History with the Wind


-- चार हजार एक सौ बीस-आठ --

Oh, look! President Fuckwit isn't "just" going after transgender people -- he's coming after all of us! What a fucking surprise.

There's so much idiocy coming out of the current white house, I make an active effort not to comment on it. This, though -- it brings me back to the fact that in the last election, we all knew this would be the result of a Fuckwit presidency, and still 74% of eligible voters either voted for President Fuckwit, or voted third party, or did not vote at all. All three of those choices had the known result of what we are all dealing with today.

It's very difficult for me not to take that personally.

-- चार हजार एक सौ बीस-आठ --

I spent the evening at home last night, with both Shobhit and Ivan. Shobhit worked until 6:00, so first it was Ivan. I had no idea if he was working yesterday or not, but when I got home he was sitting at the dining table, seemingly happy to see me. He then asked if I wanted to watch something. I said sure; he said what; I said I don't know. Then he suggested watching the first half of Gone with the Wind.

He's listening to the audio version of the novel, which is is clearly very much enjoying, even though when he first started it his assessment was, "It's a little racist." Um, you think? Gone with the Wind is one of those great movies with a lot working against it, but it still manages to be great -- so long as you regard it in historical context. Shobhit and I have both read the book and we both loved it, although I was always bothered most by the final tenth or so of the novel, in which the Ku Klux Klan are characterized as noble people. Ick. Interestingly, even as overtly racist as the depictions of the slaves in the movie are, even the movie in 1939 knew better than to take up that particular KKK mantle.

There's a lot to unpack in Gone with the Wind, actually, besides just the racial stuff -- the gender politics, which surely no one at the time thought of in such terms, in particular. Still, I think it's pretty undeniable that Scarlett O'hara and Rhett Butler are characters compelling enough, even now, to transcend the many problematic elements of how this story is told -- namely, very sympathetic to the American South in the Civil War. (It's always good to note that the North was nowhere near as righteous as we as Americans are generally conditioned to think them to have been.)

Anyway. Ivan is only a little more than halfway through the novel; it's roughly a thousand pages long, so twice the length of an average novel that would itself still be on the slightly longer side, which means getting through it in audio version is taking a while. Sitting through a four-hour movie is too much for his attention span, which I expected even when I suggested a while ago that he and I watch it once he was done with the book, so it wasn't too surprising that he suggested watching the movie in two separate segments. The movie has a truly impressive production by 1939 standards and remains surprisingly watchable. Ivan and I laughed several times at Scarlett's whiny idiocy.

I can actually remember the very first time I tried to watch that movie. Mom and Dawn (Katina's mother, Katina being my brother's soon-to-be-ex wife) had rented it, and they watched it on Dawn's TV at her house. I tried to watch it, knowing even then that it was a really famous movie, but my 13-year-old brain was quickly bored by it and I played with Andy, Katina's little brother, instead. I tried the movie again as an adult and liked it very much.

I just decided to do some online searching, in both my Google Calendar and in LiveJournal using the Google Advanced Search, and it appears I've watched Gone with the Wind a lot more times than I even remembered:

Sunday, July 7, 2003: we watched Roger's copy of the movie with Barbara and Clarica at Clarica's place. I wrote in that entry that I had never seen the movie before, so I guess that's when I saw it in its entirety for the first time. Huh. I completely forgot about that.

Thursday, November 11, 2004: I watched it with Barbara at Shobhit's and my apartment; Shobhit was gone to a class. But this was also the year I read the book, and I watched the movie right after finishing it, so that journal entry is very much in the context of what it was like to see the movie so soon after reading it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007: I watched it with Shobhit, Barbara, and Hadley at the apartment we lived in for a year and a half in Fremont. This was both Shobhit's and Hadley's first time seeing it, and this was the year Shobhit and I got into several arguments about whether Gone with the Wind or Titanic was truly the most successful -- adjusted for inflation, worldwide -- of all time. Shobhit was always been convinced it was Titanic, arguing that Gone with the Wind was too America-centric and could never have raked in a lot of box office internationally; I still feel that I made a convincing argument (in April of 2007) that in all likelihood, due to a number of factors, Gone with the Wind remains not only the most successful movie of all time in adjusted dollars domestically -- that fact is not at all in dispute -- but also worldwide. (I feel it relevant to note now, ten years after that argument, that although Avatar beat Titanic in unadjusted dollars, Avatar remains #15 in the adjusted-for-inflation domestic list, Titanic currently sits at #5, below Star Wars, The Sound of Music, and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, all of which had more staying power than Titanic could ever hope to have, especially Star Wars, which continues to have a staying power none of the others have -- except, of course, for Gone with the Wind. That said, the all-time Worldwide grosses list still features Avatar at #1 and Titanic at #2, but that is misleading due to the inability to present that list in adjusted dollars, thanks to both exchange rates and purchasing power parity making such conversions virtually impossible.)

Sunday, February 6, 2011: "Gone with the Wind Bowl," Susan's and my Super Bowl counter-programming. I watched it with her at her place in Pioneer Square. I must say I love the photo I posted in that entry, of Susan's impeccably interior-designed condo (and her cat, Travis), featuring the still from the movie of when Scarlett is raising her fist in the air and shouting, "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!"

Friday, January 13, 2012: Laney and Evan came to watch it with me in the Braeburn Condos theatre -- thus, kind of amazingly, this was the one time I've watched the movie in the theatre down there on the ground floor of the West building of my condo complex. Fun fact: apparently this was the first time I ever operated that theatre's popcorn machine myself. I guess Barbara had always done it before, but she moved back to Virginia in the spring of 2010.

So! Judging by this chronology, this viewing with Ivan is the sixth time I've watched Gone with the Wind. All of them since 2003. So I guess on average I see it every couple of years, although it's been five years since the last time. This is the first time I'm watching the two halves on separate days; Ivan seems to be expecting we'll watch the rest sometime next week. He did tell me his work schedule for the next couple of weeks, so it's nice to know that far beforehand when he'll be home in the evenings and when he won't.

-- चार हजार एक सौ बीस-आठ --


-- चार हजार एक सौ बीस-आठ --

Shobhit watched most of the movie with us, as I didn't put it on until maybe five minutes before Shobhit got home from work. He prepared lentils and rice for dinner while it was playing. But I helped! I chopped the vegetables for him, and also boiled the brown rice. We ate it with the last of the tortilla chips I got last weekend to make nachos with.

I'm pretty sure this would only be the second time Shobhit has watched Gone with the Wind -- the first having been ten years ago. At which time, when it ended, of course, he announced that Titanic was better. Hardly a surprise, that; Titanic is his favorite movie, which clearly informs his (wrong) opinion that it was the biggest movie of all time worldwide, even in adjusted dollars.

-- चार हजार एक सौ बीस-आठ --

I thought about watching some TV after we were done with Gone with the Wind and Ivan moved on to making his dinner, but Shobhit and I never did. We started the New York Times crossword instead. And we both gave up after not very long at all; we found today's puzzle far too challenging, and Shobhit, after working two different shifts that began at 7 a.m. during all of which he was on his feet, was too tired to think straight enough for it. He went back to his CNBC show clips. I went to the bedroom and watched half a Netflix comedy special that many comedians I follow on Twitter were helping to promote, by Joe Mande. But halfway through it, I had yet to laugh much, so I was like, why am I wasting time watching comedy that isn't actually making me laugh? And I was getting tired weirdly early as it was.

I even tried reading for a bit and couldn't keep my eyes open. It wasn't even fully dark yet and I fell asleep around 9:30. Shobhit woke me up briefly twice during the night, first when he got up somewhere around 4 a.m. to turn off the fan, and then when he got up about an hour later for today's early shift, but other than that I still slept well -- and I slept for nearly eight hours, which is very unusual.

It was actually drizzly this morning. I still rode my bike, but I wore a rain jacket -- the first time I've worn a jacket in the morning since I could remember. It wasn't really cold at all; I just didn't want my shirt to get wet from riding through the mist. It's supposed to clear up by afternoon, which is good because I still need my bike to make good time riding to the Meridian theatre to watch Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets with Shobhit at 4:50.

-- चार हजार एक सौ बीस-आठ --

So I had lunch with Karen at Six-Seven at the Edgewater Hotel today. Five weeks since I had lunch with her last! We meet on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month, which means occasionally there is a three-week break, and that happened in the past month -- but, she had to cancel our lunch on the 13th.

We split the truffle macaroni & cheese once again. We had something else last time, though, so it had been like, seven weeks since we last had it! Also, for once, the restaurant wasn't packed. Karen theorized it was because it's cloudy and thus not as nice today -- although we both agreed we found it to be a beautiful day today.

We spent a lot of time talking about the President Fuckwit administration, which I suppose is too bad, but whatever. We talked about other stuff too. She works as a consultant on construction projects for ADA compliance, and apparently she consults on a lot of local high-rise projects. She had a party yesterday, inviting a bunch of her clients to her office, to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the American Disabilities act. She told me all about the delicious food the caterer she hired provided.

She didn't text me when she left her office as usual, and did not text me until she was parked. For some reason I still didn't think to ride my bike down there and I walked. That's why it's 1:23 as I write this and I still haven't posted this. But I have now! I need to get back to work. Or at least looking busy.

-- चार हजार एक सौ बीस-आठ --