Last night Jeff and I hunkered down to watch ‘Apocalypto’ – the flick about the Maya civilization. I came away from it thinking it was unspeakably gory (which I don’t really mind if it’s with purpose), and also that the Mayans were straight up savage and very very scary people. I am fortunate enough to know more about their civilization- that they were artists and philosophers, mathematicians and architects, they created a calendar and had a complex understanding of time and space- the list goes on and on. Also, they occasionally had human sacrifices that involved heart extraction and stuff… you know. Anyway, I couldn’t help but feel that I didn’t really get it. It was an action movie, that’s for sure, and well-made at that. However, I had to ask myself- what’s the point? The way they are portrayed in this movie is almost horrifying. You see some serious violence, slaves, and unspeakable cruelty throughout. All the while there is this main character, our hero, who is basically just fighting for his life the whole time- however it seems to me that the only reason he’s so glorified is because of the stark contrast between himself and the blatant savagery and blood lust that follows him. Oh, and he seemed to be a nice family and forest loving guy. I hardly ever think about a movie this much, and I’m not sorry that I saw it, but I think it was pretty obviously racist and ill-informed. I immediately did some research on it, and this is one of the best explanations for why I came to this conclusion:
“While keeping some of the archaeological details accurate for “authenticity,” Gibson then jumbles together mass Aztec sacrifices with Maya rituals, as if they were the same. Certainly at the height of classic Maya civilization, the ruling classes made occasional human sacrifices to their gods, but nothing on the Holocaust-level scale that Gibson portrays in Apocalypto with fields of rotting, decapitated corpses that his hero, Jaguar Paw stumbles across as he attempts to escape his own execution in the city. With the advice of archaeologist Richard Hansen, Gibson seems to have researched anything the Maya might have done badly over a thousand year history and crammed it all into a few horrific days. How would the gringos look if we made a film that lumped together within one week the torture at the Abu Ghraib and Guatanamo prisons, the Tuskegee experiments, KKK lynchings, the battle at Wounded Knee, Japanese internment camps, the Trail of Tears, the Salem witch hunts, Texas death row executions, the Rodney King police beatings, the slaughter upon the Gettysburg battlefield, and the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – and made this look like a definitive statement on U.S. culture?” (written by Liza Grandia, a cultural anthropologist who has worked with Maya people since 1993 and speaks Q’echi’ Maya fluently)
Also check out this site, if you’re interested. Especially the Mesoamerican history section.
On a lighter note, I saw the movie Juno on Wednesday night. It was great! Go and see it, yes yes. I like watching prego movies. I wonder why…
My mom and dad and two sisters and bro-in-law and niece are all going to Mexico on Monday to visit Obeth’s family. I’m excited for his family to meet Tuula for the first time. I will miss them all a lot though, and I think I might be bored over new year’s. We’re going to a party, but it is inevitably one that I will leave far earlier than everyone else. I also just kinda don’t wanna spend more time talking about the baby and everything, and it seems like it’s all people wanna talk about if they don’t see me on a regular basis. This is understandable. I guess it just would have been fun this year to have my sisters around so that we could make loads of snacks (I have visions of baked brie, little egg rolls and dumplings, veggies and dips, etc.) and watch a couple of classic movies together. Good ol’ fashioned sober fun. Next year.
Christmas was good. It was by far the most exhausting one I’ve had yet, but that could have something to do with being 8 months pregnant. I really enjoyed the immediate family get-togethers, while the extended family ones left me feeling a little dry. I love them, but I was definitely tired by them. I also had lots of fun making everything for this year. We hardly bought anything except for supplies to make presents. I made ganache truffles, patchwork placemats for my mom and Gretchen, a patchwork pillow for Clara, a couple of pieces of stenciled art for my dad and one of Jeff’s cousins, apple butter, beer bread mixes (Jeff made a “lightly roasted double cream stout” just for the bread), we gave away some bottles of Pinot Grigio we made earlier this year, I made a delectable sour cream apple pie, and I made cranberry pistachio biscotti dipped in chocolate for extended family. Oh, and cranberry orange scones for my grandpa. I think perhaps this all contributed to my sleepiness over those days- or maybe the FIVE separate celebrations we went to. We have one last one tomorrow and then it’s over. YAY.
Today is Maya’s birthday. Or at least, the date that we chose for her (we might be a day or two off, so whatever). She’s two! I love having this dog. She’s so precious to us. She’s been doing this really weird clingy thing with me though, on and off. I think she senses the hormonal changes and is responding to it all. It’s been strange though, not bad behavior, just different. Like our housemate and good friend, Doug, has been walking up and down the stairs from his apartment to the front porch for over two years, and only recently has Maya decided it’s necessary to bark at him through our front door. I mean, it’s just Doug! She also gets really clingy when I get up and do something besides just hanging around- especially change my clothes or put on a sweater. It’s like she senses I might be leaving or something and will literally be touching my side the whole time I’m changing and she’ll look at me anxiously and expectantly. I must admit, it’s sweet, but I don’t know how to respond to her because it’s almost like she’s asking me “Are you ok? What’s goin on? Everything cool mom?” My best strategy for dealing with this new stuff with her is to act like everything is totally normal. She can’t really be fooled, but I just talk to her calmly and try not to feed her anxiety- if that’s even what it is. Anyway, I love her lots and she’s really such a good dog. She’ll be great with the baby.
These pictures always kill me.
My midwife will be here any minute to feel my belly. See ya!