Pop culture treasure, high culture trash.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Notes on Notes on a Scandal
-The Anglo-Irish are to native white Londoners what Mexican Americans are to white Los Angelesians--pure signifiers of otherness, border invasion, working class struggle, Catholicism, emotionality, hysteria, passion, "feeling," sexual availability, et cet. et cet. Little Steven Connolly (why not just go all the way and call him Patrick Mickey O'Pattypat?) could not do the work he does as a character if he were not Anglo-Irish.
-The spectral lesbian predator of the golden age of Hollywood is alive and well! Judith Anderson reborn in Dame Judi. Overspill from crisis of faith in security of the nation-state puddles into crisis of faith in security of the heterosexual matrix.
-Resurgent culture of anxiety/paranoia over wisdom of the old woman; the crone accretes too much knowledge, becomes dangerous, cannot be trusted--what happens when the world's old women aren't bridled by grandmotherly nurturing activities? What secret powers can they hold over us? Vaguely Puritan witch hunt cadences.
-Rarity of women in Hollywood films admitting their erotic needs, sexual agency, subjectivity and power with this kind of directness--Richard: "Why did you do it?" Sheba: "Because I wanted him." Sheba as clear subject, Steven object. Equally rare display of inverse of quasi-accepted Lolita scenario. How much preserved from original?
-Painfully obvious symbolic nomenclature--Barbara Covet(t), Bathsheba
-Philip Glass's anvil-dropped-on-head score; every scene upstaged by thundering chimes and roiling arpeggios. Forget humans, give the score Best Actor.
-Paging Mary Kay Letourneau.