Friday, June 16

Seven Wonderful Things

Let's start off this whole Chris' past essays off small, in this case, a work that failed to get me a fairly decent scholarship at Marquette. I actually liked it a lot and was surprised to hear that I didn't advance. Perhaps it was too out there, having not hit upon the classics like family and love, or the applicant pool was just that insane? Or I just came across as arrogant, which is so easy with these things, or shallow. Come on, I said Dance Dance Revolution and Mystery Science Theater 3000 were some of the greatest things ever. Still, I really don't think this list would change too much if I had to write it afresh today. I maintain a great respect for all elements listed here.

Mystery Science Theater 3000. Cold. Dance Dance Revolution. The Princess Bride. The northern lights. The United Nations. Religion. These compose the greatest aspects of nature and humankind.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is one of the funniest and most original television shows ever created. The concept of turning unbearably bad movies into a television show by mocking everything about them is inspired. Unlike many modern shows, Mystery Science Theater did not insult the viewer’s intelligence by pandering to the lowest common denominator. Its frequent allusions required cultural literacy of the highest degree.

Beyond the laughs, though, existed a strong sense of humility, which truly made the show special. Every riff and verbal jab was directed at movies that thought too much of themselves and tried to capitalize on the success of more popular films. At the same time, Mystery Science Theater mocked its own budget limitations by casting its writers in acting positions and building its sets and puppets from spare parts.

My admiration of cold is born of necessity. If you can’t take the cold, you can’t live in Baudette, especially when one considers that the most northern point of the contiguous United States is only an hour from my house. Cold is the antipode of American culture, where life is frantic and delays are unacceptable. In the depths of winter, I have taken walks in the state park. When I stop, I feel a sense of utter stillness, as though the world were made of glass. It seems that a sharp sound would cause that moment, frozen in time, to shatter. It is at that moment I feel peace and calm, and the cold enables it.

Step on the arrows in time with the beat. It’s utterly simple. Then again, the greatest games are based on the simplest ideas, and Dance Dance Revolution is no exception, for it is the ultimate video game. For the uninitiated, it’s easy to get into. For veterans, it’s challenging. It’s both competitive and cooperative. Neither does it grow stale or forgotten when new games are released because its premise is simple and enduring. All of this and Dance Dance Revolution does not take over lives because it is nearly impossible to play for over an hour at a reasonable difficulty.

Never have I underestimated something as much as I underestimated The Princess Bride. When my sister first brought it home, I accused her of getting a chick flick. Still, I watched it with her and was rocked when I saw the greatest of modern fairy tales. The humor, action, and romance were wonderful, but what raised this movie to the highest echelons of excellence was the characters. I felt sympathy for them, and, by the end of the movie, they had earned their happily ever after.

The northern lights are the most beautiful of nature’s displays. In the television show Touched by an Angel, heaven was once described as the ultimate reality. Describing it would be like trying to tell a person who lived their entire life inside a closet about the outside world using only crayon drawings. The aurora borealis is the nearest we get to seeing heaven on earth. The beauty of its vibrant, pulsating colors cannot begin to be described to one who has never experienced them.

What is the United Nations? It is one of modern civilizations noblest goals; a cooperative organization whose mission is to create a world where human rights are guaranteed to all and peace reigns. Through negotiations and mediations hosted by the United Nations, conflicts can be and are solved. Despite the recent scandal and criticism directed towards it for not supporting the United States in its invasion of Iraq, the United Nations deserves our complete backing for its mission is worthy and cannot be completed by a single nation.

Religion is one of the most ancient institutions in human society. The various modern faiths have outlasted the civilizations that originally spawned them, and they will continue for centuries to come. Why? Religion is the improver of individuals. It sets down our moral codes, be they the Eightfold Path, Ten Commandments, or Five Pillars. Terrible atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, but great charity has been committed for the same reason.

I now look upon this list, having never laid down my seven greatest things in this world before, for the first time. I consider what I would learn about another person if this list were theirs. In this list, I would see a poet writing about the cold and northern lights. I would learn of a romantic digging beneath the surface of Mystery Science Theater and The Princess Bride to a deeper meaning. I would discover an athlete in the player of Dance Dance Revolution, a stalwart supporter of the United Nations, and a faithful Catholic devoted to religion. In short, an individual with diverse interests and passions.

Thank you for considering my application for the Raynor Scholarship. Have a good day.

1 comment:

Kaitlin said...

The Princess Bride is my all-time favourite movie. I'm glad to see that you like it, too. :)