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No time for love

Life's too short for that kind of guilt
Dear Dr. Jones
by GZO Jones

or more than a year now, GZO Jones has answered questions from our readers and it's usually the same old thing: we have no idea where he's coming from. But he can be glib and oddly amusing, and he swears that back in the day he hung with the Beats. That's good enough for us because, aside from all else, he has yet to miss a deadline. Nevertheless, at last glance his Brazilian Web site (GZO Jones Town) still revealed precious little.

Dear Dr. Jones,

I just saw two movies at the cineplex. Problem is, I only paid for one and then, when it was over, doubled back around to see another. Is this okay? It doesn't seem right, but it's almost as if they encourage it. At the very least, they certainly turn a blind eye. Opinion?

Feeling Guilty

Dear (Not) Guilty,

They do encourage it! And the only thing you need to ask yourself is this: Were the movies any good?

Because if the answer is “no,” you've got a lot to learn about how you're spending your time. I mean, there are roughly 250 movies released every year in the U.S. alone. And while I'm not exactly Einstein, that's basically one a day for the rest of your life (with weekends off for good behavior). Cinema-hopping represents one of the few remaining vestiges to extol true freedom of choice.

Here's the deal: the cineplex isn't making squat selling tickets – all that money goes to the star-maker machinery. What the theater needs is for you to belly up to the snack bar and pay eight bucks for a quarter's worth of popcorn and a nickel's worth of brownish sugar-water.

Now, how about a news flash? Coming soon to a theater near you is the next wave – namely, 25 minutes worth of advertising before the feature even starts. That way the theater collects revenue for showing Britney's latest skimpy-outfitted Pepsi commercial, no matter how many fannies are in the seats.

So here's my advice to the subversive: In the future, pick three good flicks, sneak in some snacks and make a goddam day of it.

I remember a few bad trips where Kerouac and I sat in a theater all day just soaking in the dark and happy to be alive. We used to posit that if the bastards are too cheap to hire adequate help, they deserve freeloaders. And Hollywood makes out just fine to this day.

Life is too short for that kind of guilt.

– Jones

Dear Dr. Jones,

Hey, I just have to ask: What do the recent elections really mean?

Very Afraid

Dear Afraid,

Life and politics are never simple. But as I sit here, working the computer at my beloved Brazilian abode – which, for purposes of this discussion, is a suitable ivory tower – I do indeed have a few candid observations to offer.

What I'm about to say may seem obvious to me, but after digesting the outcome of your recent elections, I have some strong and serious doubts about the political process.

Example: As my monthly deadline approaches, I note a news report on the passage of your much-debated Homeland Security Bill – specifically the last-minute addition of immunity for the all-powerful drug companies. Jesus H. Christ, people, like they said in the movie about a bygone corrupt regime: Follow the money. Your president is a former board member of Eli Lilly!

The Republicans got vast amounts of campaign funding from the pharmaceutical conglomerates, “won the election” by a hair, and now the world is left to live with the foul-smelling fallout. The payback, essentially, is that you can no longer sue the drug companies if your whachamacallit falls off.

Need another? Two years ago your mean-spirited attorney general was appointed largely because he lost an election TO A DEAD GUY! Making matters worse, he was anointed by a president who was likely “elected" because his well-connected brother runs roughshod over all things Florida.

Some folks read Orwell and ask: “Why?” Others read same and ask: “Why not?”

All of which is to say that from this man's ivory tower, it looks like politics as usual. Only problem is that the stakes spiral ever higher (weapons of mass destruction, omnipresent terrorism, global warming, electronic surveillance, shrinking human rights – to name but a few), and the Republicans have just been handed carte blanche!

You should be afraid.

And at this point, I may as well answer your question with a question: As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, ain't we got fun?

Happy holidays ...

– Jones

Examine more advice from Dr. Jones, visit his Web site and e-mail your problems, large or small, to gzojones@hotmail.com.

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