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Men crying

Saturday July 2nd, 2011 in Audio books, Film, Politics, School | No Comments »

I’ve just listened to an audiobook Coping with Grief based on an ABC radio series produced in 1995.

I think the take home message was that attempting to make the grieving person feel better is often not the most helpful response. Instead, we should support people as they go through the natural but painful emotions and physical reactions of grief.

Coping with Grief included interviews with people who were experiencing grief along with experts and counsellors. It was good stuff, but I found myself misting up several times.

I am a big cryer. I once cried at the preview of Pocahontas. There was something about the way the leaves swirled around the Pocahontas’ feet combined with the music that choked me up.

I find crying very helpful and it makes me worried that some people feel like they shouldn’t do it. All of the experts interviewed in Coping with Grief talked about the problems caused by the stigma against men crying or talking about their emotions. The show was produced 15 years ago so I really hope things are starting to change.

It could be all in the marketing. A promotion for men’s moisturiser encourages men to “dare to care”. Similarly, TAC advertised “power naps” rather than “nanna naps” to appeal to the tuckered out male driver. We probably need a manly name for crying like Tears of Steel.

I don’t think less of men when they cry. If anything, it can make me like them more. Here are my top men crying moments.

1. Kevin Rudd’s blubĀ when he was given the boot as prime minister. I was quite happy about having a female prime minister but his speech made me blub too.

2. When my classmate Ian got hit by a ball in the face in Grade 4 during a game of rounders. I saw him cry and pretend not to. I fell in love.

3. In Dead Poets’ Society when Charlie comes to tell Todd that Niels is dead. Charlie is crying. As was I, or more like sobbing hysterically.

4. In Year 10 I went to the International Student Conference (aka the International Nerd Convention). My school’s group had a fantastic week in Melbourne working with a school from Pretoria and we were devastated when it was over. We knew we’d never see the Pretorians again. On the way to the train station where we said goodbye one of the boys sat by himself and stared out the window of the tram. But you could see in the reflection that he cried.

The Accidental Billionaires

Sunday February 6th, 2011 in Audio books, Film, narrators | 2 Comments »

It turns out that sometimes the film is better than the book.

I really enjoyed the filmĀ The Social Network, but I am not enjoying listening to the book the film was based on, The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Monedy, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook.

Issues:

– It’s very one-sided. The author Ben Mezrich has extensively interviewed Eduardo Saverin but has not had access to the other major players, including Mark Zuckerberg.

– To get around his lack of actual knowledge Mezrich overuses phrases like, “It is easy to picture” and “we can envisage”, and words like “perhaps” and “maybe” to cover scenes where he actually has NO IDEA what happened.

– Mezrich is very mean about geeks assuming that they are all hate themselves and are desperate to be cool. I know this is not true. He also assumes that, in the normal course of events, a computer nerd will never have sex with anything more appealing than a bin-liner. This is also not true.

– The narrator Mike Chamberlain reads some parts really slowly as though they have momentous import. Chamberlain would be better off reading really fast and mumbling in the hope that no-one would notice sentences like, “He forced his pulse to return to a steady beat, like the steady bytes and bits of a processing computer hard drive.”

This review says it all.

Omg I’m listening to Cleaving

Monday December 13th, 2010 in Audio books, Film, Memoir, narrators | No Comments »

Last month I listened to Julie and Julia read by the author, Julie Powell. I saw the film earlier this year and really enjoyed it mainly for Meryl Streep hamming it up as Julia Child.

When I listened to Julie and Julia I became curious about what Julie Powell did next. Typing Julie Powell into Google one of Google’s clever guesses was “Julie Powell affair”. I was intrigued.

I discovered that after Julie and Julia was published, which presents her marriage as an almost perfect union of two twin peas in the pod, Julia Powell had a scandalous affair and then wrote about it.

Combining the topic of her adultery with butchery she wrote her next memoir Cleaving: A story of marriage meat and obsession. This book has inspired much vitriol, and I became a little obsessed with seeking out this juicy and sometimes hilarious criticism. I read so much about it that I felt like I didn’t need to read the book, but I knew I would.

I am now being enjoyably and predictably outraged by the rampant over-sharing in the audiobook of Cleaving, once again read by the author. (Julie Powell is a good narrator.)

I’m now two disks in and I think I can identify a number of reasons why this book provokes such a strong (and sometimes ugly) response from readers/listeners.

1. It is fully disgusting. I guess you could say that it is explicit and lusty but I say it is gross. (Which I enjoy.)

2. Julie has some very messy, self destructive and hurtful relationships, but she doesn’t seem to feel much guilt about them. Any guilt she does feel she resents.

3. It’s all true. The mind boggles about how Julie’s aged relatives would respond to this book.

4. Julie is not very nice to her husband. And then she writes about it, revealing details that must be embarrassing to him.

5. The butchering bits are long and detailed and the metaphors are laboured and once again, gross. Sausages are shaped like penises. Yes.

I am loving being horrified by this book. I can’t wait to do the dishes so I can listen to more.