Does God exist?
Please pardon this pretentious way of initiating a conversation, but one can't help thinking about the nature of the Divine - one could say we have been designed to do so.
Such thoughts have been on my mind over the past twelve hours, because it's been one of those days when too many things have concurrently happened that help you have a deeper appreciation of what Depeche Mode meant when they said that "God has a sense of humour".
Even this throwback to the lyrics of a song written at the height of 1980s New Wave is appropriate to today's philosophical poser, because watching Tron: Legacy reeks of self-referetialism to a simpler time of chunky graphics and opaque lines of code.
Indeed opacity - or rather the tension between opacity and transparency - is a running theme within Tron: Legacy, and by some curious happy happenstance (i'm deliberately steering away from the 'c' word) - in the context of a metaverse so full of data that it's literally leaking at the seams - it lends the timing of the release of the movie a topicality that its producers could only have dreamed of.
In my personal pantheon of all-time cool movies, Tron: Legacy is definitely way up there, alongside Gattaca and The Truman Show. Like the latter two, Tron: Legacy succeeds because it provokes thinking about the nature of the human condition.
Emerging from the cinema after the philosophical- and cognitive-LSD-induced-overload that is Tron: Legacy, i experienced a multi-sensory meltdown - i guess it was like waking up from a deep slumber: there were sights and sounds around me but i struggled to make sense of them.
And that must be why i found my favourite car underwhelming.
Could a Citroën ever be a letdown?
Umm yes… stand up please, LN, AX, ZX and Saxo.
Could a Citroën ever be an anticlimax?
i hadn't thought so… till yesterday.
The Citroën in question was the C5 1.6 THP 6-speed automatic… with conventional steel suspension.
i hate to say it, but i do not think that that latter factor - admittedly the most obvious candidate - is the primary reason for why i find myself struggling to think of anything to write about the car.
Yes, there were three people in the car, yes, traffic conditions were not ideal, but even when gaps did open up, i could summon sufficient forward thrust and at regulable rates, but… but did i have fun driving the car? did i experience a moment of epiphany?
Maybe God dispenses a maximum of one epiphany per day, and i had already had mine, cinematically.
You want to know specifics about the car? Well, its steering is lighter than that in my C5 2.0, it tends to creep less while at a standstill, and yes, road-surface imperfections do come through and are more sharply felt.
And… oh yes, those LED DRLs do look cool.
But does it engage you in questions of existentialism like the best (ie, hydropneumatic) Citroëns do?
Bearing in mind that i have every intention of getting a DS5 (which will not available with hydropneumatic suspension) in 2013 - i have to say the jury is still out on that one.
So… enough about the car. Let's go back to more interesting questions, about, say, the existence of God.
Timing is everything in humour, and as a Christian i firmly believe that the timing of yesterday's events - in which two long-eagerly-anticipated-events took place (without prior planning) within the space of a few hours - was no coincidence (there, i said the 'c' word).
The co-incidence (that hyphen makes ALL the difference, by the way) of the two events brought into sharp relief the parallelisms between the two.
Both come from historical trajectories of strong, rich, cultures - Citroën and Disney: now _there's_ something to get the creative juices flowing. Both acknowledge - to varying degrees - their respective cultural trajectories; while at the same time being unashamed reinterpretations (not reboots, the way Star Trek (2009) was) to inspire the next generation of participatory engagements. Both have the potential - though in one it is extremely latent - to provoke their participants into exploring wider questions beyond the immediate.
Both exploit glowing light-streams to full visual effect; and let's not forget which country Daft Punk hail from :-)
But is that all there is? Is there a there, there?
There is one final piece of the puzzle, and it was presented - in God's perfect timing - just before midnight, just before i went to bed.
As you may know, the Citroën DS3 is BBC Top Gear's Car of the Year for 2010.
As is my habit, i check Top Gear's website a couple of times a day to keep myself abreast of developments in the motoring industry.
When the page loaded last night, it referenced a video-interview that Top Gear Editor-at-large Jason Barlow (himself a big Citroën fan) conducted with key individuals in the Tron: Legacy team.
It's a short, six-minute, clip, so you can easily watch it for yourself.
At two minutes into the clip, Jeff Bridges shares "the favourite car he ever had".
Considering the context of this essay - you'll get no prizes for guessing what it was.
But then, Jeff does something more than just say the name "Citroën DS21".
Watch him - his right hand goes up… first at the wrist, then at the finger-tips.
Hear him - he emits a hiss from his lips.
It is unmistakeable - Jeff is describing an embodied - epiphanic - experience with a car.
You think those updated light-cycles in Tron: Legacy are incredible?
Wait till you try a hydropneumatically-suspended Citroën.