Thursday, August 03, 2006

So I'm watching Colors with a young Sean Penn and less old Robert Duvall on TiVo. Haven't seen this movie since I was on a date in 10th grade. I didn't remember much of the story, just that I didn't much care for it (I can appreciate it more now) and how my boyfriend went on and on about how it was his new favorite movie and how it made him want to join a gang.

I'm trying to figure out the glamour he saw, not sure if it was the bitch slapping the gang members regularly received from the cops, killing each other or destroying their own communities. I think the romance was the idea of urban war which seems to be a variation on war in general. It's an inane machismo I can recognize but never relate. Sure, I can pick a fight, say hurtful things --once when I was 20 I threw a tea cup, my own tea cup, my favorite tea cup and it went smash and shattered and I immediately regretted it and I learned my lesson and now have a cupboard full of intact tea cups. I've never had the desire to destroy a room or a car or a restaurant or a whole city block. I understand frustration, rage, the desire for revenge. It's the carnage I have a tough time with.

Watching Platoon or Hamburger Hill or Apocolypse Now (which I saw a few weeks ago with Chris -- really wish I hadn't) always leaves me with the same conclusion, I wouldn't want to be there! I can imagine participating in a thrilling adventure, something where the are goals and positive payoffs, something substantial to gained by the risk. But the tit for tat senselessness? Is there glory to be found in that?

Here was a boy from a working class family, growing up in a "freedom-loving democracy," his neighborhood, home, family, friends, way of life untouched and unthreatened. Pretty much could make any plans for his future that he could dream up -- and that was what appealed to him. It didn't appeal to all boys his age, but some, enough. And sure he was just a kid and I don't think he grew up to be a gang banger or a crimminal (doesn't show up in Google), but maybe if he lived somewhere else under different circumstances he'd be one of those ripe for the pickings.

Camille Paglia once said something along the lines that before there can be a female Shakespeare there has to be a female Jack the Ripper. (I think I mentioned that here before. I think about that a lot actually.) That's a provocative statement and easy to dismiss, but for sake of argument while I'm babbling, I'll pretend it's true. That for there to be women CEOs there needs to be women on death row, for there to be women leading nations there needs to be women suicide bombers -- these are some fucked up rules. Or maybe it's that the spectrum must be balanced and as we expand from the center, we have to go both ways.

Am I playing the same game, only differently by my own rules or am I playing a totally different game? I'm playing -- that's about all I'm sure of. What am I playing? Why do I like the movie Gladiator even after learning of Russell Crowe's small penis? Oh head, going murky places.

I don't know, I'm rambling and trying to figure out why this movie would make a 16 year old boy think gangs are sexy. There's no Holy Grail, no girl's heart to be won, no riches, no fame or adoration. People die and other people stand over them and cry. I'm watching the part where the guy who's having sex with his girlfriend is mistaken for someone else and is shot and killed by a trigger-happy police officier.

The allure is lost on me. There's much that is lost on me right now.


At 11:37 AM, Blogger Helen Losse said...

The reason there must be a female Jack the Ripper before there can be a female Shakespeare is simple: Men will not allow women full participation in the marketplace (and therefore, they don't want your "woman money") until women are as violent as men. Men (as a whole not individuals) keep women in their place with violence. Movies like this speak to "Male Power," rather than share the power. Most men are not blatant in their force over women, but they like movies to remind them that they can be. This is a sad thing to say, but sexism is systemic, like racism. The real question then becomes: Will women become violent to gain male acceptance? And if they do, will they still need Shakespeare? [Note: this is NOT a comment about men per se, but rather an observation about the society in which we live. There are kind, nonviolent men everywhere. But they, too, live in a violent world.]

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Reb said...

Hmm, perhaps, although I didn't see the power. Throughout the movie all the gang members were killed or sent to jail. Terror as power. I guess that's one way to go.

At 6:12 AM, Blogger Kevin Doran said...

It's facinating to read about all these fantasy situations in womens' head: i wasn't aware that women aren't 'accepted' by men. . . .

Anyway, i think Chris has a responsibility to say: 'Reb, this film is called Apocalypse Now, and you're not going to like it.' Likewise: 'Chris, this film is called Great Expectations, and you'll be dead from boredom before it ends . . . in five hours.'

Take care.


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