The Person Who Made “Rebel Princess” A Thing

Black and white photo of Carrie Fisher, with wide smile and long unbound brunette hair, in snowy Norway, wearing a winter jacket and wooly knitted gloves

(B&W photo of Fisher in winter jacket and wool gloves, hands clasped in front of her and a wide smile on her face, hair unbound. CC License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Tom Simpson/randar on Flickr)

 

I’ll be honest:

I’ve known for a long time I loved Carrie Fisher, but I didn’t know I LOOOVED Carrie Fisher.

I remember being all about Luke when, at the tender age of 7, I first saw “Star Wars” (what is now referred to as A New Hope). It wasn’t so much about him being called the hero – I loved the goofy, awkward farm boy becoming important, becoming someone who was needed by the world. In contrast, Leia starts off the movie already royalty, already in a position of power, and already incredibly self-possessed (and able to withstand torture) at the age of 19.

I envied her. But I didn’t identify with her. I was clutzy, boyish, whiny, and I couldn’t rescue myself out of the nightmare I was living at the time. She was a princess, AND she was a rebel, AND she rescued herself (twice!) AND she led a group of righteous fighters against what was arguably the biggest threat in their universe.

I didn’t feel I even had the right to identify with her. I couldn’t even identify with Disney princesses who never rebelled – how could I identify with a military leader?

Then, in Blues Brothers, she was an ex-girlfriend who dared to hunt down the man who betrayed her and literally blow shit up to get him out of her head. That brought her much closer to the type of person I thought I was. Strange? Sure, but I was a pretty angry kid, and this was something I understood.

I remember Under the Rainbow being simultaneously strange and forgettable. I remember her small role in Hannah and her Sisters being dwarfed by the fact that the movie seemed almost tailor-made for me, during a time when I had a furious hate-on for Woody Allen.

Then, I adored her writing for a few years. Postcards from the Edge hit a soft spot I have, and while I have not had the book for a number of years, I remember at the time reading it more clandestinely than I ever did for Judy Blume’s Forever.

A few years later I remember loving her role in When Harry Met Sally with unreserved glee – going from “You’re right, you’re right,” the immediate chemistry between Marie and Jess, and the “Tell me I’ll never have to be out there again.” But I did notice she seemed to have aged a decade in those few years.

And then, to my media-glazed eyes, it seemed like she disappeared from the major movie scene. I didn’t recognize her in Soapdish, Scream 3 and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and I was shocked at how she looked during her brief turn in Wonderland. I also somehow missed her many more memoirs. I’m not sure how, but somehow I was oblivious to the fact that she was writing tons.

Therefore, when I saw the poster for the show of Wishful Drinking, I was happily surprised. Ooh! She’s still there! The sense of unrepentant honesty, the originality, the ability to open her life and heart for others was a delight, and while I only read snippets in passing, I was always impressed by her ability to do that while her family was still living.

Again, I envied her. And still didn’t feel like I had a right to identify with her.

Once the new movies were announced and her participation was guaranteed, it was with great delight I watched her take her royal ass and rebel against Hollywood the way she did. Of course, she has been doing it all along, but being back in the Star Wars spotlight really put her power into focus:

Being a rebel princess isn’t just about fighting fascism. It’s about fighting for what is right and being able to be your own, whole self.

I envied her, as always. But I also empathized with the amount of struggle and pain it all came with.

That struggle and pain, finally, was what I identified with.

Side note: What’s interesting is that between 1995 and 2005 I was also having a LOT of rebellion dreams. Being a participant in a rebellion, fighting helmeted jackboots, being a leader in a military organization, being depended upon for crucial intelligence. While some of the dreams were tough, most of them were amazing to experience.

Until today, I never realized it’s because of her I could even have those dreams. I may not have ever identified with her, but somewhere in me she planted the seed –

You can be a rebel and a princess. It might mean something different for me and for you than it did for her, but the two things can live together.

Love you, Ms. Fisher.

No Title Can Convey the Grief

What a horrible week.

CW: Dallas, rage, etc.

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5 officers dead in Dallas. 7 more wounded. This is the worst loss for law enforcement since 9/11.

I don’t know all their names yet, so I can’t speak them.

But I can say that while I understand the rage of Mr. Micah Johnson, Army veteran (and honestly white folks I know you do too, even if you pretend not to), that does not excuse his actions. The same way nothing excuses the actions of the officers who killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile (and Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice and TOO many beautiful human beings taken from us).

It’s even more devastating when I read that the people who were protesting – POC who are members of protest groups like Mothers Against Police Brutality – report that the Dallas police force were working hard to regain the trust of the black community there. That the police were being good to the protestors.

… yeah, I got nothing. I’m off to cry for a good long time.

Why the FUCK Does This Keep Happening? What is WRONG With Us, White People?

CW: Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, police brutality, really seriously gross murder details, talking about white people (and acknowledging I’m one)

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Are you ready? *deep breath, squares shoulders*

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So I didn’t read or see any details about Mr. Sterling until after 3-something pm my time yesterday, because I fucked up something at work and was paying attention to fixing that fuckup.

(Side note: What LUXURY that is. That’s privilege, folks. That someone can be brutally murdered within a certain community and no one is texting me to cry about it, no one is sending me DMs to express their pain and outrage… I could easily have made it through the entire day without more than a cursory awareness of what occurred.)

And then I saw it. The photos were bad enough, but the videos? Father of five. Looking at the cops with complete incomprehension on his face. Thrown across a car and onto the asphalt by these cops, one of whom knelt on his neck and screamed in his face before taking out his gun and pressing it against him.

I fought not to throw up, even before I heard the shots.

I can hear the coming justifications now – criminal, selling illegally, he had a gun, he didn’t get on the ground freaking fast enough, he fought. According to the convenience store owner, Mr. Sterling didn’t do a damn thing wrong before the cops started yelling. And I defy ANYONE who isn’t a martial arts expert to not struggle when someone is kneeling on your NECK.

Anil Dash spoke truth to ignorance here:

It’s nothing more than white supremacy to think that somehow, this man on the street, someone respected by the people around him for *pulling himself up* after his criminal past, is more deserving of this treatment than Travis Kalanick, who comes from solid upper middle class roots, who has disclaimed any and all responsibility for the assaults that have been perpetrated by his employees (consultants or no) while breaking multiple laws in his effort to “disrupt” the industry.

And then this morning.  HOLY CRAP. I can’t EVEN fathom what the fuck happened there.

HE WAS IN THE CAR. He was INFORMING THE OFFICER HE HAD A CONCEAL AND CARRY PERMIT.

And bam.

This officer freaked the hell out because a law-abiding black man had a gun, because the ONLY thing he could imagine, after asking a man for his license and registration, was that he was going for that gun. I simply cannot FATHOM that there was any reasonable, logical reason for an officer to then shoot this man in front of his girlfriend and a 4 year old who was sitting in the back seat.

WHY ARE WE SO AFRAID? White people, WHY? Black people are NOT perpetrating violent crimes against us at ANY rate half as close as we perpetrate on ourselves. (Yeah, you talk about black on black crime – lemme talk about white on white crime sometime. Psh.) And yknow, we even might deserve what we’re actually afraid of, but it *isn’t happening* and we need to take a good hard look at ourselves and why this gut-level reaction is happening.

Because these are people. And they’re good people. And it is completely insufficient to say that they’re one-off reactions because we KNOW that isn’t true. Good people are being murdered – yes, murdered – and we are writing it off.

Stop looking at what you yourself would do (or think you would do) to people of color, white people. Start looking at what far too many specific assholes do publicly, and then recognize that for everyone who does something publicly, there are *five more* who will do something horrible to a POC’s face that we never see, and then look at what those numbers look like as a statistic about us.

Stop defending yourself. Start defending LIVES.

Because anyone who dares say All Lives Matter? I dare you to start ACTING like it.

OK, Now I’m Pissed Off

CW: Ranting about responses to the Orlando tragedy.

You’re warned. <3 <3

*sigh* Y’know, I was horrified yet numb, before.

I was churning inside but I was calm on the surface, before.

But days of seeing all the media, and the content of that media, has set me off.

And so I pass along a wholehearted FUCK YOU to the wide range of assholes out there, inadvertent or otherwise.

Fuck you to ANYONE who tries to say this isn’t a hate crime against the LGBT community. It is. It’s a direct attack against my beloved community. If a foreign terrorist organization REALLY wanted to strike fear into the hearts of all Americans, they would NOT specifically hit a subculture that is among the most reviled in the country. Fucking stop already with that minimizing bullshit.

Fuck you to those awful people on social media saying explicitly that this isn’t so bad because the victims were gay. Fucking stop already and grow a fucking heart.

Fuck you, Mr. Trump, for turning this tragedy into Twitter fuel for your disgusting Islamophobic campaign. You should have fucking stopped ages ago.

Fuck you, the vast majority of American Republican lawmakers, for being too chickenshit to include anything about the victims being LGBT in your chickenshit “prayers.” If you were truly devout you’d love all your siblings on this earth. So fucking stop already – we see through it.

Fuck you, Marco Rubio, for being the one Republican who mentioned sexual orientation in your “sympathies”… and making it a “We stand by Americans even if you’re gay” qualification. Fucking STOP already.

And this isn’t as bad, but still: Fuck you to those of you who think that it can ONLY be a hate crime or ONLY be an act of terrorism, and not both. It is time to start treating mass attacks on people who are covered by hate crime legislation as terrorism. Because that’s most often what it is – according to the definition as laid out by the US Code of Federal Regulations, terrorism is “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” (emphasis mine.) That shooter meant to frighten gay people back into the closet, which is both a political and a social objective. Fuck off if you can’t understand this.

Fuck you, to everyone in Congress who voted against the Maloney Amendment, making it STILL okay to for federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees, despite President Obama’s executive order. Great thing to have as part of your fucking “prayers.”

Even fuck you, Bernie Sanders! Dammit, even though I’ve loved you, fuck you for saying initially “we do not know whether this was an act of terrorism, a terrible hate crime against gay people or the act of a very sick person.” You are supposed to be the politician with insight and vision. Why couldn’t you see it was going to be all three? Why are you falling into the same trap everyone else is?

….

And now I’m off to cry.

RIP David Bowie

….I am faced with that wretched sadness you get when a long-held dream has to die. But in human form.

I am not an uber-fan of Bowie’s music, though I love his work a lot. I came to awareness of Bowie’s music when Modern Love hit the Top 20s here in America, and within 5 years had seen Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and been awed by the man I saw on the screen. A decade and change later, I was a huge NIN fan when the two of them collaborated and then toured together, and I had an amazing time watching Bowie on the stage, cavorting like a marionette under a flexing wall/roof of fluorescent lights. I have loved Bowie as an actor as well as a musician – adoring The Hunger like a crazy person and loving him in The Last Temptation of Christ, The Prestige, and others. I could probably say that I like his acting more, but the combination of his amazing talent in both music and acting is hard to beat.

And yet. And yet.

I don’t know what year it was, but Bowie had an art show in CBGB’s Apartment Next Door. I remember wondering what it would be like, and seeing things that looked like a study of Picasso. And then I saw this:

Child in Berlin, 1977
(Description: A white-faced, hollow-eyed child looks up from a stair landing)
((Currently from Pinterest since my upload feature on WP isn’t working))

I went back to that painting over and over again that night. Kept looking at that child’s eyes. If I had had money, I would have bought it if I could. I have forgotten every other piece of art that night and most pieces of art I’ve seen in shows. This one, though, always stays with me.

This captures David Bowie’s importance to me. He could be strange, and delightful, and bizarre, and glamorous, and arrogant, and a narcissist, and all of these other adjectives, and all of that was terrific or bad or whatever you felt about him. However, what he did for humanity through his art is find a phrase or an image that was a crossbow bolt, straight through your emotional armor to the core of you… and changed the way you thought.

Goodbye, you extraordinary, brilliant human being. The world is much less without you in it.

RIP Thelonius

Black cat with gold eyes on blue plaid sheets On Friday, June 26th, our beautiful Thelonius Huxtable Davidson – Theo for short – was released from his struggle with cancer. Theo was only 14, and we didn’t expect this. He had what looked like an abscessed tooth, and after getting dental surgery he seemed fine. A month after dental surgery we noticed a growth on his gums, and made an appointment with the vet. Within the two days between the call and the appointment the growth was noticeably bigger. A biopsy confirmed what we were afraid of. Theo had aggressive oral cancer. By the time the biopsy came back, the growth had spread through his palate and into his lower sinuses. There was nothing we could do without submitting the poor guy to a feeding tube, and our vet said that while we could extend his life, we were looking at just a few months rather than the weeks we had, now.

~

When I met Theo, he was not an affectionate cat. He was elegant, and fastidious, and tolerant of his younger brother and sister, and he liked lying *next* to you but not on you. My best memory of him back then was him sitting patiently behind me, waiting for me to notice that he had a purple string draped over him.

Black cat looking up at the camera, an ombre purple silk string draped over his face and back

Theo in Pittsburgh, waiting for me to notice the string. May 27th, 2011.

He then waited even longer for me to take a picture with my phone, then shook his head, got the string off, and walked off to clean up. But when Jon and I moved in together, things changed.

Cat wanting lurvles

Cat wanting lurvles

Within a few months of us moving to the Bronx, he had started sleeping on us when we slept curled together, then graduated to wiggling himself just so, in order to sleep between us. We discovered he had a heck of a purr. He would roll over onto his back for cheek rubs, though he still wouldn’t tolerate his belly being rubbed. By the time 2014 hit, he was starting to tolerate the belly rubs, and he started to love snuggling with his brother.

Theo_and_Monte

Theo and Monte, early 2014

What he didn’t know is that he had also decided that Amelia was part of his pride, too. This past March, while we were packing for the move to our new place, I was feeling distraught and frustrated, and the music I was listening to over my Bluetooth speaker wasn’t cutting it. I decided to take a break and watch some videos of Amelia – specifically the ones of her dancing in the old hallway in Windsor Terrace.

If you’ve seen that video of her running down the hall on my post for her, you can hear her collar jingling pretty loudly. Well, Theo heard it too. And he perked up, then ran to the door looking for her. Then ran back to the bedroom. Then started looking all around for her.

He was upset. He wouldn’t let me console him. He was going to find her.

It took him about 2 hours to stop looking.

~

Last night, Jon had a dream. He dreamed that Amelia was in a giant version of the carrier we used to take Theo to the vet when he could no longer eat, or even close his mouth without pain. It was used by all the cats but it was pretty much Theo’s carrier. In Jon’s dream Amelia was her normal weight and rolling happily on her back like she did when she wanted to play the bitey game, similar to how she rolled after baths. And when he told me this, we mourned together at that fact that we both really, badly wish we could believe that Theo had gone to find her.

Unfortunately, we can’t. We’re not believers in an afterlife. There’s no heaven in our ideology, and without a heaven, there’s no rainbow bridge to comfort us.

But yknow, it’d be really freaking awesome if we were wrong on this one. :)

We love you, Theo.

Saddened By The Death Of A Class Act

As most people know, Sir Christopher Lee passed away on the 7th of this month, at the age of 93.

His career was wide-ranging, and other people have spoken about him and his achievements. Other people have more in-depth knowledge of his roles and his history, and I have no real reason to do some kind of summary of his Wikipedia article. I’ve loved his acting  – particularly in The Wicker Man – but so few people know about his musical pursuits.

Yes, Christopher Lee sang metal songs. Power metal, symphonic metal, whatever.

And he loved making metal versions of Christmas carols. You can get the 2014 Christmas carol right here.

Sir had some pipes! And it was so obvious he was having SO much fun. I am so sad that there will be no more metal carols to share with my wonderful Lee fanatic friend.

I will miss you, Christopher Lee.