Wondering


Yesterday morning I posted a few, still forming thoughts, on "-isms" spurred by the critical acclaim at the box office, and the critiques, of the book and movie, "The Help." And, frankly I was also feeling irritable from watching an interview on "Meet the Press" with Michelle Bachman, who deflected every question with sound bite answers, like a "Stepford Wife," programmed with what to say but without a thoughtfully active brain cell supplying the ability to be insightful. Irritated because I can't believe anyone finds her, or any of the GOP/Tea Party folk, Presidential material. (Harsh words for me, a strident supporter of women in leadership, except her leadership style lacks integrity and intelligence.... really, I have to get off of this trajectory, I have other things I'm thinking about). There was a good YouTube clip floating around Facebook yesterday of a Republican talking about GOP reform, of wanting his party back, the reflective, intelligent, GOP, the party of Abraham Lincoln and the husband of the late great, Betty Ford.

Anyway, I digress, but that's what happens when one is trying to be thoughtful, to think things through from a number of perspectives...

Where I'm really going with my wanderings this morning is this: if one of the critiques of "The Help" is that it's racist, that it's about white folk to the rescue, then I'm wondering about the creative imagination. Thinking like this suggests to me that men should never write about women, or try to articulate a story about women's concerns. And, women should never write about the ideas, feelings, and experiences of men, nor should any ethnic group try to get inside the head of another and write from their perspective. We should stick to only our own experience and not attempt to enter inside the experiences of another. We should not attempt to walk in the shoes of another. Right? Isn't this a logical conclusion of some of the criticism?

And, secondly. "The Help" is just a book, a fictional story that reflects on what life may been like for people like the characters in the book. -"isms" of all kinds - sexism, racism, genderism, marriage rights, etc. are rampant in the world. The dominant group, regardless of color or religion or ethnicity, always has a tendency to enforce it's worldview on the less dominant groups....not that this is right to do, but it happens. In all regards we as human beings are able to live into a better sense of self, other, community, when we embrace fully the Golden Rule, "Do do others as you would do for your self."

Just wondering?



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Comments

Songbird said…
If I understand the critique correctly, it's about more than just "The Help" as an attempt to understand the experience of others. It's the appropriation of the experience of others, for profit, and the privileged assumption that no one else will mind. For instance, there are many, many books written on the same topic by African-American women, and none of those has become a major motion picture. None of their books has been promoted by churches as a way of encouraging discussion.
Those are some of the hot points of the discussion from the other perspective, which I found eye-opening.
Terri said…
Exactly, Songbird! Which takes me back to the comment I made yesterday about the winner of So You Think You Can Dance. Was the white contestant really better than the black one? Or do "we" just see white more than we see black? And then I am reminded of the reality show winners last spring, all the men won, the women were second place. Most significantly the guy winnee of American Idol and the guy winner of Celebrity Apprentice. Certainly on Celebrity App. Marlee Matlon was the better contestant..but she's a woman who wants to help black kids in Africa with hearing loss, The white guy helped St. Jude, a good cause, for certain, but more generic.

And, then I am reminded of an article I read in my seminary ethics class that basically said when a culture provides for the equality of women it enables all other minority groups to move toward equality. It begins with women.
Crimson Rambler said…
Terri, you remind me of a line from Flannery O'Connor about HER fiction -- she quoted an old aunt (I think) who said, "well, that's just what some folks WOULD do..." --not what they had done, or ought to have done...I thought it was simple but pretty subtle really!
I didn't find Marlee the better contestant myself - which had nothing to do with the charity she was competing for. But that is beside the point...

Collective think does shape us... personally I am alarmed by Michelle Bachman's "type" of thought which I fear is going to be shared by other Rep. race hopefuls... *sigh* a line of thought that is very much "us" versus "them".... a line of thought that appears in the church over a variety of things... but it's a line of thought/speech/behavior that seems to discourage and in fact cut off dialogue. this is what disturbs me most... when we "assume" someone else or an entire group of folks unlike ourselves isnt worth even listening to...

yeah i'm pretty sure jesus had some experience with this and something to say...
Terri said…
Hot cup, now you have me wondering if you liked the guy because he was the better contestant or because he was the guy? And, conversely if I preferred Marlee because I am so focused on endorsing women? Like the dancers, how do I really know who was better, and what I'm just seeing because it's my cultural conditioning, reconditioning?

I guess where this is taking me is, I have to always question my choices, not because I doubt myself, but because I want to attentive to why? Why is this my choice, my preference?
i truly thought john rich brought more leadership to the game... marlee just was too "go-with-the-flow" for me as was lil' john... i kinda wanted nene to hang around a while, to see if she could focus her massive energy in a positive direction (apparently not)...

'tis good to reflect on why we choose how we do. i wasn't lured by the cowboy hat... but i did root for the country singer last time too (but that mighta been because of his deep sexy voice)...

Popular Posts