The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What would you do..?

Watching Christina Aguilara singing with Tony Bennett on the Emmys, one week after Britney’s disastrous go on the VMA, I was reminded that a few years back, when Madonna kissed both of them onstage, all anyone could talk about was the fact that Britney and Madonna kissed. Everyone forgot about Christina. She was literally cropped out of photographs. Wow! Britney…

And I thought: Christina is going to win this one. She’s got the real talent. Britney couldn’t dance, could barely sing. All she had going for her was that she had this “sexiest virgin in the world” act, and a perfect body, which she was delighted to show off at any opportunity.

Welll…she doesn’t have either of those any more. And without Madonna’s chameleon-like ability to reinvent herself, all that remains was her talent. Having the poor taste to appear in a very revealing two-piece, just as she invited people to approve of her former body, she is inviting people to criticize her now. All she had to do was wear a one-piece outfit (without those spray-on ab shadows! Did you notice the disorienting difference between her front and side views?)

Sorry, but whoever is advising this troubled young lady isn’t doing their job. Considering the product she was initially selling, I blame her mother. Didn’t anyone realize this road had a bumpy ending?

But Christina sounded GREAT. Lady has serious, serious skills.
##
The subject of three “disadvantaged” groups came up in a letter from Dan: Gays, Women, Blacks. Dan, who put in serious time in a women’s shelter, was of the opinion that women seem to him to have the worst deal. Watching the flood of abused women, I can understand his impression. I suggested to him that my own opinion on the subject (“who has it worse?”) isn’t trustworthy—everyone skews data to fit their own position. But there IS a way to determine the truth, I think. After all, a person can be all three, right?

So…every time you meet someone who is at least two of the three (black female, gay black, gay female, or gay black female), if it is possible, inquire about it. Which aspect of your life has given you the most trouble? Caused you the most pain or disadvantage?

Simply tally the results. If readers of this blog would perform this simple experiment when possible and report back, we could try a straw poll.

I can tell you what results I’ve gotten from a very small sample of respondants: Gay is more problematic than female. Black is more problematic than gay. A response I’ve heard several times is that black women don’t join the women’s movement much because they feel they experience the same racism there that they experience with white men. And I’ve had black gays tell me they chose not to live in highly or exclusively gay neighborhoods for the same reason: that in essence, they would rather be gay in a black neighborhood than black in a gay neighborhood. But this is an admittedly small sample. Those seriously interested in the truth, I suggest you go out and gather data.

But my guess is that a lot of people who THINK they want to know the truth will never ask the question, even of people they know well.
##
Had fun working out with the BKF the last few weeks. The technical stuff is relatively easy, and I’m adapting to the pure fitness aspects. (Again, knocking off a hundred pushups and situps ain’t as easy as it was when I was 20, but the old body is figuring it out…)
##
Here’s a question for you that I ask clients, friends, and students often: what would you dare to do, if you knew you could not fail?

So often, we hold ourselves back, allowing fear or “reasonable thinking” to stop us. I’ve had people literally tell me that my dreams are too large. That I’m just setting myself up for heartbreak. You know what? I can deal with heartbreak. What I can’t deal with is the sense that I haven’t done my best. Haven’t tried my hardest. Haven’t emptied myself out. When I go to bed at night, I like to feel like I’ve got little left, that I need those hours of sleep for recharge. That if God will grant me the strength for another day, I’ll hit it HARD.

Last week, I lectured a group of tyro screenwriters, and they asked me where I got my energy and passion. I said that it comes from the sense that today, this day, is the last day of my life. That I will never write again, love again, work out again. That I go to bed prepared to die. That attitude leaves little room for lollygagging (although I suppose gagging my lolly from time to time has its joys…) or complaining. What you see in this blog is about all the complaining about life I do. The rest of the day is kicking my own ass as much as possible…and then having all the fun I can.

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