Living on the Edge of Time: The Lighthouse Keeper

If you went to high school in this country, you read The Great Gatsby. In that book, the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock is a symbol for Gastby wanting to fuck her, thus recapturing the past. The year I read the aforementioned work was the year that Snuff came out. Books, like video parts, metamorphosize over time. The meanings change. For example, when I read Catcher in the Rye in high school, my main reaction was “that’s fucking awesome—he ran away from school and went to nyc and stayed in a hotel by himself and did all this shit.” When I reread/taught it a couple years ago, my impressions were, of course, slightly more nuanced.

Video parts are the same way. Over time, dudes skate slower. Ledges shrink. Pants get bigger, wheels get smaller. More importantly, the psychological connections to spots and individuals change. Snuff, Trilogy, the switch flip over the table, Lockwood, the Cube, the small banks, the passage of time mutates all these places, people, and images.

The other day, while performing a rudimentary search for an illegal copy of Gino’s part in the Nike video (which shares the title with an epistolary YA novel), I found this. At first, I didn’t know what to make of it. Who is the documentarian? What is he documenting? Why? In any event, it’s the most mystifying, perplexing, completely fucking devastating internet video I have seen in quite some time. Then I took a step back and viewed it through the prism which helps dudes like me give meaning to the meaningless: literature. Pro skaters are for, us at least, mythological figures in a Joseph Campbell sense. However, This internet film, for myself at least, transforms Gino into a literary figure.

Although Montauk is on the Eastern, not Northern shore of LI, and the lighthouse is an actual lighthouse, not a fucking green light at the end of a dock, the symbolism and characterization are strikingly similar to Gatsby. This is when Gino become a Fitzgeraldian character. Driving around LI, playing hockey, drinking beers, having some kind of existential crisis. Then there is the lighthouse, which Iannucci notes is on the Easternmost edge of New York. Iannucci feels as if he a passenger on a galleon, constantly teetering on the edge of the world. “How many days can I keep this up?”

A more productive literary prism through which to view this conundrum might be To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Truth be told, I don’t remember much of this from college. However, in a rudimentary internet search for literary criticism, I found the following quote:

“the lighthouse is an instance of the way in which we provide (or project) a sense of order, meaning and purpose to the contingent, provisional and inchoate nature of 'Life' itself: Mr Ramsay's final journey to the lighthouse provides shape, order and significance to his life at that moment.”


At that moment in time, the lighthouse occupied whatever psychic space Iannucci need it to. And it will occupy a new space and perform a new symbolic function in the future. As I'm sure they told Iannucci in rehab, "One day at a time."

Of course, Fitzgerald said that there are no second acts in American life. Did Guy disprove this?

In conclusion, oddly enough, the only Iannucci deck I ever had:

I literally sold for a beer.

Trip the fuck out.

ps. I am shocked that no one has used the above Islanders logo as a graphic. Apparently, the team only used it for one year (96-97) because it was so g-ddamn offensive. I don't know why--what could be more badass than an angry fisherman with a hockey stick? Another reason to back the Islanders: a few years ago when they had just acquired Alexei Yashin and Michael Peca to become a legit team after a few years of shit, Meadow Soprano sang the national anthem at the home opener. epic.


rich said...

very nice write up. as a literary nerd myself, i really enjoyed reading it. and through my skimming of the video (i saw it a month or so ago), i agree with your claim. very impressive.

hairfarmer said...

Great writing. I remember feeling depressed after watching that for the first time a year or so ago. Hopefully one day he'll regain that thirst.

** said...

thanks y'all

boil the ocean said...

re: Gino, I ran into a friend of mine skating downtown last summer and he'd recently been in Italy, where he stayed for a couple weeks and got to know a bunch of the local skaters. One of these dudes is/was sort of the tour guide for visiting US pros, and showed Reda's crew around a few years ago when he did that Italy trip with a bunch of Italian-descended pros, including Gino, Pappalardo, etc. Anyway, point of the story is, this dude sits my friend down on the couch and pops in a tape with about five minutes of Gino footage. None of it was in the Hot Chocolate video, none of it was in the Nike video. But apparently it does exist.

** said...

Sick--thanks for adding that. If anyone warrants a "Kalis in Mono"-type production, it's him.

ps. thanks for the link; I'll link you back.