City Paper is not for tourists
Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, Justin wrote Iceland, a blog about his band’s American tour. Justin isn’t on tour anymore, but Iceland continues, twice a week, on City Desk.
“I see you that stock a version of Carrie on DVD that was produced in 2002,” I commented to the clerk at my local video store. I laid the store’s copy of Carrie on the store’s counter to emphasize my point. “I don’t think I need point out that this made-for-TV production has disappeared from our cultural landscape. I am searching for the 1976 version of Carrie starring Sissy Spacek. This is a classic of American horror cinema that has more memetic traction than a televised knockoff. Do you have the original film?”
“Do you want me to check?” the clerk inquired.
“I would most appreciate it,” I commented. The clerk disappeared into the back of the store. “You see, I am a visionary performance artist who sometimes produces ironic video art to accompany me in concert,” I explained. “If I ripped footage from this lesser 2002 Carrie and re-edited it for humorous purposes, my audience would not respond. They have not seen this version of Carrie, nor would they care for it. My esteemed audience wants to see clips from the original Carrie re-edited for humorous purposes. Thus, if I am to rip footage from a version of Carrie, I am forced to rip from the original Sissy Spacek/Brian DePalma effort. Do you see my quandary?”
The clerk returned from the back of the store. “The version of Carrie you seek is unavailable,” she reported. Then, she turned back to her cash register.
“That is unfortunate,” I replied. My eyes drifted to a television set sitting on my local video store’s counter. The set was blaring a film I was unfamiliar with starring John Cusack and Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman seemed to be playing some kind of contract killer. “Can you tell me the name of this unfamiliar Freeman-Cusack film?” I queried.
“———.,” the clerk replied. She had spoken at a very low volume. I hadn’t understood her response.
“I’m sorry; what was that?” I asked.
“———.,” the clerk repeated. Her eyes flashed with anger. “You want it? You want to rent it?”
“Uh—-no,” I stammered. I backed out of the store. “Thanks, anyway.” Humiliated, I retreated to my local grocery store, where I purchased an avocado, two Fuji apples, three cucumbers, and a head of lettuce. What was the name of that damned John Cusack/Morgan Freeman film? I wondered as I loaded my purchases into a basket. A maudlin tune was playing over the grocery store’s public address system—-“All Through the Night,” by Cyndi Lauper. I listened closely to Lauper’s existential ode to doomed urban love, reveling in her tautological assertation that, “Until it ends/there is no end.”
When I get home, I will put this produce in my refrigerator, I resolved. Then, I will turn on the Internet and visit www.imdb.com. Surely, IMDB will have a record of this Freeman-Cusack effort.