Friday, May 10, 2013


Well I have packed a lot of Gatsby into my posts this week, as I had hoped.
The movie is officially OUT in the U.S. and is getting mixed reviews of course.
It is getting a lot of What vivid cinematography !! A true dazzler!  The book comes to life as never before!
but also a decent amount of  What a bunch of slop.  Why did they re-make this movie again?  Wait, the book didn't end that way?   Jay-Z wasn't around in the 1920s, WTF?

I'm stoked.  I think that the twists I have read about Baz instilling into the movie don't sound too offensive to my true-to-literature tastes.  And yes, this movie has been made several times, so why not do a modernish twist to help apply it to modern society?  We see it tomorrow afternoon and I am dying of anticipation!
I have been re-reading the book all week, and watching the other versions to get prepped.
As well as painting my nails in a very flapperish Gilded Age manner.

So, here is some more Gatsby ephemera:

The infatuation between Gatsby and Daisy is marked by shortspurts of togetherness.  When they firstmeet in Louisville, they are together about a month in the autumn before Gatsbygoes off to war.
They are apart for several years (almost 3 on the rose) and then are reunitedin the summer of 1923, at the end of July. They have that one month together, once again, before it goes to hell ina hand basket and they are separated forever.

Gatsby and Daisy are nearly a decade apart in age and duringthe main time frame of the novel appear to be the inverse of one another’sage—she is 23 and he is 32.

The Valley of Ashes
is the underbelly of the Gilded Age.
It functions as a kind of limbo between the wealth and seaside escape of LongIsland and the jazz and livelihood of New York City.
It is an prosperous area—the embodiment of the American dream as itcrumbles.  The railroad runs throughhere, and a main road, and look what they’ve done to the area.
It is the grey area (literally described as such) that exposes the grey area inthe novel—nothing is black and white, and critical decisions are made here,under the layer of dust, that cannot be made undone—Myrtle deciding to have anaffair with Tom, Myrtle being killed, and the eyes or Dr. Eckleburg observingit all, and later playing a role in Wilson losing it and deciding to seekmurderous revenge.
Dr. Eckleburg is judging the wasteland (for its morals)—the wasteland thatAmericans created themselves in the wake of industry.
Interestingly enough, the Valley of Ashes was a real place! 

This aerial photo of the area was taken in 1924.
In 1939 it was turned into a park for the World's Fair, and guess where the ashes ended up??
In the Van Wyck Expressway.
And the actual "Valley" is now the site of the US Open tennis courts.

I do hope they capture the interplay here with the story and how the two reston each other.
When Daisy and Gatsby reunite it is pouring rain and is terribly awkward atfirst, but then the sparks fly between them and the sun comes out.  The climax occurs on the hottest day of thesummer, and even provokes the confrontations and disasters that happen.
This reminds me so much of Romeo andJuliet before Mercutio is killed—
I pray thee, good Mercutio, let’s retire.
The day is hot; the Capulets, abroad;
And if we meet we shall not ’scape a brawl,
For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.

I really, really am convinced Nick Carraway is gay.
This is actually a common school of thought now-- he is a homosexual and is in love with Gatsby.  There is much evidence for this; his family is concerned about him and they've had some kind of disagreement over it... (him being a closeted gay).
His only real described love interest in the novel, Jordan, is a tomboy with a sharp bone structure, wears sporty short hair, and is small breasted (the description of her besides the boob thing could be of a man). And things don't work out between them--Nick dumps her.
I think he was trying to get himself interested in women by having a fling with Jordan but it didn't work because he was denying his true self.
Nick was never attracted to Myrtle or Daisy, though both are described as being attractive in unique ways.
But the way he describes Tom is quite sensual and detailed, having much to do with his figure and appearance.
And then he meets Gatsby and the whole thing becomes a romance novel, not so much of Gatsby's love of Daisy, but for Nick's love of Gatsby.  It is obvious.
Fitzgerald in drag, apparently taken during college. Fetching, isn't he?

Oh and then there is that creepy scene in NYC with the apartment neighbors, where they all get wasted and Nick ends up in the elevator with a dirty old man and flash forward--he is standing over the guy's bed and the guy is in his underwear.  HUH??
The text:
. . . I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear, with a great portfolio in his hands.
“Beauty and the Beast…Loneliness…Old Grocery House…Brook’n Bridge….”
Then I was lying half asleep in the cold lower level of the Pennsylvania Station, staring at the morning Tribune, and waiting for the four o’clock train. 

What happened there?

And why does it matter if Nick is gay?
Because we see Gatsby, and all of the characters, through Nick's eyes, and that is why we are so taken with Gatsby---because Nick WAS.
At the end of the book when they run into each other before going separate ways, Tom tells Nick that Gatsby threw the dust in his (Nick's eyes) and he is right, but Nick doesn't see it, through his fog of infatuation for Gatsby.
Gatsby is Nick's green light.  His whole novel is about denying the truth,
It was Gatsby's downfall, and ironically, is Nick's as well.

Which makes you ask, was the author gay?  It is common knowledge that Nick Carraway is a semi-autobiographical character.  Yes, I believe Fitzgerald was gay.  Many scholars do.
Hemingway (one of his fellow members of the Lost Generation) was paranoid about Fitzgerald's homosexuality.  Historians account for her husband's attraction to men as many a reason for Zelda Fitzgerald's mental instability.  He was obsessed with his appearance and had his suits tailor made by Brooks Brothers (interesting fact: the new Gatsby movie used Brooks Brothers for all of the male protagonist's suits).  He was referred to as a "fairy" in some journals/letters of those who knew him, and Zelda believed he was having affairs with men.

Anyhow, in other news:
   Ryan Gosling hates cereal.  These crack me up!

Last night I made my famous sticky chicken-- a spicy/sweet Japanese crockpot dish, and paired it with my new cocktail invention: The Peargrrrita! (Pear margraita).
It was delightful.
Then we went for a drive, strolled around the park, and contemplated kidnapping a baby duckling.

Tonight we are seeing an outdoor ballet rendition of Alice in Wonderland.  I am not a fan of Alice, but I'll give it a shot.  And the BBQ we are attending beforehand may also sway me....
HAPPY FRIDAY!!  Let me know what you think of Gatsby!

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