“Paranoia could become a life-style, a science, an art, with the active collaboration of reality.”
~ Adrienne Rich, “Teaching Language in Open Admissions,” from On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966 - 1978, page 54, third full line
We watched The Silver Linings Playbook tonight, me and Hug and Jazz the Cat. Ten minutes in and I was so tense I could hardly sit still: they yell, they scream, the men pound their chests and the woman tries to make everything be OK. The only way I could get through the movie was to play solitaire while I watched:
“Don’t do this! You're breaking my heart!”
“Get away from me!”
[Black nine on red ten]
“The police are at the door!”
“Stop this! They’ll take you back to the hospital!” (It’s a psychiatric hospital, which helps explain some of the yelling and hitting but not all of it.)
[Red eight on black nine]
About halfway through the movie—when Bradley Cooper is back on his meds and Jennifer Lawrence is too busy dancing to yell at anyone—I begin to feel the muscles in my chest ease, but I don’t stop playing solitaire [red three on black four] because I might need the distraction any minute, and of course I do; that’s the nature of drama and people who create it in their lives: when things get a little quiet, someone has to stir something up.
Did I like this movie? No. I like the actors but I hate the story. Did I mention it’s a love story? Good grief, no wonder love has such a bad rap: look at how we portray it:
- He’s bipolar and won’t take his meds and he beat up his wife’s lover because—get this—he loves her so much and he wants to get back with her.
- Her husband died so she acts out and hits people and tells lies to get him to do what she wants.
- His parents manipulate the situation, but it’s OK because it’s for his own good.
- In the end they profess their love for each other and live happily ever after.
Ummm . . . .
When we turn off the TV, Hug picks up her book, Jazz trots to the basket I just set up for her, and I type here at the keyboard. No one yells or screams or lies. The only manipulation that goes on is when Jazz tries to get us to give her ice cream, but even that is pretty direct. I can breathe again. [The rows of black on red on black fold up making a little thripping sound. I win.]