Monday, December 31, 2007
Dignity In Satin: Part One
For a change of pace, I thought I'd give you over the week, the loyal Seven Hellion, something I was supposed to be paid for free.
In 2006, I was contacted about contributing to a Wonder Woman anthology but like most things literary, it never came to be. "No Wonder Woman movie, no anthology," they said so instead of letting it go to waste, sitting in an untitled folder...
Here you go.
1975 was the year my skull exploded.
On the whole, I can’t recall 1975 all that well. I was only three years old at the time. I am, though, fairly certain that I was probably wrestling with the dilemmas presented to much of America’s three-year-olds. For one, I was probably trying to get that whole "too-cool-for-pre-school" thing down to a funky science. For another, I was probably very much trying to not think of my nose as a thing of play, barring that, how I could actively work it into next year’s "America’s Bicentennial" celebrations. You know, just to give the family something to talk about in their golden years and, well, because I was nothing if not a patriot.
Again, I don’t remember much about 1975 but I am fairly certain that it was the year that my little life changed -- completely. At least I assume it did because, again, I don’t recall much about 1975, but I do know this: my little skull exploded. In 1975, something beautiful was unwittingly (or was it wittingly?) set into motion. Something I, to this day, am only just beginning to somewhat comprehend some thirty-plus years later. I didn’t know it but I’d found ... love . I have not, nor do I care to find a way out to the other side.
In 1975, my mother plopped me down in front of a television, introducing me to Lynda Carter and to Wonder Woman. I was quietly mesmerized sitting there, bathed in the grayish glow of our black-and-white television.
Who was this...this...person? Why was she doing this to me? Why was she making me hang on her every word? Why did Lynda Carter’s portrayal of Wonder Woman have to be so damned... different?
Who gave the character Wonder Woman, this White princess from a fictional utopia, dressed in a star-spangled bikini come to me, a smallish Black child living in urban Washington, D.C., permission to come through my television and seemingly speak only to me? Who let her into my house? Who let her into my heart?
Despite our obvious and vast differences, there was something there. Something I could barely wrap my head around. It spoke to me. There she was, Ms. Lynda Carter, dressed up in a bathing suit, high-heeled boots and a golden rope, smiling (God, that smile!) all the while. She should have looked ridiculous but, of course, she didn’t. She looked regal, elegant. How was she pulling this nearly superhuman feat off? I didn’t know it at the time, but it was so simple – even though but many others in her position failed to comprehend... ..
Lynda Carter knew what many others did not. Superman’s "S" sells itself. As difficult as it may be to believe, it is easy to cloak oneself in "Bat Shark Repellent" and let the moment speak for itself. Lynda Carter found Wonder Woman’s core and let it shine for everyone to see. If the Wonder Woman were to survive, Ms. Carter had to bring to the role that one divine thing women seem to have in greater supply than most men: dignity.
Now, I’m sure, that I was somewhat aware of the concept of the super-hero. To be a super-hero one had to have a costume, powers, or a little boy like the one that Batman had on the tv show... and so yes, dignity had to be in their somewhere, right? Because they were guys, guys who, I guessed, had dignity. Up to this point, I assumed that all anyone had to have to play one of these "supermen" was:
• Show a willingness to puff out one’s chest at the first sign of trouble.
• The putting of fists on one’s hips while spouting ludicrous dialogue at the second sign of trouble.
• Take yourself and not the character way too seriously.
• Don’t ever forget you’re a "serious" actor, after all.
• Above all, be eager enough to earn one’s pay as a serious actor while wearing satin briefs.
In watching that first episode of Wonder Woman, I was taught more about gender equality than any lecture I ever could have sat in at anyone’s school. In Lynda Carter’s first episode, I found out that women, unlike men, are elegant in satin briefs. In satin, I glimpsed dignity.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
"Who Is She? Where Did She Come From?"
I Miss The Alleys.
The other day I was walking past an alley and what I saw gave me pause.
Was a mugging taking place?
An over-large gathering of rats?
Was it a drug deal going bad?
Was it someone being chased down into the alley?
There were people at this party, hanging out, smiling and drinking wine...
...in an alley.
Hanging out. Smiling. Drinking wine. In an alley.
This city's gone to sh*t.
The economic infrastructure of Washington, DC and with that change comes gentrification. A side effect of that is that, some have demanded that our local city services improve. Trash collected in a more timely manner. Snow removed almost as soon as it hits the ground.
I wish you could have seen this thing. It had been repaved. It had been redone to look like the city sidewalks. It looked inviting.
It looked like a trap.
The people who owned the property overlooking it, had hung potted plants. Balconies had been added so that its occupants could enjoy a scenic view of said alley.
Garbage. None could be found other than in my exclamation.
What happened to the alley?
When I was growing up, the alley was something to be feared and respected. The alley was the place where the things your momma didn't want you to get into happened.
The alley was the place where only the rats, pushers, junkies and trash collectors dared enter.
The alley was a place where Peter Parker could leave Spider-Man behind.
The alley was a place where people who took shortcuts got cut short.
The alley was no place to wear pearls and take the family.
The alley was never any place I ever wanted to be on a Friday night. I respect the implied threat.
The alley was a place where bad things happened to people, good and bad. I guess I should be happy that people feel as though the city is safe enough to hang out in Martha Stewart-esque alleyways but what gets me is the lack of respect.
A certain lack of respect for the city. A certain loss of what had come before.
A certain lack of appreciation of just how far this city has come.
I miss the alleys, on purpose and out of respect.
Monday, December 24, 2007
It was freeing.
Comics. They aren't my whole day anymore.
Yesterday, I made my way to Fantom Comics (Good people there) and looked at the racks and something interesting happened. I looked at them as a fan. Not as a retailer, as a fan.
I didn't look at their racks and wonder how many they ordered or how many they needed to re-order. I didn't have to worry about any of it. They were just there waiting for me.
I looked at the racks and realized that I didn't have to read anything I didn't want to anymore. I realized wouldn't have to put up with the nonsense I was subjected to in order to do something I loved.
I really wasn't enjoying my comics like I used to.
I had come to regard them as folded pieces of colored paper.
I walked out with 6 comics. No Countdown crossovers, no X-anything, just the things I wanted to read at the time.
I walked out knowing that I was free to be a fan, again.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
This Blog Is Mine Again.
The reasons are many.
It's been a long time coming, in all truth. All I know is that it feels incredible to not have to carry someone else's burdens.