(posted by Evan)
Thoughts on Chs. 8 - 11
Mothers. Izzy wants Mia to be her mother. Mia seems to understand Izzy better than Elena, but this notion that ‘what makes a mother’ could or should depend on the emotional relationship between them is challenged in a big way with the blood vs. law mother-battle of May Ling’s custody between Bebe Chow and The McCulloughs. Izzy is adamant about who May Ling belongs to "She's the mom. They're not." Meanwhile, she fantasizes about being able to adopt a mother. To the credit of her consistency, though, she does imagine a Midnight's Children switch-a-roo type thing. Get real, kid, remember all the trouble you caused by being born?
The Mystery. The photograph in the museum sets off a mystery that could have been avoided (at least for Pearl) if she had asked her mom in private, if she had not asked Lexie and Moody to go back with her, if it had not been Lexie who asked Mia. Well that’s a bonified mystery there, anyway. What is it that she dosen’t want to say in front of the Richardson’s? It dosen’t make any sense that she is bashful about hard times and needing cash based on her unabashed scrap-by lifestyle. It makes a lot more sense that she is an artist and was doing art but what is the big mystery?
So who is Pauline Hawthorne? She’s made up; but she was Cindy Sherman before Cindy Sherman was Cindy Sherman, and it turns out… Cindy Sherman is real. From Guggenheim.org …
Sherman explored photography as a way to reveal and examine the cultural constructions we designate as truth. Confronting the belief that photographs are truthful documents, Sherman’s fictional narratives suggested that photographs, like all forms of representation, are ideologically motivated. She is aware that the camera is not a neutral device but rather a tool that frames a particular viewpoint.
Sherman’s reputation was established early on with her Untitled Film Stills, a series of 69 black-and-white photographs that she began making in 1977, when she was twenty-three. In this series, the artist depicted herself dressed in the various melodramatic guises of clichéd B-movie heroines presented in 8 x 10 publicity stills from the 1950s and 1960s.
More Mothers. So, Elena hates Izzy because she was a complicated birth… what a control freak. Very hyprocritical in light of her sympathy for Linda “Seven-Miscarriages” McCullough, huh? I really like that Ng shows how Elena’s scrutiny based on fears and suspicions ends up convincing her that there is something wrong with Izzy. Confirmation Bias ---> Cognitive Dissonance. What’s really wrong with her, apparently, is she is a lot like her mother: they both show this enthusiasm for investigative journalism (as does Pearl) and Mr. Richardson sees the same dead-set frame-of-mindedness in them both.
The Custody Case (Mothers again). I’m not going to go there… yet. I’ll admit that I chose the side of Bebe in a parenthetical last week, but that was really just because “May Ling Chow” was easier to type than “Mirabelle McCullough”, which also required me to look up the correct spelling. I’ve talked to my wife, who has experience in these sorts of situations (professionally, not personally!) but I’m going to hold off on explaining what she convinced me of for a bit. I want to know what you all think about it. Maybe I will post a post-Beerhive rant after I’ve had a few and DGAF.
Pop Culture. So it turns out most of the stuff on the celesteng.com Book Club thingy is also in the back of the book. But this isn’t!
I think it is interesting that Celeste Ng has two scientist parents and she ended up being a writer, who writes about artists. From Wikipedia..
Ng was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1980. Her parents moved to the US from Hong Kong in the late 1960s. Her father, who died in 2004, was a physicist who worked for NASA at the Glenn Research Center, while her mother was a chemist who taught at Cleveland State University..
She wrote this short anecdote about her mother in New York Times Magazine:
What Did My Mother the Chemist See in Betty Crocker?
If I ever have kids they damn sure better be physicists! or at least know how to make some really good food.