First, three stories about movies. Next, two stories about cats. Then, a story about a book — or better, a story about reading a book. After, (hopefully) a point.
I went to the movies more times this week than I did in all of 2018 — which is to say, twice. Both movies I saw — I’ll withhold the names — were reviewed positively. One was reviewed so positively that it sounded like one of those rare “life-changing” movies that comes along once a generation or so. In other words, one sees the movie and one is forever changed. I saw it; I’m still Dave. Good movie, but I didn’t think it nearly as great as the reviewers.
The second I expected to find sort of “meh,” but it was both right up my alley and one of those movies you have to see on the big screen. I wish I’d waited for it to come out on Netflix — I think I would have enjoyed it more — but I really did enjoy it and couldn’t figure out why it’s been reviewed as mediocrely as it has.
The third one I haven’t gone to see yet. It’s another one that has an interesting subject matter for me, but it has been negatively reviewed on all fronts. However, a friend whose opinion I trust saw it and gushed about it, saying it’s one of the best movies she’s seen in a while.
So, there we go.
Next, my cat stories this week. Seeing a picture of my cat Simi, a friend remarked, “She looks like a Rorschach test.” Well, it’s true; she does. Simi is black and white, just like those white cards with black inkblots used in psychological testing of personality. I was delighted with the comment — I never would have noticed that one and thought it “spot on,” forgive the pun.
My bachelor’s degree is in psychology. I even took a class titled Psychological Tests and Measurements. We never discussed the Rorschach test in depth in that class. All I remember is that the professor said it was generally unreliable as an objective test. Obviously, there are other psychologists who think differently, or the test wouldn’t still be used. What interested me in my friend’s comment was the creativity of it — linking two dissimilar things in a way so appropriate and obvious that I wondered why no one else had ever made the comment about Simi.
The other cat story? A photograph of a snow leopard in the Himalayas by Saurabh Desai circulated around the internet recently with various captions along the lines of “Can you spot the camouflaged snow leopard?” It looks like a photo of a rocky cliff face with some snow on it — no visible big cat. I looked at it and thought it was a trick of some kind. My thought process went something like, “There’s no snow leopard here ... no big cat at all ... there is just simply no snow leopard anywhere on that cliff ... nothing to see here ... Oh, there it is!” Once I spotted it, the snow leopard was obvious.
Then, my book story — a few weeks back, I re-read Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” for the first time since I was in college, when it made only a passing impression on me, despite the impassioned positive opinion of the professor who assigned it. It’s a great book, but I think it took 30 years and a re-read for me to realize it. Published 87 years ago, it’s eerily prescient of the world today — almost dead-on, even if I didn’t realize it on the first read.
It’s like the snow leopard photo. The snow leopard is there if one looks around a bit. My professor’s positive opinion? I see it now, even if the point was camouflaged. Like the snow leopard in the photo, it just takes some time to see.
It’s like the Simi Kat Rorschach test — she looks like one if one looks at her from a different point of view. I see it now, even if the point was subjective rather than objective. Like the Rorschach test in Simi, it just takes some time to see.
It’s like those three movies — one just might like a movie with mediocre reviews if one sees it for him- or herself. I saw different movies than the reviewers did when I watched those first two, and I intend to go see that third one next week. However, two trips to the movie theater in one week are enough for me. Have y’all seen the prices lately? he ticket wasn’t that bad, but a small popcorn is $6.50 and a small soft drink is $5! Literally enough to curb my appetite. No wonder people depend on reviews to decide whether or not to go.
So, see the movies for yourself, look around for the snow leopard and find interesting friends to describe your house cat, and re-read old books. That’s the point here. Couldn’t be more clear?
David Murdock is an English instructor at Gadsden State Community College. He can be contacted at email@example.com. The opinions reflected are his own.