“Tár”: Classical Gaslighting

Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tar expounding upon the classical music world to a lunch companion in the film "Tar".

“But enough about me, let’s talk a little more about ME…”

Full disclosure: I suck at fathoming and sorting the full breadth and scope of classical music in all its storied splendor. I can be taught, but my retention sucks through no conscious choice on my part. My wife Anne is far more skilled at recognizing symphonies and suites, catching nuances, spotting themes in film scores and remembering titles of lyricless songs. But she hasn’t seen Tár and prefers to let/watch/make me write my own blog, so here we are with a philistine on the keys, hopefully not too tone-deaf.

Not that I wasn’t looking forward to this! I still recall writer/director Todd Field’s debut, 2001’s In the Bedroom, a Best Picture nominee in which Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek were equally moving as parents dealing with the death of their adult son, Terminator 3‘s John Connor. I never got around to his follow-up Little Children, but that’s my fault, not Field’s. This time I didn’t wait to be prompted by my annual Oscar quest to run out and catch his next work, a taut drama so impeccably dressed and so meticulously crafted within its very specific milieu that you’re halfway into the film before you realize you’re viewing the entire edifice through an unreliable vantage.

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The Idiot’s Guide to Not Sexually Harassing Women

Just a starter checklist, mind you — far from complete or even authoritative:

* Think about things besides sex. Any of the things.
* Assume every woman you meet, online or offline, is not interested. Odds are tremendous that they’re totally not.
* Realize life is not a porn flick, an ’80s teen sex comedy, or Mad Men, where anyone who’s persistent and dense will eventually luck into a sex scene.
* Stop worshiping sex as your happy fun god that demands regular conquests.
* Accept the reality that other humans are not your playthings.
* Learn the difference between female characters written poorly by men, and actual females.
* No, seriously: think about things besides sex. If you can’t think of a topic, go to WikiPedia and click “Random Article” in the left sidebar till you find anything else to contemplate.
* Hands to yourself. Forever.
* Ogling is an unacceptable substitute for eye contact.
* Just because you’re an all-star doesn’t mean everything you do or say is justified by definition.
* Just because you’re male doesn’t mean everything you do or say is justified by definition.
* Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean everything you do or say is justified by definition.

…because some people need practical advice.

Where this all came from…

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