“The Last Jedi” Does Not Need Another Rave Review

(+++ warning, if you are sensitive to swear words please do not read this)

So I will not make one. But my article today will use Rian Johnson‘s baby as a starting-off point to talk about sexual harassment, creative/artistic efforts and James Damore.

****

Picture from Wikipedia

Looking at Mr. Johnson’s facial hair and the fact that according to Wikipedia, he is presently in a relationship with a woman, it is safe to say that he is a heterosexual white male.

Heterosexual white males have traditionally been privileged creatures in Planet Earth. Yes, they still have their own pecking orders as in:  Jewish heterosexual white males are picked upon by  Italian heterosexual white males, who are picked upon by the Irish who are picked upon by the British who are picked upon by the Nords (??) — ad infinitum.

The point is, in the Grand Scheme of things, these guys should think twice first before claiming to be a discriminated minority — BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT. Another point is, I have just had enough of their whinings which they can express in pseudo-reasonable or creative ways.

Then Mr. Johnson came along and created “The Last Jedi” — and it restored my faith in male humanity. To anybody who has not watched that movie, in a nutshell, the takeaway message of TLJ is: “guys, for fucking Christ’s sake, listen to women.”

****

Because if you do not listen to us, one day you may just wake up and learn that once upon a time you were a rapist.

Yes darlings, when a woman says NO, it DOES NOT mean yes; and no: yes does not mean anal. If you have chosen to believe otherwise, then you are an asshole.

****

Women have been sidelined or worse, harassed in the workplace long before Mira Sorvino agreed to tell her all to Ronan Farrow (Ronan, Mia Farrow’s son, who may or may not have been Woody Allen biological child — yes, Life is Ironic).

I was watching Ms. Sorvino’s performance in “Mighty Aphrodite” just now; and she is wonderful. She carried the movie, despite Woody Allen’s clueless-ness (Allen, by the way, was the one who inspired Rian Johnson to become a film-maker, after watching “Annie Hall”).

A very sad thing that Allen was able to thrive despite his crimes. But as Oprah said in the Golden Globes Awards this year … a new day has come girls!

****

Despite Oprah’s speech, I am still pessimistic. It will be an uphill climb for human beings with XX chromosomes to achieve the same respect as human beings with XY chromosomes.

And that is mainly because women will never (or rarely ever, at the very least) kill their sons.

If women are as cutthroat and efficient  (and I say “efficient” in a disparaging way) as men, then misogynists like James Damore will not live long enough to write his fucking memo.

Yes, James, you are a misogynist. And do not give me that “I make reasonable, evidence-based, rational arguments” crap. You do not.

As Cynthia Lee has pointed out — your memo is nonsense.

If you had the reason that god gave a petunia, the first thing you will do is to have a uterus transplant on yourself, carry a baby the full 9 months, breastfeed that baby, raise it up to be a decent human being — without killing yourself in the process.

Then you will have a right to write your memo. Because, James, darling, men like you is the reason why I do not want to become a mother.

***

On a positive note (yes there is one as I refuse to end my piece like Nietzsche), all this ranting has made me realize that I do not want to be a male, and thank God she made me a woman.

Who am I kidding? God definitely is not a woman. It would be a different world if god is a she. But then, if alternate universes are possible, maybe in one of those — God is a SHE.        Image from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3108477/If-God-woman-Church-feminists-say-God-wittiest-wisest-writers-imagine-world-higher-female-power-helm.html

 

 

 

 

Searching for Antidotes to Bad Places

One should not love something that one cannot own. Loving entails dreaming for that which one loves. And what would be the point of expending energy dreaming for  that which one will never be a part of?

****

Alice stares at Jonas while he was sleeping. She cannot help feeling like a voyeur; but since  this is the only time she can permit herself to be with him without being defensive or guarded, she relishes such moments.

She stares at his eyelashes — the ones she had, once upon a time, found so entrancing — resting peacefully against his wasted face. She still loves his eyelashes; and as she remembers how he used to get annoyed when she teased him about them, she smiles.

Alice wonders how a man who possesses such lovely eyelashes can turn (wittingly or unwittingly) into a monster.

*****

She remembers the time he held her hand, that far-off time; a stormy June at the faculty lounge. 

He brought her lunch at 4 pm: siopao, dimsum and chinese noodles. She was grateful, nervous and hungry. And he was looking at her with a mixture of fondness and amusement as she was eating.

He was telling her about Helen. His ex-girlfriend who was a drug addict.

“I haven’t heard from her for years. Then she called the university looking for me.” Jonas was tracing random figures on her palm. It felt ticklish but he was so absorbed in it that she let him go on.

“She was in trouble,” he continued. “She got into a group that was really bad for her. She quit her job and was not living in their house.”

“Where was Helen staying?” Alice asked, not that she was particularly interested.

“A bad place,” Jonas answered simply. “They uhmmm, they were blackmailing her. She had photos with them and they were threatening to release those photos and humiliate her and her family.”

“Why did she go to you for help?”

“I don’t know. She just did.”

“Do you always remain  friends with your ex-girlfriends?” she teased him.

He smiled, “I try.”

*****

Years later, after that conversation, when Alice was Jonas’s pseudo-ex-girlfriend, he told her that he really really wanted to kiss her then, in that faculty lounge. But he was afraid that she might bolt or slap his face. Given the person she was, Alice agreed with his conclusion.

****

How often can a person  change in one lifetime? Now Alice wonders.

She so wants to reach out and touch Jonas.

But she is afraid that he might bolt, slap her face. Or worse.

*****

 

Author’s comments (not that I matter in this story): I have always been  more partial to Nat than to Betty. So I choose to believe that Alice will turn into Scarlett Johansson and save Jonas from himself. Or, will it be the other way around?

 

Romance (film), 1999

I watched Romance because I googled Rocco Siffredi, who apparently, according to G, is one of the more phenomenal porn male stars there are. Thank you G 🙂 🙂

 

The movie is brave for its time.

We must remember that in 1999, the internet was just a baby (or maybe a toddler). Emails were used primarily for business/academic purposes, MIRC chatrooms were the norm, “blog” is an unheard of word, there was no Facebook (Twitter was just a dream), internet porn was in the fetal stage.

On the other hand, video porn was available way back in the 1960s.

Romance by writer-director Catherine Breillat is not porn. Though, one can understand why a lot of people would think of it as such. It garnered XXX ratings in several countries. And it did feature explicit sex scenes, masturbation scene, cunnilingus, fellatio, BDSM, rape — you name it, it has it; except for bestiality, necrophilia and other conditions that may be considered pathologic.

The raciest thing it was accused of was featuring unsimulated sex between the lead actress Caroline Ducey and eye candy Rocco Siffredi.

Ladies and gentlemen (especially the gentlemen), take it from me, speaking as someone who has had sex in all manners of undress and in various positions before, Caroline and Rocco did not have unsimulated sex.

It is difficult, well at least uncomfortable for the man, to enter a vagina in that position. Trust me — or try it, whichever you prefer.

That must be the reason why, as Roger Ebert said in his review, “At a screening at the Toronto Film Festival there was some laughter, almost all female, but I couldn’t tell if it was nervous, or knowing.”

Roger, darling, the women were laughing because it was funny. Rocco and Caroline could not have had sex, like penis-in-vagina sex, because if they had done so, Rocco would have sued Catherine Breillat for a broken (or fractured) penis — which medically, is not an impossible condition.

The female audience may also have been laughing at the BDSM scene between Francois Berleand and Caroline Ducey. Their second BDSM encounter is really funny. Again, try it, to understand why.

It has been 18 years since Romance was screened. Thank God, I did not see it in 2012, otherwise, I would have had some seditious ideas (knowing how impressionable I was) and G would probably have had a nasty headache on his hands.

In any case, between 1999 and 2017:

  • the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists,
  • in a certain Southeast Asian country: Erap Estrada was booted out of office, GMA became a fake president for 9 years and Noynoy Aquino became the highest leader in a country despite being single and accused (probably unjustified) of autism (what is so wrong with being autistic, I have no idea, people with Asperger’s can lead perfectly happy and productive lives), then he was succeeded by self-confessed murderer, Rodrigo Duterte (proving that the Philippines as a nation is the one with mental disability)
  • Friendster then Multiply then Facebook then WordPress then Twitter then Instagram were born … yipee!!
  • Sheryl Sandberg became a CEO of Facebook, ditto for Marissa Mayer of Yahoo,
  • Sex and the City re-defined how we see women who do (and I mean “do” in all sense of the word, prurient or otherwise), Girls finished 6 seasons and it redefined how we see women (or girls) interact with each other and the men (or boys) in their lives
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James became (undeservedly or not) a book and movie phenomenon (in the financial sense),
  • the Arab Spring happened,
  • Rocco Siffredi retired from porn (2004), then returned to porn (2009), then retired again (2015)

A lot of things can happen in 18 years.

When Romance was screened and Roger Ebert watched it, he had this to say:

“… the film has an icy fascination. Perhaps it is a test of how men and women relate to eroticism on the screen. I know few men who like it much (sure proof it is not pornographic). Women defend it in feminist terms, but you have the strangest feeling they’re not saying what they really think.”

It is my opinion that the reviewer sounded defensive or maybe baffled? I cannot blame the guy — he is a male, after all.

I wonder, though, what he will say about it now.

In Defence of Soulmates

soulmate from FB— Michael Fiore by way of Facebook

 

***

Alice was not into soulmates.

If one’s non-belief could be gauged by the number of times one’s eyes have rolled when hearing about the concept one does not  believe in, then Alice’s eyeballs would have reached Davao by now. It goes without saying, her friends (all females) have totally bought into the soulmate bandwagon.

But Alice was not buying. Why should she?

As the Julie Delpy character in Before Sunset had  exclaimed so eloquently “The concept is absurd. The idea that we can only be complete with another person is evil!

before sunset

Evil indeed. That also goes for Valentine’s day, mushy 1980’s lovesongs, and sentimental Facebook postings on her newsfeed.

The thing is …

…  when she met him, he would (and could) cajole her into watching a play or a movie, or a walk in the park on February 14. Out of principle, she should have declined. However, he would  put on this puppy-dog look on his face, smile so adoringly, and squeeze her hand. And out went her principles. (Thinking about it now, it seemed that she’d shed her principles with him the way she had shed her clothes — one piece at a time).

… when she met him, she was more into Bon Jovi or Nirvana (when she took the time to listen to music, which was not very often). His favorite song is a dopey Tagalog ballad called “Pag-ibig”+. Of course, she had to pretend to appreciate it when he serenaded her with that on their first anniversary. (“Anniversary” is another concept she did not believe in.)

… when she met him, he was not into social media. She persuaded him to put up a Facebook profile. Which he (reluctantly) let her do for him. That was one of the few times she was completely ecstatic in performing him a service.

Soulmate is a word Alice hates because it is just so … uncool … and corny. Acquiescing that it exists would (could, should) make her too … vulnerable.

It is just like that other word that starts with an “L”.

 

***

+ “Pag-ibig” is the Tagalog word for “Love”

The original version of the song was sung by APO Hiking Society

Nong tangan ng nanay mo
Ang munti mong mga kamay
Ika’y tuwang-tuwa,
Panatag ang loob sa damdaming
Ika’y mahal

Nong nakilala mo ang una mong sinta
Umapaw ang saya at siya’y ibang-iba
Sinasamsam ang bawat gunita

[Chorus:]
Hindi mo malimutan kung kailan
Nagsimulang matuto kung papaanong magmahal
At di mo malimutan kung kailan mo natikman
Ang una mong halik/Ang tamis ng iyong halik
Yakap na napakahigpit
Pag-ibig na tunay hanggang langit

Nong tayo’y nagkakilala ng hindi sinasadya,
Ikaw lang ang napansin,
Nahuli sa isang tingin
At sa pagbati mong napakalambing.

Deflowered But Not Devalued*

(*with all gratitude to Shoshanna Shapiro of “Girls” from whom this line was lifted)

***

Alice contemplates. She doesn’t want to; but she can’t help it. Sex does not really mean anything, supposedly, ideally.

So why does it feel like it does?

She googles when she contemplates, so her laptop currently has several tabs opened from enlighteningly esoteric websites, such as the Journal of Adolescent Health and UNFPA and Family Planning International. She should  start doing her lecture, and really that’s what she meant to do. For some reason, she got sidetracked and she now has to remind herself that her lecture is about general cognitive psychology and not Adolescent Counseling.

Drats! She is not an adolescent anymore. But she feels like an adolescent right now. Thinking about it, she acknowledges that she had never really been given a chance to be an adolescent. For one, she can’t remember having a rebellious phase … until now.

Truth be told, going all the way with him (god she can’t even think of it as “having sex”) has an element of … activism? Or, liberation maybe?

Okay, it’s not as if being a virgin is the be-all and end-all of a woman’s existence. Not anymore.

Alice wonders: what's the big deal about virginity when it can so easily be commoditized like this?

Alice wonders: what’s the big deal about virginity when it can so easily be commoditized like this?

She is not living in the 19th century. This is the 21st … the third millennium. In  a few years people will be going to the moon and set up lunar settlements; or colonizing Mars. Sex and the City and Ally McBeal and Friends say it’s totally cool to be out there and  just … do it. Because it feels good, it’s feminist, and it’s liberating and it’s …

Why is she so bothered?

Due to years of social conditioning, probably.

And the fact that he immediately went  to Mindanao after what happened and now (despite the daily texts and that one time he called her cel) … and now … she misses him.

It is a novel feeling for Alice to miss a man. Come to think of it, she didn’t even miss her father when he went and became a TNT** in the US.  She missed her mom when she died. She misses her grandmother and her aunts when she doesn’t see them for weeks. But a guy? No, never a guy. This  is a totally new thing.

She was reading an article in a journal about Turkish girls who undergo surgery to have their hymen restored. And  Alice’s reaction is: give me a fucking break!

So this is what a hymen looks like. Imagine all the stress women have to undergo for this measly insignificant  piece of  tissue!

Alice: So this is what a hymen looks like. Imagine all the stress that women (for centuries) have to undergo for this measly insignificant piece of tissue!

She totally sympathizes with the Turkish girls, though; can completely understand how important physical virginity is in a society of male chauvinist religious fundamentalists.  If she was born in Turkey, she would probably be lining up in a gynecologist’s clinic right now.

She wonders what virginity feels like for guys. Do they acknowledge that concept for themselves? She wanted to ask Jonas what it felt like when he lost it. But she’s, well, embarrassed — liberated outspoken girl that she is. Until now she still cannot think about the details of what happened without wanting to bury her head under Kim’s futon.

***

(TNT – Tagalog “tago nang tago”, term used for illegal aliens in the US

Surgeons

The thong about Grey's Anatomy is that it makes you believe that the guys and (girls) who cut you up are actually this good-looking. Nope -- not by a long shot :)

The thing about Grey’s Anatomy is that it makes you believe that the guys and (girls) who cut you up are actually this good-looking. Nope — not by a long shot 🙂

Yes, I still maintain that Surgery is an old boyfriend that I am extremely fond of, but was never passionately in love with.

In my opinion, the world of Medicine can be divided into the country of Surgeons and the country of Non-Surgeons.

There are those who straddle those 2 countries — call them “people with dual citizenships”. To this group belongs (among others) ophthalmologists, otorhinolaryngologists and dermatologists (who, recently have dared to go beyond injecting botox and have attempted “Aesthetic Surgery”, a current rage in my society).

I love McSteamy more than McDreamy. In my opinion, he's a more dashing surgeon in and out of the OR.

I love McSteamy more than McDreamy. In my opinion, he’s a more dashing surgeon in and out of the OR.

I can pass as a passable surgeon. The problem with me is I can easily sleep in the OR, which of course, is a no-no.

Despite my aversion to doing pelvic clean-up with lymph node dissection, omentectomy and random peritoneal sampling (believe me, I hated standing up for >3 hours straight and chasing after a rogue spurting artery), I can still say that …

 

 

There is Something About The OR Which I Love:

the adrenaline rush, the urgency

the hurriedness, harriedness, the life-and-deathness

the clear-cut white-and-blackness

of it all.

Scalpel slicing supple skin

laid down like sacrifice

amid sterling steel (table, bed, even the lights)

perfectly sterilized

immaculately sanitized,

just in case, one never knows

what it might meet on The Other Side.

Am I a butcher or a healer?

The intriguing question runs through and through my mind.

Not during, but after

a procedure — for the mind shuts during a surgery.

The brain functions like a warrior

bent on vanquishing that bleeder,

tumor, adhesion

with as much precision

as technology permits.

Ah, the OR, my battlefield, my theater, my basketball court.

All the mundane that I am is elevated to some degree of greatness

for 30 minutes to an hour.

Deep in that which passes for my heart, though, knows

that I am not a surgeon.

I couldn’t ward off sleep even during CS

(sometimes I doze over hys

or, god forbid,

while attempting pelvic clean-up)

Snoring over a woman with her abdomen open, uterus jutting out.

I zoned out at the blood bank while waiting

for rbc’s to arrive; to reprieve the coming

of that which

comes to us all.

I resented being responsible for a body that was not mine.

And for what compensation?

The bragging rights that one saved a live.

When one doesn’t care, not in her heart of hearts,

not at all.

The Problem with Lovesongs

Alice was not finished yet. Getting woozy from all the “love in the air”.

This morning, she was staring at the lyrics of the song, “Now That I Have You” by The Company.

Her friend, Jane, asked her assistance in surprising Jane’s boyfriend.

Jane, an a-capella  singer, plans to serenade Michael and she asked Alice to please oh please, hold the birthday cake, while Jane was singing.

Being the great friend that she was, Alice agreed.

Now looking at her friend make a spectacle of herself in front of Michael’s co-workers, she couldn’t help feeling … what the F am I doing here?

The birthday cake -- which Jane made. Actually, Jane bought a chocolate cake and put in the "happy birthday" with some help from Alice. Photo from www.shyamswaad.com

The birthday cake — which Jane made. Actually, Jane bought a chocolate cake and put in the “happy birthday” with some help from Alice. Photo from http://www.shyamswaad.com

***

the lyrics to Jane’s lovesong — the one that made Alice woozy:

All my life it seemed
That something had been missing
I didn’t know what to do
Days would pass me by
Each as lonely as the other
Until I met you
REFRAIN:
You opened the door
And let the sunshine in
My life will never be the same again

CHORUS:
Now that I have you
Everything just seems so right
Now that I have you I’m alive
You are the song that I’ll be
Singing my whole life through
I’m living in a brighter world
Now that I have you

Looking ahead I see
The two of us together
I’ll never let you go
You’re so dear to me
And it isn’t any wonder
Why I love you so

REFRAIN:
You opened the door
And let the sunshine in
My life will never be the same again

CHORUS:
Now that I have you
Everything just seems so right
Now that I have you I’m alive
You are the song that I’ll be
Singing my whole life through
I’m living in a brighter world
Now that I have you

BRIDGE:
I feel this love is real
I see it in your eyes
You take my hand and I understand
You are mine
You are mine

CHORUS:
Now that I have you
Everything just seems so right
Now that I have you I’m alive
You are the song that I’ll be
Singing my whole life through
I’m living in a brighter world
Now that I have you