WELCOME TO COSTCO

We finally saw Moonfall the other weekend, not expecting much. Which is always a good thing with Roland Emmerich, today’s Irwin Allen “Master of Disaster” type director. But the sighing and eye rolls and general contempt began almost immediately with hubby.

Even though Star Wars isn’t sci-fi but sci-fi fantasy, whenever Padme (Natalie Portman) hopped into a ship and appeared somewhere across space an hour or two later, I thought hubby would lose his religion. Similarly, in Moonfall, the astronauts’ two-hour trip to the moon was met with unmitigated disgust.

“It would take at least two weeks to get to the moon,” he informed me.

The shuttle flying through space, the vehicle’s rear lighting up with a warm glow from the engines, received a caustic, “The shuttle doesn’t have engines.” (They do at first, but later, evidently at this point, not anymore).

When a gigantic space rock smashed into the outside and the vehicle continued on with no apparent damage, I worried about epilepsy: that’s how far his eyes rolled into the back of his head. “Those things are basically made of tissue paper,” he told me, and released an embittered, bone-weary sigh.

Movies are for entertainment, right? And while our subconscious may know better, our frontal lobe will simply immediately decide, “It’s the future. Must be future stuff.” Most people just wanna have fun at the movies. Unlike my husband, most people didn’t write a letter to NASA as a kid. So, yeah…nerd alert!

When we re-watched Idiocracy the other day, though, the levels of stupidity there, along with some accurate crystal balling of our future (an idiotic president, for one, surrounding himself with a moronic, clueless administration) was simultaneously hilarious and horrifying.

There’s even a word for it, coined as far back as the 17th century: kakistocracy. A government run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens. I’ve never heard that word before. Which makes me feel like I’m on the way to my own idiocracy!

And it’s not getting any better. Take a gander at today’s headlines. Sarah “What’s the difference between North and South Korea?” Palin is now running for Congress.

Here’s IMDB’s blurb for Mike Judge’s 2006 dystopian movie Idiocracy: Private Joe Bauers, a decisively average American, is selected as a guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program but is forgotten, awakening to a future so incredibly moronic he’s easily the most intelligent person alive.

In my personal opinion, being dumb, unambitious and/or overly greedy, and lacking any sense of propriety began, insidiously, with Married with Children in the ‘80s.

Although All in the Family preceded Married with Children by well over a decade, its MO included outrage against much of Archie Bunker’s behavior, along with discussions of morality conundrums and other various points of view.

By the time we’d reached Married with Children, laughter replaced ideals and high ratings eliminated any hope for principles or integrity. Just chug the Cola and guffaw. Still, we were kind of laughing at Al Bundy and his gang, not with them. Which made them sort of harmless, in a way, but still deceptively dangerous. Why?

Because they paved the way for reality TV. The real villain, in my opinion,  behind the adolescentization of America. And probably many other countries, but I haven’t researched those.

What’s included in adolescentization? (And yes, I made that word up) Chronological immaturity and emotional instability.  An inability to speak coherently (what Idiocracy calls “the low registers of English”) for example, without saying “like” every other word. Cursing as a substitution for thought or reason. Gossip as an art form viewed as a necessary lifestyle component. An inability to laugh at oneself due to an inability to perceive “the bigger picture,” resulting in “hurt” feelings and a distorted sense of righteousness leading to revenge boycotts and cancel culture.

But more than anything, adolescentization’s most disturbing outcome may be that we’re all laughing with reality TV stars, not at them. We’re identifying and commiserating with them. Man, was Andy Warhol right! But 15 minutes of fame was only the tip of the iceberg. Just ask The Real World (on for 29 years), Survivor (21 years) and Cops, on for a surprising 32 years—cancelled after George Floyd’s death, but slowly reinstated back to business as usual (surprise, surprise!) as of 2021.

Meanwhile, in the real world, one headline on nationalreview.com says: Why Johnny Still Can’t Read. And goes on to claim: Public schools are passing students who can’t read at any level — all to avoid blaming teachers, lawmakers, and bureaucrats.

The website calmatter.org says: Results from the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress show that only 32% of fourth graders are reading proficiently.

Even more disturbing: “Reading tests have shown that 10 percent of Minnesota`s public high school juniors and seniors are functionally illiterate….”

This was a headline in the Chicago Tribune…from 1987! Right about when…hmm…Married With Children unleashed its brand of slovenly, cackling humor into the world.

In the end, $$ says it all. $$ is the root of all evil. You can’t take it with you (off Earth), but you can’t live without $$ while you’re on Earth. If the US military budget is $782 billion while spending for education in total for all of the country is “upwards to” (their words, not mine, meaning, I assume, it probably often does not reach up quite that far) $79 billion….. well, need I say more?

Actually, there is one thing we could say. What the greeter at the entrance of a popular warehouse store says in Idiocracy.

A paradoxical confluence of fact combined with an abrupt left turn away from said fact, compounding the hypnagogic state we’re all slowly succumbing to, undermining reality by diverting our attention elsewhere with something that has nothing to do with the original thing, but hopefully muddying up the waters enough that, in the process, we forget what we were thinking, especially if it was contrary in any way to what the puppet masters desired. See? Any idea how I started out that sentence? Of course not!

“Welcome to CostCo. I love you.”

Hold The Dark

Hold the dark, but once you’re lost

home will never find you.

Loosen ties because the clock

will murder all behind you.

The strangest stars are silent still,

the ancient light is bending.

No message yet to warn of

your beginning or your ending.

Rhyme I wrote for one of hubby’s sci-fi screenplays involving deep space travel and time dilation, and you can bet your butt that nothing good comes of anyone in this tale.

Who would want to jump into a ship and travel at the speed of light out into the deep, dark depths of unexplored space? And then by the time you return home, if you do, everyone you know is super old or dead? Well, I thought it was a good story.

But writing screenplays, I’ve found (through hubby), is a little bit like deep space hardcore sci-fi where, by the time you’ve written two or three or five of them, you look up and eons have gone by, most everyone you know has disappeared, and you can never go home again.

Ah, well.


ANTEBELLUM…and beyond

Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn’t yet seen Antebellum and plans to.

An enslaved Black woman in the Antebellum South hears a cell phone ringing.

A Black man visits his white girlfriend’s family and discovers brain transplants taking place in the house’s basement.

While the mechanisms of storytelling in both Liongate’s 2020 Antebellum and Jordan Peele’s 2017 Get Out were unusual and intriguing, I couldn’t stop wondering, like a tongue probing a sore tooth, why we were taking a ride down this particular road yet again, something I addressed a while ago in a blog called Three Michaels.

In the 1990s movie Sankofa, a beautiful model flounces around during a photo shoot in Ghana amongst the remains of Cape Coast Castle, one of many large commercial forts built on the coast of West Africa by European traders. Originally a center for trade in gold and timber, it later became a bustling hub for the transatlantic slave trade.

In Sankofa, much like the protagonist of Antebellum, the model is mysteriously transported back in time and made to endure plantation life as a slave.

Except that Antebellum Dr. Veronica Henley, married, with one child, hasn’t really gone back in time.  She’s actually a renowned sociologist on a book tour in Louisiana who is drugged, kidnapped, and transported to a Civil War reenactment park where she and other hijacked African Americans are forced into a nightmare of psychotic slave fantasies with an ever-changing cast of cruel, debauched, and murderous white people (including one creepy child).

As screenrant.com says: (Antebellum) mainly focuses on the concept of what would happen if a Black person living in the 21st century woke up one day to find themselves in Southern states during the 19th century.

Okay, but is that a serious question? I mean, what do we think would really happen if Black people living in the 21st century woke up one day to 19th-century plantation life?

To even imagine that modern Americans would resign themselves to such an outrageously insane situation is beyond belief. Yet Antebellum suggests that at least some of the victims were not only resigned but completely hopeless—so much so that a pregnant Black woman actually hangs herself.

Uh…no. Not buying it. Apart from how ferociously a mother-to-be will protect an unborn child. But especially with the promise of escape so close.

Because even though the victims were punished harshly and/or murdered for “trying” to flee, escape appeared to be fairly actionable, considering there weren’t a crapload of “guards” everywhere, everybody seemed to get rip-roaring drunk, sloppy, and lazy at night after a good meal and some traditional raping, and there were NO BARRIERS around the encampment.

No electrified fences, no 20-foot walls. No moats. Super important to keep it period-accurate, I guess.

The idea that any of the kidnapped people would remain there for any length of time–getting raped every night, picking cotton all day long or getting straight up murdered and/or their bodies burned in a crematorium–beyond the few hours it would take for them to wrap their heads around what was going on, rush the guards, and storm out of there seemed like subtle hat-tipping to the myth of Africans rarely putting up a fight.

Which, of course, is patently untrue, as seen in the myriad revolts and rebellions that constantly bloomed among their ranks.

Sankofa is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The literal translation of the word and the symbol is “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.”

I love the idea of that, because it’s true and real and pure.

Yes, the model in Sankofa probably shouldn’t have been prancing around at Cape Coast Castle as if it were a casino in Las Vegas. No one would go to Treblinka and take white-toothed selfies with the physical ruins symbolic of such untold suffering looming right behind them.

But there’s a fine line between education and awareness and shouldering a burden that never eases or having past circumstances forever dictating one’s identity.

In the news recently, a white and black couple were arguing in a coffee shop over something, and then the white man yelled, “My ancestors owned your ancestors!”

My question is, would he have thought of that insult if it wasn’t an immediate go-to, if it wasn’t the first association that came to mind: Black people=slavery? And is it a go-to because we’re all drowning in a tsunami of history-telling that focuses 90% on Black people’s “victim hood” and 5% on everything else?

With that in mind, one could also take the point of view that the model’s light-heartedness at the start of Sankofa was a manifestation of what any parent wants for their child: a better life. We don’t necessarily need her to “learn a lesson” by going back in time. A little sensitivity training wouldn’t hurt, but she is where her ancestors wanted her to be.

And we certainly don’t need the paint-by-numbers “slave/master” narrative and adolescent fantasies of Antebellum pointlessly grinding salt in the wound. Are we supposed to be happy that, no matter how monstrous they were, she actually burned three men alive? Were the filmmakers striving for Tarantino-like historical revenge porn like Django and Inglourious Basterds?

In the end, I still agree that while it’s “not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind,” I also think, at least in the entertainment realm, that it’s also true that it’s not taboo to loosen our grip on that which is at risk of hindering potential, constricting creativity, and dampening true joy.

Guest Writer Pamela Lowe: We Belong to Us

Fellow blogger/writer, teacher, and humorist Glen of Scenic Writer’s Shack (https://scenicwritersshack.com) started this. He was the first to post about his first love:  https://goosefleshsite.wordpress.com/2021/02/26/first-love-endless-love/

Inspired by his passionate and exciting tale, I re-posted it here and am now once in a while inviting whomever cares to dredge up those long-ago thoughts and emotions to share them on my humble blog.

Among those so far have been movie & actor reviewer/interviewer extraordinaire Michael S.  (https://moonknight65.wordpress.com/about/)/https://wordpress.com/post/staceyebryan.wordpress.com/2918 and by happenstance, an unexpected journey in the comments from restorative philosopher Burning Heart of Kone, Krusos, Kronos: https://konekrusoskronos.wordpress.com/https://staceyebryan.wordpress.com/2021/02/27/first-loveendless-love/

Today my thanks go to Noir Queen and music aficionado par excellence Pam Lowe for lifting a corner of the curtain and allowing us a peek into a mini-montage of her past. You can find all things mysterious and thrilling and intensely informative at her site: https://allthingsthriller.com.

(Though I’ve inserted photos and drawings at various points in Pam’s story, all are a result of my perceptions only and have nothing to do with the images Pam might have chosen for herself).

head swirl colors

It depends on what you mean by “first love.” Presuming you mean romantic first love, it’s still a rather broad category…concept…feeling, whatever.

Still, I’d say my first love was my dad. Same as a lot of little girls.

My dad was handsome. He smelled good. English Leather. Yeah, it’s old school…shoot, it’s practically Old Spice. (He used that too. The deodorant.) It was a long time ago. English Leather was actually respectable then.

hand

He was a flashy dresser. Flashy, but tasteful.

Complementarily contradictory. A dichotomy, you might say. That sums him up pretty good, I think. He would like that…

My next romantic interest was Lyle Wagoner on the Carol Burnett Show. I liked the “pretty” men. Of course I was five years old…

My first boyfriend was named Lee. We were in fifth grade. Again–a pretty boy. He sang Donny Osmond’s Puppy Love beautifully on Talent Friday’s. (He sang Elton John’s Island Girl, too. In fact he’s the reason we couldn’t sing to records from home anymore. It was a private Christian school and Island Girl was taboo.)

The first hard crush I had was on a guy named Jon. He was my neighbor from across the street and he was gorgeous in a dark, brooding kind of way. Kind of like Matt Dillion, but more careful with his attire.

One evening my mother forced me to practice my French horn in the garage. I had those big pink sponge rollers in my hair and long cotton gown on. There were ruffles on it, I think…the gown.

french horn

rollers 2

I kept playing the same three scales over and over again because that’s all I knew. That’s why I had to practice in the garage.

Anyway, there I was blasting away when I look over at the little glass panes in the garage door and there was Jon, staring at me. I was mortified.

standing in door

He took a shower at my house one time when the city tuned off his utilities. I was honored.

His girlfriend was just as gorgeous as he was…

Mitch was my first serious boyfriend. We were juniors in high school when we met. He turned me on to pot. The first time I smoked it, I was terrified. We were in a church parking lot less than a mile from my house.

Joint in the hand

I told him to take me home. I laid down on the couch to sleep it off, not sure if I’d wake up or not.

Really. I’m serious. So much for drug-scare-tactics.

But even though it was serious with Mitch doesn’t mean that I loved him. I didn’t. I cared for him. He was my friend. For me, that’s a lot…

True love didn’t strike me until I met my husband. For all intents and purposes, he was/is my first love. I’m not going to write very much about him because it’s private. We belong to us.

But I’ll share this…I like to talk to my husband. I enjoy his company…I was very young when we met. Nineteen. I’m fifty-six now. He’s sixty-three.

I think that says a lot.

holding hands black and white

Afternoon On A Train

train

I wrote a small memoir about my dad a couple of years ago, showed it to him, then posted here. Then I decided recently to spruce it up and send it out. Why not? I was happy to have it accepted by The International Human Rights Arts Festival where it was finally published this past week.

Here’s the link…if you have time….ever. It’s longer than the average blog, and I know I only have a certain amount of minutes a day to go through people’s material. But I’m glad I did it, someone liked it, and now it’s out there.

https://www.ihraf.org/ihraf-publishes

The Double Edged Sword of Women in Film: Part 2

my-fair-lady

“A Hymn to Him” from My Fair Lady:

Women are irrational, that’s all there is to that!

Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags!

They’re nothing but exasperating, irritating,

vacillating, calculating, agitating,

maddening and infuriating hags!

Pickering, why can’t a woman be more like a man?

I love how far the ladies have come in movies, regarding roles and representation, which have improved, although my lists spotlight Caucasian actors simply because they have the numbers on their side and therefore more examples to draw from. And, amazingly, white washing is still a common occurrence, for the roles of both men and women.

But Professor Higgins called it, and now, to a large extent, he’s got it: women are now much more like men.  Which hits exactly dead center on cinema’s latest trend and a serious pet peeve of mine.

As someone who obviously has never read the book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus—Irritating? Calculating? Infuriating? I’m sorry, Professor, but have you met Mitch McConnell??—I still think Higgins would succumb to cardiac arrest the first time he witnessed Scarlett Johansson flinging her thighs around a man’s neck and then corkscrewing him violently to the ground.

black widow

I have no problem with physical strength in anybody, women included. The more power to them! I’ve always been fairly muscular and never had a problem with it. And I can see that Hollywood’s doing what they do best: mining a largely ignored resource (the female ego) and continuing their clichéd exploitation until interest in the resource diminishes due to their over-saturated and hackneyed representations of it.

Cue: Daisy Ridley in Star Wars,  Gemma Arterton in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft, Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road, Halle Berry in the third John Wick.

halle

Although a good run and gun can be exciting as hell, this is still my question: since when did “strength” translate to “violence” for women? Especially unbelievable violence involving immense power sans physical bearing and/or apparent training?

For someone who’s been trudging through desert sand and sifting through junk for most of her life, Daisy Ridley’s Rey might have strong legs and a supple back, but when did the sword-fighting lessons happen, exactly? How does she, with those tiny arms, block a male counterpart’s downward thrust with apparent ease and notable skill? Is it really just “the Force” within her?

Rey-and-Kylo-Death-Star-

I also don’t believe it when Angelina Jolie does anything physical in any movie. And that goes for Scarlett, too, the poster child for the thigh-neck-corkscrew move. Have either of them done one pushup or one deadlift their entire lives? And yes, their bodies are fine, great, in and of themselves, without bent over rows or lateral raises. Fodder for much jealousy. But if you’re gonna be in action movies…

women-lifting-weights

One might argue that many men take on action roles without being in great shape or even age-appropriate sometimes.

Cue Sean Connery in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Bruce Willis in the fifth Die Hard, Wesley Snipes in the third Blade, Harrison Ford in the last Indiana Jones movie, The Do Over with Adam Sandler (albeit, a comedy).

sean2adam

But do women really need to follow in their footsteps? I’m not sure Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman needed to shave their heads in order to distance themselves symbolically from (at least one perception) of femininity in order to appear…stronger. But at least they both had brains, in Mad Max and V for Vendetta, respectively. And maybe Natalie’s shaved head was canon from the comic books.

mad-max-2000natalie

I realize Gina Carano is an anomaly, being an ex-MMA fighter, and conversely, while she’s believable whenever she engages in fisticuffs, she also could do with an acting class or two.

But convincing examples of this new era of “fighting” women can be seen, in my opinion, in Hanna (trained from youth and also DNA-enhanced), Terminator II (Sarah is now thin and cut and mean, but there’s been an evolution) Edge of Tomorrow (Emily Blunt, a tough solider, but also enhanced by her armor and, for a while, precognition), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (physically slight Michelle Yeoh undergoes extensive training most of her life), La Femme Nikita (trained later in life, but during her missions she does nothing over-the-top), and, of course Kill Bill.

emilynikita

It is a conundrum, though, because if I’m being honest, Scarlett’s Marvel character has had life-long training too, as much as Michelle Yeoh. So does she really need to be cut while Michelle floats on the wind, so tiny and insubstantial-looking? Maybe it’s cultural bias: the strength of Michelle’s character is supported by centuries of belief systems. But then wouldn’t that train of thought also include Star Wars Rey? Maybe. But she still “feels” like a Mary Sue to me.

Per Dictionary.com: Mary Sue is a term used to describe a fictional character, usually female, who is seen as too perfect and almost boring for lack of flaws, originally written as an idealized version of an author in fanfiction.

Even though Uma is fairly tall and willowy with nary a muscle in sight, she WAS trained by a master who could balance on the tip of a sword, so….yeah. There’s that.

ChapterPaiMei

When Zoe Zaldana’s standing on top of a storage container in The Losers, aiming a rocket launcher at the enemy, Chris Evans says, “That’s so hot.” But why is it hot? And…is it really hot? What happened to strong female roles where the women had brains and balls, but their balls were made out of their brains?

Isn’t that a lot hotter than shooting off a shoulder-fired missile, no matter how cool Zoe looks?

zoe

Cue: Pat and Mike, Okja, Legally Blonde, Thelma & Louise, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Dead Calm, Working Girl, Arrival, In the Time of Butterflies, 9-5, Silence of the Lambs, Hidden Figures (although overly Hollywoodized) Real Women Have Curves, Silkwood, Norma Rae, Star Trek (Michelle Nichols), Zero Dark Thirty.

Remember the ladies that figured out all the bad things that were going on in their companies, that started unions, that revolutionized their offices to include flexible hours and daycare?

okjamichelle

PAT AND MIKE

Speaking of brains, on a side note, Jayne Mansfield’s IQ was 149-163, she spoke five languages, played the violin and piano, and had once been destined for Carnegie Hall. When she passed away in 1967, Roger Ebert wrote that she couldn’t act and had always been in Marilyn Monroe’s shadow.

Can you say that in German, please, Mr. Ebert?

jayne

Why Jayne felt the need to dumb herself down and didn’t continue on to Carnegie Hall and an entirely different life would take more research, but stories like these are always disheartening, including the fact that Hattie McDaniel often came under attack, labeled an “Uncle Tom,” a person who was “willing to advance personally by perpetuating racial stereotypes or being an agreeable agent of offensive racial restrictions.”

She reportedly responded, “Why should I complain about making $700 a week playing a maid? If I didn’t, I’d be making $7 a week being one.”

Even so, she was unable to attend the premiere of Gone with the Wind in Atlanta because it was held at a whites-only theater. At the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, she sat at a segregated table at the side of the room. So Hattie, and others like her, were getting it from both sides, sadly.

hattie

Despite all this, we’ve come far, and notwithstanding any distances still to be traveled, one might be surprised to realize how some of our favorite actors from various movies, some now classics, provided enduring roles for interesting, maddening, emotionally powerful, vacillating, courageous, calculating, intelligent, and dearly beloved female characters.

Star Wars

The Joy Luck Club

The Piano

Alien

Fargo

The Sound of Music

Jackie Brown

Miracle on 34th Street

The Matrix

Monster’s Ball

The Wizard of Oz

yellow-brick-road-oz-ss-1920

 

 

The Double Edged Sword of Women in Film

bad movies

Fellow blogger and resident poet Lisa of Tao Talk (https://tao-talk.com/2021/07/19/dverse-prosery-ama/) left a comment for me a while ago that she’d like to see a blog on how females have been portrayed in the movies and how that’s changed with time. It’s a little too long, though, so I split it into two parts.

My first thought was, “Ugggghhh. It’s not gonna be pretty,” ‘cause it feels like between T&A, insipidness, and now all the over-the-top (and usually unbelievable) run and gunning, there’s not gonna be an overabundance of soft fuzzy feelings.

berry

And even though that may be true, to an extent, because movies are entertainment and they can’t all be classy or works of art, I found that things aren’t completely across the board terrible. For one thing, digging back in time to the beginnings of movie-making, I was surprised to discover fascinating variety and openness during the Silent Era that I had no idea existed.

When you think about silent movies, do you picture women in frumpy dresses throwing their hands up because dinner burned or crying over a sick child or nagging their husbands? If you didn’t, you rock, because that’s exactly what I pictured, and while I’m not completely wrong, I’m also far from completely right.

mother-image

Although Mary Pickford was famous for playing “the ingénue,” a wholesome young woman who depended on men to rescue her from…anything and everything, silent movies were also full of “the heroine,” bold women untethered from convention and using strength and intelligence to navigate around danger.

Remember the Perils of Pauline? I never saw one episode, but I remember that title because the idea of it survived, and has been repeated, up into modern times.

Perilsofpauline

The silent era also featured the Flapper or It girl, a modern career woman with short hair and clingy dresses and who was no stranger to socializing. A lot.

I was surprised that she was also sexually open—they were allowed to depict that somehow?! Apparently, yes. And probably because always, in the end, her modern sexuality would end in tragedy if she did not eventually find a husband.

it girl

More surprising, even, was that, according to refinery29.com, …between 1912 and 1919, Universal Studios’ roster of 11 women directors made a total of 170 films. Women and men worked alongside one another, forging a new industry in real time.

A woman named Frances Marion was, during this period, the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood, having been ushered into the job by another woman, Lois Weber, the first woman to own her own movie studio. Weber and Marion were instrumental in forwarding women’s early film careers through the 1920s.

directors png

In such a relatively egalitarian atmosphere, women seemed destined to become equal partners with men,” wrote Lizzie Francke in the book Script Girls: Women Screenwriters in Hollywood.

But (sic)… by 1933, moviemaking was a big business…salaries were higher. The guys wanted the jobs.

Even earlier, in 1931, it already seemed like audiences were witnessing a sea change–at least in consistency– concerning female perception/roles when James Cagney shoved a grapefruit into Mae Clark’s face in The Public Enemy because she was complaining too much.

cagney

30 years later, Hitchcock continued in this vein with a conga line of clichéd female characters. From TheList.com … Hitch’s female characters are loosely divided into “the vamp, the tramp, the snitch, the witch, the slink, the double-crosser and, best of all, the demon mommy” each of whom gets punished in the end.

Remember Stanley Kubrick? I didn’t realize this until I was older, but almost all of Kubrick’s movies were either underwhelming/unflattering for women or did not include them at all.

Although all of his movies were based on novels or stories, I think he could have “poetically licensed” better roles for women than the hooker and gung-ho psycho killer in Full Metal Jacket, the empty-headed girls running around in A Clockwork Orange, and the only female in Dr. Strangelove—a bikini-clad woman lounging around on a bed.

bikini

And what about passive, soft-spoken, sniveling Wendy in The Shining? Stephen King said his written character Wendy was NOTHING like Kubrick’s final interpretation. What is up with that?

wendy

As a side note, many have now, in retrospect, down-graded Mr. Kubrick’s blanket “genius” status to “parasitic genius” due to the fact that his personal vision depended on already-created material.

Conversely, Tarantino operated very differently, portraying women in often strange but dynamic (though usually violent) roles.

At least now there’s more Kathryn Bigelows, Chloé Zhaos and Ava DuVernays on the scene, to name a few, female directors with their own sense of destiny and in a position to encourage, if not that egalitarian mindset of the Silent Era and early golden age of Hollywood, at least something closer to it.

chloe-zhao-1

Whatever the complaint may be concerning roles for women, it does seem like there’s always (usually) a counter-example to balance things out.

We had Rhett (maritally) raping Scarlett in Gone with the Wind (never mind that she was stretching luxuriously the next morning in bed)/courageous Bette Davis in Dark Victory.

rhett

Bette-Dark-Victory

Mary doomed to be nobody without George in It’s a Wonderful Life/flawed but successful single mother-business owner Mildred Pierce.

its_a_wonderful_life_mary_librarianMildred Pierce

Jane Russell’s breasts starring in The Outlaw/Bette Davis’s one-day-to-be classic Now Voyager line, “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.”

The_Outlaw_poster

now voyager

Last Tango in Paris, complete with surprise rape scene actress Maria Schneider was not warned about/Vanessa Redgrave’s character dealing with secret assassination plots in Mary Queen of Scots.

Last Tango in Paris

queen

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman/Imitation of Life: an early, extremely courageous foray into the still-taboo topic of race in America.

attackofthe50footwoman1958.16187

imitation-of-life

Elizabeth Berkley’s four-minute escalating mini-tsunami orgasm during that amazingly embarrassing pool scene in Showgirls/Kathy Bates and Jennifer Jason Leigh spinning and unraveling mysteries in Dolores Claiborne.

showgirls

dolores

So it’s not all bad for the ladies.

But I do have a warning for Professor Higgins of My Fair Lady, in regards to the lyrics of “A Hymn to Him” and maybe for all those who define female “strength” as an ability to fight like a man … to be continued in part 2.end lady

Guest Writer Michael Sullivan: First Love

heart

Fellow blogger, teacher, intriguing writer, and buddy Glen of Scenic Writer’s Shack (https://goosefleshsite.wordpress.com/about/) was the first to post about his first love:  https://goosefleshsite.wordpress.com/2021/02/26/first-love-endless-love/

Inspired by his passionate and exciting tale, I re-posted it here and am now once in a while inviting whomever cares to dredge up those long-ago thoughts and emotions to have them posted on my humble blog.

We were also treated to the unexpectedly fabulous insights (all in the comments section) into resident philosopher Burning Heart’s story of a fiery relationship starting in high school and continuing on into adulthood: https://staceyebryan.wordpress.com/2021/02/27/first-love-endless-love/

Burning Heart’s Kone, Krusos, Kronos and all its ponderings and gentle philanthropic advice can be found here: https://konekrusoskronos.wordpress.com/2021/06/24/running-out-of-time/

I want to thank Michael S., fellow blogger, buddy, and movie reviewer extraordinaire (https://moonknight65.wordpress.com/about/) for recounting a sweet tale of love that, to me, is fascinating because it comes out of nowhere, spikes to unexpected heights (and we never really find out why) and then ends on an upbeat, although somewhat enigmatic note.

Michael has since been doing more and more of his work on his new YouTube channel, so check it out! He also interviews actors, we get insights and background into movies we probably never knew before, and he delves into the Indy stuff like nobody’s business! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-EBrH2FQvjSWMKqz1-gw1A

(Though I’ve inserted photos and drawings at various points in Michael’s story, all images are a result of my perceptions only and have nothing to do with the illustrations Michael might have chosen for himself).

My first love…..

I was a freshman in high school and very socially backwards. I was a manager for the varsity football team and was accepted by the older kids. I got invited to a party that was being hosted by the family of one of the cheerleaders. It was my first party at the high school level and I was very shy and awkward.

But about an hour into the party, a cheerleader started talking to me, she sat down next to me and we started talking, or she was talking and I was just sitting there amazed that a cheerleader was talking to me, a freshman. We had a nice time and I didn’t think anything about it.

Boy And Girl Talking as a graphic illustration image in Vector cliparts category at pixy.org

But the next week at school, a couple of the cheerleaders commented how much Lisa liked me…..but she was a senior and being a freshman, I thought they were teasing me a bit until Lisa asked me to walk her home.
Now I was completely not prepared for this, I had no idea what to do but be nice.
I had no idea what a date was and quite honestly, we were so poor, I didn’t have any clothes or money to ask her out. So we stayed friends and after the school year, she went to college.

The next year, I was again acting as a equipment manager and we were at home playing a night game.  I stood on the sidelines watching the game when someone covered my eyes, it was Lisa. She had come down to the game and when she saw me, she left the stands and surprised me. We talked and she asked me to come up and see her at college.  So I did and we went on a real date but once again, I was so shy that when openly invited me to kiss her, I was hopelessly clueless even though by this time I really loved her. We went on a couple of more dates before she moved on to college aged men.

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We talked once in a while and she was dating a nice guy and I was happy for her.

I didn’t hear from her my junior year and it wasn’t until my senior year I unexpectedly saw her again. I heard that she was going to spend a semester at Georgetown in D.C. and I dropped by her parent’s house (they really liked me) to get her address.

I was very surprised not only to see her (and her boyfriend) but I thought I might be in trouble when she pulled me out to talk. She gave me a hug and invited me to come up to visit her the next weekend and be prepared to spend the night. And while the following weekend was amazing, it also caused a lot of confusion and pain. We drifted apart and I didn’t hear from Lisa for 5 years after that until she wrote to me and told me why it had happened.

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I talked to Lisa once more again about 10 years ago, she was a corporate lawyer and had two kids, we both said the other sounded very happy and it was true.

I never have felt the need to talk to her again but I do wish her well.

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Only English Spoken Here

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It was NASA funded.

It happened for ten weeks in the 1960s at Caribbean-situated Dolphin Point, often called the Dolphinarum.

There was inter-species salaciousness.

And it ended in dolphin suicide.

When we tuned into the middle of the documentary “The Girl Who Talked with Dolphins,” it almost immediately felt like (for me) the villain here was Margaret Howe, the untrained 23-year-old who took it upon herself to teach English to Peter, an adolescent bottlenosed dolphin.

Margaret-with-Peter-the-d-011 jpeg

Invited by Gregory Bateson, an eccentric counterculture scientist and the director of the lab, Margaret dove head first (pun intended) into the experiment, inventing such techniques as painting her lower face white but her mouth black so that Peter could “read her lips.”

Peter was having trouble pronouncing the letter “M,” you see.

Although one had to ask: should Peter be trying to pronounce the letter “M”?

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