Strength in numbers

Here’s a pretty interesting interview with Melinda Gates, hitherto known as wife of Bill, but really one solid half of the massive charity they’ve set up to disperse his and now Warren Buffett’s gazillions. I think that it’s important to have role models, especially if not very much is actually expected of you by virtue of being a woman, a minority race, or a pinhead point of a country. And role models don’t have to be of the same gender, ethnicity or background.

Joss Whedon is one of mine, for instance. Not just because he was the soul and wit behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show which used its apparent flibbertigibbets and farcical follies to ruminate and rage about feminine strength and masculine frailty, but also because he continues to engender ever more stories that he believes we need to hear. No pandering to the lowest common denominator here, or to those too high-falutin’ for good ol’ storytellin’ either. And good ol’ storytellin’ is always entertainin’, whether it gets terrifyin’ or tantalisin’ in turn.

Speaking of strength and frailty, I finally got to watch Atonement last night. What a surprisingly faithful, eminently glorious adaptation — it broke me all over again. Once again I am awed by the power of the silver screen. I’d looked forward to giving myself over to Robbie (the magnificent James McAvoy) and Cecilia (a defiant Keira Knightley) discovering each other in their prime, and it was splendid, before it all went to pot, but little did I suspect the movie, or rather, the fearless Vanessa Redgrave, would be able to make me do what the novel could not — find it in myself to understand and hence forgive Briony Tallis.

Perhaps it’s because a movie confronts you with its unblinking stare, while a novel can be put down or tossed across the room, that I’ve been able to avoid the acceptance of the atonement, but oh. Oh! Oh. And oh — if there aren’t so many layers to the book and hence the movie, it would really be a maudlin Korean-type weepie, wouldn’t it? Thanks again to LLP for recommending the novel — wonder if she’ll be able to catch the film with her little LT in tow?


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