The sounds of silence
Anyway, I don’t know how you feel about mime guys. Suffice it for me to say that my favorite scene in the otherwise kind of lame Woody Allen film, Scenes from a Mall, is when Woody decks the mime guy who has been following him and Bette Midler around for ages. It’s just one of those satisfying moments.
I don’t mean to disparage M. Marceau’s artistry. He set a standard to which other mime-ists had to aspire. On the other hand, he set a standard to which other mime-ists had to aspire. Which meant, of course, that there would have to be other mime-ists. But, despite the fact there are those who believe Marceau gave us yet another reason to hate the French, I was impressed by his ability to laugh at himself – albeit silently. This was best exemplified in the Mel Brooks film, Silent Movie, in which the only words uttered in the film are by Marceau. That was kind of cool.
But, you’ve probably deduced by this point that I despise mimes. That is not so. For example, I always found Shields and Yarnell (in relatively small doses) extremely funny. And Marceau himself, because he was scripted, was very good. The mimes I hate are street mimes and mall mimes. They’re in your face. If you show your detestation, they are even more in your face. Mostly, their routines are either stupid or derivative, and generally badly scripted, and rely too much on making onlookers feel uncomfortable.
Again, don’t get me wrong. I don’t dislike street performers, per se. I’ve heard street musicians that excel many highly paid performers, and I’ve even been known to pass the odd buck their way.
But, street mimes are different. I put them in the same category as people dressed up in costumes, pretending to be big bunnies or squirrels, or Mr. Peanut or somesuch. They come up and expect you to respond to their alter-ego. My response, in my mind at least, is: “I’m not five. I’m not going to pretend you’re a bunny. You’re an asshole dressed in a bunny suit. You’re not remotely amusing or charming.” Oh well, a bunny better than a giant turd like the guy promoting the bid in the city of Victoria for a new sewage processing operation so that the silly and self-impressed city might stop dumping their crud raw into Juan de Fuca Strait. Mr. Floaty is his name, and for me he provides a strong impulse to keep on flushing just because the concept is so disgusting. “Eww – don’t touch him, kids. Now we’re going to have to find a place to wash your hands.”
So, those are my thoughts on the mime matter.
Rest in Peace, M. Marceau.
Now, don’t get me started on clowns.