So I followed the link on Haddock through to Tom Coates’ plasticbag.org | about | faqs | What the hell is this site for? which was okay, then I checked out Why on earth ‘plasticbag.org’?, in which Tom mentions the plastic bag scene from American Beauty as a kind of inspiration after the fact.
I remember this so well. I’d been rather depressed, and it so happened that I went alone to the Ritzy cinema in Brixton on my birthday, a few birthdays ago, to see American Beauty, and when I saw the plastic bag footage I wanted to get up and applaud. But I didn’t. It was a film. That would have been wrong.
Anyway, reminded of this scene I go off looking for references, and I find someone offering a Heraclitean reading of the two scenes in which the plastic bag footage is shown. The thread doesn’t exactly fly, but it was a nice little find for a very minor league Heraclitean living in Sydenham. There’s also a lovely observation I found by Allen Claxton on Andstuff.org wiki:
By far, though, for me, the best thing about American Beauty was the plastic bag, which, for me, hooks into what Colin Wilson (drawing on one of the James brothers) describes as ‘prehension’–being so completely of and in touch with the world, that everything is astounding in its beauty.
And this from this review:
Writer Alan Ball was writing sit-coms ‘where all I did was write about characters insulting each other,’ until he stumbled upon a plastic bag whirling around him, near the trash can of the World Trade Center. He saw the beauty. And lucky are those who can see and truly comprehend the ‘benevolent forces’ at work behind such everyday beauty.
I’m following this because with my blog’s first anniversary coming up (October 8th) I’ve been giving some thought to what enthusiasm is all about, and my thinking is running along much the same lines as Tom’s. I assume Tom has many more readers than I do- but by my hasty reckoning, there are several hundred people coming here at least semi-regularly, and and don’t really know why. I’m not complaining, you know, I just don’t really understand. Enthusiasm isn’t about anything except following the drift of my shifting whatever… there’ll be a bit more of this navel-gazing stuff over the next few days, I would expect. Apologies in advance….