Sunday, July 29, 2007

Double Feature (Featuring Racist Comments)

We went to one of the few remaining Drive-Ins this weekend for a double feature of The Simpsons Movie (do go make your avatar -- almost as fun as becoming an mm) in its opening weekend and Live Free or Die Hard a few weeks late. The plan was that Miss I would fall asleep before the Simpsons, which -- much to his grandparents' horror -- we had agreed to allow Little Bun to see, and that if Little Bun would fall asleep before Live Free or Die Hard we'd stay for it too. Unlike the time we tried to get Little Bun to fall asleep before the first movie (Ron Burgundy, which is not only not that funny, but also really really not funny at all with no sound), it sort of worked.

Miss I stayed awake for too much Simpsons, which didn't earn its PG-13 rating (the frontal nudity wasn't full, the "s*x scene" was only intimated and wouldn't be caught by anyone as young as Little Bun, and in our house the "p" word isn't a bad word), took up a cause so important to the Bloom household, and reinforced "family values" in the end, as the show often does. If you don't watch the show, you wouldn't know that Ned Flanders is often an object of derision -- his commitment to his kids is inspiring, and finally touches Bart. Two major disappointments: no big musical number (Green Day's appearance was cute, but no more than that) and too little Montgomery Burns.

Fortunately both kids were asleep by the trailers before Live Free or Die Hard. While the violence was gratuitous -- isn't that why we love the Die Hard series -- it was far less glaring or gratuitous than the film's racism. I was shocked and disappointed by McClane's references to Mai [Maggie Q] as "little b*tch Asian girlfriend" and "Asian b*tch hooker girlfriend." After she's (loose quotation) trapped at the bottom of an elevator shaft with a (large vehicle) "up her *ss" he assures her villain boyfriend that though she's dead, she'll be easily replaced. She was also half-skilled (as displayed in the film) in "kung fu" (described by McClane as the trait least likely to be found in the next Asian b*tch hooker).

It shocked me that someone wrote it (and you can see in the credits that it took a heck of a lot of writers to bring us this masterpiece). It shocked me that someone else said it, even if that someone was Bruce Willis. And honestly, it shocked me that a whole slew of people (many white, some people of color) were there on hand, as actors, director, producers, crew and no one thought "Wait -- why does he say that?!" It shocked me that if they tested it, those lines tested okay.

But it shouldn't have shocked me. I shouldn't be shocked at the racism, misogyny, exoticization/sexualization. But that doesn't justify it. Neither does the fact that McClane is a "tough guy," or that he "isn't very nice," or anything else. Perhaps the character McClane might have made racist, misogynist comments regardless of the female villain's race -- and regardless of race his sexism gleams in his decision not to shoot her, and also his subsequent decision to beat the h*ll out of her) but the fact is that no audience would tolerate it if she hadn't been Asian. Try inserting another race into those phrases and imagine whether or not there would be vocal protests. This is not to say that there are not a bazillion racist and misogynist movies -- indeed there are -- but it is to say that we shouldn't put up with it.

Other elements of the film -- including the spectacular destruction so spectacular that it makes you crave the pre-digital age of real cars crashing into real things and the way the film undercuts its own astonishing effects by showing a simulated demolition of the Capitol and also "proving" within the film that the image was, happily, only a simulation -- were far less stunning than these phrases.

The bottom line is that while we paid very little to see the movie, had I done a little homework we wouldn't even have stayed. And I actually liked Die Hard.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More Fun with Toddler Attachment -- I Blew it Today

This afternoon I blew it.

It was naptime, and she definitely needed the rest, if not a nap. I offered to lay down with her, as she's been having trouble falling asleep alone again (during the same time as she's been demanding to be treated as a baby). She decided that was big fun, and started being silly. "No," I said calmly. "If you can't rest with Momma, you're going to have to rest alone." Here began an hour long tantrum, complete with calm exits from Momma "I need to step away, but I'm nearby and I love you." "I love you even when I don't like your behavior." Those kinds of things. She decided to fake-hurt herself: "Momma, I kicked the wall and now I need a doctor." "Momma, I broke my head." Nothing was broken, I assure you.

When she settled, I went back into her room to reassure her. She grabbed my face, pulled me towards her, rolled her eyes back in her head and screamed.

So I yelled. I yelled that there was a difference between frustrated tantrums and manipulative tantrums, and that this was manipulation. I yelled that I was losing empathy for her need for me to be there when she was using it to get out of napping. I yelled that I was losing it. In each pause, she made a terrible square mouth, teeth exposed, and screamed. There were no tears from her, just mine when it was over.

I'm telling you this so that you know it's hard. That toddler attachment issues (the child's and the parent's) don't go away but cycle. That one day can cause weeks' setback, turning that phase in a cycle into a downward spiral. That it's hard.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I told my students that I did it the right way by waiting until all the books were already out, but really I was just too lazy to read them. Suddenly I'm a little sorry: We muggles are truly lost today.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Do you know why you're in time out, Miss I?
Ummmm (big grin) because I'm nasty?!

Regression Makes Me Mean (or Fun with Toddler Attachment)

Many weeks ago, we had the opportunity to spend time with Little Bun and Miss I's cousin from afar. During most of his visit, C had very little interest in anyone but his Momma, but on the last day of their visit, he wanted to sit on my lap for a bit. Miss I was not pleased. She took a deep breath and haltingly informed me "I want . . . C . . . a sit on own . . . Momma's . . . lap." I said I understood her feelings, and she went off to play with Daddy. When she returned, C was on a blanket on the ground playing with his trucks. "You tell C no more sit a my Momma's lap?" she inferred, and she beamed with pride that I had done the right thing in her eyes (I hadn't -- he'd simply had enough snuggling.)

Miss I returns to this scenario daily right now, informing me again and again that she wants C to never sit on my lap again. She also tells me I'm not Little Bun's Momma, only hers. It has been driving me mad, as has the return to just-home level tantrumming, however well justified (C's visit, our move, the birth of my other nephew -- which so clearly rocked her world).

So when Little Bun went to Grandma Bloom's for a few days, Miss I indulged her baby self. I gave her many choices for how to spend our day together, and she chose to spend it in a rocker with a sippy cup held like a bottle. Inside I was going crazy thinking about all the productive things I could get done with just one kid, so I hoped like crazy that this WAS productive. If she was going to stay a baby I was going to stay out of sorts. I like my little-big girl.

Fortunately this morning she woke up and decided to be a big girl.
I suppose she just needed to have the choice.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Why not to take your kids when you go bra shopping:

The whole family was along for the excursion. I wouldn't have taken them, honestly, but I'm crunched for time. When little bun started announcing loudly that we were there because I needed new bras, I must have looked a bit embarrassed. "It's okay," he said as loudly. "We all have them. Even boys. Well, nickles anyway. We all have nickles."
I was a bit relieved and much amused (it recalled his "peanut and two popsicles" days), and I thought he'd dropped it, but it was only a pause for correction.
"Not NICKLES," he said, smiling, to a whole new group of spectating shoppers. "I meant to say N*PPLES."

It wouldn't have been so bad if two days ago I hadn't overheard this conversation between a little girl and little bun, occassioned only by me entering the room (and apparently, her baby sister's behavior, a fact I learned later).

Litte girl: Did you really drink from your mom's b**bs?!
Little bun: Yeah.
Little girl: [Nervous giggling, like she'd just learned some scandalous secret]
Little bun: [Casually] Maybe I still do. I don't like to use cups. [Returns to play, watching sidelong with sparkling eyes for Little girl's reaction]

Please, don't google me for all the wrong reasons.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I hope she doesn't mind. I just wanted to spotlight a really tender post at Holding Still.

I have these weird moments, too, every once in awhile. Ten years and I'm still sometimes surprised that I'm married and that there is no me that does not rely on him. More than six years and I'm still taken aback sometimes by my motherhood. Once last month I entirely forgot for a moment that I was more than thirty. I was in my backyard, listening to kids on the playground and I just, somehow, forgot.

But I'm also really struck in an entirely different way by the weird moments that dh and I no longer have: This time last year, Dr.Bloom asked if I ever thought in surprise "There's an Ethiopian on my lap!" and I had. But I don't. Yet I am sometimes surprised by our joy.

Monday, July 09, 2007

or this lazy?

A reality show at the playboy mansion is on, and I can't make myself turn it off.

but have you been this tired?

I started to pour my cereal into my bowl, before I realized that the bowl was upside down.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


I promised a review of Ratatouille last week, and just couldn't get to it. I still really can't, but I do want to give our quick take -- four thumbs up -- and the two caveats:

The first is that the plot hinges on a dna test, which if you read my s*x ed post below, you know wouldn't go by unnoticed by some. It isn't a spoiler (as the outcome is predictable from the very start) to say that one of the characters never knows his father's identity and bizarrely, his mother sends a letter regarding his paternity to someone else without having conveyed it to her son, just before she died.

(Not-quite-a-caveat, but if you catch that his mother is fine because she believed in the afterlife so she's good to go, and you found that moment weird and awkward, drop me a comment).

The second is that the first five minutes are filled with gunfire at rats who've invaded a home (fine) and the threat of gunfire between Parisian lovers who kiss instead (not so fine).

Otherwise, the movie is delicious, engaging with our current obsession with television chefs and cooking shows (there's a tv in my kitchen for goodness' sake) and American's underdeveloped palates (the Chef's good name is co-opted for frozen "ethnic" foods).

Better, it has turned my Little Bun into a Little Chef!