Sunday, September 24, 2006

Why English Majors Don't Win Trivia contests

I remember one time when I entered a trivia contest. The question was, "Name the secret link between 'Ghostbusters' and 'The Crow.' "

My answer was a 5000 word essay about how both films are meditations on the divided nature of mankind due to the separation of the genders, and how this separation keeps people from fully accessing the realm of the spirit. The two films, 'Ghostbusters' and 'The Crow,' explore this limited-ness inherent in human nature within the context of a life journey moving from a corporealworld to a spiritual one.

'Ghostbusters' takes a coarser, more sexually explicit approach, one that invokes pagan rituals and the bestial nature of mankind. In order to open a gate to another world, the cheap Freudian symbols of Key Master (as a representative for the archetypal masculine) and Gate Keeper (as a representative for the archetypal feminine) have to join together, become beasts, and then open a portal to another spiritual world. By doing so, the physical world is threatened with extinction by an androgynous being without apparent gender - Gozer the God who first appears as a glam rock star, but then assumes the gender-neutral form of the Stay Pufft Marshmallow Man. The film mixes the Puritan sexual anxiety (i.e. a fear of punishment) with a bawdy sense of anything goes. The tension between these two forces is presented to a humorous effect.

'The Crow' on the other hand is more about the purification of the masculine spirit by systematically removing the anger and hatred residing within it. Once the masculine half is ritualistically purified through violence, the feminine half appears, as if a gift from heaven, joins with the masculine soul, and then guides him into the spiritual world.

Both films focus on masculinity, femininity, and spirituality, but each take different approaches. While 'Ghostbusters' takes more of a pagan approach, 'The Crow' is more steeped in high romanticism, justifying violence and revenge ultimately by the power of love. But despite these differences, both films reflect the mystery of the human existence and striving of the human soul for something spiritual.

The answer they were looking for was this:

Ernie Hudson was in both 'Ghostbusters' and 'The Crow.'

Needless to say, I did not win the contest.

Which is fine, because in retrospect, what would I have done with a 'Crow 2' poster, anyway?

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Genius. I want to play trivia with you. I'm just as bad.