04 diciembre 2010

thoughts after THE HIDING PLACE

thought one: from comments on this article

“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren,
boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous,
intoxicating. Therefore, ‘imaginative literature' is either boring or immoral
(or a mixture of both). It only escapes from this alternative if in some way it
passes over to the side of reality through the power of art - and only genius
can do that.”

~ simone weil, on literature and morality

[man, i wish i had that quote back my freshman year when my engl. prof was telling me about the innuendos in Rossetti's poems... makes me think of manalive, so very un-believable, but with much truth.]

thought two: the day after watching The Hiding Place, against my will.

i don't like suffering. like, really not one of my favorite themes, though i seek to be a Christian. it's one of those "difficult sayings" for me. i have a very superstitious dislike of writing or thinking much about these things. i was reluctant to watch the film because, well, i knew what it was about.

later, i was glad to have watched the movie. it is the most subversive thing. so true. very Christian. so opposite of the values of any other film we could have watched... the heroines were in their fifties. they were husbandless and happy. "you two talk all the time about love... i bet you've never even had a man!" they were not beautiful, especially in prison. their family really was righteous. their subversive activity came from devotion, not adrenaline. they were not cool, but they were unconcerned. good and evil were clear cut, but right and wrong (ethics) were not. it was not an easy film, but the movie was worth the tears.

it was very thought provoking, especially regarding theodicy, but i do not feel i have the right to opine on the issue. maybe after i've suffered...

thought three: on ugliness, modernity, and femininity in the movie

on these, i might opine a bit.

i was struck by the ugliness of the concentration camps. that seems so very superficial. but it was all rusted metal and squares and gray and brown and cold... and that was part of the problem. the inmates were constantly dehumanized, and the ugliness was as much a part of that process as anything.

the modernness of it all. the trains and boxcars and intercoms and roll call. the forties really weren't that long ago. the women... how liberated! to be able to be guards in a prison: that is equality! but the equality was to be as equally brutal as men, when my gender's... what to call it.... "sentimentality" is, i believe, a means of grace in a brutal world. it was disconcerting how unlike women both the guards and the prisoners were, even in skirts. they fought for clothes and bunks. they hurled racist slurs at one another. they pushed machinery and sorted metal. they whipped. they stole. they hated. they bribed. when "German whores" come to the camp, the women in the barracks yelled that there was no room for them. none were given the liberty to be women because to be woman is not a category on an identity card. it is to be human, particularly, personally, not as a subdivision of the animal kingdom.

to keep their sanity, or maybe just because prisoners must do something, some read the Bible. some prayed. but one also explained art techniques, and others discussed intricacies of a certain score of music. they argued over ingredients in a cake recipe. an otherwise hardened ex-midwife stole vitamins to care for the unborn baby of one prisoner. their acts of femininity were acts of humanity and the most rebellious thing they could do under the circumstances.

the unborn child of one of the prisoners was dangerous. if the administration had known, she would immediately have been sent to "experimental." (babies and mothers as fodder for experiments. this is modernity, folks. never would have been possible in those deep, dark middle ages.) for her to bring the baby to life would require an intervention from God and a hiding? a protection? from all the evil opposing the child's existence.

last thought:
children and are intolerable to satan becuase the birth and life of every child declares the existence of a good God. in a beautiful, selfish, ravaged world, children are the most beautiful and "otherworldly" thing we know. atheism seems plausible where there is no beauty and no children. thusly, satan would love the whole world to be ugly and adult. beauty and children are God's domain.