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T (1648 posts)
Every Monday, we'll be sharing the quotes that make us snap to attention. Reading these recent revelations feels as bracing as a second cup of coffee.
* Ellen Barkin's Best Actress Tony acceptance speech for her role as a wheelchair-bound doctor trying to combat AIDS: "Performing in 'The Normal Heart' has transformed me, not just as an actor, but as a human being. Because it taught me something that I never believed in: It taught me that one person can make a difference, that one person can change the world. So thank you to the great, great Larry Kramer..."
* Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, in her 2011 commencement speech at Barnard College: "... do not leave before you leave. Do not lean back; lean in. Put your foot on that gas pedal and keep it there until the day you have to make a decision, and then make a decision. That's the only way, when that day comes, you'll even have a decision to make."
* Timothy Brown, the subject of the New York magazine profile, "The Man Who Had HIV and Now Does Not," on why he submits to being poked, prodded, tested and analyzed as a medical miracle:
"I can help."
Today, the insightful and inspiring Patchett steps off the page to explain to Life Lift about her personal struggle with a little old two-letter, one-syllable word. How exactly do we know when to (politely) say no—not just in our work or other commitments but also with the people we love? Patchett's answer to that very question is a tad surprising. Hint: It involves a piece of pocked, gray stone, a gift from Elizabeth Gilbert and various kitchen appliances.
Read the full article here
Photo: Melissa Ann Pinney
The Internet may be worshipped for all of the following things: crowd wisdom, missed connections, videos of baby elephants in a baby pool...none of them are what this stop-everything-and-watch-now talk, given by Web pioneer Jim Gilliam, is about. Gilliam went to college as a born-again Christian who had an affinity for computer programming. But, by his first spring break, he couldn't breathe. Not in a metaphorical way; he wasn't anxious. Gilliam had cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He told his story—how he fought the cancer, twice, and found a network of activists through his work—this week at Personal Democracy Forum. There was a standing ovation, and (warning) tears. So, just press play for a reminder of what having faith really means. After watching, we've only got one more thing to say: amen.
(via The Hairpin)
When it comes to listening to the issues of the people we care about, we so often try to say the right thing and end up saying the wrong thing. Or we worry that we're going to say the wrong thing, and say nothing (my specialty). But those days are now at an end. I'm just going to slap a magnet on everybody in the world, regardless of whether I know what his or her problems are:
A friend of mine recently handed me one of these. I hugged him so hard his head went wobbly. Then I said, "Can you give me nine more?"
"It's a magnet," he said. "How many refrigerators do you have?"
I said, "I'm at a point where I need to stick these puppies up even places they don't actually stick."
Back at home, with the help of Scotch tape, I posted them in every place in my house where I need the Invisible God of Encouragement to tell me that I wasn't alone and that I could, if I reached deep, keep going. Yes, I could make some kind of gluey pasta dinner (forgot to defrost the chicken) while hard-boiling eggs for tomorrow's lunch (husband ate the lunch meat) while sitting on hold with computer support (screen went black) while watching my 5-year-old try to dry his sopping wet sneakers (failed to buy a backup pair even though his school has a tennis-shoes-only policy) with a tiny plastic fan that is supposed to blow bubbles out of his bubble-making water gun.
Snap quiz: Your friend tells you she's participating in a fundraiser and asks you to donate money to her cause. You've got the funds, and you adore the friend. In which situation would you be more likely to pony up?
(a) Your friend is training for her first marathon with a group that raises money for cancer research.
(b) Your friend is hosting a masquerade charity ball to raise money for a children's after-school program.
[Find out which option most people choose, after the jump.]
Last week, we started our weekly public gratitude journal here on Life Lift, and even though we're not sure how seven days just flew by, it's that time again. Today, we're feeling happy about...
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...