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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Friday, September 03, 2010

Color Correction and Incorrect Conning

Today I was strolling across the college campus where my Wife works when a dude in a car (I don't notice things like makes and models, but it looked pretty nice) pulled up by me, leaned out the window, and started giving me a spiel. Started with a very long, very rehearsed routine about how he was a data something-or-other-supposed-to-sound-technical-and-impressive, doing fancy-pants computer work for the college, but he was in Charlotte by mistake and needed to get to Charleston and was out of gas money and his phone was booby-trapped or something, so could I do him a favor and go to an ATM with him and withdraw some money, he'd pay me back honest, he makes $130,000 a year and is totally good for it if I'd just help him out here.

Although one fantasizes about telling off con men, I slipped into my default response to such routines, which is a sort of counterspiel, a "huh, whu, I don' geddit, no speekie de engwish, duh der diddle doo, oh look a sunbeam."

He said "Sorry to interrupt you," and sharked off.

Thanks to my wife I know a lot of people who actually do work with technical stuff, actually do travel around, and actually do make a lot of money.

Item 1: They have better problem solving skills than the kind of shmoe who stops random people on the street to get help. In a jam they'd find campus security or whoever was arranging for them to be doing a job in the first place. They have connections, and even if they are desperate for money, they don't get desperate about the money, at least not in front of strangers.

Item Two: They don't lead with a Life's Work infodump. People who do sophisticated work, like people of breeding, communicate who and what they are with their bearing first and foremost. They don't bling it, they just are it. They'll bring up specifics when specifics are called for, but if they need a stranger's help they don't start with "Hey buddy, I do XYZ and I gotta favor to ask," they start with "Can you direct me to Campus Security?"


The other night we saw a cheezy 80's movie; what I think of as a time capsule movie, where you're not there for the narrative or whatever, you're there for clothes, hairdos, cars, all the cultural bricabrac. And we were satisfied customers. I bring it up because, in paying attention to the bright colors of the film, I noticed something you won't see in newer films.

The heroine was outdoors on a sunny day, and the different planes of her pale-skinned face were reflecting various colors, including green and blue. She really looked like a Fauvist portrait, but one would never notice it if one weren't contemplating the color scheme of the image, because our eyes harmonize this kind of thing all the time in real life. Without looking like amateurish filmmaking, it gave the picture a little reality.

You won't see that in modern films. We watched some Lost Sseason Two) the next night, and I looked for any stray bits of reflected color on peoples' faces.

Fergit it. One thing future generations will mock about current movies and TV is that they color-correct everything to death. Got a face? It'll be beige, chocolate or orange. So will the background, if it isn't blue.

That's one reason I find myself drawn to older films (okay, it was Teen Witch, pure schlock but wonderful Eighties duds and 'dos.) Whatever may be phony or false in them, the reflections on the actors' faces have some bearing on reality.


Steve Lafreniere said...

I fell for that one exactly once, about ten years ago when I lived in NYC. It was a woman in my case, dressed fairly business-nice, with almost the same spiel except that she was supposedly working for NYU. I wonder if there's some online con school they get this stuff from? Anyway, after she got me to give her ten bucks ("I only need $8.25 for the Metro-North train to Westchester.") and my address to send it to when she got there, ten minutes later I saw her downloading the same BS to another chump about a block away. I was never that naive again!

Btw, I found your blog looking up the lyrics to Past, Present and Future!

Aaron White said...

Thanks for the comment, Steve! This year you have commented on my blog far in excess of all my friends and family put together, so good on ya.

Aaron White said...

Perhaps I should update my will...