I loved this movie. It had just the right combination of dark humor, zaniness and bookishness for my tastes. I laughed often and hard although it was the kind of laughter that explodes out of me when something bad has happened or almost happened. It's an embarrassed kind of laughter. Birdman was an honest and piercingly transparent look at the 55-year-old character of Riggan Thomson whose hope for a second chance at stardom propels the plot toward its resolution. Riggan's humanity is exposed and oozes out on the screen. How honest is this movie? When I prepared calf's liver in the past I used to surgically cut out the whitish bile ducts from the gelatinous mass of floppy burgundy flesh with a very small and very sharp knife. And this is what Director Alejandro González Iñárritu did. He took a small, sharp knife and carved into the psychic flesh of Michael Keaton to portray the character of Riggan, and Keaton, sensing that somewhere in this outpouring of emotion and intense acting there lay a renewal for him, acted his way into a portrayal of self conjoined with character that may well go down in cinematographic history. He sliced out the emotional bile ducts of his psyche and served him up to us on a platter. Salome has nothing on Iñárritu.
Pulitzer Prize winning George Will, political pundit and right wing columnist, is an intelligent man and a man of conscience. He proved that to me when he reported about Nixon's interference in the peace talks prior to the 1968 presidential election. The choice that year was between Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon and it was a close race. Then President Lyndon Baines Johnson was in the process of brokering a cease-fire to end the Vietnam War and if he had been successful, the election may well have tipped to favor Humphrey.
The Rohingyas are outcasts, circling out from Myanmar's borders but staying close, not intermingling or assimilating into neighboring countries, but waiting, suspended like oil in water, until they can return to their homeland. And therein lies the problem. Their hosts, although sympathetic, are compassion fatigued and as they see monies intended for their own people, their own infrastructure, poured into the bottomless pit of Rohingya need, they toughen against them.
Buddhists have a reputation for being gentle. I conjure up an image of a meditating monk being harrassed by a fly. It lands on his nose but he maintains his peaceful composure. That's how we think of Buddhists.
They wouldn't swat a fly. I've been looking at videos of the massacre. Houses are burning and people are running about trying to get away. There are photos of bodies lying on a beach and horrible living conditions for the homeless Muslim Rohingyas. This isn't how I think of Buddhists. What's wrong? Why do these Buddhists hate these Muslims? Why do the Rakhines hate the Rohingyas? There must be a good reason. What is behind it?
I lived in Myanmar, formerly Burma, from 1969 to 1972 and I follow what is happening there. An article in the Irrawaddy Newspaper caught my eye and I've been following the resulting horror ever since, trying to understand. On May 28, 2012 a young ethnic Rakhine Buddhist woman was raped and murdered by four Rohingya Muslim men. This is the age of cell phones and if it hadn't have been for photos taken at the scene, the resulting massacre of Muslims may not have occurred. But it did. The photos went viral on the internet and for those without access, pamplets detailing the rape were passed around. Hla Oo, who blogs on all things Burmese, reported that the crime was far more horrible than described in the media. He wrote:
It was bad timing. I know I should be a good sport. That's what my Dad always said when he made fun of me, that he was just funning. And it was all in fun or I think it was. I mean it was a good joke. Everybody laughed and I laughed too before it hit me that it was a rape joke. On the other hand, it was just a teeny, weeny rape joke. Not bad really. Not insulting or anything. It even took me a minute to realize what was happening but then with this guy — he's a really nice guy by the way. He tells jokes all the time and most of them are funny. Anyway with this guy I often get a funny feeling, a feeling that he's besting me somehow in some strange competition and I don't know the rules. I only learn the rules after I've been bested, after he's won. Won what? I never know. That's why it's so weird. I can't put my finger on it. [Read More...]
I'm afraid to talk about the Goddess. God, the big patriarchal male God will strike me down. This depiction of God the Father is from the Sistine Chapel.
Rikki's alive. He must be. The morning after I gave up and took down the signs, Petwatch, the microchip company, called to say he had been turned in to the Buncombe County Humane Society.
I'm excited. Brad Pitt, who was such a cutie when he exploded onto the screen in Thelma & Louise in 1991 has become a hero and not only a hero but a White Knight.