Friday, November 27, 2009

Coexist? I thought we did...

Anyone seen this bumper sticker? I see it a lot, and it bugs me. Why? Because I can't help but wonder...

What's the point?

Maybe I'm ignorant. Maybe there are skirmishes going on across America that I don't hear about, so the message this bumper sticker proclaims is needed.

But from what I can tell, that's not the case. Basically, what I get from this is that they're saying we should...keep doing what we're doing. Coexist means "to exist together at the same time."

Do we not already do this? Am I missing something here?

I think I get what they MEAN to say. We need to 'tolerate' other religions (that's what they think, anyway). As a conservative I don't exactly agree with that. But I won't get into that here.

The 'cry for action' I see in this bumper sticker (and t-shirt, poster, &c.) is in actuality just a cry for inaction... If you're going to shout a message like this, could you at least put some umph in it? Give it a purpose--make it try to change things. Please.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pride is a Very Common Failing I Believe...

Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Jane Austen

I was going through my old scripts the other day (because I was in a pensive mood-and I do that sort of thing when I'm in a pensive mood), and I found these little thoughts written in, around, and all over the pages and covers of my Pride and Prejudice Script. I haven't read these since May, but I think they merit a re-visiting...

Without further ado:

  • Opposites attract, but they must learn to meet in the middle. (E.g., Lizzie and Darcy: Darcy is her soulmate, because they both need each other- he starts out cold & proud, Lizzie starts out immature-his coldness is melted by her "fine eyes", representing her character, which is on par, and every bit as strong as his. Lizzie's immaturity (manifest in her rash judgement) is tempered by Darcy. She grows up, he loosens up. She is searching for a soulmate and refuses to settle for less. Lizzie's character is attracted to Darcy's character-only when she discovers his character to be good and true.)

  • Prejudice comes from Elizabeth's fierce loyalty-almost the same reasons as Darcy's failings. E.g. Miss Bingley is an obvious snob. Therefore, [Miss Bingley's]warning [about Wickham] (a true, good warning,) is disregarded because it comes from her lips. This is prejudice, because why should she not be correct, although she is a snob? But, how else is one to judge someone and their actions, and words than by one's previous knowledge of them?

  • PRIDE--Choosing not to love out of fear. Out of fear of being rejected, of not being loved back.

  • Just love! "A life lived in fear is a life half lived."

  • To love was why woman was created. [Ed. Note: This was written in reference to Genesis, and how Eve was created to be a companion for Adam. Adam was told to "fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1: 28), but Eve was made for Adam, because Adam was lonely. God said "It is not good for the man to be alone." (Genesis 2:18) So, what did He do? He made a companion for Adam; and since He's God, obviously He's going to give Adam the perfect companion. That perfect companion was Woman. How sweet/adorable/romantic/lovely/beautiful/mind-boggling/earth-shattering/"inconceivable!" is that? Honestly, I think that's just the best thing ever.]

  • Strong characters are attracted by character, not [exterior] beauty. Eyes express strength of character-windows to the soul.

  • People project what they are onto other people.

  • Obstinancy is his [Darcy's] true failing-perhaps like Lizzie's.

  • Lizzie prides herself on being the opposite of Jane (who sees only good in others at all costs), but Lizzie prides herself on seeing all and having no qualms about criticizing it.[Ed. Note--Can I say I find it simply fascinating, delightful, delicious, and quintessentially ironic that Lizzie's real fault is pride! Truly, it is: Lizzie is a clever, intuitive girl-the cleverest and most intuitive in her circle of aquaintance. Therefore, there's a little, wee bit of pride-the knowledge that she is better than everyone else. She prides herself on her ability to read character, and her good judgment. She's spiritually on an entirely different plane than everyone else in her family and her friends, and she's fallen into the trap of pride-the mistake of thinking herself "a cut above the company," as a wise, dashing young gentleman once said. But by the end of the story, Lizzie is a much humbler character. She's still witty, clever, and vivacious; but she has learned wisdom and humility.]

  • Lizzie's attraction to Wickham is a vital ( i.e., physical) attraction. Physical attraction is blind-it sees only one side of the person-the side that the person wants you to see, or the side that you wish to see.

  • Lizzie feels a respect that can lead to love-one must have respect-gratitude. Lizzie does not love Darcy as yet; but then her physical and vital attraction is awakened by Pemberly. She sees a beauty & splendor of Darcy's that can rival Wickham's glamour. Only when Darcy's character was proved good did his wealth become attractive."If gratitude and esteem are good foundations of affection, Elizabeth's change of sentiment will be niether improbable nor faulty." --P&P Chapter 46

  • "Never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as now, when all love must be vain." ---P&P Chapter 46

  • "She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man, who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her."---P&P Chapter 50

    So there you are. I love this story-it is arguably the greatest love story of modern English literature. Jane Austen wrote a masterpiece, and it never ceases to amaze me how much richness and beauty and Truth is contained within the pages of her book. P&P is one of the rare works that is a 'classic' in the full sense of the word-it's themes are universal, undying, and are at the heart of all our stories.

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."---C. S. Lewis

Thursday, November 12, 2009


"I cannot make speeches, Emma . . . If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." --Mr. Knightley

(Just a warning: There will be spoilers!)

Back in March, I took it upon myself to re-read Pride and Prejudice. I first read it when I was about ten (in other words I was far too young to really appreciate it). After enjoying it immensely and being struck by its sheer genius, I decided to re-read all Jane Austen's novels. In May, I began working on Emma.

That's right-in May.

6 months later, I finally finished.
It was definitely well worth the time!

I am now more in love with the book than I ever was. And Mr. Knightley, who I not so long ago gave the criticism of being too "stuck up," proved to be quite the Mr. Darcy. In fact, I'd even go so far to say that he Out-Darcies Mr. Darcy! (Heresy, I know.)

It's positively delightful when you can find someone in literature who is going through all the same thoughts and emotions, trials and tribulations as you, and I found such a person in Emma. Although I think I've always wanted to be Lizzy Bennett (what girl doesn't?), Emma is a much closer to the me, I must admit. She's thoughtful and analytical (almost to a fault sometimes), but her naturall intelligence and perceptiveness can be blinded by her overweening rashness and foolishness.

The Box Hill Party, when Emma insults Miss Bates always makes me cringe. I remember, in younger, more awkward years, making a joke that went terribly awry and insulted someone. It's not a pleasant situation to find oneself in. And I can only imagine how humiliated and ashamed Emma must have felt after Mr. Knightley rebuked her for it. Gah! It hardly bears to be thought of!

And finally, the love story is, I think, my favorite of all Austen love stories. Pride and Prejudice (which I would say is my currently reigning Austen favorite-Persuasion being close behind it,) has one of the most beautiful, classic love stories ever written, but Emma's is just as romantic, while being, I think, more common. Emma's love story isn't one of excitement, danger, and searing passions, it's a quiet love that sneaks up her before she realizes it. "I was in the middle before I knew I had begun," as Mr. Darcy would say. But when Emma finally realizes that she loves him, she loves him completely and fully, desperately and whole-heartedly. What a lovely surprised to find out that he loves her already. Yet the sweetness in the story is, to me, the surprise. They both came to the conclusion seperately that they loved each other, while thinking the other to be unattached-even attached to another. I love the humility that both of these proud characters find-they are elated and astonished that their love is mutual.

Last night, I was watching Australia while I was finishing the last several chapters of Emma. Naturally, I couldn't help but compare the two love stories.

Australia couldn't hold a candle.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


“I don't like compliments, and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean”----Lady Windemere, from "Lady Windemere's Fan" --Oscar Wilde

I picked up a book of Oscar Wilde's plays recently, and this line met my eyes. It was one of those "lightbulb moments," as my acting teacher would dub them. That exact same thought had been floating through my mind recently, but obviously, not phrased half so eloquently or cleverly.
When someone pays you a compliment that they genuinely mean, it's worth the world. But, someone who flatters constantly gets annoying and sickening. It's like being fed cake everyday-you can't grow and thrive on it. There's no substance to their words. Although at first it's exciting and thrilling, eventually, you realize how empty and dull the words actually are.
It's so, so easy to tell someone that you love them. To tell them that they're the most beautiful creature in the world. But when it comes down to it, you have to prove your love in the little, everyday actions that you do. Actions speak louder than words.
I was watching a movie recently, and I can't remember what it was, but I remember thinking: "It's so easy to say 'I'd die for you.'" But, what really proves someone's love is the dying to yourself every single day-sacrificing your little desires for the other's good. That's love. It's heroic-but not in an ostentatious way.