2/13/13

Let Me Clear My Throat by Elena Passarello

CUT TO:
Present day—INT.—THE ANNALS OF FILM:

Hello my name is GUNMAN.
Hello my name is CREW MEMBER.
Hello my name is PASSERBY.
Hello my name is STORM TROOPER.
Hello my name is THE THIRD INDIAN.
Hello my name is MAD CHINAMAN.
Hello my name is HARADIM WARRIOR.
Hello my name is AN ENEMY SOLDIER.
                 A REBEL SOLDIER.
                 A NAZI SOLDIER.
Hello my name is DRUNKEN CARTEL HONCHO.
Hello my name is A CLOWN.
Hello my name is A MIME.
Hello my name is A CELLO PLAYER.
Hello my name is DUCK HUNTER.
Hello my name is MR. BROWN.
Hello my name is KUJO.
Hello my name is THUG #3.
Hello my name is VICTIM.
Hello my name is SOMEONE.

Does it relax us to watch these types of characters perish? Moments after the theater darkens, we assign our loyalty to the principals: leading man, comic relief, wise elder, character woman, wacky best friend. Those headliners are our kin. We then prove kinship by treating extras and day-players like outsiders. Nameless henchmen are folks to whom we don't send Christmas cards. Hard luck vagabonds are the kind of people we pass on the street without greeting. Sometimes the relief of watching the anonymous die, because of the knowledge that they aren't "ours," is so palpable that we laugh with gratitude.