Wednesday, January 23, 2008

All it takes is a little "Being There"

"Getting there is half the fun; being there is all of it!"
"Life is a state of mind."
"A story of chance..."
"All is well...and all will be the garden."

I was just looking for some garden humor to lighten up this discontented winter and ran across a familiar movie quote that led me to a website I think has something to tell us about the current situation we are all watching on the evening news...
Peter Seller's last great movie, Being There, was a strange but happy little zen-like story (adapted from the 1971 novel written by Jerzy KosiƄski) about a reclusive gardener being mistaken for a Washington policy advisor... this was certainly a lot more intelligent and satisfying than listening to the Senate committee on CSPAN last night trying to push and pry their ideological opinions into the discussion with the young wonk from the Office of Management and Budget.

President "Bobby": Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives?
[Long pause]
Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
President "Bobby": In the garden.
Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
President "Bobby": Spring and summer.
Chance the Gardener: Yes.
President "Bobby": Then fall and winter.
Chance the Gardener: Yes.
Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.
Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!
Benjamin Rand: Hmm!
Chance the Gardener: Hmm!
President "Bobby": Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time.
[Benjamin Rand applauds]
President "Bobby": I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.

This next bit is kind of fitting, considering the president you elected, twice... Can't wait to hear the cheering at Bush's last SOTU this year, hehe. What leadership we've had- what memories we've made! Maybe in pumping us up on this great economy, our fearless leader will give us some more of his classic lines... this would do:

President "Bobby": Life is a state of mind.

or[Riding in a car for the first time]
Chance the Gardener: This is just like television, only you can see much further.

Ron Steigler: Mr. Gardner, uh, my editors and I have been wondering if you would consider writing a book for us, something about your um, political philosophy, what do you say?
Chance the Gardener: I can't write.
Ron Steigler: Heh, heh, of course not, who can nowadays? Listen, I have trouble writing a postcard to my children. Look uhh, we can give you a six figure advance, I'll provide you with the very best ghost-writer, proof-readers...
Chance the Gardener: I can't read.
Ron Steigler: Of course you can't! No one has the time! We, we glance at things, we watch television...
Chance the Gardener: I like to watch TV.
Ron Steigler: Oh, oh, oh sure you do. No one reads!

Morton Hull: Do you realize that more people will be watching you tonight, than all those who have seen theater plays in the last forty years?
Chance the Gardener: Why?

(Indeed, Why?)

[With other poor black seniors, watching Chance on TV]
Louise: It's for sure a white man's world in America. Look here: I raised that boy since he was the size of a piss-ant. And I'll say right now, he never learned to read and write. No, sir. Had no brains at all. Was stuffed with rice pudding between th' ears. Shortchanged by the Lord, and dumb as a jackass. Look at him now! Yes, sir, all you've gotta be is white in America, to get whatever you want. Gobbledy-gook!

(The more things change, the more they look just the same...)

[Thomas and Johanna are watching Chance's interview on TV]
Thomas: It's that gardener.
Johanna: Yes, Chauncey Gardiner.
Thomas: No, he's a real gardener.
Johanna: He does talk like one. I think he's brilliant.

""I have lived a lot, trembled a lot, was surrounded by little men who forgot that we entered naked and exit naked and that no accountant can audit life in our favor."

Memorable quotes for Being There (1979)

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