Movies on the Radio! - Lend Me Your Ears

February 4, 2015 12:22 AM

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The movies (variously known as cinema, film, flicks -- and I would now add television, TV, the boob tube) is an art form somewhat over a hundred years old. Not really a long time in the nearly 200,000-year history of modern humans. And an infinitesimally small molecule of time in the 13.7 billion-year history of the universe. Nevertheless, for almost everyone living today, especially in our Western culture, movies have had a huge impact on their lives -- and that culture. And by "movies" here I mean simply moving pictures of narrative fiction (this is why I've included television). I think I am safe in saying that it is unarguable that movies, in their so far short life span, have become the big elephant in our culture when it comes to art forms. They have, I believe, completely outstripped in popularity and possibly influence, the two other major (and older) forms of narrative fiction: the novel and the play -- although, being a novelist who has written one play, I am loathe to make that statement.

How did this happen? After all, movies started out as just curiosities, little tweaks of amusement projected in their cramp little storefront nickelodeons. There are probably many answers, some having to do with the power of the image, the power of the image in movement, the intimacy it gives to the...

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