“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”
― Neil Gaiman
I have always had this weird fascination with circus. Once I even went to explore the backside of the Riga Circus to see how the elephants are brought through the small streets of the city center. I even took my friend with me. Finally, it seemed reasonable enough and I dismissed the idea out of my head.
Today I watched the new film made by the Cirque du Soleil. Instantly my fascination came back. The performances by the acrobats, the development of technologies, and the various, colourful costumes together looked breathtaking.
At first, I thought that the circus was from Monaco, since I had already heard something about it, but this circus is actually from Canada (I presume the French-speaking part). It was created in 1984 and till today it incorporates many performers all around the world, as well as, athletes who have ended their carriers in sports.
The best thing that I liked in this film was the fact that the artists were so amazing that there was no need for acting animals. The show had its main story line which was about falling in love. A kind of cliché, but it was logically developed throughout each of the following acts.
Another thing that caught my attention was a huge pool in the middle of the stage. Various creatures, with shiny costumes came out of it and jumped in it. It is possible that its creatures, depths and dangers, and unpredictability made the waters so ambiguous.
It would be impolite to compare this circus with the Riga Circus because the circus in Riga does not have that much space for so many performers to act at a time, the ticket prices are much more reasonable for those who still feel the economic crisis, yet the shows in Riga are more intimate since everything is much closer to you not only literally, but also figuratively.
To conclude, at some point I would agree with those people who assert that animals are treated badly in such places like circus, but on the other hand, do not we all have some rules that we have or we think we have to obey, some imaginary ‘boxes’ we live in to be better or simply to meet the society’s expectations? Moreover, there is no clear knowledge about the particular circumstances in which the animals live; therefore, let’s just not paint everything black or white.
The only way to discover eternity is through memory, understanding the past, and transcending beyond time.
– T.S. Eliot
For some time now, I have been researching Feminism and its basics. While writing my Term Paper on ‘Representation of Men and Women’, I came across such names like Julia Kritseva, Sandra Gilber & Susan Gubar, Elaine Showalter, Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Jacobus, Judith Butler, Joan Scott and also Margaret Atwood.
In the Term Paper I discussed: the Production of Knowledge, Women’s Writings, and feminist Critiques. The first dealt with the realisation of women that they had no actual power, they were not allowed to attend any schools, universities or clubs, do sports or business or join army, all the things men could do. Since they were forbidden to have public life, “women were forced to cultivate their feelings and to over-value romance”. (Showalter; 1977:79) Therefore, women began to write about their fantasies and produce a great deal of novels.
Later, in the late 20th century, women decided to analyze those novels written by and for women, in order to understand what it means to be a ‘woman’. Further, woman novelists suffered from not being taken seriously because of their femininity. Lest they used male pseudonyms for their writings, the focal point for critics was writer’s gender which was then discussed according with or in comparison to other women writers of that time, regardless of the topic. (Showalter; 1977:73) For that reason, women’s writings had to be identified and separated from men’s.
To achieve equality and therefore separation, sexual stereotyping of women in both literature and literary criticism has to be exposed. Moreover, women and men perceive “reality” differently; accordingly, reality depicted in literature must also differ, for that reason, it is necessary to look closer at the gender as a category of analysis.
To understand gender as an analytic category, “women and men were defined in terms of one another”, since individual analysis of each could not be accomplished. (Scott; 1986:1054) Even though sexes are interrelated, they should still be analyzed distinctively. Judith Butler argues that this categorization is unacceptable because:
If on “is” a woman, that is surely not all one is; the term fails to be exhaustive, not because a pregendered “person” transcends the specific paraphernalia of its gender, but because gender is not always constituted coherently or consistently in different historical contexts, and because gender intersects with racial, class, ethnic, sexual, and regional modalities of discursively constituted identities. (Butler; 1999:6)
There is also a considerable discussion that concerns with a clear distinction between gender and sex. Basically there is the argument that biology defines one’s identity; however the theoretical difference between the terms “gender” and “sex” is that one is born with sex, but “gender is culturally constructed”. (Butler; 1999:9) If gender is established through culture, then there is no way that the gender develops from the sex. Meaning that, if there are two sexes, that does not necessarily imply that the construction of male gender will derive only to the male sex or female gender to female sex. Accordingly, there being two sexes, are no reason to believe that there should be only two genders.
Further, I would like to turn to the point of introducing two quotes by Fiona Tolan that should make you re-think or possibly change you minds about such controversial topic as transvestism.
“If female impersonator are conscious constructors of artificial and artifactual femininity, how does a ‘female impersonator’ differ from a ‘woman’?” (Tolan; 2007:186)
“Is drag the imitation of gender, or does it dramatize the signifying gestures through which gender itself is established? Does being female constitute a “natural fact” or a cultural performance, or is “naturalness” constituted through discursively constrained performative acts that produce the body through and within the categories of sex.” (Tolan; 2007:187)
Behind these and many other feminist theories, there is a greater political purpose that serves as protector of the interests of women (and other minorities) in their fight for their rights in society based on patriarchy.
The other day after the lectures and on my way to the train station I noticed a child. He had this funny had that I and my sister had to wear when we were little (in the 90’s). I would like to describe the hat: it was kind a hat with a scarf that had a round opening for the face; this little chap’s hat was light blue with white stripes. Then he had this awfully huge rucksack that had one written word on its – COOL. This boy had this pace that made him look weary, apathetic, and a bit lame, yet there was nothing lame about this boy. When the light changed green, I though why a boy approximately of age 7 or 8 is walking alone, but then…
On the crossing, his little man bows to give all his change for an old trams who to my opinion enjoys to have a drink or two, but that was not the point. I was completely astonished by his behaviour since he was not judging the trams like I do sometimes: to whom should I give my change, does he or she deserves it, and so forth. Did his parents tought him that? What was he thinking? I have no answers to these and may more questions, but it does not matter because I could never stop thinking or forget the hero of that day who was most certainly cool.
Only recently I was finally able to watch the film which I longed for months to see. When I first saw the trailer of “Hello I Must Be Going”, I was completely carried away by its simple jet completely tangled story. Moreover, I would never have tought that I will be so fascinated by its plot and the different characters portrayed.
The main story line evolves around a 35 years old female who is going through a divorce. At first, it might seem as nothing special, but this time let just not take everything at face value. The first thing that strikes me is that this woman has lives for three months with her parents doing nothing. Moreover, her mother has to worry about herself and her husband, but again about her daughter who being an educated woman, an artist who ran away not taking any belongings with her. Then later it turned out that after marriage she devoted herself to the husband an his needs by quitting her studies; whereas now she is left without a penny. For days she is this sad, pathetic, and miserable divorcee.
The next awkward episode is when she has to attend her father’s business dinner. During the meal she is reproached for excessive vine drinking to which she replies that it is good for her health meaning the antioxidants. On the other end of the table a 19 years old guy is overtly flattered by his mother about his acting skills. Somehow they bond because misery loves company. As a result, the begin to like each other because they feel alike.
The next thing we know, they start a love affair. She is finally able to speak with someone about her situation without being judged, and over time also he reveals his problems with his therapist mother who tends to over-analyze him. Therefore, compassion lead to passion even though they are completely aware of the situation they are getting into. Moreover, people are never free from the norms and taboos imposed by the society, and also it is okay for the guy to be older than the woman, but not the other way round. At that point I though, of course, neither of them had any expectations that is why it was so easy to dive in.
When they have ‘exchanged’ with their greatest desires and the saddest life challenges and other difficulties, they are caught in the act by his mother. Although he managed to get finely out of the situation, she decided to put an end to this love affair, in my opinion, I think she felt guilty to be that happy. The next time they meet, she has pulled herself together and discloses to him that she was so used to her marriage that she did not even notice the fact that she was unhappy and that his age was not the major problem, but that she feared and did not understand what it was to be loved like that. At the end nothing is said about their future together, but I do not think that it even matters.
I think that the topic of relationships will evermore be up-to-date because people love to judge other people who divorce, who are getting married, and who can not get married, as well as, those who enter into a relationship with partners inappropriate for their age. I think that the greatest tragedies of all time come from misunderstandings.
What I also do not understand is that people have rated this film as average. Is that what they are not willing to admit – the mediocrity of their own lives?
P.S. This film had also one of the most amazing soundtracks I have heard for a long time.