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Tear in His Eye

December 30, 1990

I'm not proud to be an American.

Imagine yourself in the fourth row center of a movie house lost within the splendor of an epic film ("Dances With Wolves"). You dance with wolves, feel the thunder of thousands of buffalo as they race past, and you follow one man's journey to the realization that everything he was born into does not represent what is necessarily right.

John Dunbar (Kevin Costner), like a kid away from his parents for the first time, discovers that the harmonious lifestyle of his Sioux Indian friends makes much more sense than the white man's attitude of take the candy and leave the wrapper behind. (This is displayed in the slaughter of buffalo for the marketable tongues and hides, while leaving the rotting carcasses in the sun.)

While my carcass was rotting on the theater seat, my mind was swept away in this idea we've all heard before. The theme was as strong as Kevin Costner's character and the entertainment value far surpassed many films that want only to entertain. At film's end, a rare burst of applause came from all around the theater. I was pleased as I stood from my seat when the end credits finished.

However, that pleasure was soon replaced when I stepped into the aisle. At the feet of the many excited patrons exiting the theater was a display comparable to the tongue-takers of the frontier. The aisle looked as though it were ready for a popcorn harvest--buckets spilled near almost every seat and nobody seemed to care.

As the popcorn crunched under my feet, I wondered what all the applause had been for. Maybe people were applauding their own ability to forgive themselves for exploiting their freedom to run this country into the ground. This popcorn incident is only a small symptom to a larger problem. I couldn't even begin to tell you how to affect the psyche of this generation enough to start caring about places they see very little of, but a movie house wouldn't be a bad place to start.

DENNIS G. PARKER

Los Angeles

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