She wrote not from the elevated perch of the New Yorker critic, but from the seat next to yours. Her reviews are almost always written in first person plural, with frequent references to “us” and “we,” in lines like “we suck in our breath; we do not dare to laugh” and the aforementioned “Our experience as we watch it has some connection with the way we reacted to movies in childhood.” She addressed us as she saw us, as fellow moviegoers, compatriots in the dark, presumably looking for the same things she was: craftsmanship, humanity, truth, or (failing all that, or perhaps in addition to it) a good time. Her reviews always seem to operate under the assumption that her readership is at least as smart as she is. We usually weren’t, but if you read enough of her work, you might get closer.
Bottom line is that as long as we expect to live in such a way – immune to the natural laws of this godless rock that govern everything else here – human existence will continue to be a cruel joke. I fear, however, that it is too late for us to go back into the natural order. We have no desire to return to our primal scene. We like the way things are. We’ve got sandwiches when we’re hungry! Airplanes for when we want to go somewhere! Social media when we want our voices to be heard by all God’s creation! We know that these magical conveniences come at a staggering price, and that excess for the few is based on the scarcity of the many, but that’s why we invented the business of globalization! We’ve already built the wall! It’s a great, great wall that goes up to the heavens and is as transparent as museum glass. It’s a beautiful wall that winds surgically through nations, cities, neighborhoods, and sometimes even homes. It is a globe within a globe, and those who live within its interior are as clueless as to what’s happening on the other side as we are to what’s happening right now on the far side of Mars.