Just Pretending

Tue Jun 24 2003 11:13AM -0800

Three movies stick out in my head as having the same plot: a bunch of actors are mistaken for being heroes, find themselves in a situation where they have to actually be heroes, and hilarity ensues. The first of these is "The Three Amigos," then more recently (within the last decade) "Galaxy Quest" and "A Bug's Life."

(As pointed out to me by my dad, they are all also somewhat parodies of "The Magnificent Seven," which is in turn the Western remake of Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai.")

But it also makes me think of a story by Jorge Luis Borges whose title I can't remember. It is about this character who only feels like he is someone when he is acting. He feels as if he has no character of his own. In the end of the story, you find out that the character is supposed to be William Shakespeare.

Juxtaposing these ideas makes me think of those three movies as a way actors try to redeem themselves. But then there's more.

Since I have been reading about the nature of consciousness (current reading this book called The Mind's I, a collection of essays and short stories edited by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennet), it makes me think about the fine line between simulation and the real thing. (All of the sudden, U2's "Even Better than the Real Thing" echoes in my head.) If the simulation is good enough, how can you tell? (Now, Morpheus from "The Matrix" chimes in: "What is real?"

Lastly, without any articulation, I think of the Velveteen Rabbit.

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