Journal – 09/28/15: Whiteness, Hippie-hair and Hollywood

PonytailFor whatever reason, I’ve not been cleaving to my higher angels during this sabbatical (just beginning week 5) – behaving more like a man on vacation, than a man on a mission. I’m willing to chalk it up to a passive aggressive response to having worked two years without a vacation, but the proof will be in the pudding.

Even with a muddled mind, there are some things that have been rattling around in there, and I thought I’d jot them down to share with you!

Unbearable Whiteness

InternPosterI saw “The Intern” yesterday, a weightless, and seemingly harmless piece of fluff, the most aggressive thing about it being a two-hour running time.  While it was happening to me, I didn’t have any real beef’s with it except that nothing seemed to be happening. Nice people met other nice people and nice things happened to them – the end.

After it was over, my brain started chewing away at the film – relentlessly – like a rat with Asperger’s. What was bugging me? Was it the implausibly cute and precocious little girl? Nah, she was just the most inauthentic human in a sea of inauthentic characters. Was it the relentlessly upbeat and edge-free workplace? Was it my inability to believe that Brooklyn is the brightest and cleanest place in America? No, no, years of terrible television have immunized me to such narrative laziness.

Then it hit me, I don’t think I saw a single person of color – any color – even in the background. I don’t think this is actually true, there had to be some, but the relentless blandness made everybody “feel” white. Renee Russo, a blonde ex-super model, added the most color to the screen.  But then it REALLY hit me, it wasn’t that everybody was white, it was that everybody was boring AND white. The characters were metaphorically without color, the only emotional beats seemed to be upbeat or sorta sad, it was like an Up With People zombie movie. The film’s sin isn’t racism, it’s asserting that boring people are worth watching for two hours. Last week I saw “Black Mass” which was probably even whiter, but everybody was so morally corrupt and/or violent I didn’t notice.

I’m not a diversity for diversity’s sake guy (in movies that is, in society I’m all for it), the value of diversity in film (or any storytelling) is that it adds interest when it’s organic to the story. Creators like Nancy Meyers can tell white stories and Tyler Perry can tell black stories, more power to ’em, but for gods sake put a little heart into it!


MyHairI’m all for encouraging all of us to let our freak flags fly, but ponytail-ed guys over 50? That shit’s got to stop.

Being on sabbatical, I’ve let my hair slide (see photo) and was vaguely horrified by what I saw in the mirror this morning. Which got me thinking about a few guys I’ve seen around the ‘hood lately sporting what can only be described as ill-conceived coiffure. The sad, mechanical truth is old white-man hair just don’t look good long – it sticks up at odd angles, and often looks like it’ll burst into flame. (And don’t think you’re getting away with anything old dread-lock guy, you look just as heinous.) Pull it back into a ponytail – then you’re in horror show territory. Perhaps you’re trying to hold on to lost youth, maybe you’re trying to solve the inelegant straight-up hairs, whatever the case you just look nasty.

One need only see the gorgeous manes on baseball players, movie stars (I’m looking at you Game of Thrones Drogo guy) and random euro-trash dudes to see that long hair looks great when it’s young hair. But brother, once that deep, rich, shiny color becomes a memory – hack that shit off.

New Podcast Obsession – You Must Remember This

LizMontyOMG (I’m using this abbreviation to indicate my girlish enthusiasm) I’ve gotten sucked into a new (to me, it’s been around) podcast – You Must Remember This by Karina Longworth. If you’re a film junkie like me, or just enjoy old gossip, this thing is heaven. I pride myself on being reasonably fluent in the history of film and film-making, but Longworth puts me to shame pulling some deep, interesting cuts and she has a storytelling style that’s engaging and remarkably easy to listen to.

I’ve plowed through around twenty of these, and they’ve been consistently informative, insightful and entertaining. Here are a few that stuck out:

I also got schooled on the Frances Farmer story, something so misrepresented over time that everything I knew was a fiction. I can’t recommend this thing enough, check it out!