Saturday, May 29, 2004

An "OH!" moment

There's a bit of humor in the movie A Fish Called Wanda that always struck me as pretty funny, although I've just discovered that I didn't even realize what the actual joke was.

In the movie, there's a brief scene where Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) comes out to the car, where Otto is sitting in the driver's seat, all scrunched-up into something resembling the lotus position. When Wanda asks what he's doing, he replies that he's engaged in a form of Buddhist meditation, noting that "the monks used to do it before they went into battle". I always thought that the joke was the mere incongruity of a bunch of peacefully-meditating Buddhist monks charging into battle.

But then Wanda says, "What kind of Buddhists are these, Otto?" And Otto replies, "It's an early Tantric form of meditation," before lurching on to some other topic.

Well, upon reading this Michael Blowhard post, I discover that Tantra is in large part about eroticism and sexuality from the standpoint of Eastern mysticism. So now, I learn that Otto is apparently using a form of Buddhism that is focused on sexual mysticism to focus his agressive energies "before battle". Now the joke is funnier, with added levels of meaning -- in what is a throwaway moment that nobody would ever list among the actual funniest moments of the film.

No comments: