wouldn’t this be a great world…?

Aaron Altman: Wouldn’t this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If “needy” were a turn-on? (Broadcast News)

I’m a perfectionist, and I always want to make people happy, no matter who they are. These qualities have combined to make me miserable for much of my life. I’m working on changing these qualities about myself, but I’m not having the best summer.

Does art ever offer solace for depression? I think so, but I’m hard-pressed to come up with any examples from literature that actually make me feel better. Now there are certainly songs I can listen to again and again at times like these. Movies, too. And the act of reading, by itself, helps to take my thoughts away and also knocks me out of my self-pitying introspection. However, I’m not sure that there are particular written works that, for me, address despair in a way that makes despair less taxing. I do like some of what Satan has to say in Paradise Lost, but maybe it’s best not to admit that in public.

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6 thoughts on “wouldn’t this be a great world…?

  1. This is an interesting question. Of course I’m more interested in film than literature, but what often cheers me about the arts is not the content itself but the fact that someone has made such a powerful/important/amazing “thing.”

    I like what Satan has to say, too.

  2. Reading heavy-duty stuff when I’m depressed really gets me down, even when it licks a wound the way Satan does. (Read that however you will.) I remember being at the bottom of a deep dark hole when I read VI.1 of Tom Jones for the first time, and thinking, maybe there are great, wonderful, and true things in this world that I haven’t yet found because I’ve been mucking around in the familiar. At least it was a first step toward feeling like there was a good life out there to be had, if I would go and find it.

  3. once when i was sad, i read this from cover to cover. i had read it before, multiple times actually, and it somehow got me out of my funk. if you feel like reading it but don’t have a copy (gasp!) or your library doesn’t carry it (wha?) or your wallet is a bit thin, let me know and i can send you my copy. it may take a few days though.

  4. Chuck and AWB, you both make good points. Wish I had a more eloquent response right now…

    Hey, you’ve recommended that book to me before, David. I’ll look for it.

  5. Broadcast News is possibly one of the greatest movies ever. My mother used to quote to me that exchange:

    “What is it like, always being the smartest person in every room?”
    “It’s awful, sir.”

  6. I just saw BN again the other night. What a great movie.

    For some sick reason, the scenes where Holly Hunter’s character breaks down crying for no apparent reason when she’s all alone were really appealling to me. I guess that’s just more information I shouldn’t admit in public.

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