A Matter Of Hiding

Episode One Hundred Eight: A Matter Of Hiding.
In which Squidman works the central conundrum.

1 comment:

  1. Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" (1974), starring Gene Hackman. I have loved this movie since seeing it as a young boy on Saturday afternoon television growing up, but something about a recent viewing caught my attention. The story makes the name of the protagonist, Harry Caul, very clear, and it suddenly occurred to me that his name is eminently significant.

    Caul wears an absurd-looking translucent raincoat, even on sunny days. Often the story is told behind translucent sheeting, or curtains. There is a barrier between characters, and between the audience and the film. But mostly, it is between Caul and everything else.

    I had always seen the film as a thriller that swept up a competent surveillance man, someone who had lost his ability to remain morally absent from his work. Watching it this month, however, I began to realize that the story portrays Caul's competence as another opaque layer that might be lifted away. Again and again, he is tricked and routed in his own game. His ability to remain emotionally separate goes hand-in-hand with his ability to remain competent.

    And so, the caul that he used to separate himself emotionally as a strength turns into a protective blanket that is used to help him hide.

    The Pharm Life panel from Paul Metcal's "Genoa" (1965), the main character having been born en caul, a good omen and indicative of a child born with second sight. This derivation of the word having stuck with me throughout the several decades since I'd read the book.

    The Squidman frame referring to my surprise on finding that the original Conversation character was named "Harry Call", but was misnamed inadvertently by a transcriber. A happy mistake, as Coppola took the new spelling and ran with it. I was intrigued at the idea of how our fate, as this name is clearly used in the film, might be the result of nothing intentional. Is it just me, or does the idea of fate imply a sense of design?

    The final panel from an Oblique Strategy card. It seemed appropriate for this week, starting a new job, worrying about whether I will succeed. Worrying about correcting past mistakes. But also just worrying about mistakes. Always mistakes, never successes.



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