02 Sep 2013
I’ve tendencies that cause me to interpret words in all of their meanings simultaneously. Although often distracting, sometimes this tendency makes me dwell on unusual things, from time to time. Like jerking tears.
The phrase ‘tear-jerker’ stops me in my tracks twice over because I always read tear as its verb, and jerk as the insult. As I had to take a bit more time to parse the words the last time I saw them, which was describing the film “In Pursuit of Happyness”, some perverse part of my brain jumped straight to the conclusion that ‘tear-jerker’ could be a description of someone who cranks.
On further consideration tear-jerker is a strange phrase, even before I bring my weird interpretations to the table, as it implies an element of violence. The tears are to be jerked from you as you watch this film. You won’t want to give them, but you will.
Why wouldn’t you want to cry? Or, more aptly, why would you? The media’s very purpose is to be emotive, to hit you right in the feels, so why wouldn’t the viewer want to give their tears freely? Although there’s shame associated with crying in some circumstances, when tears are seen as a weakness, there’s bravery and wisdom in crying in others, when it shows that you care about something or someone and wish to express loss.
Tear-coaxer. The imagery works a little better for how crying generally works with films - you’re sitting there watching, feeling yourself well up as your vision is distorted by build up of tears. Not jerked from my tear glands in fits and starts, extracted ineptly by the creators of the show like a seatbelt dragged in haste.
J at 00:00