Who wants to help promote a film?
June 29, 2015 by Thomas Wictor
Pierre Rehov is about to release his documentary War Crimes in Gaza. He’s asking people to help promote it.
Now, we need to be clear about a few things so that you don’t feel that I misled you.
This is not the film that I wanted made, but the film that I wanted made may not have been marketable. Mr. Rehov felt that he had to present a “balanced” view of the conflict, so the film includes lots of interviews with Palestinians, including terrorists. Many of their claims are not rebutted.
I wanted the film to be entirely devoted to debunking Palestinian lies. However, I was told that such a film would not be shown on any television channel in the world, including those in Israel. War Crimes in Gaza is Mr. Rehov’s vision. He’s been very successful. I’ve failed at everything I’ve ever done, so I can’t really comment on the film other than to say that I understand why the decision was made to devote so much screen time to the Palestinian viewpoint.
It’s true that I’m rigid and uncompromising about some things. Not very many, but a few. This is why I’m not a filmmaker. Who wants to devote months of your life to making something that nobody will see? If a film is shown in an empty theater, does it make a sound?
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a successful author. I no longer have that desire. There are two novels that I want to write, but that’s it. What I prefer now is peace and quiet. I hate it when my phone rings. In fact I don’t answer my phone. And I don’t answer my doorbell. There are so many door-to-door salesmen and religious recruiters that I told my father that I wanted a peephole.
At the time, my parents owned this house, so it was up to them to make improvements. My father insisted on installing the peephole in the front door himself.
He put it right behind the crossbar of the screen door, so when people standing on my front porch ring my bell, I can’t see their heads. Even though I have a peephole now, I never look through it. You’d be surprised how long people stand there, ringing and knocking. But they eventually go away. I sit at my desk, typing. After a while, the noise at the front of my house always stops.
As soon the sun goes down a little more, I’ll take my walk. I’m finding it harder and harder to leave my house. It’s really become Prince of Darkness here. Every time I go out, I expect to see this.
I think about men shouting “ALLAHU AKBAR!” and charging at me out of the darkness. It doesn’t scare me, but I’m not anxious to find out what it feels like to be hacked to death with a machete. So I’m prepared.
A few nights ago, I heard the sound of a skateboard on the unlighted sidewalk in front of me. Then there was the complicated impact of someone faceplanting the concrete: splp-p’tuh-BAP! The skateboard sound started again, and then another splp-p’tuh-BAP! I stopped and waited. For a third time I heard the skateboard. A husky white kid in his late teens came rolling toward me from the shadows. He wore a flannel shirt and had a goatee.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Ayng klai ding!” he called as he passed.
It reminded me of my neighbors from years ago. “Bill” was in his late twenties; I’d known him since he was eight. After his mother abandoned him when he was fifteen, he’d lived alone. Suddenly a young woman and three small children appeared on his property. He’d gotten married without letting anyone know.
“I always wanted a family,” he told me. “And now I have one! Just like that!” He’d known his wife for a week.
When he came home from work, the kids would emerge from the house and welcome him on the lawn.
“Good evening, father,” they would chorus. He never responded.
They got a dog that looked like this.
The eldest child had it on a leash across the street.
“What’s your dog’s name?” I asked.
“What’s it’s name?
“One more time?”
Right before they moved away, Bill came over to ask Tim and me for advice. He’d gone to the beach and fallen asleep in the sun. His head was bright red and so swollen that it was shaped exactly like an incandescent light bulb.
It was hard to not scream.
“Do you think I should go to the emergency room?” he asked.
“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea,” Tim said and took a huge drag on his cigarette. Tim and I stopped smoking at the same time, about fourteen years ago. We chewed nicotine gum for eight months. I smoked about ten cigarettes a day, and Tim smoked forty. He went crazy when he quit. First he developed emotional lability, meaning he was emotionally incontinent. After six months he became really stupid. Then he returned to normal. It was a hell of a year. The only side effect I had from quitting smoking was that I began experiencing weird whole-body rushes right before I fell asleep, and my feet would kick involuntarily.
Not one kick; a whole barrage of them, really fast, like I was running while lying on my side.
I hated falling asleep. That rush-and-feet-kicking thing lasted seven months. Maybe I had a stroke every night.
This is my brain, from an MRI done in 2007.
I had to be checked for a tumor. After the scans were developed, I took them to the Doheny Eye Institute. A doctor put my MRIs on a lightboard right outside the room and showed them to medical students.
“Here’s a note from the MRI center,” the doctor said. “His frontal lobes are atrophied.”
The frontal lobes control emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behavior. If I had dwarfish frontal lobes, that would explain everything.
A man walked in. He had the most brilliant blue eyes I’ve ever seen. This photo doesn’t do them justice.
His name is Alfredo A. Sadun, M.D. Just the sight of him took away all my fear. He seemed like the kindest man on earth; what would be, would be. Even a death sentence wouldn’t be the end of the world. He looked at my MRIs.
“Well, you don’t have a brain tumor or multiple sclerosis,” he said. “I’m sure it’s pseudotumor cerebri.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“It’s a condition caused by high pressure of cerebrospinal fluid. The choroid plexuses of the ventricles here in your brain produce the fluid. For some reason that we can’t figure out, they sometimes produce too much fluid, which causes pseudotumor cerebri. It’s absolutely curable.”
“Are you sure?”
He patted my shoulder and smiled. “I’m 99.99 percent sure.”
“Are my frontal lobes atrophied?”
Another glance at my MRIs. “No. They’re perfectly normal.”
I did lose much of my eyesight because of the pseudotumor cerebri, which left me with floaters that look like cute little gray dust bunnies. My optic nerves are ovoid in cross section instead of round.
This is all to say that it’s for the best that Pierre Rehov made his own movies and will handle all the publicity. It’s time for me to begin stepping back out of the picture.
And now for my walk.
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