Simply Today

Archive for the ‘blues’ Category

February sometime…probably cold, probably a little down already*:

“How could she ever hate them for what was at bottom merely their weakness? She would probably have done things like those to be fallen her if she had lived in one of these houses. To measure them by her own yardstick as her father put it. Would she not, in all honesty, have done the same as Chuck and Vera and Ben and Mrs Henson and Tom and all these people in their houses? Grace paused. – – – And all of a sudden she knew the answer to her question all too well. If she had acted like them she could not have defended a single one of her actions and could not have condemned them harshly enough. It was as if her sorrow and pain finally assumed their rightful place. No. What they had done was not good enough. And if one had the power to put it to right it was one’s duty to do so – for the sake of other towns, for the sake of humanity. And not least for the sake of the human being that was grace herself.”

Heaven help me, I saw “Dogville,” two nights ago. The above quote was one of the final narrations offered the viewer, and frankly it left me undone, in the end. I’m not really going to critique the acting, art direction, or even the writing, because I can’t really find much fault with those things…but the story, the message!

You know, I do it, I take one thing, and suddenly, it’s representative of all _____. Fill in the blank: jobs, men, summers, parents…the list goes on. Maybe part of has to do with the fact that I consider myself a storyteller, and as such, we take one day, or month, or year of a character’s life and say, “see yourself in this character, go on, do it.” And so when a playwright tells a story of a close knit, provincial community, where with the power given them by a stranger wanting acceptance, their morality seemingly blows over by the unobtrusive fall setting in, the hum falls out of my song.

Physical, and psychological warfare, all shown to one. And though the male lead of this production appears to remain an aid to the antagonist, there is sin in his passivity and his studied way of approaching his town as a philosopher, never as anything more or less.

And this woman, Grace, inching closer and closer to quasi-martyrdom (especially when we understand why she came to the town in the first place), now firmly embedded in our hearts, swings 180 degrees in her character’s skin and sicks her father’s mafia henchmen on every single citizen of Dogville. Why? Because when enough humans act as though they are God (and can judge, direct, be followed) towards other humans, well, those humans, when the chance is given, will snatch that role right from under their oppressors. This concerns me, though in my understanding of human tendencies, it fits.

So I ask: How are good structures set up so that when humans try on the Godly robes of power, there are enough other people to hold them accountable and say “ah, ah, ah,” while shaking a pointed finger their way. Because doesn’t structures=power and therefore even that power would be corrupt. I have no answers here.

* I understandably dragged my feet on publishing such a bleak post, but ah, well. Spring Break starts at 4PM today AND Spring is finally scratching the surface of my world, so this is finally getting released…fly, fly.


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