You know this game. It is known and seen widely, but adventure movies are a great example of the game at its finest. A quest film cannot work without an impossibly tall tower or bottomless pit to test its cinematic heroes. Fear of heights being common, viewers get a vicarious thrill from the narrow escape that is sure to happen. A character (often the love interest of the hero) is saved from certain death by a split second lifesaving grab that halts the fall and saves the day. In real life (mentioned in case some are uncritical viewers) you know such a stunt has the same hope of success as a snowball quenching a volcano. Grabbing a falling body will destabilize the grabber enough to send them tumbling with the faller or at the very least tear joints and attachments to make holding on impossible. In the make-believe of film we don’t have to be totally realistic to enjoy the story, but it never-the-less gripes me plenty every time I see (which isn’t rare in action films) a person pulled over the edge of a brink by being hauled at a ninety degree angle. (How that must hurt!) Pulling sideways won’t lift up. It never has and never will, but we see this done all the time in movies, the trick being to one hand gripping the other at the precipice edge and then skipping the impossible parts to show the rescued person safe, sound, and not showing a bit of pain from having hand, wrist, and forearm (etc.) bearing their full weight dragged over the rough cliff edge. To further show how much a make believe game it is the people pulling and being pulled are left breathing normally from their massive exertion and don’t shake like a leaf as a person does after a life threatening test. The rules of movie-pretend are part of a game we agree to follow and to play because doing so is innocent entertainment. Isn’t it? I think mostly it is, but the way this game is done so often and successfully should make us wonder at what other areas we are asked to suspend judgment and go along for the ride. We do so thinking it harmless, but the game of suspending our reason also shows a potential to be lazy and simply not care that logic, physics, cause and effect, or body mechanics are treated incompletely or deceptively.

A place where the game of suspending judgment seems unlikely but it used in 3D full color versions is politics. You’d think (or I’d hope) political positions would be made of good stuff because the welfare of a nation depends on solid and well-reasoned views on public policy. Well, we are disappointed, aren’t we, because you can hardly get a political tidbit without a serving of vacated reason. Hoping we will accept the suspended form of reality both sides do continual disservice to the public and to useful accuracy of information. Many forceful arguments are the politics form of deception using a theme to replace a movie’s bottomless pit. Playing the game made liberal into a dirty word meaning thoughtless (immorally so) spending and a habit of leeching off others. Play-the-game vacated reasoning leaves out the revolutionaries of 1776 were not the conservatives who sided with the crown. If liberalism was so selfishly bad how did it champion universal public education and public health when conservatives did not? On the other side it is nothing but playing a game with fact to paint conservatism the colors of greed and war. Zeal for a practical budget is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is patriotism by people proud of their nation and its level of personal freedom. Those are not things I’d associate with a nutty lunatic fringe. When any party sets reason, accuracy, and understanding aside in favor of play-the-game entertainment we are all served that much more poorly when there could have been substance instead of image.

Another seemingly rational version of the game comes when history is reworked for an agenda of today. How many uncritically believe indictments of historical events are legitimate or (in the case of some) of far more supposed value than an impossible movie scene? In history revision the evil role of Tom Riddle is played by imperialism as the nasty-nasty. Indeed, imperialist colonialism had much not to be admired, but a person has to inhabit a nut-bar lulu land to think the Conquistadors should have stayed anchored off the coast to engage in peaceful trade until the Aztecs discovered for themselves the error of mass human sacrifice. Now, I’ve not forgotten the Spanish brought diseases unknown to the natives. Bad, but was that done on purpose? If the people of the plains welcomed the horse they did so at the risk of contagion just as we risk today with every international flight unintentionally ferrying bacteria and viruses all around the globe. Playing history re-do accuses others of making mistakes while playing god and does so making other mistakes under the sway of a different god the revisers choose not to name or question. If, as is their right in free society, people wish to pick and play their own self-serving colonialism of history they could at least recognize they are doing so and that the act has all the value of defying gravity and physics to do the impossible on film.
In a thousand words I can hardly do justice to the great game of playing with fact and complexity in all the ways human kind has for doing so. We are clever at it because as social animals it is far easier for us to go along with mumbo jumbo than fight it. It is less dangerous and stressful to leave our presumptions unquestioned. This also has the advantage of helping us fit in, going along and getting along are partners. It’s the human way and by far easier than going across the flow. With luck I hope some among the readers will come forward to correct me. Won’t that be fun?