inessential by Brent Simmons


The Orderly Boxes theme by Bradley Peters is now available to EditThisPage.Com and Weblogs.Com sites. Thanks, Bradley!

Now, here's a challenge to everyone else: let's make more themes. It's a chance to show off your talent, build some flow, and do something great for the folks who aren't designers but still want a well-designed site.

The ZopeFish site is using the new theme. Coo.

I wish I could explain the Rocky Horror Picture Show to Mira. I haven't been to it in years, but when I was a teenager my friends and I went pretty regularly.

Rocky isn't a rebellion against anything. It's an affectionate spoof of old, really bad science fiction and monster movies. It brings to the foreground the repressed sexuality of the '50s, stands it on its head. Think of Ed Wood, director of Plan 9 from Outer Space and Glen or Glenda. That's the context.

To get it, you need at least an acquaintance with '50s American culture and B-movies. And you need to be able to drop all earnestness -- Rocky is about camp (though not itself camp); it's ironic, a parody.

It's fun. Knowing fun, adult fun, fun with a wink.

Update: It occurs to me that Rocky pokes as much fun at its own time -- the '70s, the Sexual Revolution -- as it does at the '50s. Rocky is far from being a rebellion -- you could almost argue that it's conservative. Sexual dogmatists of either extreme are unable to enjoy this movie. A healthy sense of humor, which dogmatists lack, is crucial.

Update 2: By coincidence, the book I was reading at lunch -- Umberto Eco's Six Walks in the Fictional Woods -- mentions Rocky Horror. Eco's writing about cult movies, Casablanca in particular.

"We also know that, in order to advance the plot [of Casablanca], the scriptwriters put in all the clichés of cinematic and narrative history into the film, turning it into a museum, so to speak, for moviegoers. For this reason, it can be used as a kit for assembling archetypes. In a way, the same thing applies to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is the cult movie par excellence precisely because it lacks form, and so can be endlessly deformed and put out of joint.... In order to become a Sacred Wood, a wood must be tangled and twisted like the forests of the Druids, and not orderly like a French garden."