I’m going to go off on a couple of tangents before I get into the substance of this blog, which is about my reaction to Jodie Foster’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes when she received the Cecil B. Demille award.
First, I always think of some great advice that Layce Gardner gave about the importance of titles. Since reading her blog about the subject, I put lots of effort into coming up with titles. I can see from the stats on my own blog that titles do matter. Thanks for the advice, Layce. Layce is funny and wise. To see what I mean, check out her blog at http://laycegardner.wordpress.com/2013/01/.
My second tangent is about how art moves or speaks in different ways from one person to the next. An art museum that we like to visit often is the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Massachusetts. If you live in New England, check it out at http://www.decordova.org/. It’s where I discovered one of my all time favorite artists, Robert ParkeHarrison. At the time I discovered his work, his exhibit, “The Architect’s Brother” was on display at the deCordova. I’ll never forget walking into the room where his various works covered the walls.
At first glance, they were a depressing punch to the gut. The room felt heavy and dreadful. But, then when I looked at them more closely I saw something beautiful, uplifting and hopeful in each one. I sat on a bench, stared at “Tree Sonata” and cried. Among my favorites are Mending the Earth, Tree Sonata and Book of Life. You can check them out at http://www.geh.org/parkeharrison/.
My spouse and I were so taken with his work that we went back several times to see the exhibit. On one occasion we brought a friend. She didn’t see the same things that we saw and it definitely was not a favorite exhibit of hers. To her, the images represented futility rather than hope. Neither of our respective views or interpretations is right, or wrong. They’re simply different, and I’m glad about that. We as individuals have different needs and passions. Art in its various forms manages to fill those for each of us. We can all look at the same photograph, hear the same song, read the same book, yet have a completely different take on its meaning. Each one is right. That leads me to Jodie Foster’s speech.
Her speech seems to be the kind that people either loved or really disliked. Provocative art has that effect. That, in and of itself, made it a great speech because it wasn’t the same old-same old unmoving blather. For example, I was on the edge of my seat during her wind up of the big admission she said she was about to make. I get why people are disappointed that when the rubber met the road, rather than saying “I’m gay,” she said, I’m single.” At first it fell like let down. Like she was somehow making light of or fun of coming out. The rest of her speech proved otherwise to me. Far more important than the words “I’m gay” were the ones in which she said, “There is no way I could ever stand here without acknowledging one of my deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life, my confessor, ski buddy, consigliore, most beloved BFF of 20 years, Cydney Bernard…” That to me said it all. It was powerful, honest, totally “out” and so very real.”
Speaking of one of the other reasons I thought her speech was great was that in its messiness, she showed us a bit of who she really is. Thinking back to interviews that I’ve seen of her, she seems very comfortable talking about the various roles and characters that she’s played over the years. She doesn’t seem as comfortable at all talking about herself, and definitely not interested in being a celebrity. What she seems to care most about is her art, and saying something about the world through the characters and movies that she’s made. I believe her when she says that she wants “to move people by being moved.” That is so refreshing in the Hollywood world that is often plastic and filled with actors more interested in being celebrities than moving or teaching us something through their art. I like that Jodie Foster was messy, not so poised or cool during her speech. She was authentic in her heartfelt words for her “modern family” and mother, her imperfection, edginess and honesty. She didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear, she told us what she was able to say honestly. I like that. I also like that as an artist, she recoils against being pickled in a vat of celebrity. Hollywood needs more, not less of that.
As for her friendship with Mel Gibson, I think it’s cool when two people who seem so unlikely to be friends are friends. The world needs more rather than less of that too.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by to read or comment on my blog. You are much appreciated, even if you have a different view. That’s part of the beauty of being human. Peace.