Crispin Glover’s Gripe with Back to the Future
He drew upon the “hero’s journey” narrative pattern articulated by mythologist Joseph Campbell which purports that a story’s moral can be derived from its “elixir,” the prize the hero wins in the end.
Joseph Campbell is the guy who has the best message, which is “follow your bliss,” which means follow what it is that you love and money doesn’t matter.
I mean, I understand. We live in a capitalist culture. So money is a very relatable element. Who doesn’t want to make a lot of money? Obviously, it helps you do many different things, to accomplish things that you want to do.
But I think what Joseph Campbell was saying – which he’s totally right – is that, if you are doing what you love and you find it interesting, then the money doesn’t matter and money follows, because you’re doing what you want to do.
In all these comments, Glover presents a very confused notion of value and its expression in monetary form. He makes a distinction between “your bliss” and money. While he clearly understands that you need money in order to “do many different things” he seems to regard that fact as an annoyance or corruption of something pure.
Value amounts to whatever you love. Money represents that value. If you love watching old movies in revival houses, absent a gift or some arrangement in barter you will need money to do it. If you love acting in big blockbuster films like Back to the Future or Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, an investment of money will make those endeavors possible.
Glover expresses a half-truth in his objection to Back to the Future's ending. It is true that following your bliss may prove of greater value to you than money. What you value is ultimately a subjective individual judgment. However, pursuing a value does not guarantee that you will obtain it, or that the money necessary to sustain you will come naturally.
Tens of thousands of aspiring actors waiting tables in New York and Los Angeles stand as testament to that fact. While each may find it more valuable to pursue their dream than simply make money, they cannot make money without producing something of recognizable value. If they cannot get paid to act, they will continue to need another job to sustain their life.