sad boi documentary
in 2014 a short documentary film (on what i do and why i do it) was made by jessica hutchison, as an assessment piece for jess’ course at the victorian college of the arts.
it’s called “no measure of health”, and it can be viewed here:
jess had heard of what i was doing through common friends and asked if i’d participate, and i said yes because i trusted her, and thought it would be a good way to let people know what i’m doing.
i’ve taken to calling it the sad boi documentary because the very flat/heavy mood i was in on the day of the interview (as well as the dreary weather on the day my ‘activism’ was filmed) meant the film was a very earnest, bleak and humourless depiction of stuff.
it’s certainly a realistic depiction, if any single word could be used to describe my ‘feels’ since age 19 it might well be “depressed” (you know: devastated, despairing, dispirited by the extreme unlikelihood of collective human sanity/justice/respect4errf, unable to enjoy much, or do much, etc.) — but it is only a part of the picture (eg. it doesn’t show the enthusiastic shit-talking and nihilistic piss-taking which has been my main mode of survival over that time).
i think it’s a good short film, jess did really well editing down a very long interview into a concise, coherent story, and i liked her focus on a question that i think is very important — i.e. (in jess’ words) “if our society is dysfunctional, what does it mean to function well within it?”.(the focus on this question was of course always going to feature the sad boi, but it was another reason i said yes to the doco).
i believe that grappling with the full range of ‘depressing’ feelings and frustrated needs, being overwhelmed by them at times, is often not an indication of any kind of pathology or illness — it is just what is going to happen when a decent value system co-exists with an acute and unwavering awareness of the current state of affairs (and some idea of the human history that has brought us to this point).
i certainly don’t want to let these feelings own me, or to be defined as “depressed” or “mentally ill” — but these intense emotional responses came when they needed to, and they’ve changed my life for the better — ultimately they were a part of an emotional process of self-development that gave me the courage (through necessity) to listen to myself and what i really needed, in spite of the limits forced upon me by others.
meaningless pleasures had the joy sucked out of them, forcing me to face up to the rather life-changing demands of what is actually meaningful to me — now i’m on the right track, i just have to relearn how to enjoy things again where i can (while trying to deal with the bullshit the justice system serves up to me with some degree of equanimity).
because the film focuses on the ‘mental health’ angle, it doesn’t really spend much time explaining what i’m actually on about politically — the short section that does explain it would only be readily understood by those who have already thought about media/advertising/democracy issues — so the film is not really so good at introducing the uninitiated to the thinking behind my actions.
this film is only being released now (over 2 years since it was made) because jess wanted to enter it into film festivals, and generally film festivals require entires to be “fresh” (not previously available publicly/online).
the film showed in the ‘be a better being’ film forum hosted by the junge akademie as part of of the 32nd interfilm short film festival berlin 2016.
then it won “best tertiary” entry in the setting sun film festival, melbourne 2017, and has now been made publicly available.
here’s an interview with film-maker jess: http://www.wearemovingstories.com/we-are-moving-stories-videos/2017/4/24/setting-sun-film-festival-no-measure-of-health
anyway, the public release of the film comes at an interesting time for me, because it is just now becoming a primary personal objective to climb out from underneath the weight of diagnosis and finally and completely drop any idea that there is, or ever has been, anything objectively “wrong” with me and how i’ve felt (something you tend to internalise after years of being told so — “you’re feeling wrong idiot!”).
i want to live my life fully aware of what’s causing me pain, expressing it openly as my experience of/response to reality — i want to resolve and dissolve all anger and frustration, and have an empathetic understanding of everyone else in this mess that i could be tempted to blame.
of course i’m aware of what a ‘hippy’ i’m sounding like now, but i’m not really interested in continuing to stamp around like a grumpy toddler, insisting he “hates hippies” as much as he hates it when the state takes away his favourite rattle — i want to do what i need to, stand for what i think is right, but i don’t want to be twisted and bitter about any of it, i just want to get on with making the best choices for myself within this global situation thousands of years of human history has bequeathed us…
…at least this is what i’m thinking currently…
things that i thought funny about this film:
a) my continued use of the word “happy”, hilarious.
b) the way i said “squashed” where “quashed” could have gone at one point, and my internal dialogue after realising this ‘error’: “you said the wrong word there, that makes you sound a bit dumb” “oh wtf sort of word is “quashed” anyway? who says that but wankar dickheads that thinks they iz smat? the argument was ‘crushed’, the judiciary ‘knocked it flat’ by pressing it down with it’s big dumb thumb without considering anything within it — ‘squashed’ is exactly what it got, fuck you english language! imperialist scum tongue!” lol, get over yourself me.