Podcasts & Appetizers
REVISIONIST HISTORY (Episode 1: The Lady Vanishes)
Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell’s new podcast “Revisionist History” got off to an interesting start this week with its first episode “The Lady Vanishes“. Gladwell delves into the story of Elizabeth Thompson, one of very few female historical painters who rose to fame in the late 19th century for her iconic painting of soldiers in the Crimean War, titled “The Roll Call“. Thompson’s spectacular rise, breaking into a tight coterie of male painters during that time, and her subsequent decline are interesting pegs for Gladwell to discuss the subject of exceptions amongst political turfs and tokenism we see today.
Gladwell draws parallels between Thompson’s case with notable exceptions in race, sport and politics, most critically, the case of former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the misogyny directed at her by opponents while in office. Gladwell toys with the notion of “moral licensing,” finally questioning what implications this could probably have for the US’s potential first female president, Hillary Clinton.
Link here: http://revisionisthistory.com/
Books & Main Dishes
bone (Yrsa Daley-Ward)
I must admit this is not a completely original recommendation! It first came to my notice when it was featured on Between Two Books (a book club where every month books recommended by Florence Welch are read—it’s worth checking out). Having stumbled upon bone, I first opened the metaphorical page (it was but an e-book), curious as to what Daley-Ward had to offer.
And what she did, completely surpassed my expectations. The poems – sometimes long narratives and other times short verses – drew me in whole with the simple and visceral storytelling. But the simplicity in which the poems are told beguile the complexity of their subject matter.
They map the experience of primarily a woman, and more specifically one of colour, in relation to lovers, siblings, parents, spouse, friends, relations, men, the body and self. Often the relationships are exploitative – both emotionally and physically, lending to a raw urgency to the storytelling. And really, bone is all about compelling and engaging storytelling.
Films & Desserts
The Children’s Hour (1961)
Based on a play with the same title (1934), the Children’s Hour is considered, by many, to be a pioneer in dealing with LGBT issues on screen. It stars Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn as two best friends who run their own boarding school for little girls, when a terrible rumour spread by one of their students tears everything apart. I’m not going to reveal much – except to say that it is one of the most powerful films I have watched. It will frustrate you, anger you, make you cry, and break your heart. But it will remind you, in the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, that Love is Love is Love is Love.
Not only is the film successful in presenting two strong independent female protagonists, it also poignantly represents the turmoil they experience in dealing with slander, hate, and self-doubt. To be honest, I wanted to watch it because of Audrey Hepburn, but it was MacLaine who stole ever scene. With Orlando still fresh in our minds (and souls), there is no better time to watch this film.