Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fireworks, Sigmund Freud

I just walked in the door from watching the July 4 fireworks, which this year included (as, hopefully, always) a new ingenious firework that floated slowly like a ghost not so far off the ground, letting off a spectral trail of shimmering light and then, touching ground, *bounced* off and headed back into the air for an encore flight. Amazing. There are so few universal vestiges in the modern of magic that really seems like magic. Who are our wizards? In the movies, the wizard profession seems so frequently to be the psychoanalyst, who has special knowledge and possibly dark, Svengali-ish powers. There's a whole cottage industry in simply locating the epistemology of psychiatrists in film who are either powerful wizards or hapless con men. (Or both.)

But the fireworks specialist remains something apart, kind of a mystical offshoot of the mad inventor/entrepeneur (Tucker, Hughes). I found myself flashing back to two fireworkers I remember, watching tonight's display from the hallway window: 1) the righteous fireworks terrorist in RAGTIME, unveiling the secret radicalism underneath the bonding display of American patriotism and 2) a childhood vacation in early July on Martha's Vineyard when we watched the - as I recall - award winning French brothers' display off Oak Bluffs, their daunting French-ness suggesting some other secret Euro-wizardry informing the celebration of independence.

And of course there is the fact that something is exploding up there.

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