Friday, June 24, 2011

How do you solve an asshat like Maria

I think I first saw Maria Bello in an episode of Nowhere Man (a show I happened upon late at night a few years ago, about a photojournalist whose life gets erased by some mysterious 'organization' and he travels around trying to expose the conspiracy and get his life back - just the thing for someone with neurotic and paranoid tendencies). I thought she was really pretty - I love blonde hair with brown eyes. I was glad in a sort of remote, back-of-the-mind way, when she showed up in more shows, then got a spot on E.R., than made it big in the movies.

My asshat of a boss at the audio publisher where I worked for a while once told me a story about Margaret Atwood that reminded me strongly of the saying "if you want to keep your heroes, never meet them". I think I'd have to expand that to "don't read interviews with them either". There was a short piece about Maria Bello in my local paper where she tells her son "I'm a different kind of Mommy...that's why I'm not a soccer Mom...why I'm off to Haiti again...why I smoke."

WTF? Okay, admittedly I can't even define, in any logical, articulate manner, why that pisses me off so much, so feel free to call me on it. It just seems to encompass such an elitist, narcissistic, IDIOTIC sensibility. So...soccer moms never travel? So...it's a law that movie stars have to smoke? Poor Maria, having to explain to her child why she's so special and different from the common folk.

I'm not even that cranky today. Seriously. Even though I'm going out tonight and it's raining and my hair's going to be a goofiness orgy of frizz. But Maria Bello is totally not on my list of movie stars I want to be BFFs with anymore. That's right - I'm dealing her a crushing blow in my fantasy life.

I'm also reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. I love The Corrections. Admittedly, I can't stop reading Freedom either, but it's not with the same admiration. Leaving aside, for the moment, the issue of confusing the narrator with the author, I'm getting the distinct impression that Franzen doesn't like women much - or at least has some kind of issue that makes him delight in creating fairly repulsive examples of the gender in his books. Thinking back on some of his female characters in The Corrections, sadly, isn't doing anything to attenuate this feeling, which sucks because it's retroactively casting a shadow on a really great reading experience. I remember reading the Travis McGee series, which some writer I really admire had recommended highly, and suddenly stumbling into the same thing. There were interesting female characters, but all of the characters with true nobility and integrity seemed to be men. What put a definite end to my continuing with the series was a rape scene, followed by the woman killing herself, and the male character concluding that it was because she had experienced sexual pleasure during the rape and therefore couldn't live with herself. Really? REALLY?

Anyway, I have a book club meeting tonight where we eat and drink and formulate the book list for next year. We each usually bring two or three choices and decide on one based on the rest of the list. One of the books I'm bringing is The Razor's Edge by Somerset Maughaum, partly because I like to visit or revisit classics under the aegis of book club because then I know I'll read them carefully, and partly because it was the Favourite Book of All Time of my asshat audio publisher boss (hey look, a kind of circularity in a post that I thought was ping-ponging around like a coked up rat in a maze), and when I read it, guess what? A definite whiff of Misogynists R Us. I'm interested in seeing if the other people in my book club think the same thing.

12 comments:

Nicole said...

Now I want to know the story of Margaret Atwood because she is one of my favourite authors.

I love the Razor's Edge!

Bridget said...

I have that song running through my head now...

I'm sorry that Maria turned out to be such a twerp in her interview.

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

I used to work for an airline and we had a surprising number of celebrities fly with us (surprising because it was just a wee little airline). The only cool celebrities were Robert Plant, George Takai, and Linda Hamilton. Pretty much everyone else were freakazoids of the highest manner. This is why I only admire characters in movies or shows, and ignore the real people.

Gwen said...

OK. But I would sell a kidney for a dinner with Matt Damon.

Betsy B. Honest said...

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clara said...

I barely remember The Corrections but I liked it too. And I read Freedom about a month ago and had to force myself through the last 200 pages. I noticed the stereotyping of women and I also felt strongly that he could have done another draft of that book to shorten (and tighten) it up considerably. It read like a pretty good first draft.

Kelly said...

I just got smarter through reading this post. So many great words! I need a book club so I can get the smartygirl brains, too.

Yes, Atwood story now, please.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I try not to read celebrity gossip precisely because I don't want to affect my enjoyment of art with whether I like a particular personality.

Pauline said...

"There was a short piece about Maria Bello in my local paper where she tells her son "I'm a different kind of Mommy...that's why I'm not a soccer Mom...why I'm off to Haiti again...why I smoke."

Hm, what a weird thing to say but just to play Devil's Advocate, are you sure she wasn't misquoted? The media loves to twist what people say so more will buy their paper/magazine, etc.

Amber said...

People who say they are "a different kind of Mommy" haven't met enough moms.

alison said...

I must be spending too much time on Facebook, because I was just looking around for the button so that I could 'Like' Amber's comment.

I had a hard time getting through 'The Corrections', so I'm not likely to pick up the other one, misogyny or not.

theycallmejane said...

It is so hard for me to remember that actors act for a living and writers write for a living and that their characters do not offer a "window to their soul." I hate it when I find out that the character they played or wrote about is so much more nobler/kinder/gentler/real than they are.

(And yes, put me in the camp that would love to hear the Margaret Atwood story.)