get your darkon

As a way to distract myself from the beginning of the semester, I watched a documentary,  Darkon on IFC. It’s about a group of creative anachronists in the Baltimore/D.C. area. I saw the preview years ago, and very much looked forward to seeing it. The movie was an incredible view into the role playing lives of these individuals…

It’s like watching TV, but you are the hero. Who doesn’t want that? You can watch Brad Pitt or you could be Brad Pitt. Which would you rather do?

I role play everyday at work. I mean, I’m a retail manager at Hot Topic, and I role play the role of a cool guy who wants you to buy his clothes, everyday.

Certainly when you are in situations, like a formal dinner a wedding, there are very structured roles you are supposed to play. Roles that you’ve learned, and that you play. Darkon’s just a little different–there are more roles that you’ve chosen to play just for fun.

Presentation of Self in Everyday Life connections abound. I could be wrong, or perhaps I had made it up, but I recall seeing a preview for the film a few years ago and it caught my attention. It alternated between two groups in armor and broadswords running towards each other, then cut to a tagline “Two worlds collide…,” and then quickly cut to a guy cleaning out a litterbox in a plain suburban backyard.

The documentary gives ample time to explore the quotidian lives these people: the peanut butter sandwiches made, the documents faxed, the cat boxes cleaned. All to drawing contrast with their ‘in game’ lives. The disconnect between the worlds is something that they, perhaps, are even more pained to realize as they become increasingly embroiled in the game:

I wish I could make a more positive change in the world, or at least have some effect with my actions. Most of the time you go through life and you’ve got to do what you have to do rather than the things you dream of.

You role play your entire life. You role play being the clerk at McDonalds. You don’t really want to be there, you’re playing the role to make money.

The ways in which these people seek out meaning outside of their jobs at videostores and Starbucks really resonated with some of my own findings on tour guides, some of whom really look to instill their lives with meaning by serving as deeply passionate public historians and neighborhood boosters…

(I’m close. After looking it up, I guess this is the original trailer?)

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