Reply To: Incarcerated, But Not Imprisoned,” with Mythologist Dennis Slattery, Ph.D.”
Thank you so much Shaheda. So the lecture is on Friday 16 July from 5-7 pm CST. And the writing workshop is on Saturday from 12-3. They may have called both of these events by the same name. Yes, drop Michael a note for clarity and I will love having you at both of them if you can attend.
Now, to The Human Stain. Sandy and I watched it yesterday afternoon and were mesmerized from the initial car crashing into the frozen lake to the last scene. We agreed it was one of the most profound film experiences we have ever had. Magnificent. To be honest, it will take another viewing to grasp it further. The truth of the plot unfolds so beautifully and brings past and present realities of Coleman Silk into a coherent whole. Hopkins and Kidman together were over powering for us.
So, what is that human stain that is an archetypal stain, one that we all have. Is it original sin in a new format, a mark that we are all flawed, or a secret that we each live out in our own way, or a shame that we must suffer, i.e. bear up under? Is it also a place of strength as well as where we are most vulnerable, where we need the love of another to survive it? And then do we need a witness, like Nathan, to see the story and have the imaginative courage to give it shape and purpose?
How loving Kidman’s character–Faunia, I found it from your posting above–gives him a new life, the one he lost when his girlfriend he takes home with him and who sees Coleman’s mother as black and she collapses under the weight of this realization of difference, in 1944. Sandy and I were both so affected by this primal plot of identity, cultural taboos, prejudices, hurts, absence of courage, as when no one comes to his defense over his using the word “spook” to mean invisibles in class and who lament, as the one black professor did at Coleman’s funeral. And is this where we are today with the fictions perpetrated in our country and will years from now people step forward and say they should have spoken up?
Both Sandy and I thank you for the recommendation. We will watch it again, for its nuances are profound. Much gratitude Shaheda. Let me know what you would like to add to the conversation. We see in this film how myths can harden into intolerant world views that allow nothing to disrupt it in. All because of a fiction perpetrated against an entire peoples–Jewish and African American, and then the ex-husband, Ed Harris, who is a loose shard traumatized by war that has lost touch with the real and is still in Vietnam. The layers are so numerous, as you know.
And your point above when Coleman as a young man checks the box of acceptance–white–and becomes a slave at that moment. His mother says something to that effect–you think or act like a slave. She is brilliant in her perceptions.
OK, have to stop. As you see, your recommendation turned us upside down!