Monday, May 24, 2010

This Is The Way It Ends

This is the way it ends
Don't tell me it's meaningless
There'll be no compromise
We fall and we too shall rise
You held me and taught me how
I think I am ready now
If this is the way it ends,
This is the way it's meant to be.
~"This Is The Way It Ends" by Landon Pigg

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Welcome To The Yeshiva University Observer

Some of you are aware that I spent an academic year as editor of the Yeshiva University Observer. Now, Liege Productions brings us a short mini-documentary about that very newspaper featuring Yaelle Frohlich, this year's (2009-2010) editor. Watch, learn and enjoy:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

House: The Dark Hero

(Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers.)

Tonight's episode of "House" ("Help Me" - Season 6, Episode 21- the season finale) was easily the most epic one yet. It had everything. It had passion, drama, emotion- everything. House and Cuddy are at the scene of a horrendous accident; a crane operator accidentally let go of the controls and smashed a building which contained 100 residents. House's humanity, dark side and the sweetness concealed within him all come to the fore within one hour of television.

Probably one of the best scenes on television- and the saddest speech given by any person:
    Cuddy: [to the Fire Rescue Chief] Give us a minute. I know you’re angry but please, don’t put her life at risk just to get back at me.

    House: Really? [sarcastic] Wow. This is all about you now.

    Cuddy: You took her side against me right after you heard about my engagement.

    House: Yeah, that must be it. It’s not that you’re a pathetic narcissist.

    Cuddy: [angry but lying, taking a breath between each word as she spits out the statement] I. Don’t. Love. You. So just accept it and move on with your life instead of making everyone miserable!

    House: That’s great. A life-lesson from a middle-aged single mom dating a man-child.

    Cuddy: Screw you. I’m sick of making excuses for you. I’m sick of other people having to tiptoe around you and make their own lives worse while they try to keep you from collapsing. I’m done.

    House: (pretending to be unhurt, rejoinds) Fantastic. Stay away from my patient.

    Cuddy: What are you clinging to, House? You’re gonnna risk her life just to save her leg? That really worked out well for you, didn’t it. What do you have in your life, honestly? Tell me! I’m moving on. Wilson is moving on. And you? You’ve got nothing, House, nothing. I’m going down there and I’m going to convince her to let me cut her leg off. If you have any decency left, you’ll just stay out of it.

    [After Cuddy fails to convince the patient to cut off her leg, House speaks instead]

    House: Hannah [takes a breath], we have to amputate your leg. [Cuddy’s eyes widen; she looks at House throughout this entire conversation. She is overhearing his confession.]

    Hannah: No. You said that there was time.

    House: There was. And it’s run out.

    Hannah: [shakes head vehemently] No.

    House: You asked me how I’d hurt my leg. I had a blood clot and the muscle was dying and I had all these doctors telling me I should amputate and I said no and they did this very risky operation. I almost died.

    Hannah: But you saved your leg.

    House: [quietly, meaningfully] I wish I hadn’t. They cut out a chunk of muscle about the size of my fist. And they left me this mutilated, useless thing. And I’m in pain every day. It changed me. Made me a harder person. A worse person. And now, now I’m alone. You don’t want to be like me. You’ve got a husband who loves you, you’ve got friends, you’ll start a family. You’ve got a whole life. And this? This is just a leg.

    Hannah: [crying] Okay.
The reason I love "House," as opposed to most people, has to do with the fact that I see it as a Beauty and the Beast story, a Phantom of the Opera kind of tale. I appreciate his wit and sarcasm, but not as much as other people do. The episodes I love are the ones where you see House revealed, the true House, the one who is full of compassion even though he hides it so well. I believe in that House, the one that Cuddy saw tonight, the one that Cuddy loves. House felt like he had failed and he wanted to punish himself; he has no one and nothing so he shattered the mirror and reached for the Vicodin and then Cuddy was there and Cuddy saved him because he loves Cuddy and she gave him something to live for. And she was touched by what he had said, even when she claimed she was done; she saw something in him worth saving and House knows that and he appreciates that and the fact that she's offering him a second chance and that's why he throws the pills on the floor and kisses her.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Inertia Creeps, Moving Up Slowly

Hijacked by a life that suddenly includes the creation of wedding registries, the writing of thank-you cards, the wording on invitations, the as-yet-postponed search for a wedding gown, people deciding that they must stare at my engagement ring, people then deciding to wear my engagement ring (slightly strange, but hell, that's life), people who can't exchange two words with me without talking about my husband-to-be and the ever-prevalent comments of how small my fingers are (exclamation point, exclamation point), it's important to note the following.

-Davening at Bobov on a Friday night (the one on 48th; I have no clue what the one on 45th is like) is a life-altering experience, particularly the way everyone claps and sings before 'Boi B'shalom' and seems super-happy.

-I now know women who shave their heads and are happy about it.

-Double entendres in conversations (aka throwing in phrases that blend seamlessly into conversation and that have secret meanings for me and a few special other people at the table) is a fantastic art form that I enjoy and do well.

-Biblical Hebrew is murder.

-I love the band Massive Attack.

-If you're not a Damon & Elena shipper on "The Vampire Diaries," I'll want to know why.

-I cried when I watched this past week's "Private Practice." The little girl beating her arms against Pete in protest of the fact that her father is dead shook me up.

-It's ever-so-slightly Stepford Wife-ish when every single woman is wearing a white kerchief over her wig, a strand of pearls and diamond earrings on Friday night. It's like there's a Shabbat uniform nobody told me about. At the same time, the simple devotion and connection these women feel when they pray to God (eyes closed) is unmatchable.

-The world is a pretty place, especially when it includes Crispix.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Stand For Something

You gotta stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

~Fall for Anything by The Script / (Lyrics)

The most recent episode of Grey's Anatomy, entitled "Hook, Line and Sinner" explored power within relationships and specifically the way in which men treat women. Bailey tore into Alex and explained to Lexie that she needs to start treating herself with self-respect and not handing her power and autonomy over to Alex simply because she is sleeping with him. (Up till then, she had been looking to him for approval, running every decision or call by him.) At the end of the episode, Lexie asserts herself. Everything should be grand, right? Wrong. Because one forceful address telling the man to give her the damn beer doesn't fix a lifetime of learned behavior. Fixing one's behavior takes work. Learning to find approval and validation in yourself as opposed to seeking for it in others takes work. At the very least, learning who you can trust to be a healthy person whose respect you should try for and whose approval you should actually value takes work.

The person who loves you best will never force you to do anything. He won't order you, rule you, or try to take your power or autonomy away from you. He will want you to make your own choices. This may even include situations where you make bad choices. He might respectfully disagree with you or offer his opinion should you ask for it, but he will also respect your right to make a decision and to learn something the hard way. Any person who forces you, rules you, treats you disrespectfully, orders you around or ensures that you always know his opinion so that you live in fear of it- is not a person you want in your life. Such behavior is unhealthy and tears you down. It eats away at your self-esteem, self-respect, courage, ability and strength. The person who loves you best wants you to be an independent entity. He doesn't want you to melt into him or otherwise become him. He doesn't see you as an extension of himself. You are a unique, special, gifted and talented person and you are loved and respected for all of your gifts and qualities. He too has his gifts. And together you can use them productively. But any person who sees you in terms of the creature he can possess, control, order around, rule, force or whose opinion he can mold, shift or cause you to live in fear of is not a healthy person. And you can spend all your life trying to shape-shift to please him and you will never succeed. Because the more he claims to love you when you change for him, the worse you secretly feel, in an unacknowledged place deep inside your heart. That unacknowledged place doesn't stay hidden forever.

Mutual respect. Mutual respect and understanding of the flaws and the strengths, the weaknesses and the shining aspects, the desire to help your partner grow and allow them to learn, sometimes through trial and error- these are the things to look for in people.

So stand for something. Stand for you. Stand for that person who deserves to be loved, cherished and desired, not bullied, lied to or controlled. Stand up for that lady, replete with flaws as she may be, because it's up to you to grow and to change- and not up to anyone else to make you do it. Work at it. Work hard. It's not easy. We are raised in a society that advocates our giving up our power to those who are religious enough, handsome enough, rich enough or influential enough to threaten to impact our lives. We are raised to believe that we must give up our selves in the name of love. What society fails to mention is that if we give up our self, there is nothing left to love. We've melted into wisps scattered by the wind.

So, pretty lady, think twice before you try to earn his approval, love, desire or recognition by changing who you really are. The loss is greater than the gain. Your soul is at stake and it is more important than all the many handsome boys who whisper sweet murder in your ear. Hold out for the friends who respect you and the men who admire you. You don't need to live your life in a cage. I don't think this is an easy thing to do. In fact, I think you can wage a life's battle struggling to be enough for yourself, to stand alone rather than fitting yourself to his cage. It seems easier to be behind bars. At least you're protected and you're not alone, plus he validates you sometimes- doesn't he? Yes, he does. And what about all the other times that he poisons you so that you don't trust your own judgement? So that you base your life around his words and edicts? Where he locks the door of the cage and seals it with such a sweet, sweet kiss? Pretty lady, be wary of escape from freedom- you will lose your life in the process. Slowly and steadily and quietly, over many years, and you will deny it is happening because you are frightened to admit that you chose wrongly. But is it worth the price? I don't believe it is. There is a way to extricate you, somehow, some way, because God never wanted you to be a prisoner of any human, and especially not of the man who should love you. And because I know God sometimes saves people. I have witnessed it personally.