You have to visit places to make them real. You have to see them with your own eyes. Only then do they solidify, and become distinct from imaginings.
The Barra da Tijuca in Brazil is a very real place for me, because I’ve been there many times. There are lots of places in Brazil that I’ve been, and which are very real to me. And on the last day that I left Brazil, as the 707 rose higher and higher above Rio de Janeiro on a beautiful, clear, sunny day, I saw nearly all of them again, including the Barra da Tijuca, just beyond the big flat-topped Pedra da Gavea, and the twin peaks of my favourite mountain, the guardian mountain of the Dois Irmãos under whose protection we lived. That day I saw the whole of Guanabara bay, and the Saco de São Francisco where my father sailed his little yacht. And as the plane flew up the coast I even saw the little town of Cabo Frio, and the Praia do Forte beside it. That day in 1965, and that day only, I saw them all together for the first time, and also for the last time.
On another remarkable and equally sunny November day, I flew the entire length of Russia, spending hour after hour gazing down on it, knowing at one point that I was looking down on Siberian rivers with ice floes upon them. I’ve never actually landed anywhere in Russia, but I’ve seen the whole length of it. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And later that day I also saw Mount Fuji in Japan, rising above a sheet of clouds.
But I’ve never been to America. I’ve never visited the USA. And that means that for me it’s an imaginary country. When Emily came to visit me earlier this year, she came from an imaginary city in America called Boston, and I had to prod her with a finger to make sure she was real. For me America is a fictional New World, and it will remain fictional as long as I never visit it, which I never will, because I’d prefer to keep it fictional.
It’s also a fictional country because it’s the home of Hollywood. And everything that comes out of Hollywood is a fiction. And I only know America through its numerous Hollywood movies. Like Steve McQueen in Bullitt, which is not only a car chase but also a high speed tour of San Francisco. So if I were to ever walk into a saloon in America, I’d expect to find Humphrey Bogart at one end the bar, and Marilyn Monroe at the other end, and Clint Eastwood lounging by a table in a corner. Because everyone knows that’s what saloons in America are like. And, as a newcomer, I’d walk up to the bar and ask for “Ham on rye and Tutti Frutti,” because that’s the sort of thing that you ordered in 1950s America. Of course I wouldn’t know what I’d been given when the bartender slapped it brusquely down in front of me, and I’d poke it with a fork until Humphrey Bogart leaned over and said, “Hey look kid, you don’t eat it that way. You pick it up with one hand, like this, and you take a big bite out of it, like this,” and put it back on my plate. And Marilyn would burst into peals of laughter. And Clint would get slowly out of his chair and come up behind me, and breathe in my ear, “Do you feel lucky now, punk? Well, do you?”
Everything in America is some movie or other. TV is a movie. Video is a movie. YouTube is a movie. It’s non-stop movies. The Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination was another movie. And so was 9/11. It was a movie that I watched spellbound on the day it was released. It was an epic movie that ran for 90 minutes from the time the first plane hit to the time the second tower collapsed – the same length of time as a regular feature film (which may be one reason why so many people can’t believe it).
And the current US midterm election is another unfolding drama. It’s got everything. Mass murder in a synagogue. Pipe bombs being sent to more or less everyone. A migrant caravan marching towards the southern border, and the US army being deployed to meet it.
In the latest bizarre twist, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is forever investigating election tampering, has been accused of rape:
Mueller Accused Of Sexual Assault; Says Women Were “Offered Money” To Make “False Claims”
According to documents published by the Gateway Pundit purporting to be from an accuser, Mueller is accused of “aggresively” raping the woman in 2010 after reportedly buying her a drink at the St. Regis Hotel bar.
Whatever next? The whole thing has gone completely batshit crazy. Yesterday I read somewhere that some Dem politician (Maxine Waters?) had just said:”Go high! Go low! We must win!” And that seemed to capture the air of desperation of the Democrats, as according to Dick Morris, current opinion polls say the Republicans look set to retain control of the Senate, and maybe even manage to hang onto the House.
My guess, sat open-mouthed in the stalls, praying for this movie to end, it that the Dems aren’t going to win, because Middle America – flyover country – is going head for the voting booths en masse and do what they did two years ago, when they elected Donald Trump. For he’s out there campaigning again, and getting as big crowds as he got back then.
And with less than a week to go, there’s plenty of time for another half dozen bizarre plot twists. Absolutely anything could happen, as it builds towards its frenzied climax next Tuesday, with all the tinkling Ennio Morricone musical pocket watches nearing High Noon, when either the bad guys spin off the road into the gas station and explode, or Steve McQueen does.