northanger (northanger) wrote,
northanger
northanger

anamorphic stains

Depression along with bouts of hypomania and primary insomnia, suggestions of agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, shock, fatigue, denial. —Gordon, Solaris

growing up in the 70s, i remember the The Mod Squad. later, sitting in an office at mercy college in detroit, noticed mod squad—white girl, white boy, black boy—seemed the preferred image of diversity.

besides being obliterated from most of the visual landscape, my primary image of black womanhood was beragged Butterfly McQueen hysterically screaming in squeaky high-pitch. but then there's Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Diahann Carroll & Dionne Warwick. to me, these women projected ... class. & also reminded me of my mother (thunderstruck finding mom's high-school picture in my grandfather's house ... mostly because of how angelically young she looked). they wore smart black dresses & pearls; all funk carefully eliminated. finished off with a few spritz from a can of anglo-sheen, not afro-sheen. my mom even bleached her feet. yikes!

the type of image designed, by negroes, to avoid offending white sensibilities, evoking acceptance.

so i enjoy watching the women in Kayne West's Gold Digger. for their beauty & their funk. they look like Varga Girls & other old-time pin-upsRita Hayworth & Betty Grable. black varga girls: One Thing (NC-17) & Peace (NC-17).

last night, mtv or vh1, aired a show about black dancers in black videos. while i understand the problems with bling, boobs, groupies, gold diggers & hos i view black experience as a palette. for a long time we just had two colors: black & white. then greyscale. the 256-color palette opened things up a bit & now we have a multi-million truecolor palette. we're still working on getting all the colors just right. some of these women may become real true-life gold diggers with marriage certificates, some will get college degrees, own their own businesses or become successful singers themselves. some may even cross-over & direct videos themselves. hopefully, the next generation of video directors can work with a richer palette eliminating a restrictive cultural distortion of africanosphere reality.

blacks know about one less toothbrush & why the caged bird sings. suspension of disbelief for us can be a double-barrel affair. Steel Magnolias made me consciously aware of the mechanics of my internal suspension because i admired all the actresses & had already decided that i loved the movie before seeing it. i became aware, watching the movie, of waiting for the first black person to appear so that i could carefully catalog their role. {serving food at the wedding reception}. then i could throw it outside the theatre & pick it up on my way out.

three actresses that have awed me by their authenticity are Regina Taylor in Courage Under Fire, Rosalind Chao in The Joy Luck Club & S. Epatha Merkerson in Law & Order's first season (& later as Lt. Anita Van Buren). &, don't laugh, watching Disney's Pocahantas where i surprised myself by sobbing uncontrollably at the end. (ET doesn't count).

these actresses emotionally connect me with the stories they tell; however, i remain external to the roles they play. wife, mother, etc. i'm a geek. while i adore the lovely Commander Uhura — she of the painted fingernails, short skirt & earrings — she is not a starship captain.

it's another thing when someone plays a role where ... maybe it's the fact that i don't have to work so hard at suspending anything because i'm too busy squarely identifying. viola davis as gordon in steven soderbergh's Solaris tears open the screen & throttles me by the throat — it's that personal. (extreme closeups don't help either). ... this Real is irreducible, unshakable, charismatic, a traumatic point of reference...

Solaris aired on basic cable this weekend. seen it before, catching the last 20 minutes this time.

my inner mechanisms are not atrophied for lack of use — as a matter-of-fact, sophisticated mechanisms get generated by minorities playing in the anglosphere. providing us with a reflective distance which prevents any full engagement; we are never fully committed. you need thick skin to survive in the anglosphere. skin color becoming protective shield. besides, the anglosphere does not require our full existential engagement.

so how the fuck did davis as gordon become my polytheres?

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