Blame

We watched “To Kill a Mockingbird” the other night. It’s one of my most favorite movies, mostly because of Scout. That girl is an amazing child actress! But there was one scene that really stood out to me this time. Scout and Jem are led by Dill to go to the courthouse and find out what’s going on with the trial of Tom Robinson. They protest many times that their father would not like it. They seem to understand that their father is trying to protect them from something and respect that, or that children in a courthouse, especially during a trail, would be somehow inappropriate. But they follow Dill anyway, protesting all the way. In the end, their father finds them there and questions what they think they are doing. I expected Jem’s response, as a child, would be that they were only following their friend and that they were there under duress but it was not. Jem clearly said that they were there to see what was happening. There was no blame on anyone but themselves. When told to go home immediately, they did and in shame that they had disappointed their father, although they did feel justified in wanting to know what was going on. I can’t imagine a movie scene today that would portray the exchange that way. At the least, there would be blame being passed from one child to another and most likely the adult would be made to look like a tyrant.

Notes on “Travelling to Infinity” by Jane Hawking

This is a grumpy one, so if you’re not in the mood for some negativity, just skip it!

I’m not going to write out all my notes here this time. I’m only going to go over a couple of the things that stood out to me most.

Here’s the biggest one. I don’t understand why she would be so shocked that people didn’t realize the extent of Stephen Hawking’s illness and what it meant for their family. I would think that she would have known going into the relationship that she would be caring for someone that eventually would not be able to care for himself at all. He cannot move, speak, eat, or anything without help. It bothers me, as a mother that she would have three children with him knowing that he would not be able to help with the care of those children and then be angry that she did not have help. I find it strange that she would think the State should be responsible for caring for her husband even though, apparently, he was capable of going through school, procuring a position at a university, getting married, and making babies. In my world view, you are ultimately responsible for yourself and your own family. If it had just been him and he couldn’t care for himself or find work to make money to buy that care, then I would see the State having some responsibility to offer help.

I also was irritated by her constant drumming on the drudgery and “mind-numbing” work of wife and mother. If she so longed for being a university student and writing intellectual papers, why did she date and marry a man that she knew she would be caring for full-time in a few years? And why would you have three children if being a mother was just such a boring job? I’m lost by her reasoning. The diagnosis for him was that he would only live a couple years. Was she counting on him dying and then he didn’t? Babies don’t come by accident. You knew you were having sex with him…more than once.

The whole book seems to go on about how difficult her life was with him, and I’d agree it probably was, very much so! But he wasn’t a kind, sweet, loving person when she met him. He was already self-absorbed and full of his own importance the day they met. And then she knew he was diagnosed with a debilitating disease when they met. She married him anyway, knowing this and that his goals were to be a university professor which pays very little. Then they had kids, three times. So…why am I supposed to feel for her?

Change things. Stop letting things happen to you and then complaining how terrible everyone is to you. Stop blaming the world around you for the choices you make. Sheesh! Sorry. I’m in a mood and I really didn’t like the book. Wait. I did like reading it, but I felt like she just complained the whole time as if everything just happened to her and she had nothing to do with any of it.

Questions about nudity and self-image

Here’s a strange thing to come to my mind. Why do movies have plenty of full frontal nudity with women but not men? I mean, you see a lot of women completely naked head to toe but the most you see of men is the occasional ass shot, which is nice but hardly fair. I know it sounds like I’m kidding, and at first, I thought it was a strange thing to come to mind but then I really started thinking about it. It started when I saw “Bad Moms” with some friends last week. The girl that her husband is cheating on her with is fully naked right there on the screen but the sexy man she ends up sleeping with…all we get is shot of naked chest. And this is a “chick flick”! What the heck? Is it because women generally aren’t turned on by the sight of male genitals? I don’t think so. While it’s probably true that men are more turned on by the sight of some nudity, women probably would like to do some judging as well. Wait. Think about it. Women are constantly comparing each other. She has bigger boobs than me. Her thighs are a lot slimmer than mine. Her ass is way nicer than mine. That’s what we think when we see naked women. But do men do that? I think they would and it makes them uncomfortable. Well, dammit, it makes us uncomfortable in our own skin as well! Personally, I think if more men had to see how other men look on the screen and thought about how it makes them feel less adequate, maybe they’d think about how it makes women feel. In all honesty though, I wonder if most men even care if their mate isn’t model perfect. I think we women bring a lot of our anxiety about how we look on ourselves. We really need to stop.

For the Art!

A lot of very righteous people complain about the lack of morals in today’s artists, but I started thinking “What popular or famous artist of any time isn’t messed up in some major way?” I mean, Van Gogh comes to mind. Edgar Alan Poe? I’m sure even Beethoven had issues of morality.

Artists are a strange group. I grew up around a lot of artist types and spent the majority of my young adult life surrounded by them. I could never understand them personally. I loved their work, their performances, but I wondered “Why can’t you just turn that off when you’re done creating?” I guess they can’t.

They are so in touch with their “right-brained” stuff, so busy destroying the box while working outside it, so enthralled with communicating the symbolic ideas they have whirling around in their heads, that it messes with them somehow. It scrambles them?

We can be touched by their magic, know their faults, and be better people for it. It feels like a sacrifice to me. Maybe we should be grateful they are compelled to make that sacrifice for our enlightenment and entertainment. Maybe we should reach out and love them anyway, even though some of their work flies in the face of our sensibilities. Art of all kinds is what makes us better humans, right? Pay them in love and acceptance. We don’t need to emulate them but learn from what they are trying to say.

Star Wars – Yep – SPOILERS

This post is about the new Star Wars movie. It has SPOILERS! And I don’t mean the ones on the back of sports cars! Don’t read any farther if you haven’t seen the movie!

We recently saw the new Star Wars movie. I’ve never been so impressed with a movie! Seriously. It has restored my faith in movies. We even went back and watched it again. And that’s saying something because we haven’t been to a movie in over a year! Once we got a big TV and Netflix there was no reason to pay and sit through a movie theater show. But it was Christmas and Star Wars…so we went. And I was not disappointed! It was SO well done. It combined the old and the new really well. I liked the new characters. I liked the new story. I thought there were some holes and some pieces they could have skipped in my opinion, but over all it was awesome. I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats. I want to see it again and again.

We didn’t know anything about the movie when we went to see it, other than Han Solo and other old things were in it. We hid from the spoilers! So we were totally surprised by the whole thing, including the new “chosen one”. But after we saw it I heard a lot of people going on about strong female characters to identify with, “women rule”, and “finally a female hero”. And that was not what was going through my mind after watching it. If you had put a camera on me during the movie you would have seen me trying to use the force with her and looking like I was going to come out of my seat. And you would have seen me bawling my eyes out. Yikes. It still makes me choke up! But at no point did I think it made any difference to me that the hero (sorry to be crude) had a vagina. This came up in conversation with my sons about the movie as well. They didn’t get it either.

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about movies and books with strong male, female, ethic, persuasion, characters that they can “identify” with. I think it’s nonsense. Do you really limit yourself to a hero that looks and thinks like you? When I watch or read a struggle in a story, I identify with the hero (and the bad guy) and the actions they take to resolve the conflict. It doesn’t matter to me what they look like or where they come from. I learn from their situations and actions. I feel their pain. I struggle with them regardless of their gender, race, or who turns them on.

The Star Wars story is timeless. It’s the struggle between light and dark. It’s strength through physical power or character and honor. The recurring theme to me is pain and control. It’s stinkin’ deep people! And it has nothing to do with whether or not the main characters are male or female.