Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and Ghostbusters

A few years ago I named my pet goldfish Atticus. I grew up reading ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ and I thought that my pet goldfish was like the fictional character, a strong individual who stood up for what he believed in. After hearing that Atticus is now a racist I had to flush that bastard.*

Atticus Finch is revisited in the new release from Harper Lee. In Go Set a watch, man, (I left the space on purpose because I like the title when said in a hippy voice, man) Atticus or so I’ve heard, becomes a raving lunatic who engages in racism, immoral acts and other lewd behavior of a 72 year old.

People say oh no! this will ruin my life, or they say great! it shows he is a human with flaws and decaying brain cells. But I say, gently, it is neither. It is fiction.

Once upon a time and a very good time it was, there was a decade called the 1980s. Early in that decade, after filling myself on Jaws, ET and Star Wars, along came a movie call the Ghostbusters. It was everything I dreamed of as a young boy. Ghosts, ghost zapping guns, giant marshmallow men. I bought the dolls (i mean action figures), the toy gun, the t-shirt. I made a real big deal out of it. To me the ghostbusters was an amazing work of art, a work of genius, one of America’s classics. I wanted to change my name to Egon, I wanted to work in the ghost busting industry, I wanted to sneak down into the library’s cellar to be attacked by librarian ghosts. I was certain that nothing would ever ruin this amazing time of love.

Then years later came Ghostbusters 2.

I was interested. I bought tickets. The early scene in the court room was excellent, the movie was barely OK, the statue of liberty moving about seemed stupid. I came to realize that it is not the characters in the movie, it is the experience the movie brings to your life. Who did you see the movie with? How happy did it make you? Did you receive joy? Basing your life on what some writer or actor creates is not the best way to live. You’re putting so much into a strangers hands. If you liked something they did, then be happy for that, if they teach the world something important, then reward them with your money but don’t start saying that they’ve ruined your life. You shouldn’t be putting your life in their hands.

Ghostbusters was not ruined by Ghostbusters 2. I will always have Summer of ’84, I will always have the ghostbuster song.

If you tried to live your life like Atticus from TKAMB, then great, because he is such a great example to follow. You have probably done very well in life. If you tried to be like Bill Murray even better.


* I never flushed the bastard.


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