L'Ailee and I saw the Da Vinci Code last night. It was that or Over the Hedge. She giggled over something in the cab on the way there: "Before you moved in, I never once thought about how to pack food and soda for the movies." I broke my techniques down for the appreciative cabbie: Take sodas in bottles, because they open quietly. Movie sized candy boxes can be bought at grocery stores for a third of the price, even Junior Mints. Pretzels and chips are good; corn chips and peanuts smell out loud. (I also like Wheat Thins and string cheese, and L'Ailee likes dried fruit.) Open plastic bags with a nail file, not your hands, to keep from "rattling."
"I have to tell my wife these things," the cabbie said. We warned him that she may not be appreciative, but hoped she would be. Once upon a time, my brother and I were embarrassed that our mom made us sneak snacks into the theater. Now that it's our money being spent, our minds have changed! We're not rich--it's either sneak our snacks or wait to rent the DVD, and we (and our wives) think movies are just, well, *movier* on a big screen in a cool, dark theater!
So how was the movie? Not bad! We went in with low expectations, though. I'll take a movie on its own terms if it can keep my eyes happy and doesn't leave me bored. Like V for Vendetta, another supposedly controversial book-turned-movie that we enjoyed, it's definitely not as smart as it thinks, but it looks interesting on a screen. L'Ailee had never read the book, and I read it thinking it would make a better script. And so it was. If you're gonna have chase scenes on foot, you can't ask for better venues than the Louvre, lovely old churches, and the streets of Paris and London. It was filled with highfalutin' nonsense to justify the adventure, and the plot needs only the slightest touch to fall apart, but the actors and visuals made it fun to sit through anyhow. There is so much religious hoo-ha around it! But if it destroys anyone's faith, that faith was a house of cards just waiting for a light breeze anyhow.
L'Ailee and I dissected it on the way out. "It was very convenient, how everything was in English," she said with a sly smile.
"Not just English--modern English!" I realized suddenly.
"It was very pro-Pagan."
I thought. "Not so much pro-Pagan as pro-Divine Feminine. Those are different concepts. Christians can accept a Feminine as part of the holy trinity--mother instead of holy spirit--and some of them do. This is a Divine Feminine that's very much part of Christianity. It made the old-school church look bad, but Emperor Constantine and the old ancient Pagans looked pretty bad, too."
"Like you say, they made themselves look bad, with the way they treated women." Her face took on that "set" look.
"Maybe that's why the churches don't like it. But it's in any decent history book--well, the ones about Europe and medieval times--the little bit that's actually-factually true. The rest, Dan Brown's imagination just went wild, is all."
"It's all nonsense, of course," she stated bluntly.
"Complete and utter nonsense. But fun."
"And for a movie with so much of the Divine Feminine in it, you know, it's amazing how it's all men, except for Sophie. She was like Wendy in Peter Pan. And men wrote it, directed it, all that."
"Yeah!" She considered deeply, then shared her musings. "Wouldn't you think, that after all that time and traveling, at the end they would have smelled really *bad*?"
I just laughed and kissed her cheek. After a few seconds, she rolled her eyes and kissed my lips in return. Yep, part of the big national spiritual conversation it's supposed to spark...
I love L'Ailee's big gray hawk eyes, and the ever-observant brain behind them. At home, I flipped the TV on, looking for a bit of music or some cool animals or something funny. "No plastic surgery shows," she said. "You need to sleep, not have nightmares."
"Oh, don't say that!"
The Ford commercial about being "bold" came on, the one where a lovely light-skinned black woman shaves her head amid pink ribbons and a charity run, with the caption, "Bold fights back." It's because she has cancer, we're to infer, that she's doing this, or perhaps she wants to support a friend or relative.
L'Ailee rubbed her own stubbled scalp. Nobody's asked her if she had cancer for a very long time, most likely because she's got thick eyebrows and a blatantly healthy body, but the connection still annoyed her. "Why does cancer make this haircut all right for a woman?" she demanded. "Why can't she simply want to change her looks?"
"Or just start cutting her hair and not stop?"
"Oh, shut up." That's why she started it in the first place--she meant merely to cut her own waist-length hair to her shoulders as a high school senior, and *kept* cutting until there was nothing left. I couldn't resist teasing.
"I see what you mean, though," I told her. "When Kylie Minogue and Melissa Etheridge were bald from chemo, the media was real quick to explain that they had cancer. And I saw this blog from a woman who just wanted to try it, and told her son he could tell his little friends she had cancer if he was picked on."
"That's so stupid!" she exclaimed. "Cancer can take away parts of the body that don't grow back! Chemotherapy is what makes people bald, not cancer, and that hurts, too. It makes no sense! Isn't it much better news to say, 'It's just a haircut she wanted to try'?"
"Better for the woman, definitely. I don't know, babydoll." I pondered. "Maybe it sounds better to say, 'She's a victim, not her fault she *can't* conform' than to say, 'She *won't* conform because she just doesn't want to.' That's harder to explain."
"Not when you see what passes for normal." I couldn't argue with that.
We live in a society in which a book/movie that is hugely controversial because it celebrates the Divine Feminine has little to do with real human femininity, not even behind the scenes, and will make a bunch of men rich. We live in a society in which a woman's natural inner outrageousness, made external, is even scarier than cancer. Skip the religious twaddle. We need an entirely different national conversation, I think.