Monday, October 01, 2007

Scott MacLeod Drawings 1960-1962:
Part 8: The Existential & The Familial

Line of Cars 1962

Just a blue car driving through a red-car state. A heavily-polluting blue car at that. The red cars seem to be running clean. And is that Al Gore’s large-carbon-footprint house spewing out the spiralling cloud of wood-smoke? Isn’t that Michael Moore skulking behind the tree? I know it looks like I was a Republican when I drew this, but I swear I wasn’t.

I’d been a Democrat since age of 4, since 1960 when I walked into the den in Caracas where my Dad was watching the Nixon-Kennedy debate on television. He said Nixon would win & I told him it was obvious that the Kennedy guy would win - he just looked better. My dad laughed at me & bet me $10.

I was a decent gambler when I was young. My mom is claustrophobic so when we traveled to Dad’s embassy postings in Caracas, Djakarta & Paris, we had to take ships because Mom won’t get into an airplane. (Or elevator or subway.) Most ships in those days were primarily means of getting from one place to another, especially the freighters on which we often traveled. Even on passenger liners, there wasn’t the kind of total entertainment focus that there is now. We were quite content to sit in deck chairs and stare at the ocean in between chapters of whatever books we were reading. At night, though, the ocean is dark & casts its deep shadow deep into human souls: out come the distilled spirits, the dance bands, the talent contests and - the horse race films.

It was typical then for filmed horse races to be collected from tracks all over the country, cut apart & re-edited willy-nilly into a collection of a dozen races that no one could possibly remember ie gain a betting advantage. The films would be shown in the ballroom of the ship, win, place & show bets were taken in between races, gains paid out just like at Charlestown or Pimlico. These films featured the traditional parade to the starting block, so I would have a chance to look each horse over to gain some sense of its mettle. I would bet on any grey horse that showed up on the projection screen. That was one of the few true & useful things my dad ever taught me. Bet the grey horse. And the grey horse always does win. Lacking a grey horse, I would bet on a horse that showed spirit, a horse whose look I liked. Or that had a name that resonated in my relatively hollow 6-year-old brain. I’d have to place my bets through my dad. I always made $2 bets & I always walked away with at least $16 profit by the end of the night. And of course I won that $10 bet backing that Kennedy horse whose look I liked in 1960.

That was the beginning of an interesting decade, the Sixties. Godard made Weekend in 1967. Apparently you can watch the whole film for free on You Tube, or via - kind of a pointless way to watch it in my opinion - or - on second thought - maybe not. In any case, what I really wanted to mention here is that it’s pretty obvious to me that Godard got the idea for Weekend’s traffic jam from my drawing above.