The Dark Knight Rises — Has the dark night already fallen?

I finally went to see The Dark Knight Rises yesterday, and I sat there in the theatre wondering if the dark night had already fallen. First of all, I couldn’t watch any of the mass-shooting scenes in the movie without thinking of the mass-murderer who stomped into the theatre that first weekend with machine guns, killing twelve people and injuring 59. Second, I couldn’t watch the Wall Street scenes and crowds-in-the-streets scenes without thinking of Occupy Wall Street and the most criminal transfer of wealth in history (I wonder who’s enjoying one-third of my 401-K and the value of my home, and I’m lucky I’m not one of the millions who lost their homes altogether).

While I sat in the theatre thinking of all the mass shootings there have been over the years, including by kids in schools, and listened to Catwoman’s line about “the whole ‘no guns’ thing” it saddened me to think of the NRA and the debate in this country over “the right to bear arms” (Second Amendment). It’s not a matter of “no guns” or “guns, guns, guns” — it’s a matter of reasonableness and sanity. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a rise in the unreasonable insane of late. (And, unfortunately, the NRA are a bunch of Republicans who have it out for Obama.)

The Dark Knight Rises is an apocalyptic film, and it made me wonder if we don’t already live in an apocalyptic time. We’ve been in a recession for the past four years and now they say we’re headed for a depression. (I’ve been suspected “they” just haven’t wanted to admit this recession is a depression, but what do I know.) We have a political party that — thank you, Todd Akin, true party representative! — is hell-bent on forcing raped women to bear children and giving tax breaks to the wealthy while claiming to be about conservative family values… we have this party of politicians who lie, get caught in lies, and keep lying and might actually win if we don’t stop them! I think the dark night has already fallen.

What am I doing to strengthen myself for this apocalypse or prepare for its eventuality? Writing a thesis about vague language, or worse, spending hours obsessing on my blogs’ themes while I could be writing said thesis? I came away from that movie feeling that my life is frivolous and it was time to wake up and smell the napalm.

Okay, in all fairness, it’s still a wonderful world. Polluted, but wonderful. Full of liars, thieves, murderers, but wonderful. Really, though, I do believe there’s a lot of clean world and good people. And I do believe it’s okay to waste time doing nothing once in a while. And I don’t think I’m doing “nothing” to make the world a better place. And I did love Ann Hathaway as Catwoman and those great one-liners in the film which I will not repeat here. And I do believe we need fluff and frivolity in life. I just think we I need to remember it doesn’t take work to keep the sun shining but it does take work not to let the night of apocalypse fall over us and block that sun from view.

Afterword

This is why I don’t blog as much as I think I “should.” I don’t want to have to sit down here chasing link after link to relate what I’m saying to what others are saying so you know what I’m talking about or future generations know what I’m talking about (if those links are even active in the future). I don’t want you to think I’m crazy, which now maybe you do. I don’t think of myself as a conspiracy theorist, but I’m also not easily misled. (I am agnostic as to whether Bush let 9/11 happen as a pretext for war, but I always knew there were no weapons of mass destruction –WMDs.) And maybe I don’t like the fact that I write in parentheses a lot. But one thing The Dark Knight Rises inspired me to do is to write on my blog(s) this weekend and not just make them pretty.

Video

Webshop Wednesday – ‘Terps on film: Ethical or entertaining?

This Wednesday, July 25th, from 9a-noon Arizona Time (UTC-7:00), I am excited to open my workshop to participants on a Google+ Hangout. Interpreters on Google+ have asked me when I would be offering a workshop online, and this is the second time I am. This workshop costs $30 USD and offers .3 continuing education units (CEUs) through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Certificate Maintenance Program (RID CMP). CEUs are sponsored by the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (ACDHH). We will webcast from the Desert Valley’s Regional Co-op in Phoenix, Arizona. This workshop will be conducted in English and is designed for interpreters who interpret into or out of spoken English. (more…)

The complex, attractive, roles of dwarfs in Mirror, Mirror

(SPOILER ALERT: If you want to be surprised by everything in the movie, wait to read this until after you’ve seen it.)

As I said in a Tweet after I saw Mirror Mirror,


But it wasn’t just the sight of the furry Sebastian Saraceno shirtless that impressed me about the dwarfs in Mirror Mirror. What impressed was that their dwarfism (or should I say “dwarfness”?) was actually a subject deemed worth discussing in the film– both comically and dramatically. There is humor in the way they best their enemies by attacking them in stilts, making them think they are “giants” instead of dwarfs. There is melancholy in the story about how they were driven from their village when the powers-that-be banished anyone not “normal.” At the beginning of the movie, there is some manly sparring in which a tall man slings all manner of short jokes at the dwarfs, and one of my favorite lines in the movie is when one of the dwarfs retorts: “Really? After a minute that was the best you could come up with?” At the end of the film, there is a heartwarming apology in which the character who at first mocked them avows a new respect for them. It is the only Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs story I’ve seen that ever tackled the issues of normalcy, disability, shortness, tallness, paternalism, and respect. Through it all, the dwarf characters in Mirror, Mirror (all played by dwarfs) maintain more humanity than one usually sees in dwarf stereotypes. They are, in turns, sad, scared, brave, hopeful, and sportsmanly. And the dwarf actors are good. I imagine it was a combination of screenwriting, directing, and the actors’ improvisation and character development that made the characters what they are. I, for one, thought it was a step forward in cinematic depiction of people who vary from the norm. And respect for diversity is something I feel strongly about.

In my view, the fact that I found one of the dwarf actors attractive — and I’m not a dwarf fetishist — means that he is portrayed as a handsome, virile man who happens to be very short. And, regardless of whether the other dwarfs are featured as sex symbols, they are portrayed as men. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is progress.

Related article

Mark Povinelli: Mirror Mirror reflects frustrating times for dwarf actors

Image Credit

Featured image courtesy Cinema Squid / Mirror Mirror (2012) [US Fox Blu-ray 2012] / Screenshot #31 / 50, I-frame @ 1:10:33.525, #101503. Retrieved from http://www.cinemasquid.com/screenshots/sets/mirror-mirror-2012-us-fox-blu-ray-2012/a3f9b432-1e2b-4d64-b37e-cde0b9df251b