The thing is the moment, delighted in light and motion like something I would invent, my finger touching my lip, certain of something unsaid. Miles above, tucked in this empty moving space, the stewardess, wild blown-back hair, chewing gum for cover, more than half in the bag. “There you go, honey.” There is a note and it is long, clear and not, the blackness, and I don’t know what that is or could be. The thing is the moment, this moment, wide, where we might be. And then it is gone.
The word misogyny has recently been redefined in Australia as “entrenched prejudice against women”. This switch from the more commonly accepted definition of “hatred of women” is partially thanks to the now-famous speech delivered by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in October 2012.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Her angry words against Opposition Leader Tony Abbott have been commended by many, supporting Gillard’s fury against the representation of women as inferior to men, homemakers and bitches. And yet, this support comes across as sadly superficial. (Add Like or Smiley here.) The rampant sexism in our world is insidiously real and, on the whole, completely accepted. The female faces of Fox News say it all. Young and blond would appear to be the only requirement to deliver the categorical truths at Fox. And it’s not just the weird world of Fox; it’s ingrained in today’s stories and entertainment. I recently noted this in two films last week. Flight opens with Nadine Velazquez walking naked back and forth past the camera.
Nadine Velazquez plays Katerina Marquez
Her nudity is aimed to establish a night of debauchery, even though Denzel Washington isn’t measured by the same standard, staying in bed, unexposed. Later in the film, Washington also meets a lovely addict (Kelly Reilly) who the viewer previously saw begging for heroin on a porn set. While the atmosphere of a self-indulged and self-medicated world is the point of these characters and scenes, the manner in which they are portrayed is baldly gratuitous. The same can be said of Looper, a science fiction film in which women are either sex workers
or sexy and fiercely independent.
It’s not that either Looper or Flight – or for that matter Fox News – are the epitome of art or expression. Actually it’s more the fact that they aren’t that make it all the more insidious. This is what is accepted in our culture. Women equals sex. It’s not equality. It’s an equation.
This has all been quite mentally wearing, more so than I would have thought. I mean, it really hasn’t been that bad for us. It’s true that we didn’t have power or running water, and climbing the stairs has been exhausting – especially with old Biba! But we really did have everything we needed – food, shelter and each other. (It’s true.) One of the best aspects of these past days has been planning our journeys of escape – uptown and to Battery Park City. The films have been a definite highlight. It’s a wonder what a couple of hours in the dark of a theater can do for your mindset – taken away to a different reality. That said, whatever you do, don’t see Looper. It’s not only stupidly violent; it’s also completely stupid. (And he kills himself in the end, so I’ve just ruined it for you.) Flight, on the other hand, is something to consider. It wasn’t what I expected. Interestingly enough, it has much in common with Zemickis’ previous hit, Castaway. There were some good moments and others not so much, but this film -and the others – have been about getting away from the dark…in the dark. Is that irony? I don’t know.
Extension cord coming across World Trade Center passageway from Battery Park
Being without electricity has been all right. Actually it’s been more than that. It’s been something; it’s been important and quiet – generators withstanding; it’s been still and dramatic. As the oft-quoted Chinese curse says, “May you live in interesting times.” And we do. And it’s hard to process…because storms aren’t this: They are nothing more than this… and this… and this…
Statue of Liberty Island Ferry Terminal
I have felt like a tourist – an intruder – through it all. I have gone to look. I have gone to take pictures of the most dramatic (worst) things I could find. I have recorded the little things I have seen.
Flares as traffic lights at Broadway and Vesey Street
One day I might know what they mean to me. In the meantime, Con Edison has called to confirm the story in The New York Times: we are supposed to get our power back at midnight tonight. And we are going to celebrate. We’ve opened the freezer. We’re going to have salmon and shrimp. We’ll play Scrabble and toast the return of the Electronic Age with Double Cross vodka and Moroccan Mint herbal tea…but we will miss the dark, as weird as that sounds. I’m just happy that it is now (almost) in the past.