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This was quite a journey! I spent the better part of a day going back and forth with a guy that I was not entirely sure was for real at first, then I absolutely got fooled, and then I realized I got fooled. It was fun. The guy said some LEGITIMATELY funny stuff when he was “in character.” And it all ended in a way that I felt good about.
It’s pretty much all laid out in the screencaps, But let me elaborate here:
HEY YOUNG MEN! I know it seems like women complain a lot about how they are represented in media, including fiction, and how it seems like they want entertainment tailored specifically to them, and how they seem to want ALL of pop culture to be politically correct or feminist-ized or whatever it is you think they want, but really, what’s happening is that women are tired of seeing garbage women characters in most of our entertainment. And they’re wondering, Would it really be so much trouble to make more realized female characters? You could still have all your CGI and action and science fiction and drama and swords and stuff, but the female characters could be a little more fleshed out and interesting. And the entertainment would still be good and would, in fact, be better.
Guys, instead of thinking, “Hey, not everything has to be politicized,” try thinking, “I wonder what it would be like for me if the situation were reversed, and how I’d feel if in the vast majority of the entertainment I consumed, the male characters were few and far between and then mostly used as talking props & plot devices. I wonder if I’d get kinda tired of that and occasionally I’d say something, even a little joke, just to ease the annoyance a little.”
Fellows. Listen to the women in your lives. Ask them questions. It will change your perspective for the better. Years ago, I got into a brief argument with two female friends of mine about a movie— it does not even matter which movie— that they viewed as sexist and I did not. I couldn;t even fathom how they could see it that way. I tried to argue that it was not sexist. In recounting our discussion to another party, it was pointed out to me that they might have a different viewpoint based on their life experiences, and that it was not for me to tell them that their interpretation was incorrect. And that I was probably getting defensive about it because if the movie was sexist, it followed that my liking it would make me appear sexist. And that’s when I realized that none of this was about me, and maybe I should shut up and listen and try to understand. And also to be more aware of things like this and develop not just my sympathy, but my empathy.
I will only ever be able to empathize so much with women, because my experience as a white male in America is vastly different from that of anyone who is not that. But I can relate to:
- not being taken seriously
- not being listened to
- being dismissed
- being condescended to
- having something explained to me that I already understand
And I having had those experiences, I am now more inclined to TRY to understand where someone is coming from if they are telling me they are having a similar experience with our culture.
So guys: just try. You don’t even really have to dig that deep. Think about your own experiences as a person, then apply that to someone else. It gets easier the more you do it, and it makes your life better.
Anyway, I hear Dawn of The Planet of The Apes is pretty good!
Go forth and read this in its entirety, then go seek out some Paul F. Tompkins. He is the BEST.
What do you mean you don’t need pixel Mason stabbing Hanni’s chair on your blog
(I believe his hair has life on its own)
New blog from the creator of Law & Order & Food. (me) ENJOY.
Casting Study: Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling
Of the movie adaptations of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter novels that I’ve seen, Manhunter is still the one I find most interesting. Michael Mann’s film version of 1981’s Red Dragon has a moral center in its ambiguous, tightly wound-lead, William Petersen. The film also has a seductive pastel fog around it, Fassbinder-inspired blocking, and it was one of the first films to use modern forensics to drive narrative. Also: Dennis Farina-points.
Brian Cox portrayed Lecter with low key menace, almost like a heavy from a Harold Pinter play, while Anthony Hopkins, in 1991’s adaptation of Silence of the Lambs, served a curious mix of Karl Lagerfeld and Dr. Pretorius. This isn’t to detract from the technical greatness of Silence of the Lambs—it’s a grindhouse story that broke out to the mainstream thanks to director Jonathan Demme’s gothic flourishes and Ted Tally’s script, which suggests human loneliness is the most lethal pathology. Jodie Foster’s performance as Clarice Starling was a watershed moment for female leads, but the insensitive handling of the Jame Gumb character will only look increasingly offensive with age.
Given his Grand Guignol plots, Harris’s prose is surprisingly polite, empathetic, and elegant. It shows his years spent on the crime beat as a reporter. In Red Dragon though, this means there is very little description of Lecter.
Dr. Lecter’s eyes are maroon and they reflect the light redly in tiny points. Lecter rose and walked over to his table. He is a small, lithe man. Very neat.
Seen through the eyes of Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs, Lecter is fleshed out more but both are blank figures for the reader and performers to build on:
Dr. Lecter pursed his red lips…His strange maroon eyes half-closed…She came a little closer to the bars, and he looked up. For Starling every shadow in the cell flew into his eyes and widow’s peak.
By the time of 1999’s Hannibal several adaptations were already released or in development, and Lecter had become an unlikely, normalized pop figure. Harris adds to the description—what Lecter looks like in the novel is a plot point—and the author maybe even attempts to take ownership of his character away from Hopkins:
His head was sleek as an otter and his nose had an imperious arch like that of Peron.
Besides noting her fit youthfulness, Starling is not described in Silence of the Lambs. In Hannibal though, Harris writes about the changes brought on by age and failure:
FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling, thirty-two, always looked her age and she always made that age look good, even in fatigues…She saw herself clearly, saw the crinkles of age beginning in the corners of her eyes…Crawford was studying her now. “You never got that gunpowder out of your cheek.” Grains of burnt powder from the revolver of the late Jame Gumb marked her [left] cheekbone with a black spot. “Never had time,” Starling said…Her lips slightly pursed as they sometimes did on the firing range.
Then, the author alters her appearance by the end, when she is a captive/fugitive:
Her hair was a shapely platinum helmet…Muscled.
Foster, like most of the principals from Silence of the Lambs, was uncomfortable with the new novel’s tone, and detached herself from the sequel’s production, leaving the role in Ridley Scott’s film to Julianne Moore. Mads Mikkelsen is currently Hannibal Lecter in the network sleeper hit, Hannibal, a reworking of Red Dragon.
Years ago, sometime in the late ’90s, I auditioned for a one-act play in NY. It was a light comedy about a playwright who had a troll who lived in his closet who wrote his plays for him. My audition for the role of the the troll went very well. I thought the character suited my strengths; I took…
My kitten printer is running low on toner. [x]