Sunday, April 01, 2012

Book, Movie & a ? for Bobsmeerfak

Squirrel: Bobsmeerfak is asking subscribers to ask him questions, to celebrate having over 1,500 subscribers.

Duck: Who the hell is he? And what kind of name is that?

Witch: That's not his real name. He's the guy who makes YouTube videos about Bible stories, using little Playskool dolls.

Squirrel: Are you sure they're Playskool?

Witch: No, but I tried looking them up on Google Images, and got bored, looking at thousands of molded, plastic toys, so I quit.

Squirrel: Maybe they're Weebles.

Witch: No, Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down. Remember all the dolls in “Your Bible on Psychotherapy” who are lying down, sometimes, even on a psychiatrist's couch?

Duck: So, this guy plays with dolls and posts videos of this on YouTube?

Squirrel: Yeah, what's wrong with that? Are you transphobic, or just sexist? Caught in a gender binary, perhaps? Lots of men play with dolls. Just look at dgeypscun and Opinion-Ville. Or, for a more historical citation, look at Gepetto. Everybody forgets about Gepetto, because the Disney PR department co-opted the story and placed emphasis on Pinocchio, instead. Seriously, where would Pinocchio be without Gepetto?

Duck: In a forest? Infested with Dutch Elm Disease?

Squirrel: Precisely.

Duck: But puppets aren't dolls.

Squirrel: Why? Because men play with them and, until Shari Lewis and Lambchop, most puppeteers were seen as male?

Duck: Don't forget Kukla, Fran and Ollie, which first appeared on television in 1947. Did you know that show was entirely ad-libbed, and watched by more adults than children. Shari Lewis first appeared on television in 1952, well afterward.

Squirrel: People watched television in 1947?

Duck: Not many, no.

Blue Thing: What's a television?

Duck, Squirrel, Witch: Go away!

Witch: Yes, but Fran was another character on the show. She wasn't the puppeteer. That was a man, named Burr Tilstrom.

Squirrel: Or is it because puppets have mobility and voices, and most other dolls don't? Don't you see? It's way past time for the liberation of other anthropomorphic toys! We've been relegated to silence and stillness long enough? And why? Because GIRLS play with us, and girls aren't supposed to be active or have a voice? The colonization of dolls by male-dominated puppetarchy . . .

Witch: This is getting rather tangential. What does Bobsmeerfak want us to ask?

Squirrel: Oh, right. Ok, we can ask him anything we want. And he wants to know our favorite books and movies.

Witch: I hate when people ask my “favorite.” I'm an eclectic person; my tastes and interests change far too often to confine myself to such a narrow self-definition.

Duck: You're really an elitist jerk, aren't you?

Squirrel: This is not an occasion for a flame war, you two! Let's just think of something to say, ok?

Witch: I'm sorry, but the whole Inquisition Dark Ages Burning Times thing has left me a but squeamish about publicly stating a strong opinion of social issues, especially in today's climate.

Duck: Completely understandable. My apologies.

Squirrel: Okay, so, we won't do a favorite book or movie, but does anybody have a suggestion for a really good one?

Witch: I'll go with “The Handmaid's Tale.” I think it's completely relevant today, with the resurgence of misogynistic, theocratic fundamentalism, invading U.S. politics, and rippling into global policies.

Duck: Yeah, that was a great book. But the movie just stank. I wish people still read; everybody should read that.

Squirrel: Okay then, is there a movie that is up to snuff with the book it's based on.

Witch: Oh, I've got a good one. But it's controversial.

Duck: It doesn't sound to me like this Bobsmeerfack dude is going to tie you up and torture you for having an opinion.

Squirrel: Hey! I resent that remark! Can we leave my lifestyle choices out of this discussion?

Duck: Sorry. You're right. But I would like to hear her suggestion. And there is an historical precedent for her unwillingness to speak out.

Witch: Okay, I can speak for myself here. I think we should suggest “Silence of the Lambs.”

Duck & Squirrel: WHAT?

Duck: It's so pathological!

Squirrel: And the whole transphobic angle: Buffalo Bill is portrayed as a trans person, whose sociopathy is based on his non-binary gender status!

Witch: That's explained, both in the book and the film. I think that's one reason why Hannibal Lecter is a psychiatrist. He explains that Buffalo Bill isn't really a trans person, but takes on female identities and skins, simply because he hates himself and wants to be anybody other than him. A discerning reader and viewer would understand this.

Duck: Yeah, and most movie goers are discerning, right?

Squirrel: Other people's willful ignorance is not our problem, so long as we present our own arguments clearly and factually.

Witch: I think we should suggest this because it's a terribly clever book. The writing, the word-play, the anagrams, the serious treatment of Agent Starling's struggle with the old-boy sexism within the institutions of the F.B.I., the compassion for the low-income victims. It's insightful. It's a page turner. And the movie treatment, although necessarily abbreviated due to time constraints of a two-hour film is so true to the author's original intent! So unlike “The Color Purple,” in which Steven Spielberg treats low-income, rural Black pansexuals like E. T.s and Alice Walker lets him!

Duck: That was a very popular movie, you know, among African American women. And it became a musical on Broadway.

Squirrel: Musicals on Broadway are tourist attractions for the affluent.

Witch: Exactly.

Duck: So, you want to go with “Silence of the Lambs?”

Squirrel: The editing, the sets, the locations, the directing, the acting, the lighting, the score: it's one of the creepiest and most thought-provoking films to come out of mainstream Hollywood! It could almost be Asian horror, it's so good.

Duck: Well, let's not get carried away, shall we? If we go with Asian horror, I'd vote for the Korean film, “Momento Mori:” the struggles of two, adolescent schoolgirls in love, the best film of the “Whispering Corridors” horror series. It's hard to believe it was written and directed by a man! Talk about score, lighting, sets, directing and stuff....

Witch: Well, I agree, but most Americans are too caught up in the pablum of their corporate-controlled, popular culture to understand the reference to “Momento Mori.” Besides, there's no book it's based on, and I think we're trying to consolidate for brevity, aren't we?

Duck: And see how well that's going? Yes, let's go with “Silence of the Lambs.” I doubt Hollywood will ever produce anything of that caliber again.

Squirrel: That's the film when I fell in love with both Tony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, at the same time.

Duck: We know. Because Hopkins is so virile, understated and sympathetic and Foster is resourceful, insightful, determined and butch. Both characters fell outside the gender stereotypes of the day and your heart just melted at the understated Queerness of it all.

Witch: A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Squirrel: Now, what question do we want to ask Bobsmeerfack for his channel party?

Duck: This script is almost two pages long, already. We either need brevity or surrender.

Witch: I agree. I have a very simple, boring question.

Duck: Shoot.

Witch: Does he actually have kids and, therefore, toys lying around, or was this a compelling, personal commitment to atheist videos that drove him to dolls?

Squirrel: Here we go again.

Duck: Nah, I get what she's saying. And it's a good question. A lot of atheists, secular humanist and freethinkers might not have considered using toys, for fear of ridicule or not being taken seriously. Itf took some gonads for him to go with the toys angle.

Squirrel: Okay, that settles it. Let's wrap this puppy up. Rogi needs to take a bath, eat breakfast at 11am, find the camera and get to work. And this script just lopped over onto page three. Deal?

Witch & Duck: Deal!

Squirrel: Wait! We need to thank Bobsmeerfak for the shout-out!

Witch: He shouted us out?

Squirrel: Well, not US, exactly. We're brand new characters on Rogi's channel; nobody's ever even heard of us. She'd been thinking about it for a long time, influenced, in part, by Bobsmeerfak, himself, but was afraid it would be too much work.

Witch: And now she's not?

Squirrel: Oh, no. she's still worried about the too much work thing, not to mention the no fancy editing software thing, and the fact her cheap video camera can't focus to save its life.

Duck: But she's doing it, anyway?

Squirrel: Yeah, in honor of Bobsmeerfak, she thought it was only right.

Duck, Squirrel, Witch: Thank you for the shout-out, Bobsmeerfak! You'll be sorry.

Duck: Yeah, he kind of created a monster here, didn't he?

Squirrel: Oh, shut up.

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