Same job, different uniform.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Baby Fishmouth Rules

It was odd when "who was the of Lee Lip-Ex chapstick" brought someone to girlfriday. It was very odd when "what happens if kidney ablation goes wrong?" did, too.

But it's just plain funny that "baby fishmouth" brought someone here.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Come Down, O Love Divine

Come down, O Love divine,
Seek thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with thine own Ardour glowing;

O comforter, draw near,
Within my heart appear,
And kindle it, thy holy Flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn,
Till earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its
Heat consuming;

And let thy glorious light
Shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round,
The while my path illuming.

Let holy charity Mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine Inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart,
Which takes the humbler part,
And o'er its own shortcomings
Weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong,
With which the soul will long,
Shall far outpass the power of Human telling;
For none can guess its grace,
Till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit
Makes his dwelling.

Bianco da Siena (d. 1434) Trans: R.V. Littledale

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Saturday, February 25, 2006

You'll Be Tempted to Overlook this Post. Don't.

I did, when I first came across it at Blognostic. Then my brother played it for me and it is the best thing I've seen in a long time, and I come from a family with a troubling addiction to sappy sports stories.

Click here for a touching and unforgettable moment in high school basketball.

UPDATE: Apparently CBS News has forced YouTube to remove this link, so it's no longer active there. You can view it on the CBS webpage by clicking here (look to the right of the screen and yes, you'll have to watch a stupid advertisement first).

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Naked Post

I have been a little dissatisfied with my earlier post on nudity. In addition to being incomplete it strikes me as a little prudish or preachy.

What I failed to articulate has been better expressed by he who has been called estimable by others in the blogosphere.

"Second, the question at hand is when is public nudity simply exhibitionism and when it is art...Let me suggest a standard. Some would say that nude art shows us the beauty of the human form. I would suggest that for a nude body to become art it should point beyond the human body to something higher. Simply showing the beauty of the human body is not enough. Here is a brief list of characteristics that an artistic depiction of nudity might point towards: grace, innocence, modesty (ironically), power, strength, dignity, gentleness, affection, etc. Nudity that simply titillates and nothing more is not art but exhibitionism.

I am quite sure that what is going on with Vanity Fair is not an attempt to say something about the human condition. Rather it is the use of naked bodies in an attempt to increase magazine sales. That strikes me as a less than noble artistic goal."

And yes, we're all agreed that Photoshop does wonders for your butt.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

If Comment Deletion is Tolerance, You've Arrived at Intolerance Hotel. May I Check Your Bags?

In October, the Snark asked Just a Little Tolerance, Please?

Occasionally we opt not to allow comments on our posts. But one thing you won't find at girlfriday is a blog administrator who has a love affair with the delete button. You may annoy us. Amuse us. Disgust us. Humiliate us. Engage us. Intrigue us. Challenge us. But unless you are being obscene, profane or threatening anyone we love, what you say remains intact.

Imagine a blogosphere where this was true. Especially in circles where Tolerance is God.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

There and Back Again

I always said, not so originally perhaps, that driving in Washington, DC was simply a matter of survival and everyone was playing at the same game. You don't really want to let that black sedan in, but you do. The white Suburban behind you didn't want to let you in either. But you got in. Everyone's bumpers and grills were flecked with paint from everyone else's bumpers and grills.

Funny the things I would shrug off while I was driver in Washington. In the Beltway, drivers pull all kinds of stunts because they are elbowing their way into traffic or jostling for parking spaces. Never mind. As long as your car fits between you and the next car or you and the sidewalk, you maneuver around them. If not, you honk or shake your latte in annoyance.

I know all of this and yet when a dawdling 2C driver wanders into my lane or veers in front of me or stops traffic in two lanes to signal his way into a parking space, I am enraged. I have no other but a woman's reason...

But I can still parallel park like a champ. And never try to outhandle me in the Mini Cooper.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Vanity Fair and Sexual Politics

For those that read Girlfriday's insightful post the other day about the magazine's cover, here is something of interest.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why do Birds...?

A new blogger at Blognostic.

I bet I'd like him.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

The dirty little secret of Christianity is that we oppose blasphemy and idolatry, too. This is derived from three ancient and unpopular commandments not to have any gods before Him, not to make any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, and finally, not take the name of the LORD God in vain.

Look at that! We don't approve of people trashing God's name.

But Yahoo! doesn't have a rule prohibiting the use of that precious Name in Yahoo! email addresses.

They did for Allah's name, though.

The ban has been lifted, but if this story doesn’t leave you spinning from the company’s clear deference to Islam, then I have to wonder if you really understand the word bias.

H/T The Corner.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

The soundtrack to my life

Girlfriday asks, and I answer:

"Joy to the World" - as sung by girlfriday
"Life is Beautiful" - Michelle Tumes
"Radically Saved" - Carman
"Place in This World" - Michael W. Smith
"Dancing Queen" - ABBA
"We Are Not as Strong as We Think We Are" - Rich Mullins
"Fix You" - Coldplay
"This is Your Life" - Switchfoot
"Walk On" - U2
"Amazing Grace"
"Dreams" - Cranberries
"The Other Side of Me" - Michael W. Smith
"Everybody's Changing" - Keane
"Devotion" - Newsboys

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

girlfriday, Late to Everything, Covered in Coffee

The day started with a quick step back into my apartment for something I'd forgotten and my running into a wall. I wish it was figuratively. My full-to-the-brim travel mug tipped and the fresh coffee went splashing all over my coat, jacket and shirt and onto the floor. Then, because it was hot, it burned my chest. I yelled. Slammed a few things around. Then changed and left. Late per usual.

It ended with me accidentally knocking a coffee mug off my counter and onto the floor. It's the second thing, in a week, I've broken in the kitchen and in the same manner, too.

Either I need to be more careful or it's time to hire someone to clean up after me.

Stumbling to my bed, I mutter "If only clumsiness were next to godliness think how much closer I'd be today!" and crumble into bed.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Dive In! The Water is So-So.

I know there are readers who don't comment on our posts. This is either because they can't be bothered or they don't know how.

They are invited to continuing reading, of course!

But, we would enjoy their comments, too.

To get started, either click on "Get Your Own Blog" in the upper right hand corner of your screen and follow the directions or click in the Comments section on the bottom of each post. The dialogue box will tell you that non anonymous comments are allowed, and it will read "No Blogger account? Sign up here. "

There is some brief nonsense about creating your own blog; select some random template, then delete the blog a few moments later.

See how easy it is? Okay, it's a little convoluted. As I said, the water is so-so.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

To Dallas, With Love

I hope that the aforementioned will take this in the spirit of endearment in which it is intended. I found this old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon last night and laughed out loud. Then thought of DB of Blognostic. I don't have a scanner, so you'll just have to envision Calvin and his buddy Hobbes with the following dialogue:

Frame 1
Calvin to Hobbes: "History will thank me for keeping this journal at such a young age."

Frame 2
Calvin to Hobbes: "As one of those rare individuals destined for true greatness, this record of my thoughts and convictions will provide invaluable insight into budding genius!"

Frame 3
Calvin to Hobbes (Hobbes pondering.): "Think of it! A priceless historical document in the making! Wow!"

Frame 4 (Final frame)
Calvin to Hobbes: "So who ELSE should I add to my list of total jerks?"
Hobbes: "Who else do you even know?"

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

If Your Life Had a Soundtrack

What would it sound like?

My sister emailed us with this question last fall. Some songs immediately spring to mind--songs that were either big hits around memorable seasons of my life or songs that came out later that describe a certain age or event.

It turns out the hit song the year I was born was "If You Leave Me Now" by Chicago. Hmm. Not exactly cerebral, but...

One of my sisters, rock lover that she is, launched her soundtrack with "Born in the USA." When another sister said goodbye to her beloved nephew, she included "Godspeed (Little Man)" by the Dixie Chicks.

See how it works?

My list would also include, somewhere:
    Something Special by the Gaither Family
    Father’s Eyes by Amy Grant
    Sundays will Never Be the Same by Spanky and Our Gang
    Regardez Moi by Celine Deion
    Gift of a Thistle Soundtrack to Braveheart
    Everybody Hurts by REM
    I Will by Alison Krauss
    Trouble by Coldplay
    You Can’t Love the Wrong Man Right by Linda Ronstadt
    Collide by Howie Day
    Landslide of Love by Newsboys
What would your Soundtrack include?

H/T The Corner And ihearttexas.

UPDATE: I am writing your theme song. Yes, yours. Stay tuned.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Sunday, February 19, 2006

All is Fair in Love and Photography

Public nudity offends me. Call me what you like; I care nothing for modern taste as it relates to the presentation of the human body.

And nothing is more public than the cover of a magazine. GQ, for example, has a circulation over 800,000, which does not include thousands of book-buyers that wander past the magazine rack in B & N on any given afternoon.

Jennifer Aniston posed topless on the cover of a recent GQ. Kiera Knightly and Scarlett Johansson bare all on the cover of this month's Vanity Fair.

"Do not stir or awaken love until it pleases." A verse of Holy Scripture tucked a few times into a tiny addition to the 66.

That is my argument against public nudity and certain kinds of artistic expression. There is no denying the link between our bodies and our desires. The mighty, slumbering forces of Love and its accompanimentss are meant to be awakened in private. Far from this, modernity has brought them roaring to life then dragged them through the mire of human lust and complacency.

The injury to the soul by displays of public nudity is twice inflicted: on the spectator and on the subject. Waifs with vacant, sometimes mean expressions, silicon for breasts, in the posture of love-making, trading the simple virtue of modesty, that terribly passe concept, for the chance to model a pair of stilettos.

It is easy to forget that they are human beings, so much more than one-dimensional. They are no less immune to the effects of immodesty than we are by gaping at them.

UPDATE: The conversation has been improved upon here by Ms. Lane, here at South Dakota Politics and finally here. There are some excellent comments by readers as well.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Well, in that case...

As long as we're plugging blogs, I may as well throw my hat into the ring and get on girlfriday's last nerve. Stop on by. P.S. ihearttexas' post today is well worth the wait.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

My monthly contribution to my blog

I guess I should post here everytime I post on Baby Whisperer, because it's usually only about a monthly occurence. But I have. And you should read it.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Grasping at Bullets

I secretly wish that Dick Cheney had shot Hugo Chavez so we'd have a real story.

But he didn't. And we don't.

Shrinking Violet Dallas Boyd on why we can't take serioulsly Nancy Pelosi in particular and desperate Liberal head-waggers in general.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Edge of Enjoyment

Popular culture is a letdown. It makes a lot of claims to artistic bravery, but it owns nothing. A lot of pretty, talented browned bodies playing in mud puddles when they might be riding the surf.

There is no lack of vocal talent. There are plenty with excellent voices or solid range. It's that their talent is shrink-wrapped in a mixture of synthesizers, drums and electric guitar. The Grammys are over and I am left thirsting for better sound.

Pop culture survives by recognizing, sometimes designing and always cultivating, trends. Husky, consonant-less voices accompanied by the monotone strum of the electric guitar fill the airwaves. On screen, hairless-chested bipeds, brooding and desirable with vacant stares and gender identity issues court full-lipped waifs, shoulders slumped forward, with impossibly good jobs and families but no knowledge of Self.

There is no lack of dramatic talent; even our city is full of it. It's that artistic bravery is so rarely seen we've almost begun not to recognize it. Large, obtrusive performances that never please are what audiences crave. Self restraint is backstage.

What I see and hear displeases me. Give us fuller, richer melodies that won't leave us; powerful, meaningful performances by skilled actors at the hands of respectful, patient directors; the power in simple, declarative sentences.

Don't appease our bad taste; defy us. We are bad writers; be wittier. Our conversations are stilted, dull; enrich them.

"One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul" said Van Gogh, "and yet no one ever comes to sit by it."

Don't take us to the edge, push us over it. Leave trends to shoemakers and re-introduce us to Art that descends Time.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Six Paragraphs on Six Men I've Fallen in Love With

I have been heard to complain that there is a lack of positive male influence in my life. To exorcise my own demon I offer my tribute to Six.

Today D brought me a Valentine's Day card. He is one of my favorite men though I argue with him as much as not. I can say without hesitation that no man understands me like he does. All his highs and exasperating lows--they are mine too. He was my First Date. Impossible to replace. And though I moved away in my mid-twenties and this was acceptable, with his departure I feel an emptiness. I am already smarting from the sting the absence of his hugs will create.

Quality has always attracted me and few have more of it than K. I knew him when we were kids, but we drifted apart in junior high and high school. It might be said with some irony that the woman who would steal his heart, would return him to mine. When I flew to Washington, DC in 1996 to spend some time with him, I must have known that this was the beginning of our adulthood. He treated me like an adult, at any rate, though we laughed like teenagers at Rob Becker at National Theater. Only recently have I begun to value the precious quality of a man that can be bothered to care about anything besides his career, his suit or his own opinion. God's heavenly timer is set just right, always binding us to the people we didn't even know we needed.

Sports lover, movie lover, frustratingly particular about minor details, delightfully clueless about mechanics. A writer. Impossible not to adore! I met J through my sister, who must have called me every day for a month to whisper-gasp about this unknown teenager who flirted with as much charming clumsiness as a girl could wish for. His youth was against him, but though you know his age, it's meaningless when you meet him. A depth of character tempered by a grasp of the absurd makes him the kind of friend and brother everyone wishes for. His sparkle is something I can't imagine my life without.

He is why we call them The Greatest Generation. Boompa was a navigator in World War II who channeled that intuition into managing our family, gathering us in every holiday and serving us when we got there. He surprises me with bursts of manly strength and honesty; befuddles me with his quiet ways. Still waters run deep, isn't that what's said? Why are we so rarely permitted to see below the surface?

With a flash of blond and blue, this little man swept me off my feet. May we add the love of Aunt-Nephew to Lewis' Four? Nephew was a set of hollow letters until now. I crave his raspberry kisses and stilted conversation. Who wouldn't follow this earnest soul when, with the word "play" on his lips, his fingers clasp yours and tug softly in the direction of Thomas the Tank Engine. A beautiful, problem-solving mind, even at two-and-a-half, he will outsmart me soon, and I know it. Trilingual. Gorgeous. Loving. Willful. Three feet of Osh Kosh perfection.

A particular man who cannot be packaged into a tidy description. Even his eye color eludes you, perhaps because of his reluctance to make eye contact. They are grey I suppose. A teacher by nature and trade, he is as much at ease lecturing mid-riffed college freshman as he is addressing a roomful of academics. Easy to love not only for his character, warmth and humor but for his flaws, irritating and endearing. A puzzle. A kind of Switzerland when I am goose-stepping my way through our conversations. A friend of iron will with a cinnamon sugar heart.

Dozens of stern and loving, wise and generous, fun-loving and brilliant, funny and good-natured, devoted and concerned, godly and interesting men are missing from this list. Not without a little awkwardness and self-consciousness, for the friendship of men I am grateful.

And to them all, I wish a Happy Valentine's Day.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Grammar School Revisited

A very clever little bit of blogging at Abba Gav last night.

What's wrong with this picture?

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It's not the movies, but I think it counts

In preparation for tonight's Grammy Awards:

"Boulevard of Broken Dreams," Green Day --— PREDICT/PREFER
"We Belong Together," Mariah Carey;
"Feel Good Inc.," Gorillaz featuring De La Soul;
"Hollaback Girl," Gwen Stefani;
"Gold Digger," Kanye West.

"Chaos and Creation in the Backyard," Paul McCartney --— PREDICT
"How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," U2 -- PREFER
"The Emancipation of Mimi," Mariah Carey;
"Love. Angel. Music. Baby.," Gwen Stefani;
"Late Registration," Kanye West.

"Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own," (U2) --— PREDICT/PREFER
"Bless the Broken Road," (Rascal Flatts);
"Devils & Dust," (Bruce Springsteen);
"Ordinary People," (John Legend);
"We Belong Together," (Mariah Carey).

John Legend --— PREDICT
Keane --— PREFER
Fall Out Boy,

"It's Like That," Mariah Carey --— PREDICT
"Since U Been Gone," Kelly Clarkson --— PREFER
"Good Is Good," Sheryl Crow;
"I Will Not Be Broken," Bonnie Raitt;
"Hollaback Girl," Gwen Stefani.

"Fine Line," Paul McCartney -- PREDICT/PREFER
"Sitting, Waiting, Wishing," Jack Johnson;
"Walk on By," Seal;
"Lonely No More," Rob Thomas;
"From the Bottom of My Heart," Stevie Wonder.

"Chaos and Creation in the Backyard," Paul McCartney --— PREDICT
"Breakaway," Kelly Clarkson --— PREFER
"Extraordinary Machine," Fiona Apple;
"Wildflower," Sheryl Crow;
"Love. Angel. Music. Baby.," Gwen Stefani.

"How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," U2 --— PREDICT/PREFER
"X&Y," Coldplay;
"In Your Honor," Foo Fighters;
"A Bigger Bang," The Rolling Stones;
"Prairie Wind," Neil Young.

"A Time to Love," Stevie Wonder --— PREDICT
"Get Lifted," John Legend --— PREFER
"Illumination," Earth, Wind & Fire;
"Free Yourself," Fantasia;
"Unplugged," Alicia Keys.

"Late Registration," Kanye West --— PREDICT
"Be," Common --— PREFER
"The Cookbook," Missy Elliott;
"Encore," Eminem;
"The Massacre," 50 Cent.

"Time Well Wasted," Brad Paisley --— PREDICT/PREFER
"Fireflies," Faith Hill;
"Lonely Runs Both Ways," Alison Krauss & Union Station;
"All Jacked Up," Gretchen Wilson;
"Jasper County," Trisha Yearwood.

"You Could Have It So Much Better," Franz Ferdinand --— PREDICT
"Funeral," The Arcade Fire --— PREFER
"Guero," Beck;
"Plans," Death Cab for Cutie;
"Get Behind Me Satan," The White Stripes.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Long Live the Snark

"I find it incomprehensible that Oliver Stone continues to work. I am troubled that Roman Polanski is a hero of sorts, given his history with young girls. I find it difficult to fathom that a mental lightweight like George Clooney would be asked questions about anything more complicated than the brand of condom he likes best. And I am still looking to discover what in Hell a Kiera Knightley is, and how one ought to go about getting rid of it."

Sometimes the gems are buried in the comments.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

"Not Only is it Inconvenient, it's Dangerous."

The dashing freshman senator from Canyon County had his day in the spotlight today. Click here to see him in action.

Money line: "Well, you've driven that road. It's screeching brakes."

(Mr. McGee has also found a place in Wikipedia. What do you think, Jeb? Next up a fan club?)

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Monday, February 06, 2006

Conventional Truths Contrasted in a World Without Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan, one of the mothers of liberation feminism, died this weekend at 85. She wrote these words, still surprisingly relevant.

"It is easy to see the concrete details that trap the suburban housewife, the continual demands on her time. But the chains that bind her in her trap are chains in her own mind and spirit. They are chains made up of mistaken ideas and misinterpreted facts, of incomplete truths and unreal choices. They are not easily seen and not easily shaken off...How can any woman see the whole truth within the bounds of her own life? How can she believe that voice inside herself, when it denies the conventional, accepted truths by which she has been living?"

If the conventional truth of Ms. Freidan's day was that women belonged in the kitchen, the conventional truth of today is that abortion is the highest and lawful expression of female empowerment, a sacred right to defend at all costs.

Except that it is indefensible if you believe anything. Anything at all.

While it may be inconvenient to discuss abortion within the framework of morality, feminism is grounded, in an important way, in a morality of its own: the belief that inequalities that exist as a result of sex are wrong; that women are less valuable to society than men is wrong; that unequal pay for equal work is wrong; and so on.

This is a problem for pro-choice feminism. Abortion exalts the rights and exerts the power of one human being over another--a fundamental "evil" that feminism, by its nature, aims to correct. This is even more problematic when the victim of this exertion is a female person.

Simply, abortion mocks the spirit of true feminism: equality.

Did Betty Friedan intend liberation feminism to achieve its ends in exchange for another set of wrongs? How ludicrous.

Postscript: While the same women who fight to safeguard the conventional truth of our day, that the right to abortion is the duty of every free society, they declare Wal-Mart evil for opting not to offer health insurance to its workers. Within whose moral framework is the former just and the latter evil?

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Brokeback to the Future

If you cannot be bothered to read Jeb's stand-up review of Brokeback Mountain, maybe this video is for you.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Sunday, February 05, 2006

"Brokeback Mountain" Review

Disclaimer 1: If you haven’t seen this movie and you want to, don’t read this post because I’m going to give it away.

Disclaimer 2: If you think I’m going to give you some kind of graphic details, have no fear. (While the love scenes are probably going to be somewhat uncomfortable for any heterosexual, they are hardly the lurid stuff of rumours.)

Let me start by saying that as anyone who knows me would tell you, I am a George Bush loving conservative. I think the Iraq war is right and abortion is wrong. Terry Schiavo was murdered. Richard Nixon is over-demonized. Reagen had tremendous foresight, and George Bush is no idiot.

I love cowboys. I love a good Western. I have loved Clint Eastwood from afar, literally for as long as I can remember. Homosexuality is wrong. Adultery is wrong.

So I think I should have hated Brokeback Mountain. But I didn’t. I was moved to tears. Heartbroken even.

When Brokeback Mountain first came out, I read a quote somewhere by a member of the crew who said, “conservatives are going to like this movie.” Well this conservative did, and here’s my theory on why that comment makes sense.

While I’m sure a significant portion of the gay population would disagree, I believe much, if not most, homosexuality, is environmental; not natural. In my own extended family there is strong evidence to support this. Abusive, or even just overbearing parents can have a profound effect on a child’s tender psyche both in childhood and throughout life.

It has long been accepted that young girls tend to “marry their fathers” – seeking out men, for better or worse, who exemplify the man that raised them . . . or neglected them, or abused them, or abandoned them. What are the lyrics to that John Mayer song? “Oh, you see that skin? It's the same she's been standing in since the day she saw him walking away; Now she's left cleaning up the mess he made . . Fathers be good to your daughters; Daughters will love like you do; Girls become lovers who turn into mothers . . . .”

Well, why is this any less true of a father’s impact on his sons? And why is it any less possible that a son would seek out in relationships the things he didn’t get from an abusive or at least emotionally vacant father? I have a 2-year-old son. And he loves his mama – but when his dad comes home from work, or his Uncle Jake comes over, or his “older” friends Jacob, Cooper, or Conner are around – it’s all about them. 150 percent. Mom fades to black. They play loud, push, run, fall down, yell, laugh, even giggle. I think there are some very good single moms out there who’ve done as well as they possibly could raising boys on their own – but I guarantee that in most cases they have not done it as well as if there had a been a loving father in the picture. Boys need men to love them as much as girls do.

Throughout Brokeback Mountain there are allusions, references, or brief flashbacks to each characters’ life that indicated to me a father who was at the very least cold, maybe even abusive. Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) tells Ennis (Heath Ledger) in one of the opening scenes, that the reason he works for sheep-rancher Joe Aquirre (Randy Quaid) each summer, despite the hard work and unreasonable expectations, is because “it beats workin’ for my old man.” And in the end of the movie we meet his father and see why that first statement was probably true. He is clearly bitter and seemingly unmoved by the death of his son, only barely tolerating Ennis’s presence when he comes to express his condolences and try to take some of Jack’s ashes up to Brokeback Mountain where Jack asked that they be scattered. Jack’s father refuses, knowing full well why this was his son’s request and who Ennis is.

In a later scene, Jack tells Ennis that he wants a real relationship – not just a fling on Brokeback Mountain. Ennis replies flatly that it won’t happen, that if they got caught, they could end up dead. Then he proceeds to recount a childhood memory, which the movie flashes back to, about “two old guys ranched up together” and how one day the locals took a tire iron to one of them, dragged him around until he was dead and then left him in a ditch to rot. In the memory Ennis is no more than nine and, as he says, “My daddy, he made sure me and my brother seen it. . . Hell for all I know, he done the job.” As we watch the flashback, the camera moves in close to the face of this horrified little boy staring at a bloody, mutilated corpse. There are freckles across his sun-browned nose, dirt in the fine creases around his eyes, and we see his father’s hand on the back of his neck. It is not a loving touch. As we watch, his large fingers press hard into the flesh around the tendons on the side of Ennis’s neck, warning him.

I don’t offer the above explanation as a defense of homosexuality, because truly I believe it is wrong. Even if you didn’t believe it was wrong in and of itself, at the very least you’d have to agree it was wrong in a relationship where the two participants are both married to other people. Rare is the movie these days that really sanctions adultery (although “Walk the Line” did and there wasn’t much hue and cry over it from the conservative community).

But right or wrong, homosexuality does exist. As a Christian conservative I’m not blind to that fact. It’s reality. But I think it exists for reasons related to a fallen world; not God’s perfect design. The argument can be made that Brokeback Mountain, however subtly, presents it not as accidental reality owing itself to a genetic lottery, but as consequential reality; sins of the fathers. And this, for me, made it something that I could relate to with compassion even if I disagreed with it. Who among us, cannot relate on some level to the human condition we each suffer at the hands of others.

There is no doubt that the movie sets out to make you feel for its main characters. But it doesn’t make any attempt to gloss over the negative impact of their affair. Everyone around Ennis and Jack is undone by it – their children, their wives, their in-laws. It is painful to watch Ennis’s oldest daughter try to understand why she isn’t a priority in his life. Jack’s son becomes a vacant child marked with the sign of an unimpeachable Texas-upbringing: zombie-like attention to football. There is no indication that either child knows of their father’s homosexual love affair, but they are profoundly affected nonetheless.

Their wives are bitter and pathetic in their attempts to grapple with their marital reality. Ennis’s wife (Michelle Williams) probably garners more sympathy from viewers because she actually deals with the situation, however painfully. Jack’s wife (Ann Hathaway) becomes cold and mostly unlikable - an overly blonde, large-haired Texan with bright lips and fingernails. But there is a moment late in the movie, as she is telling Ennis about Jack’s death, when the camera moves in close to her face and in her eyes you can see this intense, almost throbbing pain. Even though you find her mostly repulsive, you still feel for just how crappy this must have been for her too.

Brokeback Mountain convinced me to feel compassion for two gay characters. But it didn’t make me agree with the homosexuality. And I don’t think it was trying to. The negative consequences of their relationship are everywhere. Ennis becomes little more than a lonely ne’r do well living in a beat-up trailer on the outskirts of his Wyoming town. So convincing is his dejection that you wonder that he can even enjoy a slice of pie he eats by himself in a half-empty diner. Jack is promiscuous, finding sex in Mexico when he can’t be with Ennis. If he hadn’t died the way he does in the movie, he surely would have met his end virally in the AIDS-soaked 80’s. Neither man’s children are priorities for them. They devastate their wives - women they married, despite knowing that they'd never properly love them.

Certainly, there are peripheral characters that are meant to represent a place, a time and a society that even today probably wouldn’t “cotton” to queer cowboys. But this is hardly the theme of the movie. You never believe that this is working out for Jack and Ennis.

If Brokeback Mountain is meant to be some kind of endorsement of homosexuality well then I didn’t get it and I’d have to give it an “F.” But if it is supposed to be a small, poetic illustration of one part of the human condition it does an achingly good job.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Baby Fishmouth, Anyone?

I have no idea how this search on google: who was the of Lee Lip-Ex chapstick brought someone to girlfriday!

SHARE THIS: Facebook | Stumble It! | | DiggIt! | Technorati

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Dagger's Edge of Desire and Disappointment

Per capita, NSA girls are at the very least twice as hot as UI girls.

And yet the NSA girls seemed somehow more desperate. Not because they knew their own beauty and wished to see it appreciated—that, momentarily, they had forgotten—but because they knew their futures rode on the dagger’s edge of being lovely (but never wanton) clever (but never more clever than the boys) accomplished (but mostly, we hope, in feminine arts) with-it (but not of the world) and Christian (of the right persuasion). This, because the NSA male will expect perfection.

The UI male will not. The UI male is pragmatic. He wants... (If you can't guess, read the rest here.)

Lone Prairie on why the single are still unmarried.

SHARE THIS: Facebook | The Dagger's Edge of Desire and Disappointment " target="_blank">Stumble It! | The Dagger's Edge of Desire and Disappointment " target="_blank"> | The Dagger's Edge of Desire and Disappointment " target="_blank">DiggIt! | The Dagger's Edge of Desire and Disappointment " target="_blank">Technorati