Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Watching: A Romance of the Little Forest

 Watching "A romance of the little forest" and wondering if the writer ever stepped aside to really study her characters. Heroine is a cute girl who bullies her way into the life of a curmudgeonly professor played by the absolutely exquisite Vin Zhang. Heroine is played by the absolutely adorable Esther Yu. 


Trouble is, though, the cute bullying pushy heroine trope can also be reframed as a stalker trope and it can be quite triggering if one has been watching way too many true crime dramas. Writer has also included another character who is bulldozing himself into hero's life. Bulldozing quiet shy person for shy person's own good is a common trope in Asian dramas but it's an unquestioned trope. The fact that heroine is determined to make the hero love her and that she does so many pushy, cruel, underhanded things is NOT cute. And showing her backstory seven episodes into the story is not going to help because if your mind is already against this girl, it's too late to quell one's annoyance with the heroine. Truth to tell, I don't know why I keep watching it. Maybe because i like both actors and i do have the ability to see the writer's intention despite how the story's playing out. 


Of course there will not be (and there has never been) a moment in any of these rom-coms where the bullying ditz apologizes for being manipulative and pushy. So the heroines often get away with selfish narcissistic aggressive behavior. When you start a story never questioning your heroine or your trope, you're bound to be unable to see how other folks outside of the trope will see such a story. At this point, all the pushy cuteness is just triggering and feels stalkerish and cruel to me. 


I do wish this trope would change but aegyo is a thing in patriarchal societies apparently. Not to mention the whole vindictive petty back-and-forthing in their fake dating. But my major trouble with this drama, though, is that heroine's mother is such a good cook. I keep wanting to go to the Chinese restaurant...or at least to make some of the dishes the mom makes. That chicken dish looked sooo good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Movie Review: SPOOR -- Amazon Prime Video

 

 Spoor was quite good. A slooooow burn and not the horror movie i expected it to be. 


The heroine is definitely a wise woman stereotype but the depiction works. The bad patriarchy guys also work well too. So it didn't come off as a screedy polemic. 

The story takes place in Eastern Europe. Our heroine is an older woman who loves animals. We're dealing with patriarchy here. In fact there's a young orthodox priest who is a nasty piece of work. He says stuff about animals that many-but-not-all Christians would have problems with. Women are also treated like crap. Our heroine has a connection with nature, the stars, etc and she lives near hunters, poachers, and a cruel research lab on the outskirts of the village. She's surrounded by men who basically think anything weaker than an adult man pretty much can be treated any kind a way  - the law be damned. Her best friends are her animals, but the priest says it's a sin to call animals friends, to say animals have souls, and that burying animals is a sin of pride. 

Well, suddenly heroine's pet dogs disappear, strange deaths keep happening, and deer start getting attitude. Heroine is already battling ageism, patriarchy, and a world that belittles and oppresses everything that is weak. The only mercy in this town is patronising the weak. The patronizing is no joke. Sadistic lab guy is being horrible to a girl in town and hunting season is on. Heroine is always showing up at dead bodies and animal tracks are near the corpses of murdered hunters. I liked this movie

Still...there were things that were problematic for me. 

First: the patriarchy was represented and upheld by a christian priest. Of course, this often happens in real life but just because christendom does patriarchy and nature cruelty badly doesn't mean that the Bible affirms that kind of patriarchal cruelty. But alas, the history of Christendom does have a lot of cruelty to women, animals, the weak, etc. So that depiction was bothersome, but somewhat fair.

 Second: the pantheism and panentheism was a bit much for my Christian soul. Heroine is a true astrologer, more so than the typical stuff one sees in newspapers or hear from friends. The worship of the star? The stars ruling and controlling our fate. Heroine could love nature without going so far. But heck, it's not my movie. So why argue? 

Yes, why argue? Especially because i agree with so much of the socio-emotional issues in the movie. Thirdly: the ending. Again, problematic. A murderer gets away scotfree and i was happy about it. yeah, i know. My heart was conflicted. What can i say? I agreed with the filmmaker that the patriarchy had to be outwitted. Animals, the weak, and women were being treated so bad. I know that as a good Christian there are philosophies, story constructs, and story resolutions I'm supposed to dislike. But, the heart is the heart. I'm not saying it's wholly unredeemed aspects of my heart that made me like this movie. I think the redemmed and holy part of me also liked it. But these are stories and characters that American Christians don't deal with. We're kinda trained off certain things. For instance, how many evangelicals become anthropologists or feminist critics or climate activists? It is what it is. I so wish American Christian filmmakers would make movies like Spoor. But American Christian filmmakers rarely deal with matters of soul, animals, evil patriarchy. They deal with a totally different other set of americanized issues. Nothing spiritual generally. Anyways. Spoor. AmazonPrimeVideo. A slow movie but it really touched me.



Sunday, May 16, 2021

Humble is the Way by David Jones

Humble is the Way 
 by David Jones 
Publisher: McDougal & Associates 
Pub. Date: July 2007 
ISBN-13: 9780977705368 
208pp 

 I usually just post the info about a book but I've decided that maybe -- I won't promise this, mind you-- I'll just give a little intro before I go on to post the book info. Last week I had a near run-in with my husband's boss. He's an okay person but let's just say that my husband has been the longest-employed guy at this firm. Because, well, the boss is a tough one. So I called hubby's office and the boss has this weird rule that if an employee gets a non-business-related call from family or friends -- and if the phone isn't picked up by said employee-- that the phoner should hang up the phone after the third ring. (yes, the guy is a bit on the anal side.) So I always follow this rule. But on this particular day I kinda faded out into a daydream while I waited for hubby to pick up the phone. When my mind returned to me, I realized the phone had rung about seven times. The secretary picks up the phone and says to me, "The boss said to remind you to not let the phone ring more than three times." I was so peeved with this jerk. I felt the holy spirit say to me, "you have got to learn to deal with folks who use authority badly. You have got to learn to be humble no matter how badly you are treated or no matter how cruel or stupid you think someone is." I realized, of course, that this was the same exact situation I had been in before...with asholey neighbor down the road. I hung up the phone. I wanted to call my husband later and tell him to quit this job (my husband is a super-asset in this company.) but then I thought, "Let's not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. Do something out of anger and God might not watch your back." I wanted to tell this boss off and say, "Excuse me! Everyone who works for you has left you. You are not exactly liked. Do you know why?" But I didn't. It took a whole lotta strength. I can't say, though, that I won this battle of humility. I'm still pretty strongwilled and arrogant. Immediately after the secretary gave me that message from the boss, I called back the office and made the phone ring four times. Just to be a pain. I wanted to make it ring seven times. To really nag this guy. But I held back. Yes, yes, I know. Childish. My neighbor got a good laugh at it. Remember, she's the one who saw me being dragged off to the police station because I got pissed off at menacing gun-toting neighbor. I think that those of us who have been abused and treated really shabbily by family, racists, etc...tend to have a chip on our shoulder. But as Canon Jim Glennon has said, "The devil of resentment is that it's justified." I find myself getting very short-tempered with Christians sometimes. I still haven't forgotten how cruel they have been to me. (Imagine being in a great deal of pain about one's son's illness and some minister who is supposed to be praying for you saying that black folks shouldn't be married to white folks.) I suspect that the reason many black christians have had nothing to do with the church is because of white racism and the slave trade. But what if the power of God cannot be manifested if we aren't humble? Here it is on Barnes and Noble Here is the blurb:
Humble Is the Way: The way to what? The way to God's favor, the way to form and then maintain a relationship with Him and, as surprising as it may seem, the way to maintain our human relationships as well. Humility is not just required before God; it is also required before one another. Because of this, humility is one of the most needed characteristics and virtues in the Body of Christ today. The Bible clearly shows us that humility is indispensable in the Christian life. "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility" (Proverbs 15:33). Jesus Himself demonstrated the greatest degree of humility in His earthly life and ministry, and in so doing, He set a pattern for us. The result was this: "God highly exalted him," (Philippians 2:9). So humble is where we must begin, and humble is where we must remain. In these pages, Pastor David Jones masterfully lays out, in the simplest of terms, what terrible consequences pride will bring and what glorious rewards humility will bring, and, best of all, he shows us what is required for each of us to walk humbly before God.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Adam weeping

 

How long did Adam weep
when he fully understood the totality of good and evil?
When he saw the fullness of it, i mean?
Tiny bullets, great wars.
Monstrous lies, subtle betrayals.
When he understood death in all its fullness
The grief and devastation of the dying
The grief and devastation of the bereaved.
Tiny cancer cells and the fear of them
Mass hidden graves
Broken hearts
He cried for himself, of course.
But for his children, grandchildren, great-greats
All the sorrows of his descendants before his eyes?
No doubt God comforted his regret eagerly
But regret is not so easily tamed.
All those pre diluvian years
With each new murder, calamity, woe
Weren't his tears renewed?
How could they not be?
How could the parent of all mankind ever grow numb?

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Fractured Villanelle

 Myth is perpetual

Racism is stalwart

The past is changeless and therefore everpresent


Princes leave their kingdom

To find their destined bride

The myth is perpetual.


But kingdom must approve the far-off  Bride

And the Bride must always be fair.

Racism is stalwart.


 She enters the kingdom

A descendant of the conquered

Myth is perpetual


The populace remembers the greatness of its conquerors

They remember their ancestors' burden

Racism is stalwart.


There is wrongness in the truest love

if the myth of race and empire demand the perpetual

Because the past is stalwart, changeless and everpresent


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Short-short

 Coffee – Whatever


It's a new taste for me - coffee.

Some other new thing to add to a week of new things.


He says, 

"This is what my father does..

.brings coffee to my mom. 

Every morning. Like clockwork. 

And yes, I guess it's like the clock because sometimes he even wakes her up to drink it. Sometimes not, though. He puts it on the floor or on the table near her head."


I am unsure what to think of this, this new thing on the first day of our marriage.

I've never liked coffee, but I could grow to like it. 


I smile, sip. As expected, it's bitter.

I am convinced I will resent having to grow to like it.

I'm not his mother. 

I like the tradition.

But he loves the tradition and he adores his mother.


I sip again and turn to him,

"Sweetie," I say, "all traditions grow and merge with the addition of new family members."

He nods, hugs my toes, waits.


"Can we make it whatever?" I ask him.

"Not chocolate?" he asks. Because he knows I love hot chocolate.


"No," I reply. "Whatever. Make it whatever. 

Bring me whatever every morning. 

Tea, chai, chocolate sometime, Ashwaghanda, ginger, lemon, peppermint. 

Whatever. Let's keep the tradition, but let's make it our own. Not too rigid or set in our ways." 

I wink. 

"Let's make this fluid fluid."


Friday, January 01, 2021

Bridgerton series on Netflix: Mini Review

 I forgot to post a mini review on #Bridgerton. 

Good points. Really good depiction of how eldest sons pretty much ruled everyone's life. Great multicultural take on Austen tropes. The costumes of the Featherington girls are amazing. 

Downsides: It seems as if the societal change happened only in recent generations. Which makes the multiculturalism somewhat unbelievable. The solid working class servants are pretty invisible. The lovelorn girl is intelligent but plump. Why oh why? The girls with questionable mores and ethics are dark complexioned and fall into the 'tragic light-skinned mulatto' basin. Heroine is only blonde among siblings. Eldest son's love for his mistress is shown as primarily sexual with no internal commentary or balance like a sweet gentle picnic. Diva, she may be but the depiction of mistress is seamy wallowing and slummy. Not sure if these are all in the book and meta or even commented upon but it all makes me wonder. Playing with a genre means being hyper trope wary and often i wondered why these things weren't changed, updated, commented on, or thought through.

Not a lot of depth here at all. I remember a professor of mine telling hs how tobspot the jewish, racially tainted unworthy heroine in one book. The line was "Her hair had no sheen." The literature major in me likes the playfulness of Bridgerton but the same lit major in me just cringes at how entrenched racism, patriarchy, and judgmentalism is in a book which is using the cloak of multiculturalism. Heck, we even have a gay storyline. But of course the gay folk is an artist and a pretty young lord. It feels free from racism in a blatant way but it retains racism in and unthinking way. It feels as if it's pro woman but the judgment of women is still in it, especially good and bad women and skin or hair coloring. It feels well thought out but it's really fluff. I did enjoy the fluff but i had to put away my mind and my offense several times.

 I hoped a black production company would have been more insightful and aware.

There's something i encounter in stories. The missing character. Even worse than the missing scene, the missing character can make or break a book. The thing that could have made Bridgerton more racially balanced i think would be if there were a young black duchess in the story as someone looking for a suitor. In Thackerays Vanity Fair , there was Miss Schwartz a bi racial daughter of a Jewish character. She was mentioned in passing, with a bit of a sneer but her presence in the story intrigued me. I strongly believe that if the Duke had a sister the story would have to question some of its tropes of race, morals, and beauty. The duke would still retain his bitterness against his dad who was obsessed with having a son. The older sister would have issues too, and Duke would be protector of and friend to an aristo sister. And duchess would be a good balance to the biracial country cousin. I understand country cousin issues in regency novels but i dont like the fact that the country cousin who had such loose morals was black and was thus technically pushed away and deemed unworthy of the marriage pool. Duke's protector is also unmarried. This kind of subtle putting away people from the wrong race ethnic group or religion is done a lot. I remember for instance how they dealt with the Jewish character in The Big Chill. It's so dang common and it shows the writers subtle disdain and racism even though they try to seem enlightened.There's something i encounter in stories. The missing character. Even worse than the missing scene, the missing character can make or break a book. The thing that could have made Bridgerton more racially balanced i think would be if there were a young black duchess in the story as someone looking for a suitor. In Thackerays Vanity Fair , there was Miss Schwartz a bi racial daughter of a Jewish character. She was mentioned in passing, with a bit of a sneer but her presence in the story intrigued me. I strongly believe that if the Duke had a sister the story would have to question some of its tropes of race, morals, and beauty. The duke would still retain his bitterness against his dad who was obsessed with having a son. The older sister would have issues too, and Duke would be protector of and friend to an aristo sister. And duchess would be a good balance to the biracial country cousin. I understand country cousin issues in regency novels but i dont like the fact that the country cousin who had such loose morals was black and was thus technically pushed away and deemed unworthy of the marriage pool. Duke's protector is also unmarried. This kind of subtle putting away people from the wrong race ethnic group or religion is done a lot. I remember for instance how they dealt with the Jewish character in The Big Chill. It's so dang common and it shows the writers subtle disdain and racism even though they try to seem enlightened.



Blog Archive

Popular Posts