Rejecting the Hollywood dogma

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Film critic Ann Hornaday has boldly flouted one of the Ten Commandments of the motion picture industry. She’s calling bullshit on a couple of “edgy independent” filmmakers. You’re not supposed to do that. If an independent film makes you uncomfortable, you’re supposed to nervously assume it’s gone over your head, and devote yourself like crazy to proclamations of its greatness, lest someone figure out that you’re stupid:

Because Gordon and especially Argento possess such cinematic cred, any self-respecting critic should greet the arrival of “Stuck” and “Mother of Tears” with the requisite phrases about dark humor, recurring visual tropes and pulp sensibilities. The tone should be ironic and supremely knowing: If, dear reader, you can’t hang with the kind of graphic gore, sadistic violence, protracted torture and perverse sexist subtext that run through these movies, then you’re obviously not in on the joke. You’re a philistine. File under “Square, hopeless.”

Only what’s really stupid is the failure to realize that sometimes edgy films are just crap. Hat tip to Bellatrys, who recommended the article and aptly described it as an “Emperor Has No Spiffy Duds moment.”

What she’s specifically not getting about these films is why they keep offering scenes of women being tortured or killed in particularly nasty ways:

I don’t get what fascinates Gordon and Argento — both men in their 60s — about thinking up new ways to inflict pain. I don’t get what’s “ingeniously nasty” about watching people suffer and die. I don’t get the “gonzo artistry” of murdering a woman by way of a symbolic rape with a sword. I don’t get why that’s entertaining, edifying, endorsed by the cinematic canon or even remotely okay.

Yeah, why is that okay? Keep in mind we’re not talking about just one torture scene, nor is she saying that all torture scenes are inherently wrong: she describes several nastier scenes than this, and that’s all in two films. It’s hard to imagine this as anything other than a gratuitous indulgence on the filmmaker’s parts. And why do critics tolerate it?

Because if you don’t, you’re told (from people holding their noses so high they’re in danger of nosebleeds) “You just don’t get it.” Especially if you’re a woman critiquing a director’s indulgence of something that has to do with women. Not only do you “not get it”, you’re also suddenly “just a chick who can’t hack it” in the boys’ club of film – ha, see? They were right not to let you chicks in.

Hornaday is endangering her credibility by telling the truth instead of reciting the phrases she’s been trained to invoke in these situations, so she cleverly predicts how her review will be interpreted, and fully explains why. This is a highly recommended read, with a great description of the intellectual dishonesty she felt pressured to embrace – until now.

Comments

  1. SunlessNick says

    This is a highly recommended read, with a great description of the intellectual dishonesty she felt pressured to embrace – until now.

    And yet, she’ll be called the intellectually dishonest one because she’s judging the film “politically” as opposed to “on its own terms.” Which is a code word for “yes we really know that it’s X, Y, and Z – in this case a celebration of misogynistic violence – but we really need that to not count.”

    An article I read years and years ago said something revealing here – it was about rape stories, and where the writer thought the line lay between them as drama and as exploitation – they thought it was based on whom the author intended the reader to empathise with, the victim or the rapist.

    So in these films, who is the viewer supposed to empathise with? The torture subgenre seems to make ciphers of the people doing the actual torture, while the prologues for the victims frequently paint them in completely unsympathetic terms (disclaimer: I haven’t seen any of these films; I’m going from how critics and reviewers describe them, which means I could be talking a crock here). But making the victims unlikeable throws an element of “just desserts” into the subsequent horror, and raises the question of whether we’re meant to empathise with the victim or the torturer.*

    No doubt some would call being encouraged to empathise with the torturer uncomfortable and horrific – and suggest that not liking it is being scaredy or squeamish without the stomach for horror – or as in the article, unhip, or dare I say it, girly? But when men market films to men about ciphered men torturing unlikeable women, I don’t really buy that – too many of the target audience will get a thrill, not a chill. Surely a better source of horror is giving us a relatable victim with whom we empathise in their suffering – or to give us a relatable and sympathetic victim to whom we can relate, and then make us empathise with the torturer – but I guess that’s too much like hard work.

    As I said, I don’t watch torture films, and maybe some – or even many or most – do do better than this. I could be talking a crock about them. On the other hand, I’m not talking a crock about what the critics and reviewers say. They definitely emphasise the unlikeability of the victims – no review of Captivity I can think of failed to describe Elisha Cuthbert’s character as spoiled, vain, or some other adjective typically reserved for children and women. So maybe the attitude I’m ascribing to filmmakers and audiences really belongs to critics – and that’s why they have to maintain the facade of cool indie art – to cover up their titillation.

    * I know that unlikeable/minority/breaking social rules victim is a staple in most American** forms of horror, which is why it gets called a conservative genre, but when the horrors are altogether inhuman, there’s a different dynamic when it comes to the question of who you empathise with.

    ** British horror is much more likely to have bad things happen to good people. Which I think is, well, kinda scarier, you know?

    Edited to add: Bloody hell, I’m a windbag sometimes.

  2. says

    Nick, I don’t watch horror either, largely because of the anti-female vibe. But I did watch a lot of the slasher/thriller movies in the 80’s when I was a kid, and there were some distinct rules I picked up (which I think were formative for the US version of the genre):

    Horror happens to people outside the traditional family unit (which is Dad, Mom and kids). It happens to teens who are outgrowing their original family but haven’t yet taken a new one. It happens to single moms. (This is where, for example, Poltergeist transcends the run of the mill – it happens to a perfect traditional family unit, and that point is emphasized. They did nothing directly wrong – it turns out the very American dream has betrayed them via Dad’s job as land developer being the reason his dream house is built on top of a graveyard.)

    There are both men and women who will “deserve” what happens to them, but the men will deserve it for something they’ve done while the women will deserve it for their sense of entitlement. The thing is, at least the guy DOES something you might secretly admire. But a spoiled female – as written by someone who obviously isn’t one and isn’t trying as hard as, say, some of the cheesy teen movies of the same era did to understand why a person would act “spoiled” – is going to be loathed by one and all.

    And so, when she drops her keys and breaks her heel and doesn’t run as fast as she could’ve, we find ourselves cheering the killer on.

    It’s also extremely telling that the unlikeable women always do something to prevent their own escape – trip, drop keys, etc. And then they just freeze and wait for it. The unlikeable men don’t do this – they’re allowed to fight to the end. Why? Because it’s a rape metaphor, and whatever the woman does to slow down her escape until it’s too late is to be read as her secret inevitable consent to being raped. You know, that one so many judges and juries still believe is the source of confusion whenever a Nice Man* is accused of raping a woman. (*I had to make the Nice Man distinction because I realize if a man is not white, below the poverty line, not traditionally employed, etc., he’s arguably as likely as the woman to be thrown to the wolves by ignorant judges and juries.)

  3. Patrick says

    The trend toward torture porn over the last ten years has really soured my enjoyment of horror films, though it does seem to be a natural consequence of the slasher/splatterpunk trends in horror from the preceding twenty years.

    I like scary movies, but most horror filmmakers have no idea what a scary movie is, and seem to think that “horror” consists of a range of grotesqueries. And while a horror movie can use gore to its benefit (the original Night of the Living Dead and Silence of the Lambs are still the scariest movies I’ve ever seen), most people seem to think that gore is the point of horror rather than one of many tools available to a filmmaker.

    The worst part about torture porn is that for all the claims of trying to horrify the audience, its pretty clear that the films are intended and received as titillation, which is where it goes from “without value” to “actively repugnant.”

  4. MaggieCat says

    Every time I see a movie like this (or Saw or Hostel) being applauded I can’t help but think of something I read once that said that the compulsion to rubberneck at a car crash or some other horrible scene isn’t morbid or love of gore, but an evolutionary instinct to learn from the violence so that we can learn to avoid it. The difference is that no one is trying to sell a 10 car pile-up as boundary-pushing art.

    The trend towards unsympathetic victims and villains is stranger in my opinion. I’ve actually had a theory for a while that things like 24 and the glut of procedural dramas are the modern continuation of medieval miracle and mystery plays, tapping into that same instinct that wants to see people who violate the laws of god or people punished, and usually harshly so that they can A) feel superior about their own virtue and B) reassure themselves that bad things only happen to bad people, and as society became more secular and the Wrath of God lost its impact it was replaced by the forces of law and order. Which is why it made a sort of twisted sense that there are more women in these sorts of roles (even if I don’t agree with it) because historically and currently women are held to stricter code of behavior and there are more ways for us to transgress the “order” that’s being enforced.

    But this sort of thing throws me, because I can’t see the point. There was sense available when the victims were good, and it tapped into the fear that evil things happen but can be beaten. There’s some sense when the victims are lousy humans but the destruction is coming from a force beyond their ken and goes back to the whole karma/ Wrath place. But this? Bad people do bad things to other bad people, so yay? I… I don’t get it. And I find it really, really creepy that the violence and the victims are so regularly overtly sexualized women.

    *

    So this is why, in spite of my love for the horror genre, I’ve had to turn to horror-based television over films. Because I require main characters who are at least moderately sympathetic and not causing the death and destruction through their own stupidity or hubris. It’s why, for all its problems, Blair Witch was one of the few horror movies that has actually scared me– because it was something happening to ordinary people because of an easy mistake.

    The rise of genre-savvy has made it impossible (for me at least) not to roll my eyes at the instigating factor of a lot of these– at this point don’t we all know not to wander through cemeteries where people keep mysteriously dying/ go into houses where mass murders have taken place/ perform summoning rituals of any sort/ piss off the creepy local when you’re a stranger in town who won’t be missed/ read Latin-esque language from books that may or may not be bound in human hide? And that while it can make an effective addition to a gruesome scene, a large budget for fake blood cannot be substituted for character development?

    But getting lost in the woods? Characters who are treated as people rather than a collection of body parts for cannon fodder? Being pushed to the point where you don’t know if you can trust your own senses because what you believe you know intellectually is in conflict with what your gut is telling you? That’s something reasonable to suspend one’s disbelief from, and personalizes the danger in a way that’s far more striking than showing people being disemboweled sans anesthetic. Even if you do need Dramamine and Tylenol afterwards from the camerawork.

    I really must learn to be concise one of these days…

  5. scarlett says

    Maggie, have you seen The Fly? If you can get past the bullshit science that holds the movie together, I found it creepy BECAUSE it was an easy, honest mistake (those words being relative to teleportation) to make and I could actually empathize to the crappy situation she was in. It worked because they were basically likable people who had this horrific thing happen, and there wasn’t even much gore in it.

  6. Patrick says

    Um, I assume you’re referring to the original version of The Fly, since the David Cronenberg remake is, well, a David Cronenberg movie with all that that entails.

  7. MaggieCat says

    The one with Geena Davis is the David Cronenberg remake, which I have not seen because A) I don’t like Jeff Goldblum and B) it’s the David Cronenberg version. That guy lost my attention permanently when I accidentally stumbled onto about 5-10 minutes of Dead Ringers. (And that later thing about how his films should be seen from the point of view of the diseases certainly didn’t help.)

  8. scarlett says

    Ah, OK. I don’t like Jeff Goldblum either – he just creeps me out, which kind of works for this movie – but I really liked Geena Davis in it.

  9. sbg says

    I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a good comment, and finally figured out why I’m drawing a blank: everyone else has already covered it, so all I get is a lame “me too!”

    I personally don’t even understand general gratuitous violence in movies, let alone when it comes to blatant torture of women (usually highly sexualized torture). I enjoy hurt/comfort to a degree, but what on earth is the point of All Hurt, All The Time? Am I supposed to stand up and cheer for more blood?

    Uhm. I’ll keep my humanity, thanks.

  10. Ide Cyan says

    I’m amused at the mentions of Cronenberg following the statement that “no one is trying to sell a 10 car pile-up as boundary-pushing art”, since the fascination with car crashes was the subject of one of his most controversial films. (And The Fly is pretty gory. Not people getting cut up with chainsaws gory, but regurgitating acid on somebody’s hand gory.)

  11. says

    You know, *I* don’t understand gratuitous anything. I really don’t. It ruins things for me. Even when it’s something I love – say, an actor I find crazy hot, and they start having him run around without a shirt all the time for no apparent reason – I feel like my intelligence is being insulted. I rather LIKE having to wait for appropriate moments for that shirt to come off.

    Ditto on violence and so on. I really like violence – I do. But not for the sake of violence – not just to look upon. I like to feel the reality of it – it has to connect with this horrible joke that life is, where you’re born to consume and destroy other living creatures to survive long enough to be consumed and destroyed yourself. Otherwise, it’s just a question of how much I like the color of fake blood, which is: not that much.

  12. sbg says

    Even when it’s something I love – say, an actor I find crazy hot, and they start having him run around without a shirt all the time for no apparent reason – I feel like my intelligence is being insulted. I rather LIKE having to wait for appropriate moments for that shirt to come off.

    Oh, jeez, yes. When nearly everyone on SG-1 started suddenly walking around in tank tops (they’re in an underground, controlled-air environment!), I cringed rather than salivated. Not appropriate use of skin.

    Love scenes tossed in just because toss me right out. Hell, there was a season 2 episode of Supernatural conceived almost entirely to get one of the guys laid (so sayeth the writer). NOOOOO. As it was, the scene was embarrassingly long, not particularly interesting and the only good part about it (for me) was the end shot of the scene, which was gorgeous.

    Uhm. Sorry for the tangent.

  13. says

    Thanks for spotlighting this, BetaCandy – and I want to agree with both Sunless Nick’s observation about torture pr0n and MaggieCat’s equation of procedural thrillers with morality plays.

    I noticed the latter as a Trope myself, being a mystery novel junkie since discovering Dame Agatha in high school, and something I eventually noticed in the ’90s was that the victims were almost always unlikeable and not just flawed, but shown to have had flaws that made them somehow seem to have karmically “deserved” their death, even if the killer was also Teh Ebol and had to be taken down for the good of society instead of just Abstract Justice. It was (still is, but not quite as much I think as ten+ years ago) much rarer to have a truly innocent victim, with whom we were supposed to empathise regardless of their humanizing flaws, than to have the detective slowly discover what a nasty, conniving, life-ruining, scheming devil or she-devil the victim was, sometimes for the author clearly intending to have us even sympathize with the killer and feel this now a “morally gray” situation, not a clearcut case at all.

    Now, I’m all for morally gray and complex stories being told (even in genre!) but the way it kept happening over and over gradually made me think about the, maybe even meta, reason for it: to have us not have to hurt for the victim, to have us not going away thinking it was really an unmitigated tragedy for them to have died, one that will not be made up for by the killer being put away or karmically killed off in turn.

    IOW, empathy is too painful, let’s find an excuse to turn it off now. Or, alternately, Justice Has Been Done All Around, The System Works, The Universe Is Balanced Once More, Let Us Go Home And Rejoice & Be Merry! (Kind of the opposite of Greek tragedy, where all the ends are supposed to be loose and the audience is supposed to go away discomfited and thinking over this remix of old familiar mythology…)

    Now, again, in the Mystery genre there are lots of exceptions, but it just got to the point where I couldn’t help but notice how often it happened. And then I started noticing the same thing in action movies – I read way more books than I ever see or have seen of TV and film, so that was more me than the genres. But I did notice how we weren’t ever supposed to sympathize with the victims of random violence (unless they were The Hero’s Fridged Wife &/or Child, and even then we aren’t to empathize with them) and how this was usually done by showing them as, firstly, the bad guys, even if minor ones (think the lawyer in Jurassic Park and secondly, by making them ridiculous and unattractive, even, or especially, in death (same example as above, which is where iirc I first began to formulate this.)

    Obviously, this is even more so in the Horror genre, for all the reasons and in all the ways detailed above – I will forever remember in 8th grade listening to the guys on the bus gloating about some slasher movie they’d seen and describing in turned-on voices about how He had put an electric drill through Her Eye!!! and the way my soul just turned to ice and how I could hardly get off the bus and go to class and function after that (they went on sharing the best moments from that movie and comparing them with others like it in Home Room, back in 1982 or 83 this was).

    But it’s very much there in all action tales, written or filmed – and the exceptions are kind of notable by their fewness. (This is one reason why Deep Blue Sea is such a “guilty pleasure” of mine – yes, it’s totally dumb, but it overtly skewers and subverts so many of the monster/action movie tropes, from “the brother always dies” to the fact that “the chick” has to be rescued by the stalwart (white) hero Trope is trumped by the fact that she’s also the Mad Scientist who archetypally must atone by sacrificing herself in destroying her creation…)

    I took to making a note of the “distancing” tactics that authors & directors almost subconsciously use in action tales to avoid having the audience become too tied into, and hence shattered by, the characters who serve as sacrifices to the plot-monster: of course, once consequence of this is that it’s hard to get too worked up, esp in series – you know only the Redshirts are gonna die, and it’s obvious who’s wearing the Red Shirt from early on, they’re either ciphers or unlikeable, unless the creator is going for the Mawkish touch, with the Doomed Puppy/Cute Little Kid/Guy Who Loves His Family Back Home (a blessing on TV Tropes Wiki, for studying and cataloging all these memes in the wild!) in which case there’s a different kind of emotional manipulation going on, but usually equally nauseating upon reflection.

    I think there’s something in this that goes back to Classical ideals of Manliness, where Autonomy and Self-determination are considered to be the highest qualities, and therefore being made passive – which is quintessentially the case in torture – is to be rejected and may not be empathized with at all, one must not allow that “there but for fortune” because that contradicts the whole Strong Will-Power is all that the Real Hero needs to triumph…think how Aristotle says that Female Charas and Servant Charas shouldn’t be given good lines it being ontologically unfitting or something like that (and then, being human, praises to the skies a play containing both, Antigone!)

  14. Ide Cyan says

    On the subject of victims — a really good film is Karen Moncrieff’s The Dead Girl, which is entirely about how a woman’s murder affects women — women who didn’t know her, women who did, women who knew the killer, and finally gives us a portrait of the victim herself as a human being, flawed but completely innocent of the crime.

  15. SunlessNick says

    Ide Cyan, thanks for that; it sounds like a definite film to see.

    So this is why, in spite of my love for the horror genre, I’ve had to turn to horror-based television over films. - MaggieCat

    I’m like that too. There certainly are plenty of horror films I like, but TV increasingly suits me better. (And books, can’t forget books :) ). But I watch horror to be scared. I watch it to watch bad situations, things that shouldn’t be happening – and to get the most out of that, I need some reason to root for, or relate to, or at least on some level care about, those to whom it’s happening.

    Torture (the comments won’t let me put in the second word) just doesn’t give me that. Victims can’t be abstract.

    Right now in the UK, we’re getting trailers for this – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teeth_(film) – thing, because apparently only a new low will do. And it fails hard on both counts: the men who get bitten are an assortment of scumbags; while the writers and producers can’t resist turning the woman, despite some lip service to the idea of her caught in a terrible situation,* into a Sinister Woman.

    So a Sinister Woman – who is Sinister in just about the most misogynistic way possible – hurts appalling men. And I care because?

    * Also, I’m pretty sick of the “powerful woman = victim of her power” trope. I can like it sometimes, if the writing and acting are good enough, and the power is one that can be genuinely burdensome – like Liz Sherman from Hellboy – but it’s a trick that starts from behind square one in my eyes.

  16. SunlessNick says

    And I care because?

    Come to think of it, the reason to care is the question of which axis a film like this is in parallel to the torture porn we’ve been describing. In a world where films present unlikeable female victims to titillate rather than horrify male viewers with their pain and deaths, does this film do that in reverse – making the male victims an assortment of rapists, assholes, and dirty old men to titillate with their mutilations – or is the point of using such a misogynistic trope for the woman meant as a way of garnering sympathy for the men, just as in normal torure porn?

  17. says

    Nick, it sounds to me like they’re saying even when a woman is faced with rapists, she’s the one with the real power.

    I’m sure they’d argue “no, it’s ironic and therefore the real point is the opposite of the one the film makes” but that’s only because they really don’t get irony. Richie does a definitive post on that here: Ironic Bigotry Man.

  18. Mertha Tyddvall says

    Nick, it sounds to me like they’re saying even when a woman is faced with rapists, she’s the one with the real power.

    Yeah, I think they are… when she has teeth between her legs. But I just did a quick pop quiz of my flatmates (3 women, 1 man) and none of them saw what you did at all. And I’d go out on a limb and say that no-one I know would get that impression. – Assuming that were true, and it generalised to the population at large, would it be a problem, even if that was the ‘intended meaning’ of the film, as long as practically no-one got it?

    But that’s a tangent – I don’t know if you’d grant me my assumption, so my real question is, where do you think this message is coming across?

    a) Intention/message:
    Is it the deliberate intended message of the creators of the film? Is it a message that the film gives, as correctly interpreted with regards to the creator’s intention, merely as a logical results of the contents of the film, whether or not the creator’s specifically intended to include it? Is it a message incorporated into the film subconsciously by the creators, but still definitely there? Or something else?

    b) the audience and the message:
    Does it matter if the audience gets the message? If no-one but the creators and you get the message (obviously hypothetically), then is this the same as if that wasn’t the message?
    Is the audience getting that message? Consciously, in a way they they are aware of? Subconsciously, either re-affirming/introducing prejudices, or in another way?
    If I saw the film with my flatmates, and we all didn’t get that message, as far as we were aware, what’s going on there? Are we all getting the film ‘wrong’? Have we got that message, but simply not noticed? Any other?

    Sorry the post length got away from me – I’ve been wondering about all this meaning/intention/creator/audience stuff recently, and I’m interested to see what I can learn from other people’s points of view.

  19. says

    Assuming that were true, and it generalised to the population at large, would it be a problem, even if that was the ‘intended meaning’ of the film, as long as practically no-one got it?

    It depends what you mean by “be a problem.” Let’s say only one person gets the message, but that person is a budding serial killer already predisposed to hate women and blame them for all his troubles. Or it could be a young waiting-for-marriage woman who’s recently had a sexual encounter she feels she didn’t consent to, but between this movie and her local preacher’s sermons about how young women are tempting our men into sin, she might conclude she’s really just a bad person and begin to behave self-destructively.

    So yeah, it could certainly CAUSE problems even if only one or two people get it, depending on whether they successfully filter the message for the bullshit it is or take it at face value.

    Is it the deliberate intended message of the creators of the film?

    We rarely ask this question because we’re not here to judge them as people, we only want to judge the product. And the answer always boils down to “It would be presumptuous for us to guess.”

    I tend to think these messages are most likely semi-conscious. I’ve known a lot of men who really have low opinions of women despite liking women. Some of these guys were screenwriters and producers, and I would try to show them the difference, and show them how it was coming across in their work. They never understood what I was saying.

    Check out my recent article on a MASH ep called Inga (front page right now). I think the plot of that episode really exposes a lot of what we’re seeing: filmmakers who, like Hawkeye, love and respect women as long as the women stay in their place, and haven’t had the eye-opening experience he gets in that episode.

    OTOH, I’m sure some of it’s deliberate because Hollywood has its share of men who just flat out hate women. Also women who hate women.

    And some of it’s just bad writing – people stealing ideas from other shows/movies that come complete with bad messages, and they’re not talented/smart enough to understand the material they’re putting across.

    Is it a message that the film gives, as correctly interpreted with regards to the creator’s intention, merely as a logical results of the contents of the film, whether or not the creator’s specifically intended to include it?

    I’m of the school that believes the writer’s intent doesn’t matter. I think communication is the responsibility of the person “speaking”, even though sometimes people determine to hear what they want no matter what you say. If you’re a mass communicator, the responsibility is even bigger. I apply this to myself both here and in my fiction writing.

    Does it matter if the audience gets the message? If no-one but the creators and you get the message (obviously hypothetically), then is this the same as if that wasn’t the message?

    Well, I’m part of the audience, right? Why should I specifically be excluded as not mattering? ;)

    Is the audience getting that message? Consciously, in a way they they are aware of? Subconsciously, either re-affirming/introducing prejudices, or in another way?

    *I* believe people often get it subconsciously. It can’t be proven either way, so everyone has their own take on this. The reason I think it gets through is, for example, I’ve had a LOT of frustrating conversations over the years with people who are absolutely positive I like/dislike something Because Women Like/Dislike That. When I assure them I’m different, they can’t understand why I would lie. I tell them they’re not, and the next thing I know, they’re citing some damn TV show or movie as proof that Women Like/Dislike That. At which point I remind them it’s fiction, only to have them argue it’s true all the same, they’re just sure of it, and if I give them a few weeks they’ll come up with some real life examples.

    Meanwhile, I’m outta there because clearly nothing I say about myself is nearly as trustworthy as what some TV character said while speaking for the hive mind that is All Women.

    If I saw the film with my flatmates, and we all didn’t get that message, as far as we were aware, what’s going on there? Are we all getting the film ‘wrong’? Have we got that message, but simply not noticed? Any other?

    I think there’s more than one valid perspective to be had. We often disagree around here, because something will strike one person as enlightened and another as appallingly backward.

    As for getting it but not noticing you’ve gotten it – that happens. I’ve certainly noticed that something in life wasn’t matching my expectations, asked myself, “Where’d I get that expectation?” and realized to my chagrin I got it from 6,000 TV shows.

  20. Mertha Tyddvall says

    Thanks for the quick and comprehensive reply, I’ve got some more questions about bits I don’t quite get, but I’ll need to wait until I have a bit more time to write them concisely, maybe tomorrow.

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