Monday, November 05, 2007

More Beast than Beauty

On days like this I wish I had guest bloggers or a set theme for days to make writing a full post easier. There is always things to write and yet sometimes I lose my way to how to write the myriad of possible topics.

I was listening to NPR (big surprise) and heard a couple of tv writers (the folks currently striking) discussing how they began working together on college radio. Their radio show only had one phone call the entire time they broadcasted. In fact their audience was so small they skipped one night and no one noticed--not even their boss. One good thing about so few people listening to them was they felt a freedom to try and do anything. They ditched the proscribed format and did what they wanted to do. I think I often feel that way with my blog. A few people read, but not many that it constricts me.

This month on TCM they have guest programmers each night who choose 3 to 4 films and they speak about each film before and after with Robert Osborne (how odd am I that I look forward to Martha Stewart's night?). Actually of all the line up's I think I most identify with Whoopi Goldberg's who kicked off the month. There seemed to be a theme about beauty with her choices and included one of my favorite romances of all times: The Enchanted Cottage about two less than beautiful people (she is supposed to be terribly homely--Dorothy McGuire can never even remotely be that and he, Robert Young, is scarred in World War II) marrying, falling in love and "being transformed".

Whoopi Goldberg's first film choice was La Belle et la BĂȘte. I had seen this film before in high school French class, but I believe I was more impressed with the beauty and ingenuity of the special effects and all visual aspects of the film this time. Even though the dialogue is a bit overwrought, I nonetheless wanted Belle to fall in love with the Beast. I want to have my ideals of love affirmed even if only in fairy tales and fantasy. I feel a great affinity with the Beast whereas Belle is too kind, too loving, too beautiful and too noble to seem more than a lovely dream.

I think I truly took this all to heart. I think I see life too much like the stories I read or see on film. In fact most of my life I have thought I was unworthy of love because I could never live up to the ideal of Belle. There is no fairy tales in which the "ugly" woman is valued for her heart, dignity, intelligence and bravery and finds love--they are nasty stepsisters or evil shrews. Beauty in such tales seems to endue the heroine with virtue whereas ugliness equates a twisted soul. When my physical appearance never met with my high expectations, I thought I had failed. I then cast myself in the role of the cursed Beast and I have to admit I hoped for some male counterpoint to Belle--a Beau I suppose you could say--that would somehow see the beauty within me.

I am altogether too prone to desire to structure my life within a more fantastical frame. I am not sure how wise it is to be so starry-eyed and romantic...I have struggled to suppress such a it better to be unconflicted or practical?

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