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I Never Knew but One

I Never Knew but One published on 5 Comments on I Never Knew but One

Rory died today in an accident that could only have been prevented with hindsight and time travel. Angela, our designer, and the bunny’s proper owner is devastated. I’m not much better. Zach is an empty shell of a human being whose heart pumps ice, and even he wanted to stop the usual presses, such as they are, and make this.

Rory won’t be leaving the comic strip. But the character was based largely on the bun, so I want to write him up the way I remember him.

He was a happy rabbit. I mean that. His entire free time was spent running and jumping and if those aren’t mammalian expressions of joy, I goddamn give up. And he was surrounded by people who made their sole duties into spoiling him rotten. There was a constant supply of fresh vegetables and frozen strawberries wherever he hopped, and for a while this summer, he ate better than I did. Largely because Timothy Hay is somehow cheaper than ramen.

He was a smart rabbit, but in ways that exhibited themselves as stupidity. He had the social moxie to snub us when we displeased him—an unspeakable act that generally occurred when Angela read something about rabbit dietary patterns and food—brace yourself for horror—left his presence. He would thump his back paw when he was under us but we weren’t showering him with attention. Terrible behavior for a child, hilarious for a bunny. And a sign that he understood himself in relation to us.

He was smart about his incisors, too, and in a very human way. I argue that smart people solve problems, and that if a rabbit goes around solving his own problems—well, he must be smart, too. For instance, if a particular rabbit has escaped and made it behind the refrigerator, and a large black cable is preventing forward progress, and this rabbit does the noble duty of removing that cable, he must be pretty bright. He did the same for my mouse wire a week later, and would have kept on helpfully removing cables and wires for us if we hadn’t joined in and put those suckers up on the walls.

He was an avid consumer of literature. The more expensive and desirable the book, the more ravenous he was for it.

One of my students, a gentleman from China, was studying at our kitchen table one day when Rory found his way to those heights. There were textbooks there, and notebooks, and receipts, and mail. Even a passport. And my student, the epitome of politeness, was unsure what to do with Rory as he feasted. When I found my student overlooking the ruins and still trying to study, as if working against stereotypes was not at the constant forefront of his mind, he looked up at me and said:

“Your rabbit eat—uh. Many things.”

You’re goddamn right he did. 

5 Comments

Happened upon this comic this morning and decided to start from the beginning. This fills me with the sad! I had a bunny (Hercules) who was also as smart as a bunny could be (and also had a penchant for nipping power cords, especially the lamp), and reading your anecdotes of Rory reminded me of him (he died summer of 2011, at the ripe old age of 12).

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Reactions to It (2017) — Spoiler Free!

Reactions to It (2017) — Spoiler Free! published on No Comments on Reactions to It (2017) — Spoiler Free!

I’ve watched the new It movie twice, and am so enamored that I’ve gotten the book and have read quite a ways into it. I’m also re-reading Frankenstein and a bunch of short stories because of my responsibilities as a college instructor, and I’m enjoying being able to read without making notes and marginalia.

Naturally, I’ll be writing a comparison up as soon as I’m finished, and will be taking notes and marginalia to help with this.

This film is, I think, the best treatment that Stephen King’s horror has ever gotten on the silver screen. A bad mood tainted my first viewing, in which the sound track and certain CG moments annoyed me. Under normal circumstances, this’ll kill a movie for me. The aesthetics of the film also bothered me – camera tricks designed to make horror-movie viewers feel ungrounded stood out badly to me, the color scheme felt as if it were screaming messages in my face, and I grumped after every jump scare.

And left the theater thinking and revisiting scenes, which nagged at me until I’d gone out and bought the novel. As I read, I wondered if I had not made a critical mistake, and watched the film against its intended grain. I went again. Stephen King is close to my heart. I wanted to like It, and had been prepared to hate it from its earliest conception.

I had seen an early leak of a script that was absolutely abysmal.

I had a supposed edit of the script that didn’t seem much better.

The reveal of Pennywise’s costume didn’t impress me.

The first trailer made me worry about the film’s overall quality.

And despite having all of this and a bad mood on my shoulders, the movie had me in its grips. I was charmed by the cast, and my internal bitching was drowned out by the sort of post-film mental awe that makes watching films a worthwhile activity.

I saw It a second time and have been left entirely delighted. Horror tropes used throughout the film are not there to scare me, the viewer; they’re there to establish pathos for the Loser Club.

Bill Skarsgård nails the role. He is not the Pennywise we grew up, nor is he trying to be. He made the part his own. Tim Curry played a wonderful murder-clown. Bill Skarsgård played an eldritch horror disguised as a clown. Neither one detracts from the other’s performance in any way; they are doing different jobs for different treatments of a story.

In many ways, I see It as a modern mirror of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. We follow young protagonists into a dark forest through a world wherein we understand they can die, and they’re surrounded by horrors that the adult world only cares about in a cursory way.
This is a coming-of-age story first and a horror film second, and because of that, it has significantly more depth than I expected. If you’ve got young teenagers, let them go see this. The R rating is elemental to the material, but I suspect very strongly that they will understand this film in a way that adults cannot.

And this speaks volumes about how fantastically the makers of It have mastered the material. I don’t think I can write more on this topic while keeping my “no spoilers” promise, so I’ll cut myself short, here.

I have criticisms, but they are surface-level, laden with spoilers, and not worth skipping the film over. The release of what is certain to become a national treasure is not the time for me to yuck into the yum. Go catch this on the big screen, and let me know what you think in the comments.