Saturday, September 6, 2008
Thandie Plays Condelezza Rice
I'm admittedly skiddish about the discussion that has been front and center as of late, in regards to the role of women in politics. I was sickened by the Palin selection because I wondered who else might have more accurately filled in the Republican gap. I guess we'll know in a few months how savvy, savage or sanguine that pick really was - but it was the final nail in the coffin for me. The Religious Right, although I share a smattering of views with them, doesn't represent me. I have suggested more than once that maybe Dr. Condi could give dear beauty queen Palin a clue. Proximity to Russia will never define international prowess for me.
So I was just delighted to learn that Thandie Newton will play Condi in an upcoming portrayal of George W. Bush's life. I'm not interested in his story, but I've been waiting for hers. A British Cambridge graduate, Thandie doesn't immediately come to mind as the person to play Condi. The more that I thought about it though - she's a perfect fit. There's always been a question about Thandie's background, everyone wants to know her background, her race, her culture...as they question the depth and breath of her selected roles. Although race has been an assumed factor for Condi, people have loved and hated her for much different reasons. The role that she has taken as Secretary of State has been filled with more questions than answers and an admitted curiosity about her loyalty to Bush and her fierce decision to stay. We know that she is a survivor, but it seems as if Thandie is too.
Maybe I like Thandie because of her tendency to cuss like a sailor, she does it really well. I have tried to release my mouth from twisting phrases that need not be uttered, but I am still a work in progress. I first admired Thandie's portrayal in Beloved, when I fell in love with her quirkiness. Her role in Crash was just one step further in solidifying how much I admire her. She's a disciplined actress that selects projects based on her role as mother, not for hollywood fame. I imagine that both fame and fortune have both come with time. Like wine, I think they are both aging beautifully into the people they are - different, distinct, and defining.
Likewise, I admire Condi too - she's a survivor. If there was any woman that would have made me think about the Republican ticket, it would have been her. Even when I don't agree with all of her decisions, I respect her path and her resilience. I can't imagine how small her inner sanctum must be to maintain her sanity. Meanwhile, she follows her convictions and stands strong in the midst of storm. after storm. after storm. She commands attention even when you are on the other side of the position, something that Palin doesn't seem to get. These iconic figures continue to capture my attention, and during a week of Palin, Christine Beatty, and more - I'm surely glad they exist. In a culture that savages women daily though, through both word and image, I'm just happy to be talking about two I admire. The media spends way too much time on the sensational and the sad, but I think history will affirm lives well lived - in a time when so many seem to be barely living at all.