Beauty and the Beast

by Andrea Elizabeth

I didn’t expect to want to finish this 30 minute interview with Emma Watson, mostly about making Beauty and the Beast, but since she also talked about feminism, progressivism, and her new “sort of 1984” movie with Tom Hanks, The Circle, and since she’s so thoughtful, I kept going.

Firstly, the “subtle” gay nod isn’t ok just because it’s small and minimal. In the animated version, the immoral girls were viewed as cheap and tawdry. Wondering if a same sex person likes you that way is entertaining a sin, not expressing your legitimate identity.

What feminists love about the original is that Belle is an intelligent, bookish girl. This movie goes further to say that it isn’t because the other people weren’t interested in intellecutalism, it’s because girls were purposefully stifled. Which is worse, portraying the masses as dumb or as villains? Indeed women were educationally stifled 100ish years ago. But I don’t think it was all because people were dumb or mean. Life was so different back then that educating girls wasn’t seen as practical with 10 children needing labor intensive care. But it does seem that demons can be involved in keeping things from changing. That’s when the horns come out. And this may not all be bad either. People should be wary of change instead of jumping into who knows what unforeseen consequences.

I am disillusioned with education myself. Or organized education I suppose. Educators can cast whatever spin they want on the past and the players in any given situation. And they seem hell bent on destroying any notions your family and smaller community gave you. It’s not so black and white.

Another of her progressives ideas comes out in the interview when she talks about Bill Paxton’s character in The Circle who can’t get health insurance for a condition he has. Her character is his daughter and she buys into the bad corporation for its health benefits. This is all to point out how we need to change the traditional system so that people don’t suffer or have to sell their souls to the devil. This I suppose is socialized medicine. Well the government is a devil too.

The conservative answer is that people are better if they work for what they get and if they can’t work their family should take care of them. Churches should take care of those who don’t have enough family support. These Church houses did not have oversight. Liberals will point to the recently discovered evidence that a Catholic home in Ireland operated last century had mass unmarked graves. The movie Cider House Rules also talks about these “homes”. Charlotte Bronte didn’t have nice things to say about low income boarding houses either. And Charles Dickens highlighted what it was like for those raised in poor houses. He also pointed out the flaws in the parents who got them there though.

In other words, the devil is everywhere. So we pick which devil we want. Maybe the Romans found out the devil was everywhere as well and gave up on their empire building and let it all collapse. I do not propose this. Why do I like conservative demons better? The Progressives will say that it’s because I like it when minorities and other marginalized people suffer better than white males who may or may not take care of the women. I say that I believe it better when the Conservatives are prosecuting attorneys and the Liberals are the defense attorneys. The conservatives build things and the liberals make sure human rights aren’t violated.

I suppose this is a head above the heart distinction. The Orthodox may complain that we are supposed to put our minds in the heart, indicating the heart is supposed to be bigger. But I’m not willing to put practicality in the back seat. Let go and let God, they say. I just see too much delusion there. And maybe that’s my own fearful lack of faith, but still I’d rather an engineer make the structural decisions with the artist’s input. The engineer and accountants are responsible to make sure it can get built safely. The artist makes sure people are happy.

So does the Obama lite plan meet with the right combination? Neither side appears happy so far. Maybe it’s because the left needs to grow a brain and the right needs to grow a heart instead of stubbornly living in separate worlds. I really don’t know what the answer is. I’m afraid of all the entitlements. But I’m afraid of people suffering too. But I also lean towards hoping for universalism so maybe bad consequences for individuals is better than bad consequences for everyone as I’m not sure bad consequences for no one or just the rich exists. And if it does, is it right for the most effective people to suffer just because they are the most effective? I like voluntary generosity better than involuntary. And I also believe in the power of the camera and democratic social media to hurt their pride about public opinion. It’s a new age.