20 August 2004
The tao of Popeye
"I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam."
Bruce grasps this concept better than most, or at least better than I do sometimes:
I guess I've always been about "being" and less about "doing".
This is the path of doom. It leads nowhere but here, right where I am, happy with myself but with very little tangible that I can point to as my accomplishments. But I still have acceptance by the people that matter to me the most, and those that couldn't live with my lifestyle have moved on.
You can go on and lead a perfectly happy life always seeking the acceptance of others or society at large, but you'll have to move from one surrogate to another, always climbing to another peak, always looking for a taller one.
When Paramount took over production of the Popeye shorts from the Fleischer studios, they deemphasized his Everyman nature in favor of making him, if not exactly a superhero, certainly larger than life. Even as a kid glued to the television on Saturday morning, I objected to this sort of thing: wasn't life large enough already?
Popeye didn't need to do much. And if he never quite secured the exclusive rights to Olive Oyl, well, he was always able to deal with the occasional spate of Blutality. For him, that was quite enough.