Friday, September 21, 2007

Misinterpretation

I always find it strangely odd when I don't agree with a mainstream view or interpretation of movies. I remember being shocked when a film critic I normally like (I can't remember who, or I'd link to him - I just remember it's a him) talked about the power of the Shawshank Redemption being in Andy's innocence and the brutality wreaked upon him by injustice. No, I thought, that's not the point at all - or, at least, not what I took from it. I took it to be that no one deserves brutality like he suffered, regardless of innocence or guilt; I thought the movie left it ambiguous as to whether his story was true or not. In fact, the elevating, elegance of the movie was that in the end, it didn't matter whether he killed his wife or not; that's what made it powerful and different from other prison movies.

Today I was pointed to an article in the NY Times about Thelma and Louise, which got me thinking about this all over again. In my mind, there was nothing "triumphant" about that movie. They died; and they died because their lives were so filled with violence and misery and subjugation that it was better to be dead than go back. It wasn't the police they were escaping, but the misogyny and abuse. Even when Thelma finally gets her kicks with a man, he steals from her and treats her like crap. It was certainly "dystopian," as Judith Warner points out.

However, I'm not convinced by Warner's point that things are so much better for women today than in 1990; her comment about the appointment of Justice Thomas and Roe v. Wade's perilous position seems particularly . . . well, ignorant - did she miss Gonzales v. Carhart, its utter misogyny and Thomas' position in the ascendant there? Today we found out that Illinois is perfectly happy to let isolated women do without reproductive health services. Even if rape figures are down, as she claims - and she assumes fewer women are being raped rather than fewer women reporting rape - we have a case where a rape victim was not allowed to use the word "rape" in the case against her attacker. How is this progress, exactly?

Here's what my extremely eloquent and passionate friend Xopo had to say on the matter - note that there was no collusion here, but we both saw and raged about it separately!

2 comments:

Xopo said...

ARGH! The legal insight you bring into this makes her claims even more irresponsible! I can't believe we (women) do this to each other, you know? That's one of the things that annoys me the most about the whole issue. The only good thing about this is that I get to feel like my mind is as great as yours!
XO.
When did you become pumpkin? I like it.

pumpkin said...

Resurrected pumpkin from teenage years, particularly good at this time of year(!).

It's just so distressing that people are willing to close their eyes to the scariness of the judicial system and sexual violence, and pretend that everything's fine now. Because it's not.