June 29th, 2003

caillebotte_man at his window

As I Was Saying Yesterday!

When I was rudely interrupted by the ticking clock and the rising thermometer, I mentioned that June 28th is the date when I finally jumped into the LJ pool to sink or swim. After treading water for two years, I might have pruned up a bit, but I haven't drowned. I'm surprised that I've been able to keep this thing going for so long when (big secret) I have nothing to say! Just as Jerry Seinfeld spent years and years on television with a show about nothing, I have managed for two full years to keep a journal about nothing. I think that I owe my persistence to my determination to defeat Sluggo, the digital personification of evil. Every bit of word jewelry, every gripe about bad Internet service and wretched operating systems, every wisp of anecdotal memory which I have spun out into a near epic of nostalgia, every quaint pastoral vignette has been a victory over The Slug and his constant attempts to wrench me back into the pre-computer age. Hah! Take that, Sluggo! Two years!

I am pleased that Sluggo has been unable to disengage me from this place, despite his best efforts. Ever since I stumbled on the site, I have thought of LiveJournal as one of the most fascinating creations on the Internet. It continues to hold my interest as effectively as it did in those first few weeks when I was a lurker, poking around the site, astonished at the things people were saying, right out in public, in front of brad and everybody! (And it was during that period of lurking that I discovered some of the people who eventually graced my friends list, including scottobear, who has been on it longer than anybody.) When I finally decided to sign up and become one of those audacious people, I wasn't sure I'd be able to sustain the effort, but I guess it's worked out. If I stick around a couple more years, I might eventually even come up with something to say!

In fact, I might come up with something right now, which is Thanks to all the people on my friends list, (and all those not on my friends list but who continue to be the objects of my occasional lurkings), who keep me entertained (and often informed) day after day, and to all those who read my maunderings and often take time to comment on them. It is the community that makes LiveJournal, well, live, and I'm sure I wouldn't be here if not for all the writers and readers I've gotten to know...in spite of Sluggo! So, thanks to everybody for a pleasant two years, and more years to come.
caillebotte_man at his window

Paper

Hmmm. LJ's timekeeping seems to be messed up. My last post was made just after midnight, but LJ says it was made at 8:00 on the 29th. In the Azores, maybe!

I got started writing something on paper again last night. I was making an answer to a question I was asked, and, as is so often the case, it got out of hand. I've got almost eight pages of it so far, and it's probably only half done. Oh, Max Perkins is spinning in his grave!

It will be hot again today, so I'll have limited access. Even now, with the first birds already chirping, the night remains uncomfortably warm. It's another one of those summers, I fear.

Post now, before Sluggo rebels.
caillebotte_man at his window

What the...

OK, I must have hit the wrong key, because the client just emptied itself of the post I just wrote. No time to replace it. But take heed! Beware the client!
caillebotte_man at his window

You Did it, Old Girl!

Though I might have seen her in other movies before The African Queen, my earliest memory of Katharine Hepburn is in her role as Rose in that remarkable movie. I have seen her in many other movies since then, but the first image which comes to my mind when I think of her remains that of the soaked and exhilarated Rosie sitting at the tiller of the small boat which she has just guided down the rapids for the first time. It's one of many memorable moments in what I consider both Hepburn's and Bogart's best movie. It was certainly the perfect role for Hepburn.

Whether by intention or not, the story encapsulates the journey of women in the first half of the twentieth century. It is at once both an old-fashioned tale and a modern one. The way in which Rosie, determined to stick to her modest Christian virtues, redeems the drunken lout, Charley, is the hoary Victorian narrative of hundreds of melodramas about the positive moral influence of women -- particularly women who have been set apart, protected from the harsh realities of everyday life.

Parallel to this is a quite different story, in which a prim and somewhat self-righteous spinster, suddenly cast from her cosseted existence and forced to confront the challenges and dangers of the larger world, not only rises to the occasion, but discovers her hidden strengths and, ultimately, her long-repressed sexuality. This second narrative gives the first an unexpected twist, and turns The African Queen into one of the great feminist movies.

Rosie is a very complex character, and there was probably no one but Katharine Hepburn who could have brought her to such vivid life. Hepburn herself being a woman who had been born into the Edwardian world in which members of her sex were still inferior to men in power and position, she undoubtedly understood both Rosie's struggle to adjust to her sudden change in circumstances and her delight in discovering that she had abilities and potential far beyond what she had been taught to believe. I see not a single false note in Hepburn's performance. Though through her long career she played a great variety of characters with a great diversity of traits, it is still those qualities of courageous determination and an ever-youthful joy in life which she brought to Rosie that I think of when I remember Katharine Hepburn.

Katharine Hepburn
1907-2003