Sunday, July 21, 2013

Too Much Time On His Hands


... [Jon] Negroni suggests that everything in every Pixar film takes place in one universe, albeit at different periods in this universe's history. Magic unearthed in Brave – the stuff that turns Emma Thompson's character into a bear – ultimately evolves and spreads, creating the talking fish of Finding Nemo and every other human-like animal in Pixar's universe. Technology developed by the villain in The Incredibles kick-starts a world with self-aware toys like Buzz Lightyear and chatty cars like Lightning McQueen. ...

Immensely complex. And pretty dumb.

A couple of lifetimes ago, I was in a college literature class studying one of the novels of author John Barth.

The book was thick, and complicated, and not one of my favorite pieces of literature. But it was assigned reading, so I read it.

One of the more ambitious students was more enthusiastic than I was, and wrote a long letter to Barth detailing a loong analysis of the novel (which was The Sot-Weed Factor). She told Barth what a genius he was, what she knew he was trying to get at in his 850 page story, what a brilliant, allegorical world he was creating and what each of the characters in it actually symbolized.

She set all this down in great detail, tying each player in the story back to John Barth's main theme, and how he had created a very rich universe.

By and by, Mr. Barth wrote her back a letter on heavy stock paper with a University's letterhead. He had her name and address typed at the top, a salutation, and then these five words:


Yours sincerely, John Barth

The same thing is happening with the Pixar canon. Mr. Negroni is up in his bedroom building a universe out of his own head, and putting it on the internet. Only now the media -- also with too much time on its hands -- has picked up on the story. And bored the rest of us with it.


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