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Where The Wild Things Aren’t

The night they killed Bin Laden I was watching the 1986 movie Something Wild, starring Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels, made by Jonathan Demme, soundtrack by David Byrne. I first saw it when I went to work on Wall Street, and I watched it now 25 years later. I sort of link it with David Byrne’s True Stories, which is more lyrical, but both of them are in part about congenitally mild people allowing themselves to go wild. I liked it at the time, Wall St being an atypical place for me then.

Something Wild has a laid-back reggae version of Wild Thing by Sister Carol over the closing titles. It’s also interesting to see what Manhattan looked like in the movie in the mid 80s, grimy and graffiti-ridden, very seedy. It’s not quite recognizable any more. And, many times, since the movie is set downtown in the days when the area around Wall Street wasn’t gentrified, and since there are automobile trips to and from NJ through the Holland Tunnel, you see the twin towers. Good movies, both.


I have been reading about the “new atheists” — Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris. Hitchens is genuinely funny on any topic, and can laugh at himself. Their passionate longing for rationality and for the rooting out of the so-called spiritual is an attempt to deny the existence of something wild, but at the same time such a passionately irrational kind of wildness itself that it seems to me to contradict its own aim.

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