HTGAWM’s Annalise Keating and #metoo

Reviews, Tv Series

The reason I am here tonight is simple: after many years I realize I am not special, I am not “the unlucky one”, I am not different, I am not the only one, I am not #guilty. Since the Weinstein case came out on the news a few weeks ago, memories from the past -that never goes away- start playing in my head every time I stop to read about the testimonies of these women who, one by one, are finally denouncing the abuses and the sexual assaults they have been victim of, either in the past or in the current years.

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I had the same feeling when, thanks to my savior –the music-, I coped with adolescence and its aftereffects, becoming aware of the sad reality that sees many of us undergo mistreatments and abuses, accepting that “a trouble shared is a trouble halved”, and that we are all in this together. Still, whilst the sense of impotence and helplessness you get by feeling wronged by the world, the human existence and the mortal condition belong to boys and girls indiscriminately, it appears that what is going on right now is a massive uprising of female voices that, for many (too many) years, have been silenced. Muted by fear, by abusers, by society itself.

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Among the ones tweeting and sharing their “me too” message to make the world aware of a problem that has been smearing this sick sad society for centuries, there are not only women though. The oppressed, whether females, males, straight or gay, eventually felt they were strong enough and ready to speak up. There was no need to explain in detail, you only had to say “me too”, as if we were in school, the teacher asked a question and we had to raise our hands. Well, thank you Alyssa Milano for calling out to us victims of this broken system via social-media. Most of all, thank you Tarana Burke -credited by Alyssa, for creating this movement, more than 10 years ago, and that only now is coming to surface. Back then, Tarana wanted to help young women of color who were survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation, and who were not heard or believed. Today, everyone can be heard, we hope.

The picture is getting clearer, isn’t it? If you have been watching How to get away with murder these past few years, you can’t help but think of Annalise Keating, the protagonist of another great TV-show born from the magical mind of Shonda Rhimes. Let’s first have a look at the plot of the series:

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How to get away with murder

Genre: they want to call it “legal thriller drama”
Created byPeter Nowalk
StarringViola DavisBilly BrownAlfred EnochKatie FindlayJack FalaheeMatt McGorryAja Naomi KingKarla SouzaCharlie WeberLiza WeilConrad Ricamora
Watched on: Hulu and TV (FOX Italy)
Four Seasons, Sixty Episodes (48 aired so far) watched in: religious schedule of #TGIT.

Annalise Keating is a great lawyer, the best apparently, from what we understand, and also a Professor of Law at Middleton University in Philadelphia. Beyond her most trusted collaborators Frank and Bonnie, she picks five students to intern for her: Wes, Connor, Michaela, Asher, and Laurel. They work together to solve crimes that, through both flashbacks and flash-forwards, seem to be all related to one big homicide in which they are all involved: Sam, Annalise’s husband has been murdered because of his affair with Lila, a student at Middleton, who was killed before Sam, by someone unknown. One of the suspects, Rebecca, is a girl with whom Wes falls in love, and who turns everything into a big chaotic mess. Oh, Rebecca dies as well. Trust me, this is no spoiler alert as the rabbit hole has not even been crossed yet. By the end of season three, in fact, everything is literally screwed up and season four, which started almost three weeks ago, promises nothing but more troubles.

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Going back to Annalise and the “me too” movement, it first needs to be said that sensitive topics in the TV-show are obviously present (it is a crime drama after all), rape is condemned, although kept hidden for years, and sexual assault can be analyzed following several procedures, but it is not up to me, right now, to go deep into this kind of digression.

We need to focus on Annalise, and in particular, her relationship with her mother. The most intense moment in the whole series, from my point of view, is in the episode where the mother appears in the show, and the spectator can finally connect a few dots of the complicated story behind who Annalise, called Anna Mae by her mother, really is. The two women seem to have a weird bond: a strong mother and a strong daughter, who is eventually weak and misunderstood, start talking about their past, with Anna Mae accusing her mother of ignoring the sexual abuses she suffered because of her uncle. This is revealed by the touching scene when Annalise shouts “Did you know what he did to me?” until her mom starts listing the names, through the history of rape in their family, of those who did it to her and her sister, with a teacher and a reverend included. What strikes the most, and what hurts like a stab wound right between the back of your shoulders is hearing her words when she adds “Men take things! They’ve been taking things from women since the beginning of time, and it ain’t no reason to talk about it and get all messy everywhere. Certainly no reason to go to a head shrink or for help.” Wrong. It is and it was necessary to say it. To denounce it. To protect those who will come after, because no more people have to become victims. No more.

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Annalise’s self-worth, just like every victim’s confidence, was permanently scarred. Knowing her mother and her aunt had been violated did not make things easier, sharing the pain does not make it go away and it certainly does not cancel what caused the pain in the first place. Yet, by the end of the episode we realize that yes, silence has been reigning upon the family for years, the truth has been neglected for the quiet life, but eventually Annalise’s mother took care of her daughter’s abuser her own way: she burned the house while the uncle was drunk asleep on the couch, making it appear as if the fire started because of his cigarette falling. Being bright and kind of manipulative seems to be genetic in this family, although even the most dreadful action  is done for the greater good, sacrificing a person’s freedom for the sake of someone else’s life.

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Is it real then? Sexual harassment has been going on since the beginning of time so there is no need to make such a big deal out of it? Isn’t this like saying that if something has always been done that way, then there is no need to change it, although it is kind of obvious that it is deeply and terribly wrong? Eh, just think about it. Not a day, one.single.day passes by without having us (yes, I call myself in) molested, although we learned to just “accept” it, and move on. You walk down the street and that person approaches you “Hey pretty…” and you start walking faster to keep the distance. You stop at the traffic light waiting for the green light to cross, nobody is walking near you, and those people in their car start honking, at you, because there is no one else around; while they’re shouting obnoxious words you try to give them the evil stare, but they’re already mimicking oral sex right before your eyes. This to name just a few, of those moments that cannot be defined as “rare”, when you just “let it happen” because there is nothing that you can do. Sometimes you try to react, you shout back at these beasts, you show them the finger, always fearing a reaction, picturing yourself running because they could get mad or even overexcited because of what may seem like a fearless woman. Those other times though, you just shut up, with your blood boiling inside because you know that you can’t beat the pack if they attack, while going back from class, alone, on a Venetian day in spring, along a narrow calle that skirts the canal where four big men are unloading a boat. One points at you, so you look down: “ughhh, on that one I’d lie for hours pushing and pushing and pushing until she begs to stop”.

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Again, these are just a little part of the verbal assaults that we have to deal with since when we are born, with -let me say unfortunately for the time being-, a vagina. I won’t go over the actual physical assaults (and I am addressing only female victims for the sake of time and space in here, so allow me to focus on vagina owners for now) because those, as Annalise shows us, leave a mark on you that will never go away, and if you too can’t help but shed a tear while listening to Pink singing “that’s when dickhead put his hands on me” in U + UR hand during your morning run, giving a start to a list of flashbacks, well, just know that although this won’t change the past, you’re not the only one, you’re not alone, it is not your fault, you’re not wrong, you are a survivor.

See? I told you my reviews would be kind of alternative! All things considered, TV-series are fiction, but there is some truth in every fictional story.

 

 

The day part of me died

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Everybody has monsters inside pushing from underneath our skin, or that’s what we used to sing along with you. These demons we learned to dance with, like you did sing. We were on the verge, one step closer, about to break, we all wanted to heal, to feel, to find somewhere we belong… when you guys were saying that you knew you were not the only people with those things in mind, we felt it, we knew back then that someone else could finally understand.

Chester Bennington of Linkin Park Portrait SessionI could write my whole biography by just quoting every single word of your songs, I do too have memories tattooed upon my soul (DBS). I still cannot believe that the voice I kept hearing in the back of my head in those dark days, your voice, is now gone. And I hate that I cannot see what I am writing because my mind is foggy and my eyes are casting tears. Those tears I could hide day after day, sitting in my room, listening to you. Over and over. But now I just can’t hold them in anymore. No. Not today. I can’t.

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I remember those days I was being laughed at because I was listening to “that kind of music”. Can’t you hear they’re just shouting? How can you call this music at all? And I explained to those who could understand, that there was more, that you knew better, that you were… well, couldn’t you just sense it? And this is how I ended those explanations, because you can understand only if you feel it too. Even my mother eventually got to know you. Chester Bennington and the Linkin Park are part of my soul, that part of me that I wish I could say “won’t go away” but instead, today has died.

8484c67d8c6442e8858d143a070ae09fI was in high school when a new friend, who crossed my path, made me listen to this brand new American band: the Linkin Park. We spent hours sitting in his car listening to their songs on repeat, and the one I always wanted him to play first was “Crawling”. Why? He asked. This is how I feel, I thought back then, until each and every word of all the other songs, one after another, one album after the other, started sinking in my brain, feeding my soul, healing my wounds, leaving only scars, and above all, making me feel I was not alone. Because you were there. But you are not anymore.

450845802I want to write more, and more, but nothing makes sense now. I keep picturing you in that room, eaten alive by those thoughts you tried, we try, to fight every day. But we are, were, doing it thanks to you. We have semicolons spread all over, through the lines of the book of our life, because of you; because where there could be periods, ending it all, we took a break, we breathed, we shouted, and then we kept going. Why you decided to write that period though, to end it all, we will never know until we are here. And it hurts. Like hell. It hurts to know those thoughts were stronger than you, because now we think they could be stronger than us too. They took you, and Chris, and all the others like you, like us, and if there is just one little positive side of this fuc*ing coin is that, as of right now, we hate those thoughts even more. We hate they took you from us, you let them take you instead of fighting them, again, again, and again. We wanted to fight them with you. And now you’re gone. Just gone.

Were there signs we ignored? And we’re angry, and we should be, it’s not fair… You said this, right? You said it. It is not fair. Who is going to catch us when we fall? I can’t think straight, and I do not even know why I am doing this because, after all, I am just talking to myself. In front of a screen. The voice bouncing back is not yours, anymore. You’re gone. That part of me is gone. The one screaming that I wanted to heal, although these wounds will never heal, and that I was paranoid, but your paranoia was probably worse, saying I were numb, that I wanted to be more like me, I wanted to be in the energy, not with the enemy, is gone… I did not want to let it go, let it go, let. it. go. But you let it go.

“The sound, of your voice, painted on my memories, even if you’re not with me, I’m with you” kept me alive. I wish screaming it all out, all that pain, the frustration, would have kept you alive too. Inside crying “save me now”…

Like a punch in the face, this hits hard.

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I know I’ll be with you soon, we all go back to the whole, where everything started, the energy of our souls, and I’ll be looking forward to that moment. I’ll kick your energy’s ass because how could you? Leaving us here, all alone again, without a light? But you know? You taught us better. So after that, I’ll hug you so tight, that we won’t be the one to leave this, in pieces. You are gone, while we are here thanks to you, because of you. We love you Chester, always will, and if you’re still asking who cares if one more light goes out? Well I do. Too.

You were that foundation
Never gonna be another one, no.
I followed, so taken
So conditioned I could never let go
Then sorrow, then sickness
Then the shock when you flip it on me
So hollow, so vicious
So afraid I couldn’t let myself see
That I could never be held
Back or up no, I’ll hold myself
Check the rep, yep you know mine well
Forget the rest let them know my hell
There and back yet my soul ain’t sell
Kept respect up, the best they fell,
Let the rest be the tale they tell
That I was there saying…
In these promises broken
Deep below
Each word gets lost in the echo
So one last lie I can see through
This time I finally let you
Go, go, go.

Test my will, test my heart
Let me tell you how the odds gonna stack up
Y’all go hard, I go smart
How’s that working out for y’all in the back, huh?
I’ve seen that frustration
Been crossed and lost and told “No”
And I’ve come back unshaken
Let down and lived and let go
So you can let it be known
I don’t hold back, I hold my own
I can’t be mapped, I can’t be cloned
I can’t C-flat, it ain’t my tone
I can’t fall back, I came too far
Hold myself up and love my scars
Let the bells ring wherever they are
‘Cause I was there saying…

No, you can tell ’em all now
I don’t back up, I don’t back down
I don’t fold up, and I don’t bow
I don’t roll over, don’t know how
I don’t care where the enemies are
Can’t be stopped, all I know; go hard
Won’t forget how I got this far
For every time saying…

In these promises broken
Deep below
Each word gets lost in the echo
So one last lie I can see through
This time I finally let you go, go, go.

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“Friends don’t lie” #StrangerThings

Reviews, Tv Series

I confess. This is one of very few times in my life now I surrendered and watched something just because it was advertised and Netflix sent me a pretty cool invitation when it came out. Eventually, I liked it. Not that I would kill to watch it again, but I will definitely watch season two as soon as it gets released just because I want to know what happens next.

Screen Shot 2017-08-05 at 10.59.26 PMStranger Things is captivating for those kids like me who were born in the ’80s and by watching a show which offers old school music and references to that time, you can’t help but remember the Goonies, the GremlinsStand by Me, and others, maybe with a little bit of nostalgia. If you have a keen interest in vintage and old style cinematography, welcome aboard. Honestly I am not a huge fan of those years, (so not technologic, evil laugh) but probably it is just because those old movies scared me when I was a child. I always had a very rich and detailed imagination, so watching ambiguous images only contributed to have nightmares, until rationality took the lead. I was still having bad dreams, but at least I knew it was just that. A “This isn’t real!” kind of awareness. I am not sure this was actually a positive change, but at least I stopped worrying about aliens flying bikes and calling home, close encounters of any kind, cute little things turning into evil monsters after midnight, cheeky human-like ducks coming from the future, and ufo navigators.

stranger-monster-feat-480x279We used to have horror movie nights on TV, not sure if it was on Wednesdays or Thursdays during the summer, when the school was over and kids could stay up late, as they were usually broadcasted late night. As of today, I should ask young millennials how it works, considering they have everything they want (and do not want) available anytime, anywhere. They may have thought that the setting of this show was tremendously old fashioned and out-dated, kind of what I used to say when I had to watch spaghetti western with my parents. Yeah, let’s not rub it in. Instead, the reference that the producers and the writers gave to the show is not as heavy as someone would expect, it is actually fascinating, also considered that they rendered the idea by using the instruments we have today, so chapeau!

stranger-things2I particularly appreciated the fact that those who appear to be the strongest and coolest characters of the show are women, Eleven and Will’s mother, among the others, are essential for the balance that the story keeps throughout its development. They could have used a normal boy, instead the supernatural magical kid is a girl and she.is.the.bomb.

Nothing terribly psychological came up while watching Stranger Things. If you are looking for an excuse to criticize or judge, I do not believe you will find any. Just like I did, enjoy the product of contemporary cinematographers who dare to play with the past never resulting in an overdose of clichés, rather building a great mix for TV-series addicts.

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Stranger Things

Genre: they want to call it “supernatural, science fiction drama”
Created by: The Duffer Brothers
StarringWinona RyderDavid HarbourFinn WolfhardMillie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine, Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery
Watched on: Netflix
One Season, Eight Episodes binge watched in: one whole afternoon

stranger-things-season-2-eleven-picWe are in Indiana, USA in 1983. A twelve-year-old Will disappears mysteriously while, on the other side of the town in a secret laboratory, a monster creature comes to life. A young girl trapped in the laboratory, manages to escape after the accident with the monster. She is running away from the lab agents who are chasing after her, when the girl meets three kids who are Will’s best friends: Mike, Lucas and Dustin. Mike understands something is wrong with the girl who does not speak, and the only thing she manages to tell him is her name is Eleven, after reading the number she has tattooed on her arm. He eventually hides her in his house and takes care of her feeding her with Eggo (I know, I had to point this out). Eleven knows what is going on and she helps the boys look for Will, who apparently got trapped in another dimension, where monsters and evil creatures live. mqdefaultWinona Ryder is Will’s mother, who does not believe the agents when they say her son is dead. Everyone in town starts thinking she is going insane when she says supernatural events are happening in her house: it is Will’s way to get in contact with her mother, asking for help from “the other side”. Will’s brother and other people from their town unites looking for the truth behind this evil laboratory, which seems to be the source of what is going on. Meanwhile the agents try to capture Eleven to take her back to the lab.

 

Again …on shaved heads, after #USElections

Haircut Madness

0b5e9f68f3e565f98942cc81a0841e02Along with Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta and Charlize Theron in Mad Max, the recurring image when I stare at myself in the mirror is Britney Spears many years ago. I do not recall what year it was, and I may be too lazy to actually google it so I will just use what I remember from that time. The world was under shock because apparently everybody believed she lost her mind just because she shaved her head. Is this the truth? Do we have to be mad crazy, as women, to have our hair cut so short? Should this practice be considered an actual purge, for whatever sin we want to expiate?britney-spears-shaves-her-head-bald-britney-pictures Pink, the singer, had short hair forever and nobody thought she is crazy. I guess it is a matter of seeing a person actually change her look. People are reluctant to change. I do believe this more than ever, now. People fear change, and by trying to deceive themselves choosing what they believe will make a difference, they actually pick the “good ole option” that makes them feel secure. I will go back to this in a minute.

People are reluctant to change

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Buddhists and other “religious” monks get their heads shaved as to show their beliefs, the way they want to disconnect from earthly connections while getting closer to God. The only thing that I can think of while reading “getting closer to God” is that NIN’s song which is way different in meaning, and if you want to know more, just go check it out. Nine Inch Nails apart, this thing of believing that getting your head shaved makes you lose individuality or strength has to stop. Why? Because this is exactly how I felt while seeing chunks of my hair falling, at the hairdresser’s. Yes, I confess. This socially conceived practice as a disruptive way to “say something”,  was embedded in me, until I actually had to personally feel it. And dislike it. Maybe that is why Samson was the very first figure I could feel related to, and I am not even a religious person.  More than this, it was disturbing to think of judgements from people, how they could identify me as a skinhead nowadays, symbolizing aggression in a world where apparently you need to shock the average human being in order to get a reaction. Last but not least, as some said “you look more badass” I was bothered by the thought that boy-looking girls lack of femininity (Ruby Rose is not feminine then? Come on!), leading to the most straightforward question “Are you a lesbian?” …because even if I were, I cannot see how that would be a problem, but the tone of their voices while asking that question made me upset. In other words, I was dead tired of having judgmental human beings define me, and in a way, this is why this blog came into existence.

reasons-why-you-have-to-see-ruby-rose-liveIn so many ways I am now untouchable. Only those who are not devoured by their own preconceptions get closer to me, and as I got used to my aloneness -not loneliness- it is somewhat funny to try them, watch them, and experiment all this on me. Society makes you and others believe that only with Pantene-looking silky hair you can be attractive and pleasing to the rest, that if your appearance does not stick to the norm (a norm created by whom, exactly?) you are an outcast, a problem to be solved, sometimes a threat. But, if you are a threat, then they will try to belittle you because by saying you are threatening they are giving you power, and people are so sensitive to power or what they believe this power is, that they need to kick you out of the game. Although you were not even playing and you honestly were not even giving a damn about it!

nbc-fires-donald-trump-after-he-calls-mexicans-rapists-and-drug-runnersThe results of these elections, here where my home is now, made me ponder (as if being an over thinker at times were not enough). I have always dreamt of “the land of the free and the home of the brave“, willing to be part of it, to live in and on it. I was not considering these humans though. Humans are humans, no matter where you go, and I am sorry (or maybe not) if the way I am formulating this sentence is for any reason offending you. Humans rely on fear. People fear the newly elected President of the United States because of what he said, or did, or said he would do, being scared of his power… without realizing they are the ones giving him power. As part of a -society-, human beings have “the power to give power”, or to take it away as far as I am concerned, as I thought they were doing, judging me, when I feared they could define who I was. Shame on me!

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…and while most humans are freaking out over Trump‘s victory, the future, and what may or may not happen, on a more positive note I would ask: “what if he tricked you (who voted for him and not) all? What if he knew that saying what many wanted him to say he got all the votes he needed, if counting on misogyny, racism, violence, etc he actually got you all at his feet and now he is going to screw you all over by acting humane (in the way humane should be defined)? Oh man, this would be tremendously beautiful. Music to my ears in my imaginative world. An act of intelligence taken to its finest! Is he that intelligent though? We do not know yet. Berlusconi definitely was not. But that’s another story… This may be wishful thinking, but it definitely sounds more interesting than overdramatize, because remember people: you create what you can imagine. Learn how to imagine properly and stop fearing people’s power, because it is you all giving powers to the people you fear. Ugh, wisdom.Guess what getting a haircut can do to you! Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, this view:
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