Adaptations that Flicker

December 29, 2009 at 2:04 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

There’s a group of four films seen recently on TCM that seem to deal with impairment, and/or confinement.

Also, click on the links for IMDB’s cool trivia about three out of four of these films.

Since these days I’m both I found them newly relevant…

1. First, “The Lion In Winter,” (1968)…about the imprisoned Queen of England in 1183 AD, Eleanor of Aquitaine, which I’ve blogged about before…so I’ll try to stick with relevant stuff.

Henry, her husband, rarely lets her leave her tower, but she is quite capable of using her lands and her sons as pawns in a vengeful game of strategy against the man who ordered the lockup.  She’s appropriate that she only briefly shows how difficult the confinement itself has been for her.

It’s [still] good to be Queen, even when you’re imprisoned.

Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close apparently did a TV version, but…

I’m sorry Patrick, I love you man, but…the 1968 version beats you….

“How kind of you to let me out of jail…”  Katherine Hepburn just kicks so much @zz…

2.  “The Miracle Worker.…” (1962)

I know.  I know.  Helen’s the Ultimate Supercrip, and it’s irritating as hell to be judged against her.  Between Helen and FDR we can’t win.  It doesn’t help that Annie Sullivan is the Plucky Independent Loner, whilst being visually impaired herself…The film is full of stereotyping…and it’s based on a stage play so there’s two levels of Poetic License right there

But…maybe it’s the student in me, but the second that Helen understands language…it’s not violins playing or anything….It just feels like she discovered the Internet of her time, the Way Past her impairments, in the same way the Internet has been the Way Past our impairments…

3. The Enchanted Cottage (1945)  I’m unsurprised that IMDB has no trivia about this movie.

Puke.  Just Puke.

An injured American Pilot must Brood in an Upstairs Room Forever because of some medium scarring of one eye socket and a twisted lip…Life is simply unworthy of living. Until the Homely Upstairs Maid loves him as he is, and he marries her because yanno, impaired men are entitled to their Forever Mommies….

[ Snarky Aside Irrelevant to Film in Question:]

Impaired women?  Suck it up.  You’re on your own.

To his slight credit he does realize quickly enough that he loves her as a woman, not just a caregiver, but that’s not why he proposed, and so I don’t let him off the hook.

The cabin (or the Vaseline on the camera lens) works its magic, and they see each other as unscarred and beautiful even though no physical change has actually occurred…They come out of their delusion, but live happily ever after anyway.

Thank God Robert Young had Marcus Welby MD in his future.

I find it stereotype busting that the oldest film on the list is my favorite…

4. The Barretts of Wimpole Street.

Norma Shearer was always playing these jovial, smart, atypical women…this is no exception.

This is the story of a real woman, Elizabeth Barrett 19th century author.  She  is confined to an upstairs bedroom, with a spaniel as a guard… but is clearly involved in all the little intrigues, joys and angst of her siblings.   While her impairment was never fully figured out in her lifetime (Wikipedia theorizes it was pulmonary stuff of some sort…) she had periods where it affected her more, and some where she was obviously less affected.  She’s quite decent looking, her writing is consistently considered good, published frequently, and opens the door for correspondence with other poets and authors, a really rich varied life of the mind, not just some fantasy.  There’s not much “Oh, the poor thing,” going on from her peers or siblings…they seem to think her impairment serious, but nowhere near death’s door… but her creepy controlling father more than makes up for it. He wants her dependent on him, to “wait for God” to kill her…

I think he loved her a bit too closely, at least in this film version.

I have two favorite parts in the film…

Fellow poet Robert Browning, an able bodied handsome fellow, comes to call and is immediately in love…he makes no apology for it, doesn’t make it some watered down and weird pity for her state.  He loves her, continues as a constant presence in her life and is merrily insistent that they have a future….She makes it downstairs to see him, they wander in the park, she’s much improved (though not ‘cured’) when she’s with him…

The creepy father tries to discourage Browning and his visits — to no avail.  He tries ‘kidnapping’ Elizabeth trying to force her to live away from him and the rest of her friends in another house…He’s just as hideous to another daughter, forbidding her to date, asking Elizabeth to provide a Bible so her sister can swear to him the sister won’t see her lover again.  Elizabeth refuses the use of her mother’s Bible, her first act of open defiance.

And now, my second favorite part:

There is a maid in the household who is in Elizabeth’s corner….Robert has sent a letter that they are to marry that evening, and settle in Italy.  this is the evening before Elizabeth is to be taken to the distant house by her father.  The maid has helped with packing, only she and Elizabeth knowing her real destination.  With her father at dinner, she, her dog, and the maid sneak downstairs with luggage and flee the premises.

Very shortly thereafter the father finishes dinner.  One of his other daughters reads a letter left by Elizabeth for her father, basically politely telling him to kiss off, she’s reaching for happiness…

Unaware she’s taken the dog, the father orders it killed immediately.

The last scene…The Brownings marry.

It’s going to be too “Happily Ever After,” for most people and that’s fine….

But living well while confined…if this is a positive spin on that…we need more.

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Purity vs Pragmatism or, Politcs vs Helping sick people

December 25, 2009 at 2:52 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Ok, as this debate has moved on towards it’s present conclusion…

I feel the need to say a few unpopular and inconsistent things.

Item one: I wish the rightward folk would stop complaining…

Because, you didn’t get the dreaded Single Payer or a public option that you view as “Socialism!!!!  Ah! Ah! Ah! Run for your lives!!!! Single Payer will eat all ‘real Americans’ Alive!!!!!! The Public Option is the death of democracy!!!!!    AAAAAAHHHHH!

That. Didn’t. Happen.  So, you won that corner of the debate.  That’s right.  I. Said. You. Won.

If one wins, in general, one STOPS kvetching.

And, Profit got a big boost for the private insurance industry.  Huge. So, Wall Street is happy about this.  Insurance stocks shot up.  What’s not to like? Sleep easy.  Congress is a bought and paid for subsidiary of lobbyists and big business.

There is, bipartisan agreement on one thing.  individual mandates suck.

But a buncha healthy people have to be thrown into the risk pool to counter adverse selection.

And on the left…

I won’t say much, but fellow cancer survivor Jane Hamsher does not get a freepass on making common cause with Grover Norquist no matter the benefit of her early work to mobilize people to work for reform.  Giving traction to those who wish to do nothing at all about our system.  It’s not just good intent gone horribly wrong.  It’s disgusting.

WTF!?  WTF!  I thought it when I saw it, and I thought it when I played the Fox video again, and I still think it.   In the name of Hippocrates and every doctor that has had to treat an uninsured patient, how in anyones mind will ‘Kill the Bill”  help the ill and uninsured??????It makes them wait just that much longer (maybe much more than the time til 2014. ) It. Makes. Them. Wait. and some cannot afford to wait (I hate to think of the people, even now, who will have to wait for the implementation of the current bill.)

I’m not saying the bill in the Senate and it’s likely strong similarity to the final bill is any kind of decent bill…but if

1. More people have coverage.

2. More people get preventative care because with insurance they *may* be able to afford it? And, that preventative care helps aviod some long protracted illness, or even staves off death and gives better quality of life…

3. Fewer people die too soon, in other words die a preventable death due to lack of care?

How is that not the beginning of good?

If this flawed bill is killed, how many will sicken and die for lack of care because Purity is the ultimate goal?

We will have horror stories I know.  horror stories of people who do get sicker and die because of the deny deny deny culture of the private insurance industry….

But fewer.  Fewer than if they had no coverage at all and no hope of getting any.

Less people getting sick or dying trumps politics. Every. Single. Second. Less people dying is *why* we’ve had this mind numbing year of nuts.  We want fewer people to sicken unecessarily and die too early.  That is the goal of healthcare reform.  That.  Nothing else.

Both sides have made this a game to determine a purity test.

This is not a game.  This is breathing more.  This is adding more good days to many, many peoples lives.

This is not politics.

It’s about living.

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What a long strange trip…

December 22, 2009 at 11:03 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

So I had to do some business downtown. That required the use of a paratransit bus to get down there since even the roomate and her van don’t work well downtown if you cannot park.

He was a joky fella, very good at the job.

And he didn’t have a problem letting me know which side of the healthcare debate he was on.

I thought, “He’s driving me around town.  I’ll have to be diplomatic. Who knows what he could do…”

How many times do we with impairments have to *think* this thought about caregivers, assistants etc, damnit?  We have to censor what we might normally say or do when we are, effectively, in the care custody and control of an unknown quantity?)

For starters we did agree that if one publically states they have (in their view) “moral” objections, then accepts a payoff to their state and drops their formerly “moral” objection, that made them dishonorable and perhaps unworthy of their office.

But it got harder and harder as details came out.  His pride in attending town hall meetings. “I don’t want healthcare.”    The certainty that the undocumented are here to aggrandize one particular denomination of Christianity.  and more that I’m afraid to detail, but that I consider to be a dangerous worldview.

I’m afraid of this person now.  And afraid for those they may come in contact with.

And, after trying to find common ground, trying to steer the conversation away from controversy with the explanation that, yes, government forces people to buy auto insurance (if they want to drive) all the time…. and that, in an ideal world, health reform asks the question, “Do you want to feel better (in place of “do you want to drive?”)  and live longer?”  You do?  Ok, that’s why the law exists mandating the purchase…(It’s a mess of a bill, godknows but I was just working on getting the basics across…) Getting him to admit that paying a fine and going to the ER was going to cost more than even this patchwork we got…..

I said… regarding health care,  “It’s a right!!!!!”  “It’s a right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Being as healthy as one can, with appropriate care and follow up… isn’t just for the privileged few. It’s our right.  I had to say it.

“My PCA/Roomate, riding along, said my name in grave concern…she wanted to get our errands done alive after all, so that was a nudge in the direction of discretion.

He, of course, views health care as a fancy handbag, or cufflinks, or lumber  — a piece of goods, not a fundamental right…and on it went.

I then said, “Look, we know we aren’t going to agree on anything….It’s Christmas, so lets wrap this up.”  We did, he dropped us off, and we each wished the other a good day…

Phew.  That was close.

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Quote of the day…

December 19, 2009 at 5:04 PM (Uncategorized)

from a surprising source

They’ve given me permission to use it on the next purveyor of unsolicited advice that irks me.

“When I want your advice, I’ll think better of it, and ask someone else.”

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Ok, she says grudgingly, Miracles can, and do happen

December 19, 2009 at 2:08 PM (Uncategorized) ()

It was just an hour phone call. The kind of call you usually get around Christmas…someone close discussing the kind of tree they put up this year and the ornaments they put on it…why certain presents present and past were given…mutual rejoicing in the fact that a certain bit of music from Christmas past has not been lost. An hour. Of normal phone conversation…

With someone close who hasn’t been set up to discourse that way with me for, well let’s just say several years and leave it at that.

I find no irony in saying that material presents in boxes with bows and such…well…
They’re overrated.

It isn’t often that this grumpy author finds the gratitude in her life so full that it feels as though it will break out of the skin.

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