Saturday, January 8, 2011


A dedication, according to my own summation, should honor the source, the very being of inspiration, from which a work outpours.


Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky

My thoughts have reigned in already several times prior on the dedication presented as the conclusion to Lars von Trier's Antichrist.

As time has past, I am bothered most singularly, not by my inability to understand why von Trier made such a dedication known, or how he saw himself in relation to the great Russian himself. Rather, I find the source of my frustration being in form that the words themselves harbor a continuous need to make sense of the comparison. In effect, the dedication forces me to think of von Trier's and Tarkovsky's work as somehow now forever connected. This is bothersome.


Charles Bukowski and ol' Lars may have had much in common when it came to their anger issues, but at lease Bukowski was honest about himself. He begins his book Post Office this way:

This book is presented as a work of fiction and is dedicated to nobody.


And in a close to present now, somewhere else, I happened upon the ending of The Town. After two odd hours of adventure through the bank robberying center of Boston, known as Charlestown --- after much time spent between thugs and the police the thugs shoot at, when nearly all has been done, something more is needed to be said. The director and star of the film, Ben Affleck, felt the need to comfort his dear audience. The beginning of the film sets the stage for us; we are told that Charlestown is the bank robbing capital of the world. Then, as in a final act of contrition, the film is dedicated to Charlestown, and we are told that the citizens of that fine town are smart, loving, kind, generous, lovely, splendid, beautiful, remarkable, magnificent, delightful, respectable, ambitious and benevolent people. We are told that most of them are nothing like the conniving criminals the film focuses its entire film on. Why this dedication? Why spend your film zeroing in on the licentious croons of Charlestown, if it was this place you longed to make proud? Charlestown is given anti-heroes. Why would they accept such a dedication? Is this the road to retribution for the 'bank robbery capital of the world'? I question.


And then there is the master, C.S. Lewis, in his dedication to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
To Lucy Barfield
My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be

your affectionate Godfather,

C.S. Lewis 


Still, I reckon, the Gospel writer John wins, as far as dedications go:

Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name... And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written."
20:30-31, 21:25

No comments:

Post a Comment