Books · Diversions · documents analyses · Fiction · literacy · Migrants · observations · racism · research · white nationalism · white supremacy

How to Watch Gone With The Wind

Been wracking my brain for the past few days for a way to tell folks how to watch one of my favorite movies of all time. Everything would be much simpler if everyone would read the book. It is long, but extremely readable and will pull you along as it sweeps through one of the most turbulent times in our history. Reading Mitchell’s work did more to encourage my study of the American Civil War than any other work I’ve read.

Reading just the first two lines of the book will alert you to the fact that the movie is strictly a production based upon the book. Much of Scarlett’s life is not depicted in the movie. The war provides a backdrop to the foregrounded “romance” but GWTW is not a romance, but an historical novel that records many of the significant battles that took place from 1862 forward. People tearing down the statue of US Grant don’t know their history. Hell, his affiliation is in his initials. It is true that he owned one slave, but he came through when it really counted.

Line one: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.” Vivien Leigh was pixie cute, white folks think of her as beautiful. She definitely did not look like Scarlett as she is described in line one. Hence, the movie is a production designed to bring folks to the theaters. Remember, too, this movie was released in 1939; America was in the grip of Jim Crow segregation and the Great Depression, in need of diversion. The film is beautiful, the costumes are beautiful, the players are beautiful. The film was supposed to divert and make everyone feel better as they struggled to live.

Line two: “In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father.” For me, this line tells me that Scarlett’s parents are not white because whites of the time were Anglo-Saxon Protestants. French descent and florid Irish say immigrant past to me, and if one was an immigrant or emanated from immigrant stock, one was not white. Gerald O’Hara married up when he wed Ellen of the aristocracy. His ownership and management of a successful plantation was his entreĆ© to acceptance as a white man. People were suspicious of the O’Hara’s because they did not brutalize their slaves. They were Catholics, Papists. You can’t come to this interpretation unless you read the book and know some history.

Some folks are dredging up the old nonsense about the portrayal of stereotypes when it comes to the Black characters, particulary Hattie McDaniel’s portrayal of Mammy. I still quote her and I first saw this movie when I was ten. “It just ain’t fittin’.” Mammy spoke her mind, she called white trash white trash and wasn’t reprimanded for it. In fact, Mammy was the disciplinarian in the house, firmer than Scarlett’s mother or father. All deferred to Mammy. I don’t believe this was the stereotyped behavior of house slaves, particularly in the houses of true whites. Butterfly McQueen’s portrayal of Prissy paid her royalties until her death in 1995. She said she took the role so she could pay for her furniture. Two hundred dollars a week in 1939 was a queenly sum. She thought no one would come to see a movie “about slavery.” McDaniel said she’d rather play a maid or slave than actually be one when subjected to criticism by the Black critics of then and now.

If you won’t read the book, which is great, second in popularity to the Bible, and I don’t believe that many people have actually read the Bible, at least read something that gives some context about the war. I’d recommend My Vicksburg by Ann Rinaldi. It is a young adult novel and won’t take a lot of your time to read. You’ll learn about the conflicts within white families when one brother fights for the Union and the other brother fights for the Confederacy. The Civil War was all about white boys killing the hell out of other white boys over the institution of slavery.

Watch GWTW with the understanding that it is portrayed as a romance, but the book is a Bildungsroman and a story about survival once all you’ve known of stable society is destroyed. GWTW is more rightly classified as an historical novel. The film is a romance with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. That’s how they got the box office. Remember it is a production meant to distract people from their economic despair. In 1957, Gable would portray a slaver in love with one of his purchases. Sidney Poitier was a major player in this film with Yvonne DeCarlo and Gable. I have never heard Poitier mention his role as Rau Ru in this movie based on a book, A Band of Angels, by Robert Penn Warren, who was a civil rights activist, journalist, and novelist. If you can find it, read the book, then see the movie. All about miscegenation, slavery, passing. Just think, in 1957 movies were still being made about slavery and related topics.

All this pandering by corporations to remove Uncle Ben (never liked that plastic rice), Aunt Jemima (I can make my own damn pancakes), and the gentleman on the Cream of Wheat box (he always reminded me of a Pullman Porter and I like remembering those working men of the past). Why are white people trying to erase history now? They just discovered racist iconography? Sumbitch.

Get with me after you read the book, see the movie, read Rinaldi, or you just want to talk history, slavery, and the living history we’re making and living through right now.

Peace, Beloved

aging · Community · Disaster · Diversions · friendship · Health and wellness · observations · social observation

Ramadan in a Time of Virus

This is a fascinating time. La Peste taught me that you do not go back to normal before the virus has been eliminated. I liked that book because it really did suggest how to get through a pandemic. Keep busy. Do something for someone else. Reflect on yourself and make yourself better.

I said at the beginning of this stay-at-home interval that Americans have no discipline and they are proving me correct. Ramadan is a discipline as well as a requirement of Islam. Military service will instill discipline, but who wants to serve under the Orange Menace?

Can you believe this government that does not want to have the people access safety-net benefits? Employers do not want to pay unemployment benefits. That’s why the big push to “reopen the economy.” Codswallop. Cheapskates.

Have you gotten the idea that our government does not give a rap about any of us? Have you gotten the idea that those muckety mucks who want their mani-pedis and haircuts and other frou frou perks just want to be catered to at the expense of the working classes? Working classes better wake up and rise up, else we’ll all be dead.

Every time I read the Qur’an I learn something new or read something new. My Qur’an has many notes of commentary, appendices, and a copious index. It is very easy to get lost in the commentary and get behind in my daily portion reading.

Hope you are all coping as well as you can. May you avoid infection.

PEACE

aging · Authors · Books · Craft · Disaster · Diversions · Fiction · Literacy

La Peste and other readings

There are 25 minutes left until the end, but I am stuck on Fr Paneloux. He is now dead, but I think he was suffering a crisis of faith. He came out and told the people they deserved the plague because their faith was tepid, more letter than spirit, if you will.

The bugger goes and dies, refusing the care of Dr Rieux, throwing up something red before his passing. Wonder if it was his doubt…

This got me thinking about the crazy evangelical rapturists. If you so in love with Jesus, go to him. Don’t sit and wish evil upon the land that you might be among the preordained number of the saved to witness the horror before being taken…up. Good Lord, what a morning.

I have been distracting myself from finishing the reading by contemplating the development of my Southern Gothic writers in my virtual library. Completely forgot about Eudora, so acquired thirteen of her stories. Made a stab at Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying as there has to be an antidote to Sanctuary. I may watch Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for a wonderful escape into Tennessee’s brand of SG. Have to see if any of Flannery’s stories are offered, maybe through the libraries. Some of her stories have been turned into film.

Also picked up Heavy by Kiese Laymon. It reads like SG, but isn’t fiction.

I will finish The Plague today.

aging · AS · Books · Craft · Diversions · Health and wellness · observations · social observation · Therapeutics

A Good Day

I found the new Phryne Fisher movie on AcornTV through Prime Video. I confess a great fondness for the adventures of Phryne and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. Phryne has a very healthy sexual appetite, uses a diaphragm, flies a plane, is polyglot, dances tango, has a diverse set of friends, and always looks like she just stepped out of a band box even after being pulled from quicksand! I adore Phryne. I can watch her for no additional charge for 30 days. I’m going to enjoy myself some more for my birthday.

Birthdays are to be celebrated for an entire month. They should be danced in and danced out, as with death. There must always be dancing.

Reading a most hideous book by Willie Faulkner, who was a dark and dirty guy! Jeez, Sanctuary is a wreck of a story. Good competition for reality.

Got some beautiful cotton yarn today. I imagined I’d make myself a blanket, but maybe a dress or skirt.

Actually had a really positive time on Twitter. Lots of fun watching people think Patrick of TX should fuck off or lead the way to the gas chambers because he thinks seniors, grandparents should be willing to die for the Dow. What a putz.

Then, there’s the Hate Yam and his ill-advised and ill-considered desire to get the economy rolling again. He cares not a whit for anyone, ya know it? He seems to be running scared. I want to see the showdown between him and the States if he tries to override the lockdowns to send people back to work, vulnerable to the virus.

Have you seen what has to be done to try and treat the pneumonia that results from the virus infiltrating the lungs? Haven’t worked in hospital in a long time, so I was fascinated with the gear that looks like a bubble, placed over the head of the patient, pumped with O2, to attempt to equalize the pressure in the lungs. I read something that said just before things really go south, patients bring up a pink froth or foam. That’s bubbling up from the infiltrated lungs. Next comes high fever, then unconsciousness. I couldn’t unsee that post, though I tried.

The day started off particularly well when I saw people proposing a general strike if the Hate Yam wanted to send people back to work against the advice of public health medical professionals. He must be unfamiliar with the 1918 Spanish Flu. That spread because people refused to follow admonitions from public health officials to not gather in crowds. The people had a parade to welcome the returning soldiers home. The rest is history.

I found I, Claudius on AcornTV. This is my last bit of advertising. I love I, Claudius as much, or more, than I do Phryne, but for different reasons. I don’t watch much television because I can’t stand the commercials. Always selling crazy sounding drugs for ailments they try to convince you you have. Ridiculous. But there are movies and documentaries, theatrical productions, and music that I can access through a tv, and I’m grateful for the entertainment and company sans commercials.

A little reading, a little social media, a little creative craft planning, new yarn, and I am well.

Thanks for reading. Hope you had a good day, too.

Diversions · Fiction · Language · nanowrimo · Therapeutics · Uncategorized

That Nanowrimo Thang

It is here again, that nanowrimo thang. I signed up this year, and announced, even wrote a couple of chapters. Already too much pressure.

Trying to develop this habit for an activity I once loved as a child and engaged in effortlessly. I promised myself I would write if I got old enough to have done something, been somewhere. Here I am.

Allegedly, I just have to write something, e’r’day. Doesn’t have to be long, or even make sense, only written.

So, here goes, though late, but whatchugondo?

Think I need to change the background to commemorate the moment.

Diversions · Fiction · Health and wellness

Mud Bath

Shirley struggled into her swimsuit and waddled down to the river for a quick dip before the children were up and demanding her attention.

She sidled up to the river bank and edged over the rise, descending into a culvert shadowed by tree limbs.

Slowly, she lowered her girth into the cool water, careful to avoid the root tangle pouring from the bank. Sinking blissfully into the muddy waters, she began rubing the mud over her arms and legs, vigorously rubbing to provide warmth and sloughing, grabbing mud with both hands and rubbing it over here face and neck, then plunging into a slightly deeper part of the river, swimming out a ways to wash away all the mud.

Flipping onto her back, she floated freely, enjoyng the vivid blue of the sky, contrasted with the grey slate of the water, too dark to reflect the brightness of the sky.

In the distance, the calls for her floated high and clear over the rise. Reluctantly, she turned and swam toward the bank, pulled herself ashore, and started the short trek back to home, family, love.