Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Let It Go

Okay, so "Let It Go" was not my favorite song in Frozen. For one thing, it sounds like it's written about a step and a half too high for Menzel; she has a fabulously powerful voice, but the vocal strain on the higher notes makes me wince. But for another, it doesn't seem to be about what everyone thinks it's about. THIS IS NOT A HAPPY SONG, folks. This is something that has been driving me crazy.
Elsa's character has lived in stifling isolation for years and years, fearful of her magic and what might happen if she made one wrong move. So, in that sense, it's a step toward happiness; she's no longer living under that immense pressure. But she's not there yet.
The snow glows white on the mountain tonight/ Not a footprint to be seen/ A kingdom of isolation,/ And it looks like I’m the queen.
That sounds more like bitter resignation to me. "I can only be queen if I'm cut off from society."
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside/ Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see/ Be the good girl you always have to be/ Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know/ Well, now they know
This is a good(ish) step. We know that fear of her gift is what makes it so wildly uncontrollable. So she's given up hiding it, but only by running off to a mountain by herself instead of taking on her responsibilities as queen and by breaking the heart of her only remaining family member.
Let it go, let it go/ Can’t hold it back anymore/ Let it go, let it go/ Turn away and slam the door
This reminds me of nothing so much as a rebellious teen fleeing authoritarian parents. It might be good that she's escaped, but that doesn't mean her actions are commendable.
I don’t care/ What they’re going to say/ Let the storm rage on,/ The cold never bothered me anyway
It’s funny how some distance/ Makes everything seem small/ And the fears that once controlled me/ Can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do/ To test the limits and break through/ No right, no wrong, no rules for me/ I’m free
This is not freedom. She's free only so long as she's alone. That sounds like another sort of prison to me. I do not believe this is accidental on the songwriters' parts. She's on a trajectory that can't be sustained. There's a reason this is in the middle of the story, not the end. If this were the happy ending, the place where she should end up, the movie would end here. But it's not. She clearly needs people, especially her sister. Without that, how long would it be before bitterness and eventually hatred set in? Perhaps even a desire for vengeance against the people who drove her away?
Let it go, let it go/ I am one with the wind and sky/ Let it go, let it go/ You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand/ And here I'll stay/ Let the storm rage on
My power flurries through the air into the ground/ My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around/ And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast/ I’m never going back,/ The past is in the past
This sounds like denial. She's reveling in her power and telling herself that all the other things--her beloved sister, her kingdom--don't matter. The rest of the movie proves that's not true.
Let it go, let it go/ And I'll rise like the break of dawn/ Let it go, let it go/ That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand/ In the light of day/ Let the storm rage on,/ The cold never bothered me anyway
More denial.
Elsa only becomes free when she turns back and reaches out to her sister in love instead of fear. This song is about false freedom. It's at the midway point for a reason. It's the height of a crisis. It's the beginning for Elsa, but it's certainly not the end.
No, my favorite song is "In Summer." Especially when Emmy traipses around the house singing, "A drink in my hand, my snow up against the burning sand/Prob'ly getting gorgeously tanned in summer." The mental imagery is hilarious.

Friday, April 25, 2014


You know how, when you meet a new person the first time, one of the first questions you ask is, "Are you on Facebook?" With people my age, I never ask it expecting anything other than, "Yeah! I'm on there under Bob Loblaw." So when I asked recently asked a new friend, and she said, "No," I said, "I'll friend you. Look for Naomi Wgermanicsounds." And then, "...Oh. You're not on Facebook? Okay." I am not even lying, I sat there for a few seconds trying to figure out how I would contact her. Like it's 1750, and she lives 500 miles away.

And then I remembered the telephone, and texting. But no. She does not have a cell phone. Just a phone phone. That you speak into. Without being able to see the other person's face, and who knows it could be a demon faced monster replicating my friend's voice. You never know. This is why I distrust the telephone. That and my terrible hearing and inability to understand anyone without the assistance of body language. You just told me something tragic, and I laughed out loud. Oops. Sorry about that. I totally thought your grandma's death was a joke. Let me laugh nervously while changing the subject to something even more awkward.

And then my second thought was, "How will she see how interesting I am?" (Because I TOTALLY am, here in suburban Salt Lake with my two kids and minivan) Some people keep Facebook for family updates, some keep it for deep thoughts (real or imagined), some people keep it to snoop on the old classmates who randomly friended them (I would know nothing about that last one at all), but mostly, I just like to entertain. I like to be known as a funny person.

(And here's a weird aside: It has come to my attention that women aren't supposed to be funny. Evidently, this has been a thing for a long time. It's not just that it's not typically a trait that men find attractive in women; it's that some people seem to think women are unable to be funny. I could buy that, if we were talking about specific types of humor--slapstick, wordplay, situation irony, plain old wittiness--, but I'm pretty sure we're all made to be funny to one varying degree or another, and at least half of the funniest people I know are women. Are they unfamiliar with Tina Fey or Amy Poehler or Allie Brosh? Or maybe they are familiar with these women, and have no sense of humor. Or they have gone all through their lives thinking "funny" actually meant "smelling of meat.")

(Another aside, if you type "funny" over and over again without finding a better word to use, it starts to look like a fake word.)

I used to be a super huge dork. I don't mean that in the fun, endearing way. I mean that in the way that everybody picked on me, and I responded by acting like an *angry monkey/know-it-all jerk. It didn't go great for me in elementary school. Then I went to a new middle school, and still got picked on, but I had learned that freaking out only made it worse, so I grew a sense of humor instead. I was still a super huge dork, but no longer a social outcast. Why? Because I could make at least a few people laugh (and saved the freaking out for my voodoo dolls). And ever since, it's pretty much my only social skill. I rely on it so heavily that I'm always compelled to make a joke out of everything. Yeah, I know it's annoying.

But all that to say, when I meet someone new, if she doesn't get to see how fun I am on Facebook, how will she ever want to be friends with me? There's a period of extreme discomfort between the time I meet someone new and the time I stop saying inappropriate things all the time.

So far, she seems to still like me. But I never know what I'm going to say on the telephone.

*minus the poo flinging