Monday, 7 April 2014

The difference is what's the same



I had a series of conversation on the Oscars and Lupita and if she deserved to win, why she won, the difference between her and the other nominees in her category.  Which led to the mention of the Wolf of Wall Street, and I commented, that yes, I thought it was a good movie.   

Buddies:  Whaaaaaaaaat?  You enjoyed that rubbish?

Me:  Which one?  Wolf of Wall Street? Yes I did.  Why do you call it rubbish?

Buddies:  How could you even watch it?  So that you even gt to deciding it is a good movie.  I am not watching it.

Me:  I decided it’s a good movie, on the basis that I usually judge a movie by - content is great, delivery is grand, entertainment value high, learning points happen.   After watching it, if I had not watched it, it would be on my “to watch list”,  *grin.

Buddies:  Have you watched 12 Years a Slave? 

Me:  Yes I have.  Which is more that you have done for The Wolf of Wall Street.  You are judging a movie that you have not watched?

Buddies:  It is sick?  The Wolf of Wall Street is a sick movie and I am not watching it/ could not finish watching it.

Me:  How is it sick? Why is it sick?  It tells a story.  Of a man.  Of what he does.  And how he ends up.  How is his story sick?

Buddies:  A normal person cannot enjoy the Wolf of Wall Street.

Me:  Why?  The two movies are actually very similar – and seriously can be compared.  Think about it – if the Oscar guys are capable of comparing two movies, to decide which one wins, there must be a way to do that - yes?  And to compare something there must be something common.  True?  So that we get presence, absence or less of the something?

Buddies:  How can you compare the two movies?  How?  The Wolf of Wall Street is way too filthy for me to evoke any sympathy.  Money going to someone’s head is not against a human’s freedom, other than the addicts own.  Slavery on the other hand abuses the rights of others for one’s own good.  One is ridiculous and the other painful.  There are no similarities.

Me:  Are you talking about the movie here, or about the emotions the movies invoke?  You have no empathy for Belfort, but your heart breaks for Solomon?  That is your reaction.  Not the story.  Not the movie.  The movies were good.

Buddies:  Can you take the story out of the movie?

Me:  I can.  Can you?  The story can be told any which way, and I am sure that there is someone out there who can make your antihero the hero.  And a good movie out of a bad story.  Just like the way a good story can make a really bad movie.

The stories are real stories.  They are provoking stories.  Extremely provoking, and this I know based on people’s reactions.

12 Years a Slave;  Solomon Northup, black man, born free, musician, kidnapped, sold into slavery, beatings and lynchings.  At the premier; some walk out, some weep, some give a standing ovation.  Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Solomon says, “Solomon's story is full of [violence] but also full of beauty and hope and human respect and dignity”.  A critic comments that it is, “Stark, visceral and unrelenting” adding that “is not just a great film but a necessary one.”

The Wolf of Wall Street;  Jordan Belfort, a spectacularly corrupt American stockbroker whose appetite for sex, drugs, and money saw him dubbed, “the most debauched banker of them all”, a crook, selling illegal stocks, corrupt, violent, spending spending spending, on women, prostitutes, drugs, mad parties, wild parties, butt candles, midgets leading others down the path of his debauched lifestyle of drugs, sex, drugs, sex and more of the same.  At the premier and after; some have been offended by the excesses, some upset that Jordan Belfort will benefit, some (Wall Streeters and co) gleefully shocked their tale has been told.  Jordan Belfort himself says his story is a cautionary tale

Are the stories different?  Or are they the same?

True stories.  Both tell the story of a man.  No fiction. But real.  So real and so sad.  So so sadly human.  With humans behaving oh so the same and yet also differently - at both ends of the spectrum.

Survival.  Each story is about a man surviving.  It’s about a man going through crap and coming out at the other end of it.

Revulsion.  At slavery.  At debauchery.

Greed.  One man fueled by greed, the other felled by greed – of a slaver, of a slaving nation.  In both cases, greed supported, aided and abetted by society.

Hedonism.  The good life.  A comfortable life.  Self satisfaction.  Of a man.  Of a society.  The whims to be served without reserve.

Injustice.  And theft. Of peoples money. Of their lives.

Cruelty.  Violence.  Abuse.  Physical.  Emotional.  Spiritual.

Loss of control.  Of yourself – an addict.  Of your life – a slave.

Victims and perpetrators.  Right left and center, at each and every turn.

Excessive.  Everything in excess.  Too much.  Too much.

Reactions.  Horror and shame.  Outrage and umbrage.

Strong characters. 

Are they not the same?  Or are they different?

My take; the extreme of anything, is the same thing but at the end of the spectrum, meaning that the more things are different, the more they stay the same.  PLUS, the opposite of “this” still has touches of “this” – no?



Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Mama’s Ten Commandments


I am the Mama your Mother, who brought you out of my womb, out of the warmth and
security, and into this hard unforgiving world.  You shall have no other mama apart from me.  Period.  No matter if she looks better, dresses better, drives a better car, and allows you to do what you want, when you want.  No matter if she gives you lollipops and soda, and no vegetables and fruits.  And no matter if your father has (hell freeze over) married her.  And in that case you will have no mothers to speak of, since one will be “disappeared” and the other incarcerated.  You must adore me and only me, no matter what, no matter when.

You shall not take anything I say in vain.  What I say is law.  And I am the highest authority in this house.  Your father is delusional on the matter, so any consultation with him will not yield any result that will bring peace and tranquility in your life.

Observe the cleaning day, to keep it sacred.  Cleanliness is next to godliness.  And I am not bringing up dirty unkempt brats who will bring embarrassment to their mother by wearing, or letting their spouses escape the house with holey sockses.

Honor me and your father – and listen to him when he tells you to do the things that I told him to tell you.  If he tells you to do anything that is contrary to what I have said, just say “yes” honourably and do what I told you to do.  I will deal with him later.

You shall not kill anything in this house.  The plates, the glasses, the windows, the toys, the plants or any equipment.  They do not belong to you.  They belong to me.  You just use them or look at them, and should be grateful, I have not imposed hiring charges on you, to be paid out of your future income using a present future value of money I shall arbitrarily calculate.

Neither shall you commit faithlessness – you will have one family and one family only.  And your aunties and uncles are your blood relatives and neither our employees or our life’s acquaintances and friends deserve those titles.  As for your future in-laws remember that blood is thicker than water and pretense is a good defense.  They are not family.  Not ours anyway.   

Neither shall you steal.  Ever.  If you steal, I will pinch off your nose and you will pay for the theft for the rest of your life.  With a noseless face.  And I will still be telling the tale as you cart me off to the old people’s home – if you dare. 

Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor.  Or against me.  Or your father.  Or your siblings.  This includes telling tales.  And all crimes against you by your siblings and the world at large are cartegorised as tales.  We are neither referees, nor work in the police force or are justices of the peace.  Presenting us with cases for arbitration serves no purposes.  Paddle your own canoe and let others paddle their own.

Neither shall you covet your neighbour's wife my son (this one is for the future?).  Or the husband, in your case my dear madams - since what is good for the goose is now better for the gander or vice versa.  This includes coveting our neighbour's family - this is for now and the future.  This is the family that was ordained for you and you had no choice, and still have none on the matter.  You cannot be reborn – at least physically, into a different circumstance.  Your parents, sister and your brothers are the burdens you have to bear.  This will lead you to either damnation when you “eliminate” them, or sanctity if you accept them.  They will forever be a pain and a source of embarrassment and humiliation.  Live with it.

You shall not desire anything that is your neighbor's.  Their 20 speed bicycles with things called profiles are no better than your tricycle.  And there is nothing wrong with a ten year old on a tricycle.  Demonstrates thrift.  The aim is to cycle yes?  And you better believe that.  Because I said it.  Remember - I am your mother and I am always right, unless I am wrong.  And I am never wrong, because I said that.  Your father is slowly beginning to realise this, which will add to his days.

image from https://gracesreceived.com/