Monday, February 04, 2008

13/50

A revision of my critique of Hilton Als' opinion of Lola in Come Back, Little Sheba.

I disagree with Hilton Als' assessment of Shirley Booth's Lola in the film version of Come Back Little Sheba. When Doc calls Lola a "slut" and attacks her with a kitchen knife, are we to suppose that if she were more "odious" that this abuse would be more understandable or that we would sympathize more with Doc?

It is hard to sympathize with Doc, not because he is an alcoholic, but because his expectations of women are unobtainable. Als suggests that it is Lola's "demand for approval" that has smothered Doc. But it is Booth's Lola who is smothered. Her only outlets are eavesdropping, talking to the mailman, and a daily radio show called "Taboo," which helps Lola grapple with her lost self. Momentarily, young Marie, their boarder provides a diversion for Lola and a way for her to reconnect with her latent sexuality. All is lost for Lola, however. Her earthiness, her raw sexuality, her curiosity, frighten and repel Doc.

The question at the end of the movie is: can she keep wearing the mask of the housewife? Can she ever keep the house clean enough? Can she "keep busy," as her neighbor admonishes her to do? Perhaps she can, but at what cost? Booth's Lola is even more tragic than Ibsen's Nora in A Doll's House. Without resources or support, she can never leave Doc. Als ends his article by pointing out that Inge's story has much to give us, if we listen. I have listened. Kudos to Booth. Her Lola has all my sympathy and all my love.

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Dreaming

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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken

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Fave Painting: Eden

Fave Painting:  Eden

Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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My Original Artwork:  Triptych

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