Baz Hands! Moulin Rouge Film Review

by Katharine Elizabeth Monahan Huntley

“Here we are now, entertain us.”—Nirvana

After Strictly Ballroom and William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, Baz Lurhman understands what the audience expects from a Bazmark production—a “spectacular spectacular” spectacle.  He presents just that with the theatrical enchantment Moulin Rouge.

Unabashed in its excess of sensation, this many splendored song and dance collage celebrates the burlesque and carnivalesque of bohemian life.  Amid the iridescent artifice of men who preen and prance, and bawdy beautiful courtesans that can-can, a doomed romance reclines in a courtesan’s boudoir.  Tragic and passionate—what falling in love is all about.

Ewan McGregor is dreamy, Nicole Kidman creamy.  As Satine, she allures with red smeary lipstick and a longing for a legitimate acting career.  McGregor’s Christian represents idealism in its purist form.  

Extravagant extravagance, indeed.  Alas, however, is stark reality—fate is fickle and time waits for no one.  Life may be a cabaret old friend, but right outside is the boulevard of broken dreams and all that jazz.

Why the audience for Moulin Rogue should really stop and cheer is the Bazman’s insistence on relating a full bodied fable—underscored by the villain who demands: “What’s the story?”  A question frequently unasked by Hollywood producers in the pursuit of percentage and the show must go on.

Talk to me Baz Lurhman, tell me all about it.

Please note: The original 2021 title of this review is Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!

Bridge Over Seven Decades: Musings of a Mad Housewife

by Kerrin Ross Monahan

California Girls: Artwork by Charlotte Huntley
When you have six kids in ten years you tend to miss the nuances, the fine points of what’s going on.  For instance, you’re busy doing nothing sitting in the gas crunch and because you had a personalized plate (vanity) you could only get in the long lines at seven a.m. with a screaming infant or two, on odd days only.    

I followed Patty Hearst as little as possible, and Watergate was hard to miss.  Boring.  So have a nice day and I’d like to punch out that little round yellow face.  You can tell who’s stuck way back there when they still say that to you.

Forget the lava lamps and mood rings—I didn’t need a ring to figure out what state I was in.  Beanbag chairs were tacky so was avocado anything, especially shag.  Down vests and trail mix were okay, I guess, but if I see another macramé plant hanger interspersed with wooden beads it’ll be too soon. No, I was of aqua fondue pots and terrariums in a cool green Almaden gallon jug.  And Hang Ten and decoupage and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, not Rod McKuen and his ridiculous dog.

Love Story was never having to see sap acting again* and who cares about streaking because I saw plenty of little bare bottoms everyday. Bicentennial and an ice skater’s coif satin jackets. Bare Trap sandals that’s what I saw along with five million in paperback sales: bodice rippers.      

Vietnam then was whacked out Vets committing suicide it was more interesting to see all those Italians killing each other on the screen after they cooked the best spaghetti to die for.  Throwing up Campbell’s pea green soup—I’d rather watch kid Spielberg’s two million dollar nuts and bolts come after you in the steel tank at Universal.    

Tonsils and tonsils and stepping over zonked out freaks on Telegraph, dragging a five year old to the throat doctor and loud discos in convention hotels filled with mid-life plaid polyester.  Irishmen don’t look good in all white and besides they don’t like gold chains.

Parochial plaid and Sister Said cupcake sale and Lip Smackers whoever dreamt that up was a genius just add strawberry (red dye #5) to Vaseline and hang it from a cord for the premenstrual set.

Going from one disaster at home to another give me a dime for every time the milk hit the fan and I’ll show you an operation to rival Dreyer’s.  The upside down leviathan and flames in the Big Guinea and the psycho with the life insurance out of a machine was nothing.      

Take back the Italian horn I get enough virility thanks and leave your Puka shells behind with the tooled leather belt embossed colored flowers and cannabis bronze buckle.     

Keep on truckin’ away from me because I’m waiting for the carpenters it’s only just begun between the pet rocks and pop rocks and it’s all over with the flaming Pintos.
Burn your bellbottoms and chuck the turquoise and silver squash blossom ‘cause the baby just signed his ass over to Uncle Sam, the same ass that was pampered once upon a time.

Say goodnight Mary Ellen, stay high yellow brick road—gotta do-run-run.
 

All Who Wander Are Not Lost

by Kerrin Ross Monahan


 
  
 “All who wander are not lost.”—Tolkien

“Everything comes from somewhere.”—Rushdie

The way to avoid tragedy is to cultivate a sense of it” (Robert D. Kaplan). Aidan Chamber has said that the classic definition of story is: “What happens to whom, and why,” and since, as he reminds us, “story is everywhere,” we need to look everywhere in order to find exactly what it is we should be searching for.

We should start with oral tradition, with what Seamus Heaney calls: “the directness of utterance” by the skalds, bards, jongleurs, troubadours (and Rushdie’s the “Shah of Blah”), and from there progress through the arts up to the present.

A quest is a search or pursuit made in order to find or obtain something. There is a testing of some importance and obstacles to overcome. The goal or prize could be: The Holy Grail, hidden treasure, a castle or kingdom or fair maiden. It could well be something intangible such as: salvation, redemption, revenge, justice, peace, truth, glory, courage, strength, wisdom, faith, love, or hope. Sometimes one isn’t certain what it is that she/he seeks. Some fail, others do reach their goal.

The quest occurs in all types of literature, music, and historic events the world over, and all forms reflect the historical and cultural base in which they are embedded. There is a universality, however, a basic humanism about them all—a transcending core that resonates with everyone.

The quest can take the form of a grand and sweeping heroic epic, can appear in a short poem, a long narrative, an interior monologue, a small gem of a fable, a “pourquoi” story, a nursery rhyme. It can be found in certain films, music, plays, opera, novels, and rock songs. It can take the form of a chivalric romance, fairytale, folktale, mythology, legend, or nationalistic or religious saga. It can be emotionally heavy, or light and airy, and may contain both elements of tragedy and comedy. (Barzun points out that the word “tragedy” means “goat song” and in the Renaissance the word “comedy” meant any sort of play—drama in general.) He also states that the epic, thought of as a serious genre, is “often close to burlesque.”

The quest can be in the form of a cautionary tale, allegory, rules of conduct, a coming-of-age work or nationalistic propaganda. It can be gorgeous and soaring in tone, and heartwarming, whimsical, and quaint, or raw, ugly, and petty—but always passionate and always magic. It can entertain (hopefully, always), anger and disturb, instruct and uplift, enchant and inspire: one should come away thinking, analyzing, considering and questioning—and be receptive to and expressive about the core meaning of each story.

In each instance the characters could be any of the following: druids, oracles, pookas, banshees, piskies, kelpies, leprechauns, trolls, elves, menehunes, water sprites, Baba Yagas, dwarves, goblins, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, wizards, nissers, sorcerers, ogres, mummies, monsters, fairies, witches, queens, gremlins, brownies, golems, giants, genies, Black and Tans, angels, kings, dragons, devils, talking animals, and of course, larger-than-life heroic warriors (both male and female), their evil human counterparts, and naturally, a large cast of “common folk” such as farmers, innkeepers, “hoors,” hobbits, beggars, and children.

Props include: ancient books and parchments, thunder and fire, magic swords, cloaks, wooden legs, riddles and runes, shoes and lamps, talking cats, flying horses, snakes and toads, secret doorways and curses, spells, passwords, boats, bikes, rafts, umbrellas, whales, Cadillacs and taxis, dreams, visions, portents and nightmares, poisons and elixirs, trees and burning bushes, vast quantities of beer, wine, mead, and weed, and of course, gold rings.

Because, on the whole, we in this country have been exposed to mostly Western Canon, some may not be aware that there is a plenitude of much admired, and many revered, works of all genres that come from a global cultural base. Much of Western art, in fact, is based upon, or drawn from, ancient worldwide customs and lore.

The following is not meant by any means to be all-inclusive; the selections are certainly subjective. If they are top heavy with works from Great Britain, it is because (until fairly recently), our nation’s literary canon has derived mainly from and has glorified our “motherland’s” literature.

I Western

Great Britain and Ireland

The Cuchulain CycleThe Finn Cycle, (Fin M’Coul), two pre-Christian Celtic epics: The Hound of Ulster and Queen MabBeowulf: Anglo Saxon epic Christian poem composed sometime between 650 ad and 900 AD. Seamus Heaney, Irish Nobel Laureate Poet, renders a brilliant translation. King Arthur, Knights of the Round Table, Merlin, The Holy Grail, and Robin Hood. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (author unknown). The Crusades, St. George and the Dragon, William Langland’s Piers Plowman, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the Welsh White Book of Rchydderch, Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’ Arthur. Morality plays and mystery plays for example, Everyman, dramatized allegories of Christian life: a quest for salvation.

Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Shakespeare’s English and Roman histories, tragedies and tragic-comedies. He was extremely knowledgeable about the volatile social and political issues of his day: the escalating patriotism and nationalism, the new colonialism, and concerns about the royal succession. A.L. Rowse tells us that he (Shakespeare) “. . . knew too well how thin is the crust of civilisation; how easy for society to break down, to fall into what dark waters beneath.” In these works, Shakespeare’s quest is for order and obedience to authority.

Milton’s Paradise Lost, John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders, Richardson’s Clarissa, Fielding’s Tom Jones, Edward Fitzgerald’s (translation) The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam, Wordsworth’s The Prelude, Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, Blake’s The Four Zoas and Jerusalem, Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, Keat’s HyperionThe Eve of St. Agnes and La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Byron’s Childe Harold, Sir Walter Scott’s historical novels and ballads, Dicken’s Bleak HouseDavid CopperfieldGreat Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities, Robert Browning’s Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, Tennyson’s Ulysses and Idylls of the King, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Kipling’s Just So Stories, Sir James Barrie’s Peter Pan, Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Doolittle, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins, Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Yeats’ Fairy Tales of Ireland, T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland, Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Ring Trilogy, C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Roddy Doyle’s A Star Called Henry, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series

North America

Highwater’s Anpao (the Native American UlyssesThe Sedna Legends of the Inuits, Paul Bunyan’s tall tales, the tales of Pecos Bill the Cowboy, Melville’s Moby Dick, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus Stories (a retelling of stories brought from overseas by African slaves), L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man, the Russian born Nabokov’s Lolita, Steven Spielberg’s E.T., and, with George Lucas, the Indiana Jones sagas and Star Wars series.

French Canada
The Adventures of Petit Jean

Mexico/South America
Why the Burro Lives With ManThe Tale of the Lazy People and many legends and myths from the Incas and Aztecs and Mayan civilizations

Greece
Homer’s The Iliad, The OdysseyAesop’s Fables

Italy
The Roman poet Virgil’s The Aëneid, the poet Dante’s The Inferno, the poet Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered

Spain
El Cid (the epic poem El Cantar de Mio Cid), Cervante’s Don Quixote

Portugal
Comoën’s The Lusiads

France
The deeds of Charlemagne, Le Chanson de Roland, Jean de Neun’s Roman de la Rose, La Fontaine’s Fables, Perrault’s folktales (Cinderella), Villanueva’s Beauty and the Beast, Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, Saint Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince, de Brunhoff’s Stories of Babar

Germany
The Nibelungen Saga (heroic sagas), the tales of the Brothers Grimm, Richard Wagner’s Opera CycleThe Ring of the Neibelung

Norway/Sweden/Denmark
The great sagas involving Valhalla and the gods Thor, Odin, Freya, and Loke; Hans Christian Andersen’s tales

Iceland

The Elder EddaThe Younger Edda (ancient manuscripts), from these comes The Volsunga Saga

Finland

The saga The Kalevala

Russia

The Legend of the Firebird, Pushkin’s fairy tales, Vasilissa the Fair

II Middle East

The sacred texts: The Holy BibleThe TorahThe TalmudThe Koran. Firdavsi’s Shah (collection of legendary Persian epic folktales), the splendid Arabian Nights, the Islamic legend The Night Journey (Mohammed’s Night Ride to Heaven) Nobel Laureate Isaac B. Singer’s Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories

III India

The Fables of BidpaiThe Jatake Tales of Buddha, the cycle of fables in the Hindu collection of the Panchatantha, Vyasa’s Mahabharata, Valmiki’s Ranayana, Salman Rushdie’s Shame and Haroun and the Sea of Stories

IV Africa

Tribal tales of witchdoctors and brave warriors, folktales like Anansi the SpiderPodhu and AruwaUnanana and the Elephant

IV Far East

Japan
Great shogun and samurai exploits, folktales such as The Tongue-Cut SparrowThe Enchanted Sticks

China
Fantastic tales of empresses and peasants, warlords and courtiers. Folktales like Ah Tcha the SleeperThe Story of Wang Li

V Oceania (Australia)

The wonderful Aboriginal “dream-time” experiences and folktales such as Dinewan the Emu

Polynesia
Many fantasy tales of how their islands were fashioned; from Hawaii we get the myth: How Kana Brought Back the Sun and Moon and Stars. To quote Heaney, all of the foregoing are universal stories of “mythic potency.”

To return to the main question: What should we be looking for, and why? Tolkien said: “Myth is invention about truth.” Joseph Campbell states that the hero’s journey is about “overcoming the dark passions . . . to control the irrational savage within us,” and that “the journey is a life lived in self-discovery . . . the ultimate aim of the quest must be . . . the wisdom and the power to serve others.” The hero acts “to redeem society.” Dostoyevsky said: “Man is a mystery.” The author was “an investigator of the human spirit” always searching for truth. In Richard Tarnas’ preface to his grand The Passion of the Western Mind (and this could certainly apply to the rich and varied canon of world literature as well), he states: “The history of Western culture has long seemed to possess the dynamics, scope, and beauty of a great epic drama . . . [containing] sweep and grandeur, dramatic conflicts and astonishing resolutions . . . a stirring adventure and epic heroism . . .” He also talks about: “A common vision . . . to see clarifying universals in the chaos of life . . . the attempt to comprehend the nature of reality.” Bruno Bettelheim says that through fables and fairy tales we can find ways “to gain peace within ourselves and with the world . . .” In a new volume of Yeat’s essays, Writings on Irish Folklore, Legend and Myth he tells us that in fables, “mortals are transformed into ‘perfect symbols of the sorrow and beauty and of the magnificence and penury of dreams.'” Harold Bloom feels: “We read to find ourselves . . .[to gain] an enhanced sense of freedom . . . to prepare ourselves for change and the final change, alas is universal.”

Certainly there are skeptics among us: the poet W. H. Auden said: “poetry makes nothing happen” and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road narrator (“the road is life”) says “. . . nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old . . .” And U2’s Bono laments “. . . and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” To all that, Tolkien’s Gandalf could well answer: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

During the rest of our lifequest we must: read, write, travel, attend plays, opera, museums and films, watch television and sporting events, listen to music, political debates, talk shows, gossip, and propaganda. We must sing and dance and work and love, all so that we may connect in some positive and meaningful way with our ancestors, peers, and children, thus hopefully discovering our higher selves. By doing so, when our grand quest comes to the inevitable and unavoidable end, we will be able to leave behind a brilliant, universal ensemble cast with a balanced and harmonious script full of recurring motifs such as unity and integration, a magnificent work, a gift of love and peace to our vast audience—all of humankind’s descendants.

“The world is sacred,
It can’t be improved.
If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it.
If your treat it like an object, you’ll lose it.”—Lao-tzu

Bibliography

Barzun, Jacques. From Dawn to Decadence. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.
Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment. New York: Simon, 2000.
Bloom, Harold. How to Read and Why. New York: Simon, 2000.
Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth. New York: Doubleday, 1988.
Chamber, Aidan. Introducing Books to Children. 2nd ed. Horn, 1983.
Doyle, Roddy. A Star Called Henry. New York: Penguin, 2000.
Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf. New York: Norton, 2000.
Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. New York: Viking, 1957.
Lao-tzu. Tao Te Ching. Trans. Stephen Mitchell. New York: Harper, 1988.
Maxym, Lucy. Russian Lacquer, Legends and Fairy Tales. 2 vols. New York: Siamese Imports, 1985-86.
Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams. 5th ed. 2 vols. New York: Norton, 1986.
Oxford Companion to the English Language. Ed. Tom McArthur. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992.
Porcaro, Lauren. “Book Currents”: rev. of Writings on Irish Folklore, Legend and Myth by William Butler Yeats, New Yorker 1, Apr. 2002: 21.
Riverside Anthology of Children’s Literature. Judith Saltman. 6th ed. Boston: Houghton, 1985.
Rowse, A.L. The Annotated Shakespeare. Vols I and II. New York: Clarkson, 1978.
Rushdie, Salman. Haroun and the Sea of Stories. New York: Viking, 1990.
Tarnas, Richard. The Passion of the Western Mind. New York: Ballantine, 1993.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. New York: Ballantine, 1967.
Tolkien, J.R.R. The Ring Trilogy. New York: Ballantine, 1982.

The Butcher Boy

by KEM Huntley

In a Dramatica grand argument story, it is the influence character that has the most impact on the main character. The influence character, wittingly or unwittingly, will compel the main character to remain steadfast to their particular paradigm or change to the influence character’s point of view.

Typically, the influence character is one person or single entity. In the case of Neil Jordan’s The Butcher Boy, and Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, the influence character is the society in which the main character functions.

The Butcher Boy, an adaptation of Pat McCabe’s novel, is a brutal account of one boy’s moral destruction set against the “duck and cover” environment of fear that emanated from communism, specifically the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Precocious and full of Gaelic charm, “The Incredible Francis Brady” (main character) is an ebullient twelve-year-old with a wide Irish eyes smile and an unfortunate set of parents-a beautiful and suicidal mother, and a father who ” . . . was the best drinker in the town.” Francie sets up the story with a voice-over narration: “When I was a young lad . . . I lived in a small town where they were all after me on account of what I’d done [to] Mrs. Nugent.”

What follows is a cinematic treatise on the making of a psychopath.

Francis steals apples from Mrs. Nugent’s tree and extorts Green Lantern comics from her bespectacled son, Philip. Mrs. Nugent tells his mother exactly what she thinks of the Bradys: “Pigs!” igniting a feud (story driver-action) between the boy and neighbor that erupts in unholy carnage. During the course of the story, Francie’s pranks evolve from the malicious to the unconscionably vicious. He is sent to a reform school where he easily manipulates his release, a mental institution where he escapes, and even fools his parish priest who exhorts the townspeople to ” . . . pray for the redemption of Francis Brady . . .” Each personal tragedy, most notably the death of his mother and perceived betrayal of best friend Joe Purcell, exacerbates the sins he commits against Mrs. Nugent and the small community. Finally, the town’s authorities ” . . . put Francie Brady in the ‘garage’ for bad bastards.” (ic resolve-change)

Like anti-hero Alex in A Clockwork Orange, none of Francie’s actions are excusable, but there is a margin for understanding. In one of the film’s most poignant moments, Francie lists his losses on the steamed up kitchen window with his finger-unaware his abandoned soul is the most tragic loss of all.

Haiku Play Review: The Rage Fairy

The Sherry’s the Stage.
Antonia’s Zings Rage.
Murderinos, Sage!

Artwork by Freda Yifan Jing @frida_dearling

Nothing can stop the Rage Fairy from finding love, including the knowledge that her dream man is a literal murderer. All it takes is a little reality-bending. A manic fairy with a chaotic attachment style goes looking for love in all the wrong places–including in the arms of a [aforementioned] murderer. Subsequently, she is haunted by a cadre of murdered girls, even as she tries to maintain the illusion all is well with her dream man.
Written and Directed by Antonia Czinger.
Produced by David Dickens.

Artwork by Freda Yifan Jing @frida_dearling

Sundance 2022: We Need To Talk About Cosby, And I Don’t Want To.

by Coco Quinn

Artwork by Mary Quinn

This morning I woke up to a snowy view of my backyard, the Virginia weather still doing its best to make me feel like I’m writing from Park City. There’s a lake I look out on, and when I felt a sensation something was off, I realized it must have iced over.  Looking further out, I could see ripples in the distance where the surface wasn’t frozen of motion.

I made a cup of coffee, and settled in under some blankets on my couch, ready to watch my first Sundance premier. I’m glad it was sunny outside because it was about to get dark.

We Need To Talk About Cosby, and I don’t want to, because it’s uncomfortable. But we really do need to talk about these things. I think women should watch this movie with other women. Like we did with the Sex and the City movie. With cosmos or whichever cocktail pairs best with catharsis, and talk through what comes up.

Director W. Kamau Bell implores us that we can’t begin to heal without first having some hard conversations. He explores who Cosby was, from the groundbreaking to the terrifying, and what his achievements and actions say about America over the past 50 years. He challenges us to reexamine the culture that lifted Cosby to the level of “America’s Dad.” 

This four-hour-long documentary (in four parts) is airing on Showtime and I recommend it, but it brought up a lot for me. One of the interviewees in the film talks about how sometimes something is put in your drink, but sometimes it’s the drink itself that can cause a blackout. And you might never know which it was, but it doesn’t matter. The intent to incapacitate you is the same regardless of the substance.

I have a night I can’t remember all of what happened, and I’ve always wondered if I was just over-served or drugged by the waiter. He sent over an extra martini or two, on the house. He got my number by taking a picture of me with my friends and texting it to me. He would call and text me for months. I never answered nor responded, and it always scared me. It didn’t stop until I reported it. The brief clips saved as memories are clear, and the blank spaces, they’re still black.

I started just now to write I was okay, but is that really true? I ended up in the hospital. The feeling you get knowing you have gaps in your memory, but were walking and talking (about what and to whom exactly, you don’t know), can be panic inducing. And embarrassing. It’s been years and those feelings still flare up.

I don’t know many women who haven’t had a similar experience. I wish that were not the case. It’s hard to talk about, so usually we don’t. I know that I’m the only person that some friends have told about the moments someone intentionally erased from their memories before they’d even been made. It’s hard to hear it talked about in this film without feeling like that could have been me, or someone I love. That it could have been anyone. That it happened to way too many women. I’m so proud of them for speaking out. It isn’t easy.

When to speak out, or if you should, is hard to say. Especially if that person has cache. Makes you feel special. They impress your friends and family, like Cosby did with these women. When is the behavior bad enough to speak out? What about a famous man you thought was your friend for years and years and then you hear about something really creepy? What are you supposed to do? The easiest answer is fucking mind your own business. But look how that went with Cosby. Scores of people around him looked the other way.

What if you know of a famous man whom you’ve always considered to be one of the good guys, and then you find out he casually asked for revealing photos from a woman you love. And it freaks her out. And then when he next makes contact, she tells him, “What you said really upset me.” And then he goes on and on in a text about how he jokes about stuff like that with his comedian friends and he’s an idiot and was just trying to make a joke. But he’s a professional comedian. And the request wasn’t a joke. And it wasn’t funny. And this excuse rings hollow and weird, and your friend is scrolling back through years of texts wondering if she’d ever said anything to give him the wrong idea, and she hasn’t. And so, she scrolls through her Instagram and Facebook to see if any of her selfies were too provocative. And she’s trying to find where she was responsible for the strange behavior of this friend, and supposed ally.

And she’s feeling bad about herself and fixating on it for days. And the years of friendship feel like grooming because now this guy is acting like a predator. And did she just see behind the curtain? Is he doing this to other women? Girls? Are they sending him pics? What happens next to them if they do? What is his end game?

We Need To Talk About What To Do. Because I really don’t know. My first thought was she should call his wife, that maybe she could talk to her husband about how when someone does something like that to call out your body, especially if you’re a busty girl, that it makes you feel reduced to nothing but your physical appearance. That it makes you question your worth. Your perceived worth. That it shakes your sense of knowing who to trust, if someone you trusted and respected could make you feel so bad.

And now she starts to cry because she feels like she’s ruined him for you. Ruined her best friend’s favorite movie for her because he’s in it. Ruined the kind recommendation letter he once wrote for you, which you have framed on your desk to remind you he believes in you. And you look her in the eyes, and it’s like looking out at the lake this morning. You’re not seeing any ripples. Something is off, someone has frozen a part of her that usually sparkles.

So, you tear up the letter and tell her she didn’t ruin him for you, he did. And now your stomach goes queasy when he pops up on TV. Why is he on so much TV? And it’s not the worst behavior, but it’s not good, and the fact that it is subtle is such a fucking scary part of it, ‘cause it’s easy to blow off for him, but that’s the point if he doesn’t get what he wants, right? And the uneasiness and resentment aren’t going away. And you want to tell him how damaging it is, because he can’t possibly know, or he wouldn’t have done it. But then . . . he did it. And not only does he know, but that’s also quite possibly what he likes about it. And you introduced them, so you feel like it’s your fault. You thought he was a nice guy and you got it wrong.

And there goes one more woman, taking on the burden of a bad man’s actions.