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Relationships (107 posts)
Twenty years ago this month, Thelma & Louise entered the public imagination—two ladies on the run in a beat-up, now-iconic Thunderbird. Looking back, Thelma & Louise, in that it redefined who women were supposed to be. Gee, the film showed us, women can drink and smoke and drive fast and end up in the predicament usually reserved for heroic, handsome cowboys—boxed in a canyon with no way out.
In 1991, there was much debate over whether or not the film was sexist, if the male characters were cookie-cutter, if the film was trying to say that all men messed up all women, all the time. Even then, as a teenager, I thought that seemed a little dopey. Nobody thought that male outlaw movies were anti-police.
Then again, I was growing up with single mother who worked 10 hours a day. We needed Thelma and Louise. We needed to be Thelma and Louisa—peeling out of our driveway in order to make it to school on time (for once), sloshing a mug of Mom's instant coffee all over our legs.
With the advent of DVDs, the director Ridley Scott was able to showcase another ending for the movie. Instead of Thelma and Louise holding hands, soaring gloriously off into the thin, blue air of the unknown, a helicopter descends, and Harvey Keitel rushes to the edge of the canyon to look down at the destroyed car—and women—below. He then picks up a Polaroid that fell out of the Thunderbird, a picture of the two outlaws at the beginning of their trip, made up and dressed up and smiling.
This brings up so many icky questions. For example, how did the photograph happen to flutter back so conveniently? Why are "happier times" in the movies signified by women wearing a fresh, glossy coating of lipstick? More to the point, Dana Steven's insightful essay in Slate concludes that "ending with the horrified Keitel at the cliff's edge would have made Thelma & Louise into a head-shaking reflection on the terrible fate society visits on women." Further she adds, "choosing to end instead with the heroines' shining-eyed farewell, followed by the freeze-frame of that eternally buoyant car, allows Thelma & Louise to dwell forever at that odd moment in movie history when women won the right to be just as crazy as men."
Meandering around on YouTube, I found several alternate alternate endings to Scott's choice that users had created. After the jump, see what one adds onto the newly released Keitel-helicopter finale...
Stress is something Joan Borysenko knows something about. She's a Harvard-trained biologist and author of the new book Fried: Why You Burn Out and How to Revive. For 10 nonstop years, she juggled completing her clinical research, running a working farm (yes, that meant feeding chickens), raising two kids, writing a book and running 25 miles a week. In her two free minutes each evening, she secretly smoked cigarettes behind a tree in her front yard. Then came the back pain. After that, a scary feeling that she was sleepwalking through her life, immune even to her kids' excitement about riding their new pony through the woods.
She, the stress expert, was at the point of nonfunction.
Borysenko was a perfect example of how trying to do more than you can do for too long can result in a host of problems: emotional exhaustion (say, feeling numb inside when you know you'd normally feel happy or sad), recurring physical effects (back pain, constant colds, headaches) and a sense of spiritual emptiness that leaves you isolated from others.
This state can look a lot like depression. In fact, it might be easier to think of yourself as depressed; you can seek treatment from a doctor for that. Recent research, however, has found that although both result in a loss of motivation and pleasure, if you're burnt out, you can usually reclaim your everyday happiness—from taking great delight in a piece of crispy morning bacon to enjoying your hours at work or as a parent—once you make some fundamental changes. So the question is, How fried are you and what do you need to do about it? Go answer these questions to find out.
If this describes someone you love, you could tell him that, in terms of the research, a psychologist's gender makes little difference in the outcome of therapy. Or you could be a bit more useful. (Even if you don't agree with him, it's his belief that matters—you want him to get help, remember?).
To find out exactly what you can do, we followed up with one of Carey's sources for the article, Ronald F. Levant, EdD, a professor of psychology at the University of Akron, who is recognized as an authority on the psychology of men and masculinity.
One hundred years ago today, the world's largest ship, the Titanic, was launched into the dark, cold waters of Belfast. Fourteen years ago, the world's first movie to rake in over a billion dollars, Titanic, was released into the dark, warm theaters of America.
In homage, I planned to break out the DVD and Kleenex. Unfortunately, I don't own the movie and physical video rental stores no longer exist. On YouTube, I thought I'd found a way to bawl quietly and quickly at my desk: The Five-Second Titanic.
The Five-Second Titanic lacks the beauty and mystery of the 1994 regular Titanic. There is a sweep of dreamy music, then a clip of a minor character saying in a fancy English accent, "This ship can't sink." After which, splash, the ship sinks.
I've ruined the joke but not the point: Sometimes, exceptionally complex things in life can be distilled down to a single moment.
A close friend of mine recently told me a story about her old, dear college roommate, Sarah, who didn't come to her mother's funeral. Sarah, my friend told me, had had all kinds of terrible situations with her own mother. Sarah had two kids. Sarah was under a lot of stress at work. Sarah had troubles with intimacy. But Sarah was still a good person and a good friend.
I listened to all this. I groped around for something to say. But what I needed was a video camera in order to tape the 10 minutes that my friend spent talking about Sarah, then cut the footage down to the five seconds during which she said, "Sarah didn't come to my mom's funeral."
Yes, life is complicated and messy. Yes, people do regrettable things for a myriad of understandable reasons. But sometimes five seconds all is we need to tell us what is really going on in a relationship. Then we can spend the next five—or 5,000—seconds figuring out what to do about it.
The Friendship Quiz: Good friend? Bad friend?
Martha Beck on what friends never do
What makes Oprah and Gayle's friendship special?
The next time you go on a date, don't worry about whether your hair is perfectly combed or your palms are a little sweaty, or if you can possibly eat a taco at the restaurant without getting meat stuck in your teeth and guacamole all over your lap. What you say is what matters to the person across the table, at least when it comes to your "thes".
Last week, Scientific American published an article on social psychologist and author of the upcoming book, The Secret Life of Pronouns, James Pennebaker. Pennebaker recorded the four-minute-long conversations of 80 speed daters, attempting to predict if each couple would—or wouldn't—want to go on a second date. On the tapes, he wasn't looking for awkward pauses or even lonely sighs, but instead for each person's use of seemingly innocuous words like "an," "as" and "her."
After Oprah finished her last show, the cameras followed her off-stage, through the halls of Harpo. It was an unexpected ending—seeing the producers and staffers, many of whom have worked there for decades, crowded in the corridors. When Oprah got to the top of the stairs, she grabbed Sadie and said, "We did it!" That final moment, as she had said it would be, was "all sweet and no bitter." Not a goodbye but a new beginning. If you didn't see the show—or just want to watch those last few minutes again—here's the clip.
After Oprah finished her last show, the cameras followed her offstage, through the halls of Harpo. It was an unexpected ending—seeing the producers and staffers, many of whom have worked there for decades, crowded in the corridors. When Oprah got to the top of the stairs, she grabbed Sadie and said, "We did it!" That final moment, as she had said it would be, was "all sweet and no bitter." Not a goodbye but a new beginning. If you didn't see the show—or just want to watch those last few minutes again—here's the clip.