Saturday, May 20, 2006

"It's all nonsense, of course."

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."
"Yes, Mom..."
"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.


Peterson Toscano said...

I cannot tell you why because I do not know myself, but your post brought me to tears. Thank you for the images of love that you share so well.

The film may be all nonesense, but what you display in your writing, in your relating, is so far from nonsense. In this mad world, it is the only thing that makes sense.

sttropezbutler said...

YOu can sneak it all in..cause you have a purse right? I carry a bag to work, but here in Houston, car city, carrying a bag into a theater is the "give away" to what you've got hidden! LOL


Writer Mom said...

Always so much. *It was either Da Vinci Code or The Hedge! Ha! We'll end up going to the cartoon with the kids. So is my life. *Don't tell anyone, but I haven't read the book yet, so...(Da Vinci, not THE HEDGE, I mean)

'She *won't* conform because she just doesn't want to.' That's harder to explain." <--That got me. Perfectly put. Why it is embarrassing to admit one's daughter/sister/whatever is a free thinker? That she's brave and not easily manipulated? Those qualities are always over-glorified in the movie theater by men. 'He breaks the rules and women dig him!!' But women can only do that wearing leather pants.
In real life, the leather pants don't even help so much. (not that I'd know).
Sigh. I love Wheat Thins, too.
Let me know when the discussion begins!

BostonPobble said...

The whole thing was brilliant ~ and that last paragraph...Wow. I'm in tears right along with Peterson. Sometimes, when I feel particularly alone one of my blog-friends will sneak up behind me and tap me on the shoulder to remind me I'm not really. This was one of those moments. Thank you. I needed it pretty badly today.

puhpaul said...

I saw the Davinci Code last night and was surprised at how much they dumbed down the female lead. In the book she played as big a part in solving the clues as the male lead did. A friend commented that it made an interesting statement that a movie that is supposed to promote the Sacred Feminine should cut back so much on the role of the female in the story.


Dr. Deborah Serani said...

This was such a great post. Moved me so much my eyes are brimming as I write this.


scrappy rose said...

I think the whole having to sneak food into the theatre is nuts. If we want to bring nourishment to a movie I say it's our right. Maybe the right wing nuts could focus on voting that into the constitution and leave family alone! ;-)

Fantod said...

"No plastic surgery shows," she said. "You need to sleep, not have nightmares."

Ha! That sounds like my partner. Except substitute "Law & Order" for "surgery shows".

By the way, CL, I wanted to make sure I stoppped by to thank you for the hug! Thanks!

The Fat Lady Sings said...

You have become so philosophical, my dear. And your observations are spot on. Do you know - there used to be a society (European, around the time of the American Revolution) that celebrated philosophy and journeys of the mind as natural parts of human development? Being able to discuss what makes us human and how our minds work is one of the things that I love to share with my best friend. It’s how we cemented the friendship all those years ago. Not too many people seem to take time for that, as you and your wife always seem to do. What a marvelous relationship you have! Everyone should have at least one person in the world that loves them to the depth and breadth and height their soul can reach.

And I always smuggle food into the theatre! How else can you get good stuff to munch on that’s affordable? I mean really? My hubby and I both used to do that before we met. I like Orville Redenbacher popcorn, Junior Mints and Sprite. He’s just happy with the popcorn. Glad to hear you liked the film. I have never seen a Ron Howard film I didn’t like, actually. His storytelling style really appeals to me. I look forward to seeing the film.

nonsequitur said...

I loved the book, haven't seen the movie yet though. I always sneak food into the theatre too. Fortunately, up here in New England we even have some chilly evenings during the warmer months. So a jacket (hiding goodies) doesn't look out of place when you wear it into the theater :). I always took issue with the selection of candies that they have in movie theaters too... All sugary, nothing healthy. What if someone were diabetic and wanted to take low-cal snacks in with them??? Would that be allowable?

Jon-Marc said...

I LOVE the fact that you sneak food into the movies. My mom used to do it and I was embarassed as well.

Now, just as you, I do it. Thank goodness for living in a ped city so it does not look weird that I am carrying in a bag. Poor STB!

Kelley Bell said...

Bald women speaking out against patriarchial value systems? Like
Sinead O'Connor perhaps?

Oh no, no, no, my dear, the faithful will simply NOT put up with that.

Free speech for the Klu Klux Klan might be tolerated, but bald women sending the message that the Catholic Church excludes women...Outrageous! Unheard of! Absurd!

Burn The B*tch!