[R2] Words are greater than actions (sometimes)
I have been unusually quiet these past few days; that was primarily because I did not have an Internet connection in the first place. The wire that connected my ‘modem’ (and I encapsulate the word in quotation marks because the machine isn’t actually one yet serves a similar function) to my computer finally gave in. Try as I might to reconnect to the Internet, I was not able to.
The tagline is indeed catchy.
Since I didn’t have Internet I found the absence of the connection to be a good time to watch some movies that I have backlogged. I haven’t watched movies for about three months already: I spent a lot of time dealing with my academic requirements, and my entertainments have been to resort to watching anime (again). It was in this vein of reasoning that I picked up They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, a film starred by Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin and one directed by the recently departed Sydney Pollack.
The film was set in the Great Depression, where no one could find jobs and everyone had to scrounge for money. The attractions of the day were ‘dance marathons,’ events where people danced for very long periods of time to compete for a huge cash prize at the time. People danced the whole time and only had ten-minute breaks for every two hours. Fighting fatigue, swollen feet, and stress, the couples (a boy and a girl, whether in a relationship or not) danced themselves away until a winner was declared. I won’t spoil the film: go watch it.
Like the period the film was set in, the film was also very depressing. It painted a picture of man’s inhumanity to man: people were treating the people that competed in the dance marathon simply as great spectacles, and nothing more. I won’t quote the ethical philosophy of Kant, Aristotle, or Mill, but even an ignorant person understands that treating people merely as objects isn’t a good thing at all.
The film doesn’t really dig into its characters; in fact, its mystique is one of its advantages. There are only suggestions. Yet these suggestions and the silence that accompanies them is so powerful that they have driven the characters of the film (notwithstanding whether these suggestions are true or not) into their final acts.
I was sad because what was budding up to be love between two people became the seed instead for both of their inevitable tragedies. The film is one big antithesis to the saying that ‘actions speak louder than words.’ I believe that in the case of these friends, the actions were clear. Both evidently cared for one another. Without affirmation, however, it transformed to become their doom.
I am sure quite a few of you haven’t watched the movie, but the tragedy of Robert and Gloria (the two primary protagonists) is akin to the enmity between Lelouch and Kallen. A friendship that was budding into love was jarred and deformed into an incomprehensible hatred, simply because Lelouch would not speak of the truth. Had Kallen been more perceptive, however, she would have observed that Lelouch’s personality was simply that of an altruistic liar. As by the time she kissed her he was already on a death wish, he could not drag her down with him: he could not speak. Kallen now wants to end Lelouch’s life.
Of course, I actually approve of Kallen hating on Lelouch.
Actions speak louder than words. That is true. Words, however, have their own utility; actions have to be placed in a context of words: the actions must be understood for what they are, and words are present to do that. Words sometimes do speak louder than actions.