Monday, October 20, 2003


About six years ago, I took a long train to Fez. Along the way were little villages. Clusters of grey homes surrounded small farms. A few people were working the fields. They stopped and watched the train go by. These were very poor villages. People probably didn't have much other than their hands to work their fields and a couple of oxen. But many of the houses had satellite dishes on their roofs.

Ever since 9/11, I've become more aware of what other people think of us. Six years ago when were an oddity on the train to Fez, I knew that we were different, but I didn't worry. Now I do.

What do the people in those Moroccan villages think when they pick up Cribs on MTV or the E! True Hollywood special?

I saw a couple of movies this weekend, One Hour Photo and Unfaithful. They have almost identical plots if you take away Robin Williams as the creepy photo guy. A wealthy suburban family comprised of two impossibly beautiful parents and a nine year old boy. They live in Elle Decor homes. The husband works long hours in a profitable, but artsy profession. The wife is a stay-at-home mom who is bored and lonely. And then one person cheats, the husband in One Hour Photo and the wife in Unfaithful, and all hell breaks loose.

Hollywood is projecting a certain image the typical American family. We're filthy rich, amoral, free from cellulite, and only have one nine year old boy.

I'm not advocating that we only make films that are suitable for the Family Channel, but a little variety would be good. Hell, throw in an extra kid or a grandmother or something into the plot.

The shows on TV put forward other troublesome images. Do I need to know how many Bentleys J. Lo has? Do I need to know how many people Gwyneth Paltrow has slept with? Do I need to know how stupid Jessica Simpson is?

I really want to go back to Morocco again. It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. But I'll never go back with the innocence of six years ago, because now I know what the people are thinking as they watch me in the train going by.

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