June 2017 Viewing Diary

Mad Men, Season 2 – 7
Not sure why I decided to do a re-watch. I think what happened is I watched the pilot and then couldn’t stop myself. It’s been a terrible month. I needed the comfort of the familiar, even if … my God, sometimes this was an ugly show. Binge-watching it was a unique experience (and I binge-watched it the first time around too). I imagine if you watched it in real time it may have had a very different energy. Don Draper, seen in compressed fashion, comes off as pure empty-souled …. not sociopath, but just an Empty Man. He has sociopath-LIKE qualities, but it seems more that he is more compulsive than anything else. In love with novelty. Nostalgic for a life he never had. Completely moronic when it comes to other people. Sometimes. Because sometimes he is completely brilliant when it comes to other people. This is the benefit of being completely detached. The benefit and the curse. Blown away by the overall brilliance of the acting in the ensemble. I was bored to DEATH by Megan and Don. I had forgotten just how much their relationship dominated Season 5. Wayyyyy too much time! This past re-watch I was pretty much ALL. ABOUT. BETTY. That character HAUNTS me. January Jones gives a performance that she will never give again. It couldn’t happen again because … Betty Draper couldn’t happen again. Her REACTIONS. Her sudden spurts of meanness, pettiness, her childishness, her pathos. It is a great great performance. A very ODD performance. Unique. A commentary on a generation (generalization: my mother and my aunts were not like this) of women who had NOTHING TO DO. Child-rearing, sure, but that’s a couple of hours a day. The kids are in school the majority of the time. You are a pampered doll in a house with nothing else going on. Betty is eating her heart out with boredom and untapped potential.

Before Anything You Say (2016; d. Shelagh Carter)
I interviewed director Shelagh Carter about her new feature, premiering at the Madrid International Film Festival this month.

Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 5 (2017; d. David Lynch)
One of the most unforgettable moments of the series thus far (and that’s saying something) happens in episode 5. I need this series right now like I need water and air.

The Journey (2017; d. Nick Hamm)
The St. Andrews Agreement as … sit-com? My review for Rogerebert.com.

Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 6 (2017; d. David Lynch)
Beyond exciting character entrance. The already-legendary but never-before-seen “Diane”, played by Lynch-muse-extraordinaire Laura Dern. Also, Harry Dean Stanton – who was already old when he played the role in Fire Walk With Me, returns. The section where he sits on the park bench, staring up at the waving treetops, is just one of many examples why this series is like Balm in Gilead.

Speaking of Gilead …

The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 1, Episode 9, “The Bridge” (2017; d. Kate Dennis)
One of the strongest aspects of this series is its style, its color scheme, its setting. Using what seems to be very simple means – careful color choices, careful lighting choices – the team behind the series has created an entirely “Other” world, with recognizable elements to our own (houses and cars and sidewalks), but definitely off-kilter. Reed Morano, who directed the first three episodes, was largely responsible for establishing this style. I interviewed her in 2015 about her feature-film directorial debut, “Meadowland” (a film I reviewed when it played at Tribeca). Morano is a well-known and respected cinematographer (just check out her credits), and so her understanding of visuals (evidenced in Meadowland as well) is bar none. I am thrilled to see where her career has gone since then, and it was already an amazing career. I have some issues with The Handmaid’s Tale, though. Granted, it’s been a long time since I read the book. I understand why they have made some of the alterations that they have, but I agree with those who have pointed out the racial issues in the choices they’ve made. It brings up questions and aspects that are then totally not addressed. In the book, black women are sent to “the colonies.” That’s a comment on the middle-class white-girl feminism that has dominated since Day One, a “brand” of feminism that I never felt comfortable in anyway, because it was so middle-class aspirational, with the assumptions of regular careers, husbands, children, life-work balance, blah blah. I went to a community-organizing meeting once in my 20s, and the Head Honcho Lady started off by saying something like, “As women, we are naturally empaths …” We are? I’m pretty cranky. Also, don’t say “We.” I am the proud owner of a vagina, but you haven’t met me, you don’t know me, you don’t know my goals, my background, you are ASSUMING shit all over the place. She went on, “We are mothers and wives and partners …” NO. WE ARE NOT. I wasn’t any of those things in my 20s, although I hoped for it, assumed it would happen – no, I was more of a harlot wreaking havoc in my 20s, and I had a blast – My hopes for the future Me, once I got the Harlot out of my system (still waiting …) were shattered eventually and here I am and I’ve made peace with it – or, whatever, after literally going insane in my late 30s – I now accept my life has value even though I haven’t participated in the most IMPORTANT thing a woman can experience, apparently … BAH. This type of looping in all women under the title “We” is constant. We all want the same things, right? We’re all the same! You’d think that kind of rhetoric would only come from evangelical men. Nope. It comes from the Halls of Feminism too. And it’s gotten worse and even more alienating to someone like Yours Truly (Kelly Diels nails it.) My crowd has always been the bohemians, the outlaws, the weirdos, the artists, sometimes literally circus people, more diverse than a suburban/white-collar-office environment (often the focus of white-girl feminism) – not part of the capitalist structures at all. When you join Show Biz at an early age, you get used to the fact that you don’t fit in, and you don’t feel self-pity about it because you’re doing what you want to do – and office work is something you do to pay for acting classes – and once you find your tribe you’re all set. You’re outside the mainstream. Atwood acknowledged this disparity in her book in what is probably a pretty realistic way, at least in a dystopian universe, since white supremacy is clearly part of Gilead and patriarchy and all the rest. Anyway, there are problems with how the series is handling all of this (they’re ignoring it, in other words). Elizabeth Moss is amazing – no surprise there – and Joseph Fiennes, in particular, is great too. I’ve seen people interpret the Scrabble game as manipulative. I don’t see it that way, or at least not ONLY that way. Scrabble is a non-sexual chummy thing you can do with the opposite sex. Hanging out with a woman in a non-sexual way is one of the things that institutional patriarchy cannot understand, cannot countenance. It puts women in a box: Mothers, Sluts, Older Women so Who Cares About Them. That Scrabble scene shows the loneliness of MEN in a patriarchal society. My two cents. At first I didn’t like what “they” had done to Serena Joy. In the book she is a Tammy Faye Bakker evangelical-type. In the series, she is more of a conservative mouthpiece about woman’s rightful place. But it’s ended up working very well. She is now living in the world she helped create. It’s not so fun is it, Serena Joy? Maybe you should have just moved to Saudi Arabia and left your country-women alone. The main issue I have is opening up the perspective beyond Offred’s. The book is first-person only. Part of its terror. Outside of her perspective is the total Unknown. Here, that is shattered. It’s more of a thriller. I am hoping that they stick to their guns. The tragedy of Moira is that she doesn’t get away. She succumbs to the drugs, the sex. The Moira in the series is very different. Which is … gratifying, but kind of goes against Atwood’s point. Anyway, I’ll keep watching.

Big Little Lies (2017; d. Jean-Marc Vallée)
Holy shitballs this 7-part series was AWESOME. GREAT acting. I did a little Tweet-thread about Robin Weigert as the therapist, which I should turn into a post, because the work she does is important, especially as Exhibit A, B, C, and D in why Listening is the most important thing an actor has to do. And why didn’t anyone tell me that Elvis plays an enormous role in the finale? Seriously. I’m pissed nobody mentioned it to me. I would have tuned in for that alone.

Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 7 (2017; d. David Lynch)
Finally my friend Larry Clarke makes an appearance, as one of the “Detective Fuscos” (I love how they’re introduced as “Detectives Fusco”) who questions Dougie and Janey-E about the missing car. Janey-E is very quickly becoming a hero to me. At first she seemed like one of those cranky constantly irritable wives (although if you consider what Dougie – her husband – has been up to, who can blame her?), but now she is emerging as a take-no-prisoners righteous Woman Warrior. She has NO idea what is going on but she will be DAMNED if they are taken advantage of. I love how the two head detectives (that’s Larry there on the right) reach for their notebooks at the same time. Go, Larry!

The Beguiled (1971; d. Don Siegel)
A re-watch in preparation for the obvious. I had almost forgotten how overheated the whole thing is. The lesbian sex fantasy!! The incest! Clint’s smooth exposed chest! The kiss with a 12-year-old in the first scene! WHAT?? I think it’s all rather fabulous, although it’s funny: if you look at it through the prism of male castration/emasculation anxiety (which is what Siegel said it was all about), the story appears one way. But switch the prism away from the male point of view, and all kinds of other possibilities emerge. They’re there in the original. Maybe Siegel wasn’t fully aware of what he was unleashing.

At any rate, this re-watch leads to …

The Beguiled (2017; d. Sofia Coppola)
… which I loved. I loved it for what it WAS. I did not judge it for what it left out, for what it was not. I haven’t said much on the controversy because – from the moment it arose – the lines were so clearly drawn that any conversation was impossible without being accused of bad faith. A very annoying aspect of social media. For me, the work stands – or doesn’t – on its own. Coppola is an artist. She is under no obligation to please anyone other than herself. It may not be to everyone’s taste, and clearly it isn’t, but NOTHING is to everyone’s taste. I loved how Coppola dug into the very elements in the original that were present and yet subconscious. The power of the female sex drive. The erotic possibilities inherent in the male presence. I realize that sensation may not be true for all. But it’s true in this film. I reviewed for Rogerebert.com.

The Little Hours (2017; d. Jeff Baena)
I had to go to the screening of this in the middle of a dreadful week where I thought I was losing my mind again. Literally. I was fraying at the edges. I didn’t want to go. It was 100 degrees outside. My mother was visiting. I was overwhelmed by the disaster unfolding, nationally. (Well. That’s still true. It’s been true for over a year now.) I had been assigned this film to review, and the screening just came up in the middle of the worst week possible. But I dragged my ass there. And to my absolute delight, the film almost single-handedly washed away my troubles. For the 90 minutes it went on, at any rate, and that’s all anyone can hope for. I LOVED this movie. And I trusted my reaction to it because I went into it so grumpy. It opened Friday. Go see it! I reviewed for Rogerebert.com.

Groundhog Day (1993; d. Harold Ramis)
I went and saw the Broadway production. It was on assignment. So far, that potentiality has not come through, although maybe it will. At any rate, I went to go see the big Broadway musical of this beloved film, a film that I think will be watched 100 years from now, when all other Oscar-winners – important movies so-called – have faded into the vaults of memory. I walked into the production skeptical. Almost rolling my eyes. And I was blown. AWAY. Again, I trusted the strength of my reaction because I walked in there totally closed to it. It is so damn good. Profound. As profound as the film, if you can believe it. The production really digs into the aspect of Time, as well as the potentially-life-changing – if we could just accept it and act on it – realization that other people are struggling too, that everyone around you has hopes/dreams/specificity. There IS no “Other.” Until other people become Real to us, we are lost as a human race. The Broadway production really gets that. My mother and I watched the movie during her visit. It was so much fun.

Spotlight (2015; d. Tom McCarthy)
A re-watch. I reviewed for Rogerebert.com. I felt like celebrating the free press right now. Gee. I wonder why.

Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 8 (2017; d. David Lynch)
Bliss. An hour of pure BLISS.

The Putin Interviews, episode 1, 2, 3 (2017; d. Oliver Stone)
It’s pretty challenging to breathe the air of pure propaganda. It’s gross, actually. But I felt I needed to watch, to get my bearings on what we – meaning all right-thinking-people – are up against. The man’s eyes are like a shark’s. I am embarrassed at how often he mentions how great he is at Judo.

The Bachelorette, Episodes 3, 4, 5 (Part 1 and 2) (2017)
I am so #TeamKenny I want to put it on a bumper sticker. I’m upset at the show with its handling of a clear racist run amok, especially since this is the first time there is an African-American bachelorette. Total missed opportunity to really deal with a white supremacist attitude, which is exactly what was on display. That nasty Southern piece of shit got inside Kenny’s head and Kenny could not recover. It put him between a rock and a hard place. If he fought back, he would just be confirming that bigot’s preconceived notions. If he didn’t fight back, he was betraying his own sense of his dignity and worth as a person. It was painful to watch. He was my favorite from the moment he emerged from the limo in episode 1. And now he’s gone. And now the majority of African-American men are gone from the lineup. Only nonentities are left. I’m angry at the show. Kenny, you are too good for this show. Best of luck to you. I’m sure, based on the show you will be deluged with offers – and whomever you choose, she’s a lucky woman.

Supernatural, Season 3, Episode 3, “Bad Day at Black Rock” (2007; d. Robert Singer)
First three steps of my re-cap process complete:
1. Re-watch. Take copious notes.
2. Go through again and get screengrabs.
3. Opening paragraphs written.
This takes me forever. Supernatural people, I salute your patience. This is such a good episode.

Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, Season 1, Episode 9 (2017)
Season 1 ended in January. It is a powerful document. I could not be more impressed with Leah Remini if I tried. As someone who has been obsessed with this cult for almost 2 decades – so much so that – on occasion – I have TRIED to get recruited, just so I could understand the inner-workings from a first-person point of view – I cannot believe I have lived to see the day that this series would actually be running on a major network. Seriously. I thought the South Park episode was a revelation. And it was. The first real sledge-hammer to the public mythmaking (helped along by Cruise’s insane public behavior). But this? This is real advocacy. She tackles every aspect of the abuse, going at it from every side. The stories told are horrific – not new to people like me – but new to others not so obsessed. Important. This was a follow-up episode that aired in May but I’m only getting to it now. A group discussion with 6 different people, each of whom have gone after the cult from different angles (authors, lawyers, researchers). This is major. I am so glad there will be a Season 2. At this point, the cult is basically a real estate agency. That’s it. Except for those still trapped. There is more work to be done. Thank you, Leah Remini. I cannot imagine the Fair Game shit you are experiencing. You are brave.

Citizens Band (1977; d. Jonathan Demme)
It’s been years since I have seen this film. I saw it at the height of my Paul Le Mat crush, which came flooding back into my soul during this re-watch. He’s such a positive presence. Almost … earnest? Charles Taylor devoted a chapter to Citizens Band – about one town’s obsession with CB radios – in his new book, Opening Wednesday at a Theater Or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s (I interviewed Charley about that book here), and that was the impetus to give it a re-watch. (It’s on Amazon video.) I love how everyone is kooky. And everyone – even the Nazi – is redeemable. “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FIND HIM IF I DON’T KNOW WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE?” Jonathan Demme has always been really good at this kind of gentle ensemble work, and he revels in the small moments, the grace notes, the human comedy of it all. Like this gesture.

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21 Responses to June 2017 Viewing Diary

  1. Todd Restler says:

    You never need to justify rewatching Mad Men, which I consider the greatest TV show ever not named The Leftovers. I am glad you highlighted January Jones, who was absolutely brilliant throughout. She had one scene at an award show where Don was accepting an award, right after she found out he’d been unfaithful, and she has to cheer and applaud, and her facial expression is one of the single greatest moments of acting I have ever seen.

    I actually also sent you a personal email about your Twitter remarks on the actress playing the psychiatrist on Big Little Lies. What a truly stunning, riveting performance… goes to show what can happen when you sit back and let your actors Act, without having to find a way to cut every 5 seconds for the sake of “energy” or “momentum”. Those scenes were amazing.

  2. Jeff Gee says:

    In a valiant but ultimately fruitless attempt to break “Citizens Band” big, The Waverly Theater on 6th Avenue GAVE AWAY tickets to this one night. Nobody on line with me had more than the vaguest idea what it was about. I was there because it was free and Charles Napier (from a bunch of Russ Meyer movies) was in it. People coming out of the previous show were happy and excited. “It’s MUCH BETTER than ‘Mr. Goodbar,'” said one portly gentleman, apropos of next to nothing. “He doesn’t kill the dog,” yelled one remarkably happy girl. “You just wrecked the movie for everybody,” said her boy friend. “No, I didn’t! THEY NEED TO KNOW!” Somebody on the line wanted to know if the popcorn was free, too. “IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE,” said the girl.

    • Jeff Gee says:

      (It was called “Handle with Care” at that point, I think).

      • sheila says:

        I think Citizens Band is a much better title! Especially with the sense of “Civic Duty” in the film – with Spider going after those clogging up the station so that EMTs/police can get through.

    • sheila says:

      // The Waverly Theater on 6th Avenue GAVE AWAY tickets to this one night. //

      Jeff – I heard about this! I think Charley mentioned it in the book actually.

      and this entire scenario you painted:

      // “He doesn’t kill the dog,” yelled one remarkably happy girl. “You just wrecked the movie for everybody,” said her boy friend. “No, I didn’t! THEY NEED TO KNOW!” Somebody on the line wanted to know if the popcorn was free, too. “IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE,” said the girl. //

      I love it! It sounds like it could be a part of the movie itself.

      Thank you for sharing that memory!!

  3. mutecypher says:

    I watched The Beguiled (2017) last night, and then the 1971 version this afternoon. I think I had only seen Clint’s and Don’s version on TV in the mid-70’s – so a long time ago, with some of the more lurid things cut.

    I liked Sofia’s version a lot. I’m glad I watched it before I watched the 1971 version. I think I would have been looking for Matilda, and the incest subplot, and the lesbian fantasy. I loved her open-ended vision, with some of the motivations kept unclear – or at least plausibly charitable. I also thought it was very funny (if one isn’t put off by amputation and poisoning). Since I teach in an all-girls high school, I did get a lot of enjoyment out of the disruption of a good-looking young man in the school. We had a nice-looking young math teacher last year, and overhearing some of the students talk about him was a pretty entertaining reminder of all the confused yearning, inexperience, and desire of adolescence. I thought Sofia’s version captured that better than Don’s. I liked the time spent on the cattiness of the younger girls. I liked the ambiguity around the motives for Martha keeping McB safe. I thought Oona/Amy was excellent, as were the big leads.

    I thought both films were beautifully shot. Comparing the two versions, I thought Colin Farrell’s McBurney was more ambiguous and unreadable early on. Clint’s McB begins by kissing the 12 year old, and then with the flashbacks of what he did versus what he said he did in the war – that made him more obviously manipulative and deceitful. CF’s McB could have been the way he was simply to survive – avoiding both armies. And getting to hang out with women.

    On an amusing note, I was digging a flower and vegetable bed today and, after watching Colin Farrell do all that clearing, chopping, and digging, I was very glad to have leather gloves. Watching him, and the girls as the worked in their garden, brought home the resentful comments of DH Lawrence and Thomas Hardy protagonists about the aristocracy’s soft hands. Those private school girls in that situation would have had hands that were rough and calloused. And a couple of times in the heat, I was about as enthusiastic about hoeing as Elle Fanning. Life reminding one of art.

    I hope your weeks get better.

    • sheila says:

      I liked Coppola’s openended vision too! She’s always been more about moods and silences and yearnings than plot or action.

      To those who criticized her for leaving out the slave character – imagine the shit she would have gotten for trying to make some comment about slavery. It’s not her wheelhouse. She’s not that kind of filmmaker. She knows who she is. She is fascinated by cloistered femininity – femininity run rampant when enclosed in walls. That’s her deal. I get it that it drives some people crazy but that’s just a taste thing.

      I also loved her focus on the details, especially the fabrics and the objects inside that house. The utensils and the furniture. Those costumes were incredible – they didn’t look like costumes – they looked like actual hand-made dresses sewn by those women and girls. Coppola has an eye for stuff like that.

      • mutecypher says:

        /I also loved her focus on the details/
        Yes, there was care in every thing. I think that’s part of who she is as a filmmaker. It’s not kindness exactly, or humanity, but “care” seems like the word with the best meaning. I recall her talking about the scene in Lost in Translation where BM and SJ discuss their significant others. And she didn’t want to make it a scene where each just denigrated the person they were betraying. She’s less mathematical than the Billy Wilder/Lubitsch advice: Let the audience add up 2 and 2, they’ll love you for it. She wants to let the audience decide what to add.

        I was surprised that she hadn’t heard of the Bechdel Test. Of course I don’t know her, and this is about her and not the film, but I picture her as just focussed on the things that interest her – with, as you say, a firm knowledge of what she can and cannot do.

        • sheila says:

          // And she didn’t want to make it a scene where each just denigrated the person they were betraying. //

          Yeah. She’s not geared towards the cliche. She understands complexity. She may not be able to EXPLAIN it but very few people can.

          Oh my God that whole Bechdel Test outrage thing outraged me.

          Maybe she hasn’t heard of the Bechdel Test because she’s too busy making films. This is the “academic” part of film criticism that I will never be able to be a part of – mainly because it’s not my background and I don’t think that way.

          Someone on Twitter – a big name – a woman – Tweeted that “Sofia Coppola needs to get out more.”

          Nah. She’s doing just fine. She’s out there making her art and what are YOU doing, big name? You’re bitching on Twitter.

          The entire complaining whining narrative about Coppola drives me crazy and MUCH of this is coming from women, all of whom spend a lot of time complaining about the lack of female filmmakers. Oh okay, so I get it, you only “approve” of a “female filmmaker” if she advances your agenda in just the way you think she should. Got it.

          • mutecypher says:

            This isn’t exactly the same as the things Kelly Diels writes about – but there do seem to be a lot of women doing the “Patriarchy’s” work of keeping as many women as possible down on the plantation.

          • sheila says:

            Well sure that’s how patriarchy works.

          • Barb says:

            I was just looking up Alison Bechdel to see what she thinks of the “Bechdel Test”, and found this quote from an article in Vulture: “‘I feel sort of funny about that whole thing because it wasn’t like I said, ‘This is the Bechdel test, and now you must follow it.’ It somehow just got attached to me. I mean, I did write down the principles in a cartoon, but this younger generation of feminists and film-watchers has adopted it in this way that I think is pretty cool.’ Bechdel said the test’s enduring value lies in the discussions it provokes, but she warned not to let it stand as any sort of final judgment. ‘It’s not conclusive or definitive. It’s not meant as a serious metric,’ she explained. “You can certainly have a feminist movie where there’s only one woman — or no women.'”

            Now, I know, this isn’t the definitive answer, but I have often gotten frustrated with articles that talk about how this or that fails the Test, as if it’s a gold standard of feminism, or the only way something can be legitimately considered feminist. To me, it’s far more important to consider how women are being portrayed in the context of the artist’s work–and also, as you say, to absorb different viewpoints through that work.

          • sheila says:

            Barb – interesting! I have a recollection of having a conversation about the Bechdel Test in one of the lengthy SPN threads and Helena said a similar thing. It was never meant to be prescriptive – or a checklist of what you need to do in order to have a good script. It’s a conversation-starter – and an important one – about the role of women in movies and how rare certain things are (women talking about things other than men, etc.) The awareness of that is a huge contribution. But the way these younger women are taking it …

            I suppose people like systems. But that semi-authoritarian streak – wanting everything to line up in a row, everything to make sense and be pre-approved, etc. – is very alarming to me, especially in younger people. You’re supposed to get more conservative as you get older, not start OUT that way. I try to cut some slack because – and this is just my opinion – these younger women were raised in a totally different world than I was – a world dominated by parents and authority figures in a way that just did not exist when I grew up (although of course there were parents and authority figures then too). But we grew up relatively unmonitored, with lots of free time. These women did not have that as kids. No wonder systems are appealing.

            I am not on the millennial-bashing train at all – I have a lot of friends in that generation and they are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. I am inspired by them! But there are definitely differences. Just my two cents.

            I was joking to a friend just recently that most of my conversations with my friends doesn’t “pass the Bechdel Test.”

            And to assume that film-makers – ie artists – should study film in an academic way and be up to date on the jargon – is to honestly not know what being an artist is all about.

            Also it’s just frustrating – because the people who beat the drum for more female film-makers – are the same ones who are giving Coppola so much shit. What on earth do they WANT then?

  4. Todd Restler says:

    Unrelated, but Baby Driver is amazing. If I know you even a little bit Sheila, you will be BLOWN AWAY by Ansel Elgort.

  5. sheila says:

    Aslan’s Own –

    // I’ll turn away and ignore any unfairness or even cruelty inflicted on you because you’re not me or mine so I don’t care. //

    It’s terrible.

    There’s a piece circulating currently with a title along the lines of “I don’t know how to convince you that you should care about other people” and it makes me so sad we have come to this, and I’m toughening up to continue to fight that fight. Caring about other people is – when you get right down to it – the whole POINT.

    // The simplicity of “do unto others as you would have done unto you” would revitalize relationships in our world if we could all just remember that in the heat of frustration or fear. If only we could live “with malice toward none, with charity for all.” //

    I know.

    There’s a real chaos out there right now – I think maybe the perception that it’s “rising” is because we’re all online so much, and so it’s just more evident.

    I’ve been actually trying to limit my time online, especially in the last couple of months. Not to be an ostrich, but because I don’t think it’s healthy. I check the news every day. I am very well-informed. But the WAY that conversation usually ends up going … even in cultural conversations – it’s like the lines are drawn, camps are set up … and you MUST pick a side, because if you try to actually converse in a nuanced way – you’re labeled as reactionary, a poor team player, or – at worst – an enemy.

    So-called “tolerant” people participate in this too.

    I. Hate. It.

    it’s one of the reasons i’m proud of the little oasis I – and everyone who shows up here regularly – have created.

    • Aslan'sOwn says:

      Good point about online communication: it’s sad that humans have unprecedented opportunity to communicate yet choose to avoid nuance for invective instead.

      I recently read this about using words judiciously: “In a culture of courtesy, one could afford confrontation. In a culture of restraint, a sharp and well-aimed word went a long way” (referring to Darcy’s change of heart when he was told that he did not behave in a gentlemanly manner) – Marilyn McEntyre. Too often today, people lob harsh words at others with the intent to maim not to understand or reach common ground.

      Sometimes I wonder which is worse: those who are purposefully cruel and are proud of it or those who are obliviously cruel, who call themselves tolerant and don’t recognize their hypocrisy.

      BTW, I do love the thoughtfulness and intelligence of this blog and the commenters.

  6. Audrey says:

    Popping in belatedly to say that Big Little Lies is definitely on my to-watch list (I’m excited to see Kathryn Newton doing so well) and also that I hope July is a better month for you, Sheila. Sending good vibes your way!

    • sheila says:

      Kathryn Newton is terrific! She’s basically playing the same role as she did in SPN – she’s got the eyeroll-yet-sensitive-teen thing down! A couple of really great scenes with Reese Witherspoon. Terrific cast – would love to hear your thoughts once you’ve seen it!

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