Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Queen David versus tokenism, the bane of good intentions

A comment on a news story... perhaps more elaborate than some of the other 36 comments on the site, most of which read like this: "It's ridiculous." "No, it's not. Go David!" "No, it's ludicrous." "No, it's fine. Go David!"

So this gay teenage boy, David, auditioned for the role of Carnival Queen in the town of Axbridge, UK. In the headline, they call him "the only gay in the village," as if "gay" is a noun. Maybe it is in the UK. Anyway, they didn't feel comfortable giving him the actual title, so they created an "Alternative fete queen" title for him and let him ride in the parade in a lilac dress and tiara.

I certainly don't have a problem with a boy getting the title of "Queen" in a carnival parade. I also don't really have a problem with them creating a new category for him... if they want to respect the tradition of having a female "queen" but they still want to give the boy a chance, then it makes sense to put him up on his own float, so he can contribute something to the event.

What I have a problem with is the tone of the news story. Listen to this stupid statement by Robin Goodfellow, one of the committee members who helped make the decision:

"We had to decide which would offend people least - including the boy or leaving him out.

"It was felt we couldn't eliminate him just because he was male. This was the best solution on the day.

"Some people might be offended but we would rather be inclusive than exclusive. It's hard enough to get people involved as it is."

I won't blame this on the town, because it could equally well be a result of bad news reporting, but this is the kind of remark that fucks up the whole thing. Feel free to elect a boy queen, or "alternative queen," but don't defend the decision on the basis of "inclusion" and "not offending people." That's exactly how stigmas get attached to rising movements... it's a sad display of tokenism, and should be kept out of the decision-making process.

If you're going to make a boy the Carnival Queen, judge him on real criteria... criteria that make sense for a Carnival parade. Does he show good character? Is he enthusiastic and charismatic? Does he do the community a service by representing it at a local event?

If he does all these things, then a few locals throwing eggs won't bother him, and the world will revolve a little smoother and more tolerantly. But if he's chosen so people aren't offended, as a sacrifice on the altar of tolerance and tokenism, then those insults and bad vibes will wreck the occasion, and the positive spirit of a small town's progressive decision.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Unleashed: Jet Li on memory, agency, and aggression

Saw Jet Li’s Unleashed not too long ago, and it was a surprising departure from what I expect of a kung-fu movietruffle. Sure, it had the stylized karate, with lots of jump cuts and acrobatics and people dressed like characters from The Matrix, but those things were just specks of glitter on a much bigger canvas. This might have been Jet Li’s real acting debut, as he portrayed a well-developed character with a convincingly child-like, pathological naivety. So here I am, claiming that there was something insightful in this movie… what was it?

The central theme (as I see it) in Unleashed hinges on Jet Li’s character. He’s a bit bipolar… through the course of the film, we see two different incarnations of “Danny,” one in the care of Bart and one in the care of Sam. There are four primary associations that constitute the gap between violent Danny and non-violent Danny, and I’ve already given one of them away.

1) Violence: With Bart, Danny is raised to be violent. He’s manipulated into being a thug, and when he’s “unleashed,” he acts out an enigmatic rage on his adversaries. This contrasts starkly with reformed Danny, in the care of Sam, whose most important mission is to renounce his violence. Not only does he refuse to exact violence on his new caretakers… when he changes into “reformed Danny,” he refuses to enact violence on ANYONE, including the man who forced him to live by its law.

2) Slavery: With Bart, Danny is a pawn. He’s violent, and he’s used for the purpose of violence… he’s conditioned in a very Pavlovian sense (always with the canine references), and this conditioning is used for the objectives of Bart. With Sam and Victoria, Danny is given the tools and the power to be an active agent, and he’s allowed to make his own choices. There’s an absolutely key scene in this regard: Sam gives Danny the money from his first job, and when Danny asks what to do with it, Sam tells him he can do whatever he wants with it. This discovery seems convincingly shocking to Danny, who is making his transition out of a pathologically submissive role.

3) Culture: With Bart, Danny is a product of contemporary British/American crime culture. The bars where he fights are full of slinky women and people decked out in high fashion, and everybody’s wearing an insane double-breasted leisure suit. Sam reintroduces Danny to classical Western culture, which, it turns out, is part of Danny’s personal history. Piano virtuosity is one of the hallmarks of the classical European tradition, and Danny’s non-violent identity revolves entirely around the piano. In Bart’s dungeon, there’s a ruined piano… a revealing metaphor for the humanity of which Danny has been deprived.

4) Memory: This is probably the most important link in this chain of associations. Bart systematically denies Danny any access to his past, distorting his memories of his mother and lying to him about his upbringing. As I noted above, Danny is boiling with undirected rage, and as long as we don’t know about Danny’s past, we don’t realize that all this violence is probably related to that fundamental event, the murder of his mother… the scene where Danny first appears violent, and that Danny seems to be acting out over and over under Bart’s influence. Only reformed, autonomous, classical, nonviolent Danny can retrieve his history, and he can only fully integrate into society by doing so.

This movie can be read as a defense of 19th century philosophical positions. One of the foremost themes in German idealism, Hegelianism, Marxism, and later social theory is the importance of history, and the construction of an identity through a consciousness of that history. History and memory, duty as the essential moral criterion, and development of rationality and consciousness through cultural progress… in the course of Unleashed, Danny goes through his own renaissance and becomes a true enlightenment European.

So what does this have to do with American foreign policy?

WOAH! Didn’t expect that one, did you? Well, I’ll tell you how I made that jump: I recently read a selection of writing by Edward Said wherein he compared American and French (a.k.a. continental European) coverage of an uprising in the Middle East. He talked about the reductivism of the New York Times, which (according to Said) treated Islamic fundamentalism as though it was an isolated crisis. The Times, and other newspapers like it, refused to acknowledge the political and religious history of Islam, or the history of Middle Eastern interaction with the United States. He compared this with Le Monde, the French newspaper, which ran detailed reporting on Islamic culture, incorporating expertise on the Arabic language and the political history the contributed to the upheaval in Iran.

Said’s point here is that the Times is serving an American agenda of aggression, so it can’t acknowledge the history or bring to bear a complete perspective on Islamic culture. To rephrase: America has to forget the past, deny the roots of its relationships, and fixate on the current “crisis” to maintain its aggression. We’ve come a long way from our rationalist enlightenment roots, where we saw our ideals as a product of our cultural history.

Anyway, I’m kind of digressing. The point is less about the United States and more about the movie. Splitting things into two categories (classical vs. contemporary, violent vs. nonviolent, master vs. slave, memory vs. amnesia) isn’t always a good idea (as per, for instance, Derrida). Even so, there’s something well-constructed and intelligible about the model that Unleashed offers.

And Jet Li kicks Jason Statham’s ass. What more could you want?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Semantics, Politics, and video games: Nintendo versus the world

In the spirit of mass market analysis, today's rant is going to be about the semantics of persuasion... in this case, I'm going to consider spin-doctoring in the marketplace. The free-market competition is for dominance in video game console sales, and the competitors are the X-Box 360, the Playstation 3, and the Nintendo Wii.

For the purposes of this discussion, I'm going to lump the X-Box and the PS3 into the same category. These are the old-guard game systems, competing on the basis of classic qualifications like franchise acquisition and processor speed. The Wii represents a different paradigm entirely, and at the moment, it seems to be shaping the debate over the next generation of consoles. Where the X-Box and the PS3 are in a race for power, the Wii is struggling to innovate... where the old-guards are selling their new processors, the Wii is selling its concept.

The unconventional Wii controller is at the nexus of this debate, and its success depends on whether it's cast as an innovation or as a novelty. This is a marketing game, and it's become a critical issue on gaming message boards. The old-guards claim that the gaming experience hasn't changed, and that it's based on good games, not on a gimmicky control scheme. Nintendo wants to prove that even in a die-hard realm like the gaming experience, the hegemony can be overthrown.

Thus, the primary semantic issue: novelty versus innovation. Novelties are attention-getting but transient, where innovations are ideas that produce lasting effects in their markets.

Most old-guard loyalists (read: fanboys) claim that a system withough an armor-piercing processor simply isn't "new generation," and their reliance on this term is telling: these gamers' criteria for games is established by the history of gaming, from the 8-bit Ataris to the dual-core 3.2 GHz PS3 powerhouse. These gamers expect an upgrade in graphics, speed, and dynamic simulation with every new system, and this means Nintendo has failed, because it's not building on the tradition of its supposed predecessors.

Nintendo isn't so concerned with the "generation" of this system, and in a sense, Nintendo has taken on the task of subverting this linear paradigm. Its new system was originally called the "Revolution," and this is another revealing semantic choice. "Next Generation" is progressive... "Revolution" is Marxist. Where Sony and Microsoft are competing to dominate an established field, Nintendo is attempting to redefine it entirely. Revolution is a risky business, but for the dedicated developers at Nintendo, it's the only way to overthrow the corporate video game hegemony.

I seem to be creating a political metaphor here, and I'm going to recognize it and dispense with it before it gets out of hand. The twentieth-century political environment was split into Communism (defined by socialism, revolution, and the enforcement of "equality") versus free capitalist democracy (defined by traditional individualism, competition, and the securing of "freedom"), and these two seemed irresolvable at times. Even so, they were united by a grand design, the ultimate struggle for social harmony and human happiness. Sometimes the only way to get perspective is to look at the total field, the ultimate domain that ties you and your opponent to the same end-goal.

What I'm trying to say is that all this stuff... innovation, progress, next-generation, and revolution... are taking place within a certain domain, and despite the fuzzy focus of the new marketing push, this is a total field that can't be bought, redefined, or subverted. This total environment is defined by the consumers themselves, the gamers, and its central term isn't "graphics," "development," "innovation," "market share," or "novelty"... its central term is gameplay, and it's something the three competitors have to keep sight of if they're going to win, or even survive, the next skirmish in video game politics.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The 5-year anniversary: five responses

I found five media responses to September 11th. Here's what I think of them. If you see this as the malinformed opinion of a gushy blogger grad student with too much free time, then feel free to dismiss it. If you're capable of seeing it as a social, communicative, and aesthetic critique, feel free to respond to it, or just to give it a quick glance to see if it resonates with you.


"Since the horror of Nine-Eleven, we have learned a great deal about the enemy. We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy – but not without purpose. We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam – a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent."

"We saw what a handful of our enemies can do with box-cutters and plane tickets. We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our people. And we know that if they were able to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they would use them against us."

"... the war is not over – and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious."

Bush's words are so transparent they're invisible. He goes through a predictable series of steps: he engages the susceptible listener with empowering words, and within a few paragraphs, he turns his focus to the emnity that he's spent the last five years constructing. He makes a sharp, over-dramatic generalization about "the enemy" and he links them to the Islamic faith, and he injects a few words of alarmism and political self-aggrandization. If any single theme can be drawn from this monolouge, apart from the simplistic anxiety-mongering, it's that since September 11, America is defined by its enemy.


"I'm thinking right at this minute that the twin towers used to be right behind me for the longest time, and I'm also thinking about how when they came down, this chapel where George Washington prayed was spared..."

Giuliani is the quintessential New Yorker, so he has the right to be sentimental. Unfortunately, mass media sentimentalism, broadcast over a major news network, is bound to distance us all from the event. Some of us don't have nostalgia, and don't want it... we want to move forward and find solutions. Others of us remember the event sentimentally, but when we're confronted with an onslaught of pre-packaged tragedy, appropriating and reselling our emotional response, we're forced to turn off our receptors and live in the silence of our apartments. Finally, the third group of us feels the weight of emotional memory, and Giuliani's sentimentalism is satisfying, but then we become vulnerable to the vast baggage of political rhetoric, advertising, and partisan manipulation that inevitably comes with any mass media package. Rudy should be sad and meditative. He should also keep all those things closer to himself, so we can keep them personal too. (see: entry #5)

LIBERAL BACKLASH - Keith Olbermann, live on MSNBC

"Who has left this hole in the ground?
We have not forgotten, Mr. President.
You have.
May this country forgive you."

Olbermann's words are ballsy. Such confrontational overtones are rare in popular media (see John Stewart as the notable exception), and it's almost unheard of in a major news outlet. As always in media studies, it's important to consider the relationship between for(u)m and content, so we find ourselves at an impasse: how appropriate is it to use the 5th anniversary of September 11th as a political battlefield?

Maybe it's disrespectful. This kind of political rant may come across as opportunistic and soapboxy when it coincides with the anniversary of a national holiday. It seems almost trite, and as such, it may also discredit the very valid points that Olbermann is bringing up. And creditability aside, is a day of rememberance the right day to lash out?

Or maybe, on this day when we commemorate America, Olbermann is the very image of an American voice. Once we give him credit for being right, then the pieces of his monolouge start falling into place... being outspoken is the first form of Americanism. Olbermann is offering his strong political opinion as a tribute to an important historical event, like calling out an opponent on his own appropriated, but still disputed, territory.

I reserve final judgement on this one.

META-CRITIQUE - Benefit of the Doubt

These guys are smart... in light of a great tragedy, it's always a good idea to step back and account for the general outlook. Benefit of the Doubt shows that the media is the psychological vector for the culture, and that through it, a pathological complex like American terrorism PTSD can unfold for an uncannily long time. The only disadvantage of Jesse's acute coverage is that he occasionally embarks on bizarre self-referential tangents.


Ze Frank is probably one of the subtlest guys distributing digital media right now. That's not necessarily saying much, but in Ze's case, there's a mastery of form and message that you just don't get anywhere else. His video is irreverent, in a sense... there's a sort of avoidance in the long sequence of shots of the Brooklyn promenade, where you look across the river at Lower Manhattan. His song isn't somber, but it's sprinkled with relevant thoughts, distantly-connected meditations put to a funky beat and a repetitive chorus. In a sense, the pedestrian music video seem like Ze is making the event insubstantial and impersonal.

Then you realize what he's saying, and what he's up against... his thoughts follow their own form because he's not interested in manipulating rhetoric, or manufacturing sentimentality, or voicing opposition, or in critical analysis... he just wants to return to the situation with perspective.

Then you watch one of his last few videos and realize that this is the same walk he took on September 11th, 2001... and you discover that this is truly personal for him. You just have to dig a little to find that he's constructed that personal meaning from fragments of history and reflection. Whether we like it or not, it's what we're all going to have to do in the end.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Idlewild and Remix Narrative

Up until about ten minutes ago, I would have given a thoroughly mixed review of Idlewild. I came out of the movie satisfied with the excitement and the style, but a little skeptical about the narrative, whose first hour seemed a broken record of drama film clichés. But if there’s anything film studies has taught me, it’s that thinking about a movie can improve the overall experience, and that a film becomes a lot better when its themes have been identified, even retrospectively.

Idlewild featured the acting debuts of Outkast (“Andre 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton), and it was the first big-screen endeavor of Outkast’s music video director, Bryan Barber. I was initially attracted to the movie because I love the word “Idlewild”… it’s a pair of syllables that affects my brain like a code word. The word “idle” suggests a sort of compulsive laziness and libertarian apathy, and the addition of the word “wild” makes me think of a maritime anti-hero whose fury is spontaneous, unreasonable, but perfectly appropriate to the way he lives his life. I also happen to love the band Idlewild, a Scottish rock outfit.

I also liked the stylistic decisions embodied in this movie, which were apparent in the trailer. I love the rogue spirit of hip-hop (especially when it subverts the urban thug paradigm), I appreciate the class and hustle of the prohibition-era underground, and I fully support their synthesis. Idlewild didn’t let me down… the crackling big-band aesthetic and the halting improvisation of vinyl found a compelling common ground, securing my admiration of Idlewild’s fresh-faced director.

Unfortunately, where Idlewild’s aesthetic was well-executed, its narrative was a little green around the ears. The conclusion worked fairly well, first in the speakeasy and then in the darkness of Percival’s living room, but the road was paved with tired filmic clichés that became comical at times. There was a slow-motion walk through the rain (a la The Shawshank Redemption, The Matrix), a bullet-stopping bible (a la Disney’s Three Musketeers), a timid performer empowered by the gaze of her True Love (a la Save the Last Dance), booze transported in a coffin (a la Some Like It Hot), and all sorts of smaller-scale film tropes. Every scene seemed to be a music video, building up to its own short-term conclusion.

So I liked the synthetic, derivative style of this film, but I was skeptical about the artificial, derivative plot. I’ve only just come to realize that this is a double-standard. If I’m content with music that samples and shuffles and remixes the climaxes of classic tunes, and I can accept the same aesthetic in Idlewild’s stylistic choices, then why am I so hesitant about accepting a patchwork plot of film trivia? Honestly, I kind of enjoy going back through this movie and figuring out why each narrative moment seems familiar.

Turns out I was looking for a film in a pure pastiche… a remix movie, plastered together from a series of tried-and-true ideas, musical, aesthetic, and narrative. Barber dropped the Shakespeare (slightly misquoted) in between beats of magical negro and Harold and Maude, stitching together a sharp-edged answer to Moulin Rouge’s ballad sentimentality. When I think too hard, I come to the erroneous conclusion that I dislike derivative media. Isn’t that ridiculous?

Friday, September 08, 2006

More Tomato Nation: Insights into Dorkiness

Okay, now I've started reading Tomato Nation, and I'm finding more to comment on. Having just recently disagreed with Sarah's review of Grizzly Man, I now find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with her account of dorkiness, and I'd like to throw in my however-many cents about it.

Here's where she hits the nail on the flat fucking head, articulated so perfectly that I'm probably naive to think I have anything more to say: "'s that idea of looking to that thing, that signifier, to let you belong because that thing belongs to you, horses, baseball, Broadway, Harry Potter, Risk, loving it as though it will love you back, without apologizing for it or winking at anyone who might be watching you."

I'm going to repeat that, just so everyone gets it: true nerdhood is about loving something you do so unabashadly that it can't possibly make you cool. "Cool" is always about image and perspective, and it requires constant mediation to make sure you distinguish yourself without actually annoying or alienating the majority of your audience. Nerds can't be this kind of cool. They don't even HAVE a fucking audience. They can't be ironic, because irony is a way of talking about something in a way that distances you from it. Sarah is absolutely spot-on correct... nerdiness is about your attitude toward the things you're enthusiastic about.

Two people in my academic career have exemplified nerdiness to me, in all its sublime excitement.

One was a middle-school teacher I worked with in my extracurricular activities. He busted his ass to teach seventh-graders, those kids who refuse to think about anything but establishing superficial social lives, about the importance and excitement of poetry. He told me I would like Jorge Luis Borges' cerebral fiction, because The Library of Babel and The Garden of Forking Paths are simply sick-ass awesome stories, and when I read Borges a couple years later, I found he was absolutely right. The same thing happened with the rock-and-roll zombie flick he recommended to me, Wild Zero. Oh, and he LOVES drunken trivia, and he kept score for his team pretty strictly.

The other was a college professor who I never worked with very closely, but who exemplified the kind of passion you need to be a bona-fide nerd. He was an IR professor, and he presented a series of screenings and critical discussions of Star Wars: Episodes IV to VI. At the end of these discussions, he said something that's been with me ever since: "Next semester, I'll do these discussions of the Matrix movies, and not only will I show you that they aren't as bad as you think... I'll also convince you that they actually got BETTER, one after another." In a world that's obsessed with disparaging the second two Matrix movies, that's a ballsy statement.

Honestly, I think these professors might like this very blog, because it's my expression of enthusiasm about the movies and Internet memes that I love. The Rundown, Pirates of the Carribean, Wikipedia, and Cyberpunk... if you really want to know, this blog is a window into my soul. I'm glad someone like Sarah managed to put that into such clear terms for me.

A response to Tomato Nation on the topic of The Grizzly Man

Here are two things I like:

1) Tomato Nation (and generally, bloggers who write involved commentary, rather than just blurbs and offhand references to online curiousa)

2) Werner Herzog's Grizzly Man

So I'm a little thrown off by Sarah's commentary on the film. She and I agree on all the particular points of character... we both see Treadwell as a madman, we both find ourselves slightly off the sympathy track, and we both laughed occasionally. Yet, we manage to disagree on the effectiveness of the movie as a whole. I loved Grizzly Man. She seems... mad at it, for some reason.

Here are her complaints, as far as I can sort them out:

1) "The man died, and his girlfriend died, and for their families and their friends, of course it's a genuine loss and I'm not trying to make light of that fact. But as awful as a bear attack is in practice, in theory, 'getting eaten by a bear'…sounds funny. "

2) "It's probably considered in poor taste even to hint that Treadwell 'asked for' that grisly end (no pun intended), but I think we have to acknowledge that, in a way, he did -- he behaved recklessly, he refused to get that the bears didn't love him back, he didn't take precautions, and if you go out into the Alaskan wilderness ... and you follow the bears around and fuck with them, sooner or later your number is going to come up."

I think, to Sarah's credit, that the central anger she is expressing is at the character (the actual person) of Treadwell. She spends a lot of her essay repeating, over and over, one of the central themes of the movie, that you can't just join nature and discover some sort of primordial harmony. Treadwell's life is obviously a testament to that, and it's one of the clearest messages in Herzog's documentary.

Sarah's anger at Treadwell doesn't interest me much. I know I'm never going into the woods to poke bears in the ass with sticks, so I see no real reason to be mad at him. If anything, I respect his dedication, I pity his self-inflicted downfall, and I raise my eyebrows at his sheer lunacy. In a way, I'm not interested in Sarah's condemnation because it flattens out an on-screen personality that Herzog really managed to fill out with some depth. A lot of idealism requires a certain naivety and a certain idiocy, and Treadwell's obsessive pathology makes him funny (as Sarah points out), but it also makes him sad, disturbing, and unpredictable.

However, Sarah isn't just mad at Treadwell. She also seems ambiently mad at Herzog, who she implicitly accuses of over-sentimentalizing an absurd life and a violent death. This is where I think Sarah falters in her interpretation, moving from disapproval of Treadwell to disapproval of his portrayal. By over-emphasizing Treadwell's naivety in her review, Sarah seems to suggest that Herzog was totally ignorant of it in his film, and this simply wasn't true.

When she's introducing the movie, Sarah says, "And then I may have chuckled a little. And this is the issue, with the movie and with Timothy Treadwell and with his demise." If Sarah thinks she's the only person who laughed at Treadwell's bizarre antics, then she's wrong. And if she thinks Herzog didn't shake his head in incredulous disbelief at Treadwell's behavior, then she underestimates his capacity to understand his own material. Herzog is placing his sympathy within a context of the character's comical ignorance, and by rejecting Treadwell's emotional presence on the basis of his personal flaws, Sarah spends her review stripping away the extra dimension that Herzog worked so hard to add to Treadwell's demise.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Through the Heart (Steve Irwin and Elliott Smith)

Steve Irwin died on September 4th, victim of a stingray barb through the heart. I wasn't one of the Crocodile Hunter's most devoted followers, but I class him in a group of people who have my respect, simply on the basis of their single-mindedness... with people like Bob Ross and Al Sharpton. He's one of a few strange public personalities, breaks in the mass-produced static of mediated culture, whose sheer force of identity and personality elevate them above the cesspool of the entertainment industry.

Irwin's death makes me think of another recently-deceased entertainer, who I would also place in the above category. This is Elliott Smith, who I associate with Irwin because he died in a similar way: pierced through the heart at the height of his career in a movingly tragic and surreally fitting spasm of mortality. Both Smith and Irwin died in the throes of their own passion, and the cardiac trauma seems almost a badge of their parallel tragedies.

Even as I write this, I ask myself: how can I talk about these deaths as though they have some sublime meaning? Is it possible for any death to be "fitting"? Is it deeply cynical to make such a tenuous connection between two unrelated entertainers, a connection based on the similar circumstances of their deaths? Am I being profoundly trite by making such a big deal out of "death by pierced heart"?

I hope not... what really characterizes these two, and ultimately connects them, was their passion and single-minded devotion to a way of life. Their deaths were the culmination of their lives, and these two individuals spent their prime years creating new meaning and diffusing ideas into the slipstream. I suppose it's only natural that I try, however artificially, to attach a meaning to Irwin's death in the fevers of nature, and to Elliott Smith's death in the tremors of his own epic emotional swings.

I feel almost overwhelmed by cliche at this point, so I'm going to draw this meditation to a close. I'll just throw my last thought out there: an individual can face death as the final spark in a long chain of circumstance, or they can face it as a part of a life fully-lived, built around a broadly-constructed personal experience of the world. Steve Irwin managed the latter, and when my time comes, I hope I'll do the same.