Chimera Song Mosaic
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Two things upset me today when I went outside:

One, a BILLBOARD that read (in pink letters): "Vaginal Renovation!" Underneath these suspicious words was an explanation: "Tight, like Prom Night!"

Okay, not really. But it was something like that! Basically, who the hell would have surgery just to please someone else? I'd be different if it corrected urinary incontinence or something else that plagues women who have had children. But I can't abide the idea of a woman having surgery just to reclaim a second virginity. The virginity is a liability in the first place.

My husband said that he could see a woman getting the surgery "for her pleasure." No. It does not work that way. There is no advantage in a woman having a more constricted vagina. I also don't approve of men getting penis enlargements for the benefit of their partners. Besides, that's hardly analogous, since a penis is exterior, and the man benefits socially from a larger penis (at least when he wears a speedo on the beach or showers in public). This is hardly the same for women.

Second, when we arrived at the movies (one of those multiplexes) and stood in a long line to buy tickets, we noticed there were actually only six or eight films to choose from, despite the fact that this theater boasts 20 screens. Even though I really could use 3+ hours of seeing Brad Pitt in a stripper's outfit, I refuse to see Troy or Shrek II since the movie moguls are clearly trying to force me to see it. If 20 screens does not offer me more variety, it at least offers me an opportunity to see the top summer blockbusters with more people . . . Hmm . . . Hardly seems like what the movie-going audience desires.

So here's my list of films I refuse to see in the theaters (oh, yeah, I'm bound to rent them eventually or see them on pay-per-view): Passion of the Christ; Shrek II; Troy; Spiderman II (which actually looks pretty good and must be better than the first one, which wouldn't take much, and I'm intrigued by sequels that are better than the original . . .); The Day after Tomorrow (or some such bunk); anything put out by Disney. Instead, I will probably go see the sequel to Pitch Black with my sister.

It's not a complete list. I don't have time to go to the movies during the semester, so I might as well not go at all, I've decided, unless its to something like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (which I missed!) or unless it's at an independent theater (and now we have one! Cine El Rey is showing City of God and Bye, Bye Lenin! this summer, both of which I've seen, but I'll be out of town anyway . . .)

Anyway, in short, I will only go to the movies if I'm politically motivated to do so. Darn. Escapism was so much fun.

It's obvious to me that I am a crybaby and too sensitive to be out in the world.

Anyway, the whole reason why we ventured out was to see Man on Fire, and only because my students have been telling me how good it is. I especially was interested in the opinions of my students who were researching the missing women of Ciudad Juarez. They had been telling me how lifelike Man on Fire is. They say, "It's just like that in Mexico."

I usually shrug this off as a sensationalistic comment, or sometimes I think my students are doing what many recent immigrants do: justify the "abandonment" of their home by criticizing it. But for the past couple of years, more and more students have been telling me that the reason why many people are moving to the Valley from Mexico is because of corruption. This semester, two of my male students told stories that happened to them--they say it's a bad idea for a young Latino to cross the bridge on foot (cops stop them, scare them, then shake them down for a little bribe money.) I know this is all circumstantial evidence, but if I've learned anything as a teacher it's not to ignore the experiences and opinions of my students. Sometimes they have some really crazy ideas. But other times . . .

So what can be done about these kidnappings? It seems to me that movies like Man on Fire might, as my students say, "have it right; there's corruption at the highest levels," but the film also glorifies a very American ideal of a lone hero battling the odds and making a difference (in an unethical, but emotionally soothing way). The solution(s) won't come from one person, but could happen if many people decided not to stand for the corruption and kidnappings any longer. Why are the people afraid? The ones who should be afraid are the "criminals," the people who are willing to sacrifice others for their own survival. Of course, it is the rich people who are being sacrificed, which doesn't make them very sympathetic in the eyes of the impoverished majority. It seems so easy to blame the cops--people who are supposed to protect the citizens. But they are usually poor, too (otherwise, why become a cop?), and put into situations where they can easily take advantage. And so they do. So do the rich factory owners. So do the kidnappers. What is so different about any of them?

Enough. I don't really know what I'm talking about. I'm so upset about this. This disturbs me more than what's happening in Iraq--probably because that was preventable, at least on such a large scale. But this--isn't this bothering anyone? Man on Fire might not have any of this "right," but at least it brings some attention to something surely worthy of it.

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