14 August, 2008
13 August, 2008
Tropic Thunder opened in theaters today.
It is a satire of adventure/war movies and self important actors starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. What's not to like?
This morning, when I was watching Good Morning America and drinking my coffee, Ben Stiller assured me that the frequent repetition of words like "retarded" and "retard" are meant to make fun of actors, not intellectually challenged people. I suppose I'm just too tight assed to "get it," Ben. When you use the word retarded to make fun of people, you are not making fun of actors. Retarded means "slow development." It is comparable to nigger, kike, or faggot when used as an insult. It's not funny.
This is very much like the discussion we all had when Don Imus opened his big mouth one too many times. There are many people who are arguing that "political correctness" has robbed us of our sense of humor and made us a nation of uptight maiden aunts. After all, it is only satire. Don't you have a sense of humor?
As a matter of fact, I do have a sense of humor and it is often bawdy and silly. Have you ever read Chaucer? Nothing but scatological, sexual, and fart jokes. But making fun of intellectually challenged people is not funny, Ben. Making fun of college girls (calling them whores) is not funny Don.
Here's what I understand about satire. Satire is used to illuminate the faults of people in power and institutions of power. It is amusing when satirists make fun of the president or the congress or the church. That's why Jon Stewart is my secret boyfriend.
It is not satire when you make fun of people who aren't in power--people who need our protection--it is just mean.
I know that this movie will make a ton of money and will probably become a cult favorite, but I am going to follow the advice of my local news anchor who said, "If you don't line the 'R' word, stay home."
I think words are powerful. Use them carefully.
07 August, 2008
Heidi was one of the three smartest students in the department. We were all returning students--all odd ducks. And we weren't friends. Finally, one spring semester we were all in the same class. Fiction. Heidi and I were assigned to do a presentation and lead the class discussion on The Damnation of Theron Ware. Our professor later admitted that she thought we would both hate the novel and the process of working together. It was quite the opposite.
We met one Saturday morning at 8:00 am at the IHop near the campus. We both loved the novel! We sat and talked until 2:00 about the novel, about life, about literature. Heidi and I fell in love that day. While she still loved men and I still loved women, we were bonded that day as friends and comadres.
The next year Heidi was doing a paper on the Wye River accord, and she met a nice Irish man on a discussion board (remember those?). Within months they were talking of love. Eoin visited her in the winter of 1998-99, and the two of them went off for a whirlwind tour of Mexico and central America. There they fell madly in love.
I loved that big hairy man from the moment I met him--even though I could rarely understand him when he spoke. He has a Limerick accent, which is hard on my poor ears.
The past three years Eoin has been very sick. He has heart failure and something else the doctors could never put their fingers on. A few months ago they put their fingers on Eoin's liver and decided that he has liver cancer. They still don't know where the cancer originated, but they don't think it was there.
Monday morning I received a phone call from Heidi. Eoin is dying. He's confused, the cancer has metastasized to his brain, and his heart is doing badly. Of course the doctors don't want to say, but when she asked if two or three weeks was a reasonable time frame, they said yes.
Here's the odd thing: Monday evening, I received my passport. I had only applied for it ten days before, so I wasn't expecting it for months.
And I have a week off coming up.
So, I'm going to Ireland on the 19th.
The funny thing is that I applied for the passport so I could visit Ireland next year with Susan.
So, it isn't the vacation I had hoped for, but I am SO GRATEFUL I will get to see Heidi and maybe even Eoin.