The Shorter the Skirt, the Higher the Kick

Guttural writing and interactive mind games from 'the sweetest girl on the Internet'. No minors or morally outraged, please! ;-)

Diary: Oh by the way...Hello!

Welcome to my new blog! Since we recently moved to a new country I have a bit of time on my hands while finding a job or an education and getting to know new people, so I decided to honestly and openly share any new 'coveries with you, my still faceless Internet friends.

It’s not all lonely idling, though – my best friend is here too, since her father is a colleague of Dad’s, and I have become deeply engaged in raising money to support XMLive. The days of big corporations and governments guarding information in locked vaults are about to end, but these dinosaurs fight back more aggressively than ever. Today, anyone should be able to find and use the tools needed to create what you uniquely desire; be it a new piece of art or music, an intrusion detection system adapted to your abode, or a customized game. Still, the big bullies try to force us to stick to their bloated, mass-produced, general-purpose instruments, and prevent us from changing them to suit our needs. As you probably notice, I have strong feelings about this since I believe there is room for much more happiness in this world, and I hope you will join my support for XMLive and other, similar initiatives.

Enough with the preaching for now; I relax too. Last night we rented one of my favorite old horror flicks, Jacob’s Ladder. Everyone in my family likes it. It is almost as old as me, so you should have had plenty of time to see it, but if you still haven’t and plan to, you might want to skip the rest of this post, since it contain some movie spoilers.

George Bush has made a great summary of the movie plot on IMDB, so I’ll just quote him (thanks George):

"The opening scene in Jacob's Ladder takes place during the Vietnam War. A small group of US soldiers are joking around, but suddenly they are attacked by the enemy (apparently)! As the attack starts some of the GI's suffer from strange attacks and everything turns into chaos. Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) is wounded by a bayonet but we don't see by who and why. The rest of the movie revolves around this day and what really happened.

Singer drops to the ground in Vietnam and we are taken to New York. The war is over and Singer has recovered from his wound and is now working as a postman even though he took a PhD before going to Vietnam. The reason: After the war he "didn't want to think anymore". He has left his wife Sarah, and now lives with his girlfriend Jezebel (Elizabeth Peña). Sarah and Jacob had three children together, but one, Gabe (Macaulay Culkin), was killed in an automobile accident before Jacob went to Vietnam.

Jacob suffers from eerie attacks in which he is hunted by inhuman beings. At a party he has one of his attacks and he sees Jezebel dancing and having sex with a demon on the dance floor (looks like something from a hentai cartoon). One day Jacob receives a call from one of his old Vietnam buddies. He suffers from the same attacks, and he is convinced it's demons and he's going to hell. He is freed from his torment when his car blows up just after he and Jacob parted. It turns out that the whole platoon is suffering from the same attacks, and they believe that the army must have done something to them. They ask a lawyer, Geary (Jason Alexander), to take their case and he initially accepts.

Now the movie turns momentarily into a government conspiracy thriller, because Jacob learns that his army buddies have abandoned the case and so has the lawyer. Jacob is pretty sure that the army has pressured them out. He is proved correct when he himself is forced into a car for a 'friendly' conversation with a couple of government thugs. Jacob fights them off and jumps out of the car. The landing hurts his weak back and he is taken to a hospital (after he has been robbed by Santa Claus, who steals the wallet with Jacobs only picture of Gabe). The movie is also known, as Dante's Inferno and we understand why when Jacob arrives at the hospital. This is my favorite scene in the movie – as if hospitals weren't scary enough… There are limbs and blood all over the place and strange and deform people crowd the hallways. The Evil Doctor (deservingly credited as such on IMDb!) tells Jacob that he's dead. Louis (Danny Aiello) who is Jacob's chiropractic gets him out.

Home again Jacob is contacted by Michael (Matt Craven) who worked as a chemist for the US army in Vietnam. He tells the story about The Ladder – a drug designed to turn soldiers into killing machines. The drug was first tested on animals and Vietcong soldiers with incredible and scary results – Jacob's platoon was the first US test subjects. They turned mad and killed each other! In this scene Lyne proves that the imagination is far better than any images when Michael tells about the drug testing – Michael never thought people could do such things to each other…

Earlier in the movie Louis told Jacob (which is the essential quote of the movie):
"Eckhart saw Hell too. He said: The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you, he said. They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth".

Now Jacob returns to the house where he lived with Sarah. His dead son, Gabe, comes to get him. Hand in hand with Gabe, Jacob walks up the stairs into the light. The demons have turned into angels and Jacob is in heaven! Now we are taken back to Vietnam where Jacob dies in a MASH unit – the doctors couldn't do anymore, but they notice how peaceful Jacob looks. The only REAL things in the movie was the first and the last scene – the rest was a dream/hallucination/divine intervention…"

Funny, this is exactly how I would have described the movie too (if I were as clever as George), and like most fans of this movie I thought that the 'government conspiracy thriller' part was weak, and detracted from the real theme of this film, (Jacob Singer having visions of a post-war life while he's dying in Vietnam) – until last night, when I saw something else.

After the war, Singer has let his hair grow, dropped out from his academic career, and left his model family for a different-cultured working-class girl; in short, he has become A Protester. But monsters keep chasing him. (In fact, there is an omitted scene on the DVD where Singer, after having been told about the 'government experiment' causes of his demons, gets an 'antidote', confirming that he is right in Protesting – but this causes even more terrifying visions.) He can’t free himself from the demons until he recognizes Jezebel’s evil nature and returns to his nice house (driven there by a cab driver with a crucifix and a Virgin Mary figure on the dashboard) to reunite with his 'dead son'.

So the final scene of Singer dying back in Vietnam might not be him REALLY dying then at all, but just his innocence and beliefs in government and authorities – but apparently, they can be restored, and he won’t find peace until they are.

Seeing the movie this way made me think differently about it, about my family and about why we all love the movie. Who knows, I might be growing up? Then again, I'm off now to have some Rocky Road, (we're out of Haagen-Dasz) so maybe not.

4 bounce-backs:

Anonymous bjuser says...,

XMLive looks promising. If i donate $50 (havent got more) and send you a Donor Information message will you reply to me?

Blogger Trixie says...,

Great if you want to help me supporting XMLive, and I will be happy to discuss other ways you can do it in too, but if you just want to mail me, click 'Email' under 'Contact' in my profile – I answer as many mails as I can, and it's free.

Anonymous Christopher says...,

Interesting take on Jacob's Ladder. I think it is one of the most underrated movies of the 90s, but I never thought of it your way. Another thing: Are you uh, naked in your profile portrait?

Blogger Trixie says...,

Gosh no *blush* - does it look like that? It's my cheeky sister's fault; I asked her to take a picture of me for 'a homepage' (nobody knows I'm blogging), and she just stuck her head in without knocking and got a shot while I was painting my toenails, but I had a BIG towel wrapped around me. I coaxed her into cropping 'anything revealing' from the image, but maybe that was a mistake. I'll get back at her!


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