Childe Patricia to the Darkening Tower Came
But first I speak of my fellow customers. Rabble of Tower: scary-looking dudes who looked as if they hadn’t been out before dark for years. Now I am so pale, myself, that I glow in the dark, but these creatures were, like, negatively pigmented. Oh, there were normal folk too, of course, but not as many as you’d think, or hope. But all of us motivated by astoundingly low prices and wanting to make one more Tower run before the end.
I scored eight DVDs for forty bucks, which I thought was excellent. Some random “Stargate: SG1”s, likewise “Andromeda”s, two of my favorite TV series; a National Geographic special on the making of “The Lord of the Rings”; an absolute hoot of a surprisingly watchable flick called “The Lady and the Highwayman”, starring Hugh Grant (he’s not the lady, in case you were wondering, and I bet he wishes he could get it off his resume), Oliver Reed (swoon!) and Michael York (also swoon!) as King Charles II; and for my niece and nephew, “Tuck Everlasting”, a less-soppy-than-you-might-think Disneyflick with Sissy Spacek, William Hurt, Ben Kingsley and that tiresome babytalking slouching lass from “Gilmore Girls" (who here exhibits neither bad posture nor a baby voice).
That’s it. Eight scores. Then again, I am very discriminating (okay, fussy. Picky.). But you wouldn’t BELIEVE the tons of utter dreck that nobody had ever heard of and of which any reasonable being would wonder what were they THINKING to actually MAKE this? Was it money laundering? Drugs? A tax ripoff, er, writeoff? Nothing artistic can possibly explain it.
But you probably WOULD believe the massive quantities of “War of the Worlds” starring Batshit-Crazy Tom Cruise that were languishing on the shelves. Must have been hundreds of copies. Thousands. Looking very embarrassed. As well they should.
Also tons of “The Extremists”, a sports box overpriced at $49.99 but which I could have had at a 60% discount. I was tempted only because Laird Hamilton was featured in it, but I already have 12, yes, count ’em, 12 DVDs and VHSs (remember those? Yes!) of, well, surf porn featuring Mr. Hamilton and his impressive physique and engaging philosophy and amazing surfing. (Including a taped-off-the-air segment of “The Iconoclasts”, featuring Laird and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam surfing in Maui and discussing Deep Things. Delightful. Both of them. I only mention this because I want the Sundance Channel to put out a DVD of it so I can buy it. Just not at 49.99.)
Anyway. I understand that the closing of Tower is in part because of the declining sales of DVDs due to downloading, and that in the latest brave new future everybody will be doing the download fandango and nobody will be buying DVDs anymore, therefore nobody will be making them.
Well, you know, MY hand’s up!!! I will buy them! Off eBay if I have to, or else from Luddites-R-Us. And many others like me, too, who don’t want to fiddle with downloads but just prefer to go into a store, buy or rent a DVD, go home and pop it into the player like a slice of bread into a toaster. Why should we be denied this simple pleasure? Why are we being frog-marched into a nasty downloadable future when all we want is to stay where we are?
Please. In this season of good will to all, can there be no manger of comfortingly low-tech straw to crawl into for us poor tired souls who are weary of pointless change and wouldn’t really mind being left behind for once? I think there is. Pray for peace, people everywhere.