are certain interesting points covered within that might be of interest to a general reading public. I will quote parts of it, skipping over some of the more detailed analysis. Additionally, the section on Sharon Stone movies and mating rituals has been censored by the editors.

"While Dr. Okkenborgen of the Swedish Film and Massage Institute has argued in his seminal work, Love Them Movies!, that the !Pelikula tribesmen are the ideal moviegoing public because they 'like all of the same movies I do, (Okkenborgen 786) it seems that he opens himself up to the serious critique that he is an idiot. There are other reason for the tribesmen's importance..."

"While the !Pelikula speak no English, their pidgin native tongue can occasionally be deciphered with some hard work. For example, after long hours of trying to communicate, I discovered that 'eereslookinatchakid means 'so long,' as does hasdavisdababee. Other phrases, such as Idongivadam, I could not figure out at all."

"The !Pelikula can be offended at the mere mention of an actor they consider to be inferior. Mention of these actors is tantamount to violating a sacred taboo. When I mentioned Jim Carrey's name in one conversation, for example, the shaman of the tribe spit three times and walked away. It took many gifts of Alfred Hitchcock video-tapes and props from old Hepburn-Tracy movies to appease him. I was forced to flee the community for good when I inadvertently mentioned the films of Jerry Lewis..."

"The insistence on the noted French film scholar, linguist and angler Jean-Claude Robespierre that the tribe is "a collective manifestation of the Weltan-Schauung of the post-modern condition of the explosion of semiotic coherence' seems to be not so much an insightful, engaged comment as the deluded, syphilitic ravings of a irreparably damaged mind..."

"The highlight of my stay was when I was welcomed into the tribe as a 'celluloid brother.' All of the members of the tribe gathered around me and sang selections from old MGM musicals as I solemnly unspooled some of the film from my 35mm camera and gave it to the shaman."

"The !Pelikula are in trouble. Ironically, as the number of films being made explodes, they watch fewer and fewer films. This is the result of their hopelessly backward and primitive native status. They feel that movies with plenty of senseless violence are dehumanizing and refuse to watch them. They claim to want to see romance, not sex. They persist in their demands for story and character, rather than just seeing the big stars..."

The Moviegoer may be going to visit the !Pelikula again--permanently.

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