Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


No laughing matter

It’s finally happened: I’ve lost my sense of humor. About one thing, at least.

The other morning as I was driving my son to take his driver’s license test, we passed a billboard for the new Oliver Stone movie, “W.” Guess who it’s about.

“Dad, are you going to go see that?”

“No,” I said rigidly.

“It looks really funny in the trailer.”

“There’s nothing funny about him,” I said, noting to myself the irony of the word “trailer” in connection with the infamous subject of this film. “Trailer” as in “FEMA trailer.” As in: rusting hulks bought for too much money from private contractors for the scattered survivors of Hurricane Katrina. More reasons not to be amused.

In today’s LA Times I came across a caption about the movie that said it was the story of one man’s rise “from riches to more riches.” I guess that’s humorous too.

I haven’t lost my sense of humor about everything. I’m always cracking wise on those marathon training runs; it’s a good way to deal with the seeming impossibility of running dozens of miles, or other ordeals. I’ve written comedies about cancer and suicide and incest, and even my recent play about the son of a serial killer was good for a few laughs. But it’s hard to imagine anything funny about “W.” or the creature the film is named after. Maybe the scale of impact is too great to laugh away. The serial killer in my play killed a few dozen women; the Bush death count is in the hundreds of thousands (Iraqi civilians; Afghani civilians; U.S. soldiers; Katrina victims; old folks shooting themselves because their retirement has been wiped out and they can’t pay the mortgage; and on and on). I don’t think I’m alone in this sentiment: I don’t want to spend any more time with him, real or fictional.

Except in one case.

If there is a sequel, one in which he’s tried and convicted, I will gladly buy a ticket. Many of them.

I don’t think I’m alone in that, either.

2 Responses to “No laughing matter”

  1. Paul Crist Says:

    I don’t want to pay any money to see a movie about the national nightmare we’ve had for the last eight years. I just want it over with!!!!

    How did Lex do on the driving test?


  2. Dan Says:

    I couldn’t spend 2 hrs. in a theater with it either.

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