Dirty Dancing and Giant Revisited: Story Lines about Change

Dirty Dancing: A frame for story context, 1987

Saturday night I watched Dirty Dancing. Again.

ZAP! Hooked. In a time machine, I sat transported and transfixed.

From the vantage point of 30 years after Dirty Dancing opened in theaters, I see a lot to admire about this film.

In 1987, when Dirty Dancing made cultural shock waves, I did not watch. Or let my children see it either. Years later, I learned that my teenage daughter saw the video at a friend’s house.

Whatever.

While the movie does portray some dirty dancing, as well as admit some explicit consequences of sexual activity, dancing provides a frame for story context.

The story unfolding exposes prejudice, hypocrisy and bigotry.

The dictionary defines bigotry as the stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.

The movie is about how people can have one set of standards, values and professed ideals for themselves and yet apply another standard to those who are not like them.

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Don’t Judge Las Vegas, the People or the Place


“From a distance, the world looks blue and green …”

“From a distance,” the lyrics go, “there is harmony and it echoes through the land.”

The image above shows the view from my window seat on a flight as it landed in Las Vegas, one of several trips as an adult I have made to visit a place where for years I lived as a child.

My dad helped build the original Las Vegas Convention Center. My mother held important jobs, including personal legal secretary to State Senator Mahlon Brown.

Real people live and work in Las Vegas. And yes, go out to play.

My daughter-in-law greeted me yesterday morning with these first words.

“There was a S-H-O-O-T-I-N-G in Vegas last night.”

Her eyes formed big O’s as she spelled to spare her preschoolers this tragic news. She and her husband had returned home earlier that day on a flight from Las Vegas to Housotn. My husband and I traveled from Lubbock to keep our grandsons while they had a weekend away.

Don’t judge.

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Game of Thrones: A Viewer’s Defense

Books and Film Adaptation

“A book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader. That’s why we go to the movies and say, ‘Oh, the book is better.'” Paul Coelho

If I had to explain, (er defend, to anyone, including myself) why I have watched every episode of Game of Thrones, I would say, “Read the Bible.”

Picture I took last year in a museum in Glasgow, Scotland, because these heads remind me of the “many-faced god” depicted in Game of Thrones.

Raw and ravenous, Game of Thrones amplifies story themes the Bible tells with sparing detail.

The “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” written in 1861 during America’s Civil War, the words describing God’s wrath could have derived from Revelation 14.

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.

And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

 

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Hungry for What?

So let’s talk about Hunger, a current best-selling memoir by a woman who argues that “the bigger you are, the less you are seen” (quote from the book jacket synopsis).

Who I Am vs. How I Look

Photo from Amazon site

In Hunger, A Memoir of (My) Body, author Roxane Gay exposes how something that happened to her as a young girl translated into reasons for burying herself under layers of fat. Referring to her body as a crime scene, at her heaviest Roxane weighed 577 pounds and now weighs about 150 less.

Along with reasons she shares for massive weight gain, she describes the pain of living in a body that people punish––judging by appearance the person who lives inside the body.

“I hate myself. Or society tells me I am supposed to hate myself; so I guess this, at least, is something I am doing right.

Or I should say, I hate my body. I hate my weakness at being unable to control my body. I hate how I feel in my body. I hate how people stare at my body, treat my body, comment on my body. I hate equating my self-worth with the state of my body . . . I hate how hard it is to accept my human frailties. I hate that I am letting down so many women when I cannot embrace my body at any size.

But I also like myself, my personality, my weirdness, my sense of humor, my wild and romantic streak, how I love, how I write, my kindness and my mean streak. It is only now, in my forties, that I am able to admit that I like myself, even though I am nagged by this suspicion that I shouldn’t . . .

I don’t want to change who I am. I want to change how I look. On my better days, when I feel up to the fight, I want to change how this world responds to how I look because, intellectually I know my body is not the real problem.

On bad days, though, I forget how to separate my personality, the heart of who I am, from my body. I forget how to shield myself from the cruelties of the world” (148–149).

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