January 28th, 2012

Interesting words - John P. Marquand

"It was difficult to explain to anyone the vagaries of literary creation, and 'creation' was a pompous, inaccurate name for it. He did not mean to offer his work as an excuse for eccentricity or laziness. He did not like to think that he was different from other people when he was writing. He did not like to think he was asking for special consideration, he only wanted to explain why he was more vague at such times than he was ordinarily and why he was less patient with detail and why he seemed oblivious to the ordinary facts of life. You were trying to be omnipotent in the region of the imagination. You had delusions no5t so very unlike those of some man in an asylum who thought he was Napoleon. The main difference was that you never possessed the inmate's sublime conviction. If you had any modesty at all you lived in a little hell of your own certainty. Without any help, and out of thin air, you were obliged to create an imaginary world and to people it with characters. You had to live two lives at once at such a time, to exist with ordinary people and at the same time to adjust yourself to the people of your imagination. They were with you all the time and you could not get away from them. They were there when you were talking to someone else. They were there when you read the newspaper or paid the bills, or went out to dinner. She always said that she understood, but there was no reason why she should have. He had often tried to tell her that this process was not agreeable. He simply wanted her to see why he was not good company in the weeks when he was working and why he sometimes did not seem interested in what was going on and why he liked to sit alone, doing nothing, when she thought he should be working. The thing had some of the elements of a nervous malady, except that you knew you would get over it eventually."
John P. Marquand

583 -- still thinking of The Iron Lady

I am sitting in the cafe at the Northgate Barnes & Noble, have my no fat mocha, just bought Crimes and Misdemeanors for less than ten dollars. I wonder if I can get used to coming up here for my evening jaunts of books, dvds, mochas, etc. It isn't going to be easy, but change is the essence of life, right? Or is it that Nothing Changes?

Anyway I am still thinking about how so many people on IMDB totally miss the essence of The Iron Lady. The criticism of the film is usually based on the belief that it is a bio-pic, and the argument that the movie doesn't stay true to facts. It particularly riles some people that Margaret Thatcher is shown in Parliament alone in a sea of men, when the truth is that when she entered Parliament there were already nineteen women MP's. These people can't seem to gather that the "error" is intentional. They can't seem to get that this is in no way a bio-pic. It is an exploration of the phenomenon of an aging and somewhat addled woman who is remembering her past, which happens to be the past of Margaret Thatcher. The audience isn't looking at photographs of history; it is looking at her memories, what she recalls of events and experiences in an extraordinary life. For example, Maggie is repeatedly shown going down a grand staircase. Immediately behind her is a huge crowd of suited men, pressing, chasing, all as close as a school of fish. In the movie Thatcher is always amidst dark suited men, who are out to crush her to prevent her from succeeding. She never has elbow room from the male presence. When she is ready to walk in to Number 10 Downing Street, the film shows her crushed by a circle of males; it even rises to look down on the street, which is empty except for the bright color of MT amid the men. Then the crush simply breaks away, leaving her alone to walk up the steps. This basic approach is in her memory from her entire life, starting as she as a girl is crushed in a crow listening to her father give a political speech. The movie is really about what a remarkable success she was against such powerful male forces, both within and without her party. There isn't even a scene showing her with Queen Elizabeth, as her memories don't include any other women who might have experienced the battle she is fighting, certainly no powerful British women. There are repeated scenes showing her embattled and in danger as she rides in her limousine among rioting crowds who hate her. Do you really think Prime Minister Thatcher was under such repeated danger? What she recalls is the crowds and the rioting. She has no thoughts for the suffering and rioting miners back at the mines; they don't live in her personal memory at all.

Oh, Streep is marvelous, and the production team is expecting too much intelligence from the audience. But you really should not miss this movie. Really.