In the gospel according to James Frey, the Messiah comes to rid us of stories… “the Christ story, and all the stories like it, stories that enslave us, and oppress us, and destroy us.” He’s the Messiah of the streets – and he don’t need no books, or teachers, or stories that will necessitate an intellectual tradition. He’s a Messiah for the Twitter age. His message is 140 characters, max. He says: Love. That’s it! Don’t think about it! The same way James Frey wrote this book. He didn’t talk to any theologians, or read any books on religion. He just flipped through the Bible – and realised it was bullshit! Turns out, God doesn’t care what we do. He’s not going to judge us. Even half-assed writing will apparently be excused.
Madness means you have no boundaries. The mind becomes porous. Imagination overflows. A madman can link ideas that seemingly have no connection. He wills the world anew, no matter the danger. As damaging as madness can be, it’s still a creative urge. When you’re insane, you invent new perspectives. Life is startling, every moment. The same way art and science seek to expose reality – to show us how vapid our worldview is – madness can never be complacent. Once you stop having ordinary thoughts, you no longer accept the ordinary for what it seems. In Trevor Sands’ short film, Inside, a man named Daniel is imprisoned in a mental hospital. He hears a tide of voices.
It’s the clamour in him: to escape.
Love is a strange religion. While the west has given up on God, belief in love is thriving. The divorce rate is thriving too, but that doesn’t seem to worry the faithful. It helps that love’s most devout believers are mainly young, and, like all pious people, convinced they know better than the rest of us. Love looks more robust, too, when its disciples are at their physical peak. Scepticism about love is a sure sign of aging. We all age, so we all succumb. But that doesn’t mean that love doesn’t exist, or that we’re wrong to fall in love: we’re only wrong to worship love, as if it was the answer to everything. Blue Valentine is a beleaguered love story, but it only says: love’s fallible. The message might be frank, but it’s not heresy.