Monday, February 06, 2006

I've had a truly quiet day after a busy work week and weekend. I think I needed it more than I realised. I've been alone all day and haven't done much - no grandkids visits because Danny woke with fever this morning. I've slept late and read email and haven't really done much - maybe will at least write a real letter later or do a scrap book page or something before going to bed. Taking a day completely off is rare for me lately. I've picked up the pace at work and have been keeping all three grandkids most weekends so Joanna can work. Until recently I kept a kind of modified shabat and that was probably physically and mentally healthy. Today has been that kind of day and this one just kind of happened -probably a good thing. I think its been a mistake to let myself get caught up in such a busy life, responding to whatever seems to need doing or startin something I want to do -always DOING.

That said, the weekend, though busy was fun and satisfying. Bob and I took all three grandkids to a favorite state owned cave - Longhorn Caverns - yesterday and everybody enjoyed both the road trip (about an hour and a half throught the wintry hill country each way) and the cave and woods exploration part of the adventure. Wintry in Texas means you wear a sweater or jacket and the crass has no color and the trees look like "a bunch or sticks" (KK's words). We were impressed that Zachary at three understood and followed the instructions about not touching the cave, and touched that he asked before entering if this cave had monsters.

Ruth and Chris spent the weekend at our house - in and out - reparing for a wedding shower for Chris' sister. Having them visit is always fun and I did lots of cooking both for them and the kids and for Bob to take back for his week. Also, he was making lots of games for his fifth gaders - which meant cutting out stacks of cards. That's a job I don't like much - and to my great pleasure, KK does. So Saturday night after the boys went to bed she and Bob cut out cards for a learning game about inherited vs. noninherited traits and sang along with a sentimental favorte CD of lullabies while I cooked up stew and chili. A sense of well-being descended over all of us, About as good as it gets!

Bob and I went to a late showing of Broke Back MountainSaturday night while Ruth and Chris stayed with the sleeping children. I had a mixed reaction to the film. It was beautifully shot in breath-taking country and I cared about the characters and the social issue addressed - but I was frustrated that nobody triumphed - that essentially "the bad guys won." Ruth says that it would have been more powerful as a social cause movie, rather than a failed love story, because it could have better shown the destructive power of homophobia if it had been more like The Laramie Project. I don't think it would have been less powerful for me if the issues had been presented strongly and the protagonists had then managed to triumph in some way - even if there had been a sad ending after the triumph. I know, I really am an idealist - apparently incurable and not desiring a cure.


Ruth said...

I'm glad you got your day of rest. Thank you so much for all you do to take care of us all.

As for Brokeback: I'm not sure I was clear. I wasn't saying that it should have been more like the Laramie Project. I was saying that despite having read reviews about this being not an issue film but a romance that just "happened to be between two men" I felt that it was not. For me Brokeback was, like the Laramie Project, essentially an issue film--a movie ABOUT the destructivness of this issue rather than ABOUT the relationship itself. I think that is a good thing--I like issue films but this does NOT mean I wanted it to be more an issue film than a relationship film. In fact, my major dissapointment was that it was an issue film instead of a romance. (I wanted our society to be ready to have a romance between two men without needing it to be an issue film).

Personally I deseperatly WANT there to be a romance movie about a gay couple--a real, actually romantic, sweet, respectful film about the real, healthy, tender, respectful love that can be between two people regaurdless of plumbing. This just wasnt it (too bad).

I think a romance about two men (that really was a romance not an issue peice) would be incredibly powerful (almost more so because it WOULDN'T just be reduced to "just" an issue film). For me the underyling message of such a film would be "Love is Love" not "look how horrible homophilia is" That is the message I want to see. (But for me this film, like the Laramie Project, essentially said "see how much needless suffering our stupid prejudices cause".)

I'm not in a place where I need to be reminded how bad our homophobic, love poisioning society is--or how destructive it really can be so for me the movie wasn't as powerful as I wanted it to be. But judging from the public reaction (and what I know about popular culture) I think many people still do need that message. And I think that is why this movie was seen as so important--because for so many people this is still a painfully new message.

You and I are both ready for and (at least I am) desperate for a film that moves past the ugly to show the beauty that can be. But I'm not sure that the rest of the world is---I think they still need to really understand the pain in order to feel the dissonance.I think understanding the tragedy of it all is a first step to doing something to solve it. That is what this movie is doing.

That said, what bothered me most about this film is that to cause this type of dissonance there has to be beauty that it thwarted--you have to think they should be together and then be angry that they aren't allowed to be. And I really wanted to, but I didn't have that reaction to this movie. I wanted it to be more clear that it was love and not lust. I wanted the film to show us what could be and then horibly rip it away so that we felt so disgusted with our society that we HAD to DO SOMETHING.

I know the movie tired to do that, and did it for many people in the audience (I saw LOTS of tears) but for me it didn't do it. I think the loss would have been more unbearable if the love had been more glorious. I think they took the easy way out focusing too much on the physical aspect of gay love instead of the emotional (which really isn't that the most insidious part of our culture's homophobia--that we continually define gay people by their sex act). It just isn't as revolutionary to depict gay sex as it would have been to depict all-encompassing gay love. For me the impact of the film was dulled by placing so much focus on sex instead of love (of course hollywood does this to straight couples too). It's hard to feel as upset about the couple not ending up together when Twist is having affairs with other men because he needs more than "a few high altitude fucks a year".

I know for you this wasn't the problem. You saw the love and just wished they'd overcome it. You are hungry for a happy ending and disapointed that the characters didn't make one. But in truth, I think what you are feeling is actually a lot of what the movie wanted--it wants you to leave so pfor a happy ending that you go create one in the world at large (or at least stop wishing bad things on people who are pursuing their own happy ending with people of the same sex).

What I see as the difference between your reaction and the one I think the film is going for is that you seem to want it to be a personal triumph on the part of the individual people against a corrupt society when, I think, the film is calling for fixing the society. We are supposed to believe that it is impossible for them to overcome the society but want them to end up together--the end result we change society so that they are free to love one another and we get our happy ending.

I hate to say it but when I think about it this way Mom I think you may be an important audience for this film. I know you aren't homophobic... you believe it is an individual choice and shouldn't matter. I've always thought we believed the same thing about this--but I'm wondering if maybe deep inside we believe differently. It's not enough to demand the individuals to be stronger than the culture which beats them down--we have to put an end to our cultural violence (and I know you know this).

Societal change can't happen overnight and people do need to be strong and true to themselves in the meantime even when it is not easy or safe, but it isn't a good enough solution. We have to stop believing that gay people just need to toughen up and make the right choices even when it hurts or kills them. We must work to put an end to the society that causes such tragic harm!

Ruth said...


It shows "2 comments" but when I click to view them it only shows mine--I know you said you commented. But I cant see it. e-mail it to me? Or post it again?