03 October 2015

You don't have to adore Ta-Nehisi Coates to like his book

Book review:
Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
published July 14th 2015 by Spiegel & Grau
ISBN13 9780147520500

(Buy the book; support the reviewer.)

Many critics and some fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates say his literary and attitudinal offense is that his work lacks optimism and that his message embraces despair. This book delivers bleak tales that take place within an abysmal system, no doubt; but not once was there allusion to a doomed future or a call to succumb to a hopeless present. There exists a picture of helplessness, yes, a desperate and disabusing helplessness that, for example, brings parents to fiercely protect their children, but we hear nothing of the defeatism that reviewers and interviewers primed me to expect.

I wonder if some readers balk at investigating the relationship between thorough acknowledgement of an atrocious situation and personal acknowledgement of responsibility for it... in the same way that an employee in a staff meeting resists analyzing what went wrong the project, in the same way that people who benefit or believe they benefit from the longstanding formulas of racism cannot recognize the difference between an unfortunate event and a continual tragedy that they take part in. When first entertaining ideas that upend our conceptions, we often tend toward consolation or, in context of this book, the Dream. Coates explicitly puts it to his reader to ditch dreams, innocence, and rationalizations in favor of concise truth-- a journey and a destination he, in one through-line, likens to his experiences since youth of learning the craft of poetry, which necessitated questioning and confronting one's thoughts so as to jettison any excess. To encourage his reader along, the author divulges myths that he himself passionately developed in the course of building a heartening identity for a person born on the underside of oppression.

What I heard this book declare is that the future requires a struggle to see things as they truly are so that we-- in a wishful belief that appalling institutions are bound to somehow naturally improve, that special individuals inside a horrible system can somehow achieve control and safety for themselves while the system's destructive infrastructure remains fortified, that corrupt planters reap what they sow and, separately, good planters reap what *they* sow because: fairness-- do not passively lead ourselves to forever oppress non-whiteness by collectively blinding ourselves to the truth of what whiteness and blackness mean: as inventions and as powerful realities.

The most assured way to be disappointed in this book is to come to it looking for solace or for a road map to perfect understanding among all Americans. Books don't do that. You sillies. And Between the World and Me will not comfort you. It will, however, give you a beautiful opportunity to empathize with a father who loves his son and strives to prepare him for the world while allowing him to discover and experience the world in his own way and, above all, to help him keep his body safe in a country which continually declares that his body is and has always been a violable tool for preserving other people's power.

p51, 52:
[...] the craft of writing is the art of thinking. Poetry aims for an economy of truth-- loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts. Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions-- beautiful writing rarely is. I wanted to learn to write, which was ultimately, still, as my mother had taught me, a confrontation with my own innocence, my own rationalizations. Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.

It began to strike me that the point of my education was a kind of discomfort, was the process that would not award me my own special Dream but would break all the dreams, all the comforting myths of Africa, of America, and everywhere, and would leave me only with humanity in all its terribleness. And there was so much terrible out there, even among us. You must understand this.

Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered.

I still had my journalism. My response was, in this moment, to write. I was lucky I had even that. Most of us are forced to drink our travesties straight and smile about it.

And there were others like him, others who, having gotten a boost from a teacher, an aunt, an older brother, had peers over the wall as children, and as adults became set on seeing the full view.

p124, 125:
But sitting in that garden, for the first time I was an alien, I was a sailor-- landless and disconnected. And I was sorry that I had never felt this particular loneliness before-- that I had never felt myself so far outside of someone else's dream. Now I felt the deeper weight of my generational chains-- my body confined, by history and policy, to certain zones. Some of us make it out. But the game is played with loaded dice. I wish I had known more, and I wish I had known it sooner. I remember, that night, watching the teenagers gathering along the pathway near the Seine to do all their teenage things. And I remember thinking how much I would have loved for that to have been my life, how much I would have loved to have a past apart from the fear. I did not have that past in hand or memory. But I had you.

No. I left The Mecca knowing that this was all too pat, knowing that should the Dreamers reap what they had sown, we would reap it right with them. Plunder has matured into habit and addiction; the people who could author the mechanized death of our ghettos, the mass rape of private prisons, then engineer their own forgetting, must inevitably plunder much more. This is not a belief in prophecy but in the seductiveness of cheap gasoline.

12 September 2015

Where have I been all my life?

Now? Here? ... Why?

Here and now are as good a space-time as any to resume obstreperously publishing blog content of interest to few but me.*

It's good to be back!

I began this blog at a time when I had taken months off from gainful employment to try my hand and my pencil at completing a fiction novel. Hence I spent hours upon hours reading nonfiction, thinking about nonfiction, doing things other than plotting fiction, and telling family that, though it be a struggling artist's life, I was finally moving toward my dream of writing fiction. Turns out I was doing it wrong. (Eh. Live and learn. Paychecks and rent money are for corporate drones! Housed corporate drones. Housed, fed, content, future-prepared corporate drones.) That was 2011.

The similarity between then and now**

Earlier this week, an intolerable clunking sound began filling my teeny studio apartment every two to three hours, lasting approximately five minutes each iteration. You see, I live in Arizona now. It's a desert. You think I'm speaking in historical terms or xeriscaping terms. I'm not. We give our habitat euphemistic titles such as "Valley of the Sun" and "the 602" and "Phoenix," but what Phoenicians really mean is "I burnt my flesh on the doorknob! Why isn't it January yet!!?" It's true: residents of Phoenix, AZ, USA, really do call themselves Phoenicians. It's as zero-humidity reminder of our climate's non-resemblance to the Fertile Crescent. Right now is September in Phoenix, when air conditioning units redline. This accounted for the intermittent clunking I mentioned. Ingenious as I am, I devised an easy, economical, immediate remedy:

All I had to do was hop up on the sturdy counter, take a Phillips head to the vent's screws, remove the plate, reach inside, and clear out whatever was thumping around in there. Let's never mind that the clamorous culprit might have been something formerly living and I was risking my bare hand to sweep it out; rejoicefully, dead rodent turned out to not be the case. Less worthy of rejoicing, the far edge of the vent-- situated seven and a half feet above my tile floor-- was unreachable from the sturdy counter.

Being a strapping and proficient rock climber (and, don't forget, ingenious), I gave no second thought to grabbing hold of the ledge, abandoning my perch on the counter, and placing my weight and my life in the hands of... my hands. Knowing now that skipping second thoughts is how I often operate, I am considering instituting a more deliberate and rigorous first-thought process for future decision cycles. While my weight and life were spared this time, my joints were not when my fingers slipped over something half grimy and half slippery inside the vent's recess.

Owing to a fun kipping motion that was intended to help me reach one arm farther into the vent, my knees were above the height of my head at the moment of drop-ture, and my spine was parallel to the conveniently easy-to-clean tile floor. If ever I had wished for unmanageable carpeting, it was now. The instantaneous result was a seven-foot drop onto my back. The moments-later result was two dislocated elbows, a tender gluteus medius, unhappy latissimi dorsi, and a contusion on my tongue that one family member later (affectionately?) dubbed "raw meat." The days-long result was an overdose on fruit smoothies, limited minutes of being able to operate a keyboard or touchscreen or mouse, and hours of enjoyment making unpredictable requests for information that began with "Okay, Google."

Exactly like those months when I unsuccessfully wrote fiction every day, my past four days have been spent building my video business by not researching video business, not conducting video business, not editing already filmed video business, and not thinking video business. Years ago, intellectual injury was to blame; today, physical. What has all of this again created? Perfect conditions for blogging.

Let's see how it goes.


And Response:

* Now there's a tough phrase to figure! "All but me" means, obviously, that everyone else is including but I am excluded. "None but me" excludes everyone else and includes me. But does "few but me" include the few and exclude me? Or does it exclude the few and include me? By the feel of the statement, I think it would be taken as including the few and including me, but then why the "but"? Shouldn't the phrase rightly be "few and me"?

** Other similarities between my 2011 and 2015 circumstances: I still am yet to complete a fiction novel. I still have so much I want to convey about my quest for "the human connection in writing, politics, entertainment, and life." I still think that that is an undisciplined, overreaching subtitle and guidepost for this blog. I still want to keep it.

11 September 2015

Changing minds, changing font capitalization

I chickened out. A friend of mine shared the following on his Facebook wall yesterday:

Greta Van Susteren
This is so messed up! I know you are not a terrorist...
Why is President Obama hiding the Iran deal from honest American citizens? Watch my 'Off the Record' commentary and SHARE this post if you think the Iran deal should be posted on WhiteHouse.gov!
Like · Comment · Share · September 9 · Edited

A dispute that I will brazenly label "foolish" ensued between my friend and an Iran Deal supporter. Their discourse began with non-annotated links to items such as Huffington Post articles and Fox News clips, jumped into one-liners about the Constitution and opposing parties' deplorable uses of filibusters, and somehow dragged in Rush Limbaugh talk radio, the lock-step thinking of Democrats, and (inevitably?) Dick Cheney. Both my friend and his online friend seemed to sincerely deem their argumentation sequitur and indisputable. They believed also there was valuable cause to argue their sides with each other over social media.

"Duty Calls" by Randall Munroe, of course.

I cannot diagnose their intended goals: changing the other person's mind, opening their own minds to better understand where the other person in coming from, being "heard," venting? Whatever their reasons, the exchange struck me as neither fruitful in its conclusion, helpful in its execution, nor well-planned in its initiation.

As it now sounds unarguable that I am a lurking judgmental jerk who looks down on the political glossings of her own friends, I should admit what I did next. I began typing a response that, without doubt, would so perfectly elucidate the primary issue and confute all misunderstandings that I would lay the entire issue to rest for my friend, his friend, and every Facebook reader who happened by this thread. Until the end of time. Such would be the coherent, objective rationality of my written remark that it would forever stand as the quarrel-quashing fifteenth reply in a previously two-person thread on a wall that wasn't mine. Sure, my comment wasn't bound to straighten out the misconceptions of every voter in the country-- I'm not as impracticably self-regarding and airy-fairy as all that! I was merely going to solve the debate for all reasonable human beings who read this particular thread to its cumbersome final comment on a Thursday night on Facebook.

[Edit 9/25: Saw this online today. Had to include it.]

My thumbs were working at the redline. Three sentences in to my comprehensible exegesis on the July 14th Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and its relationship to the Road-map between the IAEA and Iran, recently styled as "secret side deals," I made the cautionary decision to continue my typing in a separate app, thus removing my unfinished text from the nearly live comment box lest I prematurely tap the inviting "Post" button and accidentally reveal my partially formed, incomplete ramblings to the universe.

This was an ace move. It turned out to be the first nudge toward the most ingenious (only ingenious?) thing I did all night. After rereads, the inclusion of clarifying parenthetical, spellchecks (Internet debaters know that an online misspelling eternally invalidates all otherwise logical propositions.), incorporation of reputable links to historical references, political analysis that admirably restrained from being partisan, and attentive recognition to both sides for being equally ostensibly correct despite being so very, very wrong, ... I long-pressed on my mobile screen, tapped the "Select All" icon, and grabbed my entire comment into the clipboard. Upon returning to the Facebook app, I was pleased that no opinions had been posted during my absence, as unexpected additions would surely require further elaborated debunking from my all-wise, ever-accurate viewpoint. Sitting pretty at twenty-minutes in the writing, my comment was already laden with impedimenta. Necessary impedimenta, mind you, but still... it was longer than I had intended.

The fateful moment came when I pasted the tome into the humble comment box, which instantly expanded to accommodate my prolix explainer. The scroll bar shrunk so entirely that I could not find to grab it! The act of swiping through the displayed lines wore on my finger and my mind, like a new user who is trying to reach the end of an Adobe agreement just so that the little agree button will activate!

It was more than long. It was TL;DR. I privately disdain the TL;DRness of such unpardonably lumbering social media comments. For goodness sake, people, if you like your own writing so much, why don't you get a blog?

And that was the end of that. However undeniably persuasive and evenhanded my comment certainly was, it was also unforgivably long-winded. I deleted it. I sighed for mono no aware. Then I lightheartedly disregarded all similitude between my and my friend's approach to Internet political squabbling. I mean, Internet political discussion.

There was one and only very fortunate difference between my actions this around time and anyone else's during instances when they initiate or get drawn into such high-minded contretemps:


The silliness of it all struck me this morning, when a synced electronic device opened up to reveal the unpublished opus, helpfully and automatically saved in the Cloud of Unforgetting. Thanks, Cloud. From now on, I'll try to remember too.

[Edit 9/25: Images I swapped out for the penguin video:]

08 September 2011

What Dawn's working on: September 2011 edition

Time to take up a new language. How many German speakers do I know? If you're out there, Du bist genial! Lassen Sie uns die Praxis gemeinsam! (Google Translate to the rescue.) Or if you want to go bold and learn German along with me, call or email. We'll be language buddies.

... or Skype or Facebook or G+ hangout or tweet or... Few excuses for not getting Deutsch with me are going to stand up to scrutiny in the age of the interwebs. I'm starting out as of this week, so if you know nothing about German except what you heard playing Castle Wolfenstein, we're on even footing. (No, I don't understand the German sentence I used in the first paragraph.)

"Sprechen sie Deutsch?"
"No, I don't sprechen sie Deutsch."
- Stalag 17
(Watch the "sprechen sie Deutsch" scene.)

It's called "FinallyWrites" because I seem never get around to it.

My primary manuscript is progressing. Yea! Here're how my latest works are faring:

Rhombus (temporary project title)
young adult fiction
Stage: first draft
14 of 22 chapters (64%)

Stage: outlining (22%)

Then a Bridge
horror & supernatural
Stage: brainstorm (10%)

untitled project
we'll see in November
NaNoWriMo speed writing
Stage: mulling it over (0%)

The second stage in NaNoWriMo prep, after 100% "mulling" completion, is "store up extra Halloween candy for month-long desk snacking." I'm very focused during the second stage.

I'd like to put a little chart, like the ones above, in my sidebar over there to the right, beneath the picture of my fountain pen grasped by my stubby thumb ("it's not fat; it's big-boned"); but I made the column so slim that the progress meters don't look good there. Playing around with the layout might make for a useful distraction on my next slow writing day, a guaranteed way to not advance in any of the progress bars above.

29 August 2011

Go placidly, and know thy universe

Whoa, Reihan Salam knows I read his blog, The Agenda. He identifies me right here:
Rather, I write in the hope and expectation that people read people with whom they disagree to challenge their settled views. Suffice it to say, this isn’t generally the case, but I’m happy to continue behaving as though it is, as it is true of enough people to justify the effort.
I'm that people! Can you believe he found me out? Every Sunday, when I catch up on the week's online news and opinions, Reihan Salam is someone I count on to write intelligently about stuff with which I disagree. (Did you see that? He used good grammar, so I did too.)

As I do for all the articles tagged in my feed reader as "national politics," I read The Agenda with a necessary amount of tolerance. Tolerance allowed for myself, I mean. Ahead of time, I consent that I shall be free to disagree as much as I want so long as, in any later complaining I do about the content, I'm not a jerk about it. (Wait! Warning: The other end of that link contains a potentially offensive word. Okay, proceed at will.) I am therefore under no personal obligation to agree with any portion of the excerpt above. But I do agree. I'm a sucker for the idea of behaving as if the world were the way it should be. (Oh, I guess that ought to be, "as if the world were the way I want it to be.")

Desiderata by Max Erhmann
Maybe that's because Mahatma Gandhi exhorted us to be the change we want to see in the world. Maybe it's because the golden rule, a Kindergartener's first educational take-away, relies on this concept. Maybe it's because wise words on the plaque in Mrs. Jenkins's English classroom-- a plaque shrewdly hung beside the room's most watched decoration: the clock-- reminded me daily ("weekdaily"?) for an entire school year that "the universe is unfolding as it should." Quixotic at an early age, I took those maxims to mean that either (A) yup, it's all true, so go ahead and make decisions knowing that it's true; or (B) if that isn't quite the way of things, then it's only a matter of time; might as well get started right now on turning my world into the one it is meant to become.

On a typical day in Mrs. Jenkins' English classroom, all of this idealism translated into something like, "Sure, I'll miss some recess to help you find your Troll doll pencil-head, because I don't doubt that when my classroom chore comes around, you'll be beside me, clapping chalk out of the blackboard* erasers. (Achoo!) I think it becomes difficult-- as we grow up, old, and experienced-- to still view the world so optimistically, mostly because as adults in the early twenty-first century, we're not apt find a Troll doll pencil-head. ...anywhere. (Or perhaps, like the Dalek, Trolls always survive.)

DNFTT! Trolls predate Usenet

Even so, I still stand by the value in occasionally behaving as if the world were the way I'd like it to be, not least of all because, in order to act as such, I'm compelled to, for at least a moment, think about exactly what the-world-the-way-I-want-it-to-be looks like, what it's made of, how it works. Without ever imagining the landscape of my ideal world, how would I be able to listen to opinions with which I disagree and subsequently strengthen my understanding or repair my misjudgments? And how would I be able to stand beside a classmate with whom I might have little in common (the kid likes Troll dolls, for goodness sake!) and work together to clap away the dust?

If you care what my advice to my ideal world would be (and in my ideal world, you most definitely care about my advice; you can't get enough of it!), my add-ons to the reliable ole golden rule would be these:
  1. Know your universe the way you would want it to be.
  2. Some, even many, people will disagree with how stuff goes down in your universe. Disagreeing is fine. Seriously, everything's still cool. Just don't you be a jerk about it.
  3. Where there is doubt, give people (in the real-life universe) the benefit of it: behave as if the world is the way it should be.
Like the columnist admirably expressed in a column often in opposition to my opinion, but not this time:
  1. a)   ..."it is true of enough people to justify the effort."

* Chalkboard: dustier and more squealy than its successor, the dry-erase board.
Dry-erase board: squeakier and smellier than its successor, the iPad.
iPad: lame when kids will one day be learning on the iPad's elementary schoolroom successors. ...IMAX 3D screens and additive printers?

19 August 2011

On Topic: All the world loves a performer

On topic with my performerphilia post, take a look at this impressionist who does Clarence's dream from Richard III in the guises of a bunch of celebrities. His "Ron Howard" and "President Obama" aren't striking, but all of them are funny, most of them awesome.

Jimpressions: Impressionist Jim Meskimen Does Shakespeare in Celebrity Voices

Elsewhere in great performances: Performers who make a connection...

  • RSC's 2008 Hamlet with a helicopter, a wheeled office chair, CCTV, and a big broken mirror
    • Best scene: Gertrude's Chamber at 1:55:06; and at 2:00:15, Sir Patrick Stewart shows up all cool and ghostly.
  • PBS selections from last year's Sondheim! The Birthday Musical
    • For short attention spans that crave immediate audience-performer connection, jump straight to 12:30 and watch till 13:20.
    • If you have a heart in ya, stay for Mandy Patinkin right after.
    • Sweeney Todd(s) at 17:45
    • "I'm Still Here" underway at 26:00
    • Better yet, the entire show is available to Watch Instantly on Netflix, and it's immensely more meaningful unedited. Every single segment and performer impresses.
  • If you aren't touched by the Jamie and Aurelia story in Love Actually, have the EMT begin heart resuscitation right now; you're in need of defib.
  • Mine shaft gaps, floridation, and precious bodily fluids-- when the time comes, be prepared, but above all, preserve the secrecy of the Big Board. (Dr. Strangelove, included because Petter Sellers and, in the clip, George C. Scott still let us think, laugh, and express frustrations all at the same time)
  • Thinking of people who inspire and touch us through performance, I couldn't help but call up the two recent Medal of Honor recipients. Entertainment as opposed to heroic or daily performance was my initial focus, but I'm going with my heart on this one to include Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta and Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, who have been sharing their stories, their and colleagues' valor, and their amazing senses of personal modesty and sacrifice. If you've not read their stories or seen either of them interview, fix that. You might be awed and humbled.

Have to cut the list off here, because with the last bullet point, I've opened a door to all sorts of "performers": friends, mentors, bold politicians, Captain Sully (resisting the temptation to link to Sully). Would love to hear about performers with whom you "connect".

In the end...

It is the performer who can, after being antic and bringing a room to laughter (a difficult enough task on its own), at will turn around and, with a look or a posture, a sound or decision, reach out to us, convince us to reach back, and form a bond we respect and care about.

How in the world do they do that?

If dresser mirrors were studio cameras, I'd be a star

Want to bet he's faking it?
I love doing what I do, which is (try to) write. But performers, man... I'm amazed by performers: actors, comedians, athletes, mimes, you name it.

Not just because they're brave, standing afore an an audience that brought along its demands and preoccupations, its high-priced tickets and high-priced expectations. Facing those is daunting enough, and performers constantly demonstrate ways to overcome jitters and self-doubt. Bravo.

Not just because they memorize lines for long takes, ad lib material, or perfect moves over months of repetition and honing. Commitment and the kind of extreme practice that makes a performance appear natural and carefree is one of the most laudable virtues in all professionals. Well done.

Not just because they're on, night after night or week or month, consistent but, for our sake, like brand new; then, in a new venue or new role, they put on a completely different show, again consistent yet fresh. Of great benefit is the ability and aspiration to entertain others and ourselves in work, friendships, and thoughts. Thanks for that.

What gets me is that I have no idea how performers do it. It = [the way they decide what would be a unique way to make me giggle or sniffle or stare in awe] + [the way they-- having decided how to do it-- do it] + [and do it right, just the way they had in their minds] + [I giggle, sniffle, and stare in awe]. You massively rock. All ya'll.

When I was a kid, there might have been a time or two when I employed cry-on-demand.
  • Mom: "I told you to stop jumping off the top bleachers. This is what happens."
  • Little Dawn: *sniffle* "I... I thought I heard you calling me. I wanted to get to you as fast as I can. But now... now my shhhoooes lost their sooooles, and it's all because I love you SO MUCH!" *sniffle*.
Heartbroken over Fred, damn it, and a doggy zombie
A slight possibility exists that I am to this day capable of calling up a wet eye, come a dire, compassion-necessitating situation.
  • Editor: "I don't understand why you haven't done the rewrite. You read my notes on your introduction."
  • Grown-up Dawn: "You mean, remove the part drawing on personal experience? The childhood trauma." *sniffle* "Retelling the time I was left teetering on the top bleachers and" *lip quiver* "I... fell... ALL the way DOWN. And needed new sneakers!" *sniffle*.

Okay, clearly kids are better at it. They have those round eyes that are too large for their faces, and they have their itty little vocal cords. Plus there's that trick of theirs whereby sometimes they are genuinely impassioned, just often enough to make you not want to be a big meanie for possibly falsely disbelieving visible, tangible tears. (My brothers, by the way: classic Big Meanies. Could never get them to fall for the waterworks.)

But performers of the variety we typically see on stage, on screen, and in stadiums-- the post-pubescent ones-- don't have those tools: not the giant eyeballs on tiny heads, not the underdeveloped larynges, and not the ten years of personal relationships with every audience member; you know, the ups and downs and spilled ice cream cones and hidden report cards and bedtime stories. Those are why kids get away with it. How do adults?

Yo-Yo Ma
That how goes double for adults who are admittedly (and all the while we all are one hundred percent aware that this is the case) performing. The number of times that Yo-yo Ma has rehearsed "Air on a G String" must be beyond his recollection to tally. As a mere creature of the earth, can he conceivably put his soul into every bow stroke of every performance? Enervating! When I hear it, though (currently on third repeat, according to my playlist), I can tell he means it, even on what could be his thousandth time around. Audiences, too, know it, whether playing recordings or experiencing it live. How's he do that?

When Michael Peña held the little girl after gunfire exploded in her direction in the third act of Crash, I didn't care that the next line was schmaltzy (frail voice, big eyes, trusting whisper: "It's a really good cloak." Aawwww) or that the show was trying for a reaction (we know your game, Paul Haggis). I was okay with being of the mind that the girl in the invisible cloak and her loving father meant what they said. The same goes for when Gary Oldman has in-character rages without blinking the entire production, when Morgan Freeman takes in the weight of events around him, when Judi Dench scolds, and wherever Daniel Day Lewis exists. They mean it, and along with performers like them, they get us to applaud, laugh, gasp, grab the sleeve of the person sitting next to us, ... largely on the empathy we feel for someone whose emotion (often) and situation (all the time) are unashamedly pretend.

Performers-- depending on what they want for their characters or personas or art, we either trust them, despise them, or {fill in with whatever we're meant to} them. Most of all, we believe them. That is talent. Elusive, stunning talent. I love performers.*

*Even children. Not everyone of a certain youth gets by, as I did, on irresistibly chubby baby cheeks. Some have real game.

She really means it.
Don't pretend you can't connect
on a basic level to this reaction.
Dude is scary psycho.
Ouch. Hurts.

... But not really. They're only acting, silly.

Bonus performance, with an emotive connection between human audience and Nexus-6 replicant:

Not a real life cry baby

Images: David Morrissey in "Blackpool". Will Smith in I Am Legend. Yo-Yo Ma in D.C. (c) Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images. Angelina Jolie in Wanted. Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead. Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List. Sir Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. Video: Rutger Hauer and Harrison Ford in Blade Runner.