Now it is a curious fact that almost all great literary classics have bad endings. The same goes for movies, with few and rare exceptions. It is well known in film circles that there is an inverse relationship between intellectual level and number of viewers, as the former rises the latter drops. The same holds true in the literary world. An intelligent man is more discerning, able to see through shams.
Invariably, mainstream, popular films have a single theme, the destruction of the ‘bad’ by the ‘good.’ Anything else seems intolerable to the masses. How could ‘bad’ win? A quick glance at the world tells us that this theme is false and misleading, for often bad does win and how often we see good men go down.
We notice at the beginning of ‘hit’ movies that the world is in trouble. Evil is on the rise and looks to be unstoppable. How often it is that the ‘good’ find their hero in a bar, unshaven, lamenting his plight–the burned out, boozy detective is a common one. The bad people always seem to wear black, they have tattoos and ponytails, they don’t respect families! These ‘bad’ people are the types that most often get stopped at airport customs, presumably because the officials have ‘seen their kind’ in a movie.
But it can’t be put across that simply. The ‘hero’ returns to the fray, but he mustn’t win right away. There have to be setbacks, some so severe that it looks as if evil may triumph after all. But don’t bet on it. For as we near the end the hero bucks up and wipes out the baddies. So it ends, and everyone goes home happy, convinced that the evil in their lives will eventually be swept away and once it is the road to Paradise opens.
Mainstream novels are wrapped up in a similar way.
There’s got to be a woman involved somehow, a relationship. No matter how many times we see this hackneyed theme dragged out we never tire of it. It’s because procreation is the sole purpose of existence, and that means sex. Present it how you will, but it must be there somewhere. And the curtain must go down on any relationship while it’s still blooming. We are never allowed to see the kitchen screaming matches, the separation, the divorce courts. That would ruin it all.
But these popular films and books go in one ear and out the other. No sooner have we left the cinema than we stop thinking about them. For there is nothing there to consider. The classics, however, reflect life as it is–as it has always been. They are accurate mirrors, ones untampered with. They tell us that people are not good, the world is no playground and most things end badly. This has been attested to since antiquity.
‘Even if death deprived us of consciousness forever, it would be a wonderful gain, for a deep, dreamless sleep is to be preferred to any day, even the happiest one.’
‘All the life of man is full of misery, and there is no end to affliction and despair.’
and from Byron:
‘Count o’er the joys thine hours have seen, Count o’er thy days from anguish free,
And know, whatever thou has been,
‘Tis something better not to be.’
In a sense then popular culture must flow in the opposite direction of reality. As the Italians say, ‘it must put a good face on a bad business.’ A population that took to heart the state of the world, and what has been said on the subject since the dawn of time, is most unlikely to continue.
To continue, Man must be conned, indeed he must con himself.
It will be said that all this is depressing, that one doesn’t want to hear it. But it is being fooled that is dismaying. Imagine living out your entire life, looking back at it all near the end, only to say, ‘I never looked at Truth.