Quoth commenter Sheldon:
I really don't get those people that are actually buying those movies. For what, I mean, how many times can you actually watch a movie more than once, and then follow ups of those movies a few times more? I just don't get it. If you want to watch it again some years or months later, why not just rent it again? This has been troubling me for some time.This comment has just caused three Hollywood moguls to re-soil their pants, or one to soil his pants three times, but I won't dwell on that. (For now. Except to say they should really get that checked out by a doctor.) Instead I want to say a few words in defense of owning DVDs*, which is something I do.
First, I only buy DVDs that I'm reasonably sure I'll re-watch many, many times, so it could be that I am not even talking about the same kind of DVD-buying as commenter Sheldon. If he is talking about the kind of DVD-buying that most becalms the bowels of Hollywood moguls -- the kind where people just walk through the DVD aisle at Costington's** and pile several of the new-release DVDs they recognize from television advertisements -- then I quite agree with him. That sort of DVD-buying is ridiculous. I question whether very many people engage in it, even in the best of times, but I sometimes get the impression that Hollywood moguls are basing a substantial business model on it.
I could, of course, just rent -- or download, or stream, or otherwise ascertain -- my favorite films and tee-vee programs when I feel the urge to re-watch them, but there's something attractive in the idea of owning the tangible artifact, owning it outright, with a clear conscience that I have it fairly, legally, and as permanently as we ever own anything. I can pick it up, hold it, look it over, play it, or let it gather a little more dust according to my own schedule and inclinations -- I can, in some small way, integrate this work of art I love into the flow of my life, and as I have commented with respect to books and probably music CDs also, I can see it on the shelf and call to mind something I value in the world and in my best ideas of myself. (I never promised this wouldn't get loopy.)
Of course, soon enough I won't be gainfully employed, and I don't picture keeping many DVDs in the final shopping cart with which I trundle off to my new life on the sidewalks, back alleys, side streets, parking lots, and city parks. I expect I'll barter away my copies of There Will Be Blood, The Proposition, Citizen Kane, and The Jerk only in the most severe desperation. Same goes for No Country for Old Men, L'Avventura, Stepbrothers, The Dark Knight, Better Off Dead, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The Godfather trilogy, Mad Men seasons 1-n, Spinal Tap, Gangs of New York, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Wire, Cosmos, Bergman's "faith" Trilogy, Raising Arizona, the Olivier Shakespeare box set, Branagh's Hamlet, Fargo, Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds, the special-edition Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Star Wars trilogy, Family Guy volumes 1-n, American Dad volumes 1-n, Futurama volumes 1-n, The Simpsons seasons 2-n ... ah, dammit, I am going to need a second and third shopping cart.
* I am using DVD as shorthand for the DVD format, the blu-ray format, and the emerging 3-D format. DVD is a tidy, succinct initialism; whereas I would prefer to write, see, speak, or think the term "blu-ray" as little as possible because it is clunky and, well, retarded.
** Thank you, The Simpsons.