Last night I watched Terrence Malick’s The…

Last night I watched Terrence Malick’s “The Thin Red Line.”

Some movies you watch, enjoy, have a few laughs, are diverted from life for an hour or two. Others stay with you for days, weeks, months. The best, like the best novels, make you think about the Big Questions — the meaning of life, what is love, what is it to to do good, to live a good life. “The Thin Red Line” is like that.

It debuted in late 1998 — the height of Monicagate, when the American economy was booming and so many of us were seduced by the narcotic of easy money in the Dot Com boom. The film was an affront in so many ways to that era, and even though it was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, it of course lost out to a movie that more accurately captured the zeitgeist of the day, the amusing trifle “Shakespeare in Love.”

But that doesn’t matter. We’ve forgotten about “Shakespeare in Love” – it had all the staying power of an amuse-bouche – but great works of art endure, and indeed grow in their importance and impact. They change lives. But it takes abundant courage to make them.

That’s a lesson to keep in mind in our world here in the Valley, particularly in the era of increased froth, where the siren song of greed rings louder than ever.

Are you going to make something great, and enduring, that makes peoples lives better? Like Apple, Google, Wikipedia, WordPress, flickr, Square, Twitter, Kickstarter, Bandcamp, the Khan Academy (and, I hope, Showyou)?

Or, do you just look at business as a way to make a quick buck? Do you just want to start a grilled cheese franchise?

You are what you do.


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