Prejudice, and a Bit of Pride

An excellent site to catch upcoming movie trailers is the Apple Quicktime Trailers page. Browsing there today I found the trailer for the upcoming version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira “Try Wearing a Corset” Knightly, Donald Sutherland, and Dame Judi Dench.
Now the last name on that makes me sit up and pay attention. You might be thinking, “Now, Neil, be honest. Are your sure it isn’t the first name on that list that does that?” Actually, no. I have come to an understanding, largely as a result of this trailer perhaps, that I am not a huge Ms. Knightly fan. No cardiac flutters or sighing. Nor, I hasten to add, do I have cardiac flutters and sighs in response to Dame Dench. But even if do not end up liking a particular movie she is in, her acting and mere presence are always splendid.
Even the presence of Dame Dench, though, is not likely to go far in erasing the Prejudice I feel toward this new movie. I realize that Austen will forever be updated, but what could improve on the 1995 miniseries by BBC. I leave it to the opposite sex to flutter and sigh over Colin Firth’s Darcy, but, speaking as a man, “He’s the man!” My brother Virgil’s and my favorite part is when Darcy comes home, brooding and despondent over being rejected by Elizabeth, and stops by the lake, strips down to his pants and shirt and plunges into the lake. Brilliant. Then he goes into his home, only to find Elizabeth unexpectedly present. And then he is all courtesy. Hopeful. Earnestly eager to connect with her. Genuinely gracious. Completely secure in the surrondings of his home.
And prior to this scene we see Elizabeth, played by Jennifer Ehle, lose the last vestiges of her Prejudice, as she sees Darcy’s beautiful grounds, not simply for the wealth they represent, but for the sheer asthetic marvel they are, the perfect marriage artifice and nature. Then the character of Mr. Darcy is further revealed as she talks to his housekeeper. And, as she does throughout the movie, Ms. Ehle portrays Elizabeth inner thoughts so splendidly through her eyes. And what a pair of eyes, full of mischief, fire, and delight.

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And so, I suspect I will end up having a certain bit of Pride at being a BBC P&P groupie. A pride which I happen to think only proper.

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Bombing in London….Fallout in St. Louis

I have always admired free spirits. In fact, many of the people I am attracted to and befriend are exactly that. I think this is so because in some way I am making up for a desire for free spiritedness in my own soul that for whatever reasons I have never let fully germinate and bloom. I am getting the soil and seeds ready, though. (Ah, the paradox of planned free-spiritedness!)
One of the things that it takes a more or less free sprited person to do is to backpack, to backpack anywhere, but specifically around Europe, holing up in youth hostels, getting a Eurorail pass, eating french bread and cheese for lunch, may be camping. Never done that…but I am thinking…saving pennies for a packet of seeds that I might go sow next summer. Just now I am thinking it might cool if I could somehow involve my bicycle, may be ride from Lands End at one end of Britain all the way to John O’Groats at the tip of Scotland. Ah, Scotland. Just watched Rob Roy last night. Brilliant.
And then came the sorrow in London.
As an aside, following the coverage of a disaster, particularly a man-made disaster, opens the door on some dark areas in my make-up. I do not relish the suffering, I am not as monstrous as that, but I think I am rather too interested in numbers. In the number dead. In the carnage wreaked. And, though I am ashamed to admit it, in a morbid way, the greater the carnage, the greater the intrigue. Who did this and why? What sort of ramifictions will it have on the state of world affairs, etc., etc. It is not that I am not touched by the horror, the sadness, but it is not my initial reaction. Nor are my questions inappropriate, but only so if their import never reaches the heart at all.
And I reacted to London in exactly that complex way. From an analytical perspective, it is shocking that the conflict that I have long anticipated to arrive in Europe between its Islamic minorities and largely secular majorities (a pertinent clip from NPR), would begin in Britain. It is not surprising that there was a bombing in London. As it will not be surprising when it happens here. (I hate to use the words “will” and “when,” instead of “would” and “if,” but I am afraid that that these terms are likely more accurate.) It was suprising, though, that the young men who carried out the bombings were native Britons who had been seemingly readily radicalized. And where? In the homeland of half my blood, Pakistan.
How this tragedy affects me is really, really of no consequence in face of the high level of suffering it has produced, but it is interesting. The following picture completely changes the dynamics of any back packing trip that I might want to take to Europe…

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…It does not mean that I cannot go or would not, but the dynamics are now far more complex. I am sure I could not easily travel the tube just now with a backpack, perhaps no one can. I am sure that my lovely complexion (which I like to jest is the perfect comprise between the half of the world that wants to get darker and the other half of the world which wants to get lighter), which these days is darkened as a result of miles of cycling, would arouse additional suspicion. And, though I have been more or less profiled only once in my life due to my skin color (at the Canadian border some 10 year ago) which left me feeling angry/defensive, I don’t know that I can rule out some forms of profiling now for safety’s sake.
Before this weekend my mental discussion of what a summer in Europe might look like for me seemed to be rather hypothetical. It still largely is. But there is this. Yesterday, near the end of a thirty mile of bike ride, with a hydration pack strapped to my back, I waited for a light just South of the Arch. And just before they pulled away, a man shouted out the window of a car, “Hey, he’s got a bomb on his back!” I doubt it would have been so had I not had my lovely complexion.

I would walk 500 miles…

Well, after a long hiatus, I am back, at least for the evening. I could go into a lengthy discourse of why it is I blog and why it is that that motivation seems to go away for long streches and then come back, but I won’t. In short, I blog to express creativity and to connect with people. And one of the people who I always enjoy to connect with is David, and the fact that he has created a blog, I suppose is some of the motivation for me to pick mine up again.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with weddings. Actually, it is more love and avoidance due to disappointment. I don’t think I have ever really hated them, just there have been times when I have been too sore to go to optional ones and too sore to relish the ones I have had to or needed to attended through obligation or love for the participants. And it isn’t just weddings. I am deeply moved by baptisms, especially of wiggly, often wailing, wee ones, communion, and yes even funerals.
Only communion and baptism get the sacramental tag in Presbyterianism, but the others get it in Catholicism, well not funerals, but you gotta have Extreme Unction to get to a funeral. Without getting into theology, these all, specifically for believers, can be demonstrations of God’s grace, yes they are even mediator of God’s grace and blessing to us. That, I think, is why I dig them theologically. Emotionally I think I respond to the vows of commitment, the move toward connection of people, or the severing of that connection (or the establishment of new connection to Christ) in death.
I remember the first wedding that made an impression upon me at these two levels. It was the wedding of Allan and Diane, two InterVarsity staff workers. My brother I attended and afterward talked in the car of how much we liked it. The two main appealing features? Corporate hymn singing by the entire congregation and an honest to goodness sermon where the couple sat down to listen. It was like a church service with a wedding appended. Very nice. Plus, Diane and Allan were two fantastic people and it was just delightful and blessed to see them wed. I don’t know, but I think at that time I began to desire marriage and relish the prospect of a wedding.
I will not say much here about what made the attendance of weddings an occassion of sadness, but here it is in short. It is logical enough, I suppose, that people who fail at intense relationships to which they have committed a great deal are either completely soured or saddened by weddings. In my relationship, weddings themselves were one of the bones of contention (one of a virtual skeleton of bones), precipitating intense emotional arguments. In short, I pushed for tradition; she did not care a hoot for tradition or being the center of attention, but only that loved ones were there and that it got one married. Looking back now, I think I cared not so much for tradition, though some of them are dear, but of meeting expectations. I think that on this score she won the argument. Really, though, if I ever am to wed, I think I will attempt to develop, to what many men comes naturally, an apathy for details.
Still, there are these thoughts. I think simple is good. Not cheap, mind you. High aesthetics in frugal fashion. And, if the focus is really on why we are there and who has brought us there and on family and friends, then I think I’ll be content. Hey, I think I would even like to nix the gifts or channel them to some greater good (not my idea, but a good one). O, and just this one thing more, I want a processional for the guys…
When I wake up yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you
When I go out yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you
If I get drunk yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you
And if I haver yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you
But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door
When I’m working yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s working hard for you
And when the money comes in for the work I’ll do
I’ll pass almost every penny on to you
When I come home yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who comes back home to you
And if I grow old well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s growing old with you
But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door
When I’m lonely yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man whose lonely without you
When I’m dreaming yes I know I’m gonna dream
Dream about the time when I’m with you.
But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door
Seriously, I do, but I doubt I’ll get it.