Skull Island wasn’t the same without him. The indigenous inhabitants, denied their traditional object of veneration and sacrifice, disintegrated into sects and internecine squabbling, nearly eradicating themselves. Survivors fell victim to the missionaries who inevitably follow in the wake of white explorers, displacing pagan idols, substituting ones more to their liking.
Robbed of its apex predator, the jungle lost coherence and structure, descending into chaos. And then came invasive species, animals and plants foreign to the closed ecosystem, devastating the pristine wilderness.
It wasn’t long before a consortium of Far Eastern financiers and venture capitalists bought the beachfront and lagoon for the equivalent of some beads and hand mirrors, evicting the natives, erecting exclusive vacation resorts catering to jet-setting millionaires and trust fund slackers.
Gift shops featuring statuettes, t-shirts and keepsakes commemorating the Island’s most famous denizen did brisk business, affluent tourists sporting colorful gear celebrating a fearsome creature once dubbed “the Eighth Wonder of the World”.
Descendants of the original islanders toiled in service industry roles, existing precariously, pining for the days when their god still lived and breathed, uprooting trees, bellowing his defiance, exacting regular tribute for the privilege of viewing divinity in the flesh.
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
from “Jerusalem” by William Blake
This past weekend, despite being sick as a dog, I attended a showing of Buster Keaton’s silent classic “The General” at the Roxy Theater in Saskatoon.
Wrote about it on my film blog, so I hope you’ll zip over and read my account.
See you at the Roxy next year; if you’re any kind of fan or student of film, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of seeing great, old movies the way they’re meant to be viewed: on a big screen.
What a night…