Friday, April 30, 2010

Princess Robin and the Cinema

I watch a lot of bad movies. that's been the case for awhile now. I used to just naturally only want to watch good movies, even/especially when I was a teenager -- it wasn't like I was forcing myself to do a Midnight Cowboy/Jules and Jim/The Sterile Cuckoo triple header, in the middle of a saturday, when I was a fifteen year old -- it was what I wanted to do with those hours. Let me clarify that I know it may sound unhealthy, spending a day of my youth, many saturdays in a row, watching movies all day. but i spent my weekends visiting my mom and she was really poor, and we both had our reasons for this near-addiction to escapism, so, we watched a lot of movies on a lot of weekend days. Anyway, I have long been unemployed and it's very anxious-making, and what makes me feel best is watching dvd's while crocheting, that's what keeps the anxiety at bay. uh, i have a little thing where i watch the Harry Potters at least once a week, but i'll save that for a blog about OCD or something. what i'm honing in on here is my draw towards bad movies.

once i read an interview with Kathleen Hannah where, god it was years ago so i may be remembering it poorly, but the upshot was that she had a hard time relating to most mainstream people and mainstream media, because there were all these grossly obvious destructive depictions of women, & the majority thought of these things as unimportant or funny, whereas to her they were incredibly upsetting. for instance, everyone thought American Beauty was an amazing movie, and that just blew her mind, to her the film was just like, completely disgustingly misogynistic. i think of that dilemma often, trying to get by in the world when one is a particularly sensitive person. lots of traumatic things have happened to me, and when i was a teenager i reacted to that by eschewing every mainstream value. i still have a lot of anger in me, but i also have this "of the people" draw towards mainstream film, & get annoyed by people who don't watch crap. among my dvd collection: the die hard box set; the lethal weapon box set; bootlegged copies of seasons 1-4 of It's Always Sunny in Philly. Those should be good enough examples. but am i just trying to deaden the oversensitivity i was born with, i wonder sometimes. because sensitivity is a LIABILITY. sometimes, though, i feel so suddenly struck by how much ugliness and meanness the mainstream world presents as normal. I started watching "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" the other night & I felt sick to my stomach & fought back tears early on, at how disgusting the characters & the whole script were. in particular, the characters went to a strip club, and the strippers there were depicted as choosing that line of work because they were looking for boyfriends -- what kind of misinformed shit is that? & then the main character tried to get a woman to stop hitting on him by saying that if she didn't leave him alone, he'd punch a new fuckhole into her abdomen. it made me physically sick to hear. similarly, i like a lot of mainstream hiphop, but sometimes when i listen to the lyrics, i think "fuck, what if i was the woman in this song who was getting tricked into thinking the protagonist loved her" or something like that (the politics of white listeners/hip hop/ and that whole shebang is also something i'd like to write more about in a separate blog). Anyway, the other day i heard notorious b.i.g.'s Mo Money Mo Problems on the radio, & I turned it up really loud because i love that song, & suddenly I thought I heard a mean line about "jews" that i never noticed in the first verse, and it really hurt my feelings (I looked up the lyrics; the word he said was "jewels," not "jews").

i've always been torn between being militantly anti-establishment, and not being judgmental of mainstream society, which includes the bulk of the people one comes across in a common day (though it's all mixed up now -- the people, at least in my neighborhood, with the most visible tattoos and craziest hair are all personal trainers or actors in soap operas -- it's very disorienting). javascript:void(0)

maybe that's why i never leave the apartment anymore!

1 comment:

  1. Robin this is really important and I think a lot of people feel like you do. The fact that you are aware of what you are watching: if it's crap or "art" or whatever is that you are aware of it and sometimes just that is enough. When people point things out like racism/sexism/etc they are ridiculed but then in a few years everyone realizes they were right. You just have to stay true to yourself. The first person who found blackface disgusting was probably heckled out of the theater, but today we would think of them as a hero.

    Watching mainstream stuff and being critical is really really important because so few people are critical of it. Most people that are aware of things like that just pay it no mind and it will continue uncheckd. There's this Jamie Foxx song called Blame It on the Alcohol I heard over and over all day for months. It is a total rape fantasy/justification and really horrible and blatant. People were really into it but I kept pointing out the lyrics, and more and more people actually listened to the lyrics and actually agreed with me. Now I never hear it at my work. It's the little things that are important.

    I owe you a real letter! It will come soon, scout's honor! I miss and love you!