Confronting sociopolitical denial

“It’s fine–I’m fine–everything’s fine,” says Theo parodically (Theo is the hero in Cuaron’s politically brilliant film Children of Men), whenever something particularly terrible occurs. For indeed isn’t “Everything’s fine” the claim of power, stupidity, and/or denial through the years?

This comes to mind, this late-March 2014, as we read of the county officials ignoring hydrologists’ and army engineers’ warnings of the deadly hillside that fell, 4 days ago, on the town of Oso, WA. I am reminded of it, too, by the county officials and new neighbor here who continue to ignore concerns that the neighbor’s excavations may harm my easement and home. I am reminded further when I consider the “deaf ear” turned to the dangers of noise (such as constant television noise in hospitals or apartment buildings) just as, for decades, the dangers of air-particle pollution were denied.

Above all, I am reminded of the Cold War years, not only the crazed denial that more nukes would bring more security, but, worse, the all-permeating claim–enforced especially through “freudian” psychology and its popularizers (including the too beautifully made but inimical films The Snakepit and The Goddess, and that worst-of-the-worst pop-psych books, Generation of Vipers)–that, especially for women, blacks, and the powerless, If You Think Something’s Wrong, It Means That Something’s Wrong in You.

The greatest internal liberation of the 1960s, for many of us, and of the early 1970s for many women, was to see that No It Isn’t Wrong in Us–We Are Whole and the Problem Is the System.

Yes, the problems, as we learned, were and are in our political-social system(s). Part of what we–as persons, as writers, as woman or man or trans or other, and of any age–continue to learn, and each generation learns anew, is what–and how pervasive, and at how many levels–these systems are.

 

Copyright 2014 by Paula Friedman. All rights reserved.

Listing through snow

We were snowed in for four days, electricity off at all hours through most this time. Icy and beautiful one night, trees–their limbs–tinkled in the wind, falling. Today outside was sunny and still and bright, brilliant sparkles on the white, blue-shadowed, rolling-heaped snow.

A time to make lists, worn out from building wood fires in the tiny stove, digging out the car, shivering in the cold, changing from wet clothes.

The Rescuer’s Path, my new novel, is now (available on amazon, barnesandnoble, plainviewpress.net, etc., and) up on Goodreads. To “drive traffic to one’s book,” should I make Listopia lists? Rather than let people know, This is a novel of a Holocaust survivor’s daughter who aids a half-Arab antiwar leader suspected of the lethal bombing of an army truck, and of the trust and love that blooms between them, of their flight and the long pursuit–? Rather than tell people that Ursula Le Guin calls this novel “exciting, physically vivid, and romantic,” and that Cheryl Strayed, Carole Glickfeld, Heather Sharfeddin, Barbara Mullen, folksinger/writer Carol Denney, blogger Harriet Klausner–all speak highly of this book.

All right, lists. (That last sentence had a list.) I love lists. And movie and science fiction dystopias. And really, really good films–books and films. Here they are, then–

10 Best Films of all time (features)

The Seventh Seal

The Official Story

Children of Paradise

Odd Man Out

La Jetée

(Wajda’s trilogy) A Generation, Kanal, Ashes and Diamonds

Au revoir, les enfants

Duel in the Sun

A Place in the World

oh okay, Casablanca. But there’s Coup de grâce. Citizen Kane. Battle of Algiers. Midnight Cowboy. Four or more of Bergman’s best. And . . .

Next time–10 Best Novels of all time.

Which would you list?