In Focus

Watching “Top of the Lake” on Bravo isn’t easy. Blatant commercialism rules. Conversations are cut midstream every 10 minutes, to go a seemingly endless stream of commercials, often the same ones repeated over and over. No respect for the integrity of the story, or the viewer. It’s the ADHD version of television programming.

There was an intriguing reference to “Blue Velvet” in the episode shown last night. Very apt. Like in “Blue Velvet”, the beauty of the landscape hides the rot beneath.

I was thinking that the choppiness of the Bravo presentation of “Top of the Lake” is a microcosm for the scattered attention we pay these days to things, experiences, others. There is a sort of incompleteness, lack of focus in how we live today. Maybe there is too much stimulation or distraction from the technology that is so integral to everything we do. There is a ton of surface surfing and sampling, without the need to commit oneself to longer, more in-depth experiences.

I remember going to the movies as a child. In our dinky, East European town, there were two cinemas. No food or drink permitted, people would give you a censoring glance at the slightest sound of candy being unwrapped. Silence during the screening was expected. Latecomers were out of luck. The lights would dim, and you were completely engrossed in the film. Even after it was over, you still had that feeling of being somehow changed by what you saw. Of course, that was a long time ago, before the pace of change around us dulled our ability to dedicate ourselves to one thing at a time.

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