What’s a Streetcar got to do with Desire, Anyway?

I curled up with a good movie last night, Netflixed & chilled all on my own, thank you very much. Um. Wait. Did I use that term correctly? I approve of how the sentence flows, but I’m pretty sure the phrase isn’t at all about watching movies and chilling out…  

Alright. So, my old ass looked it up and I should for sure clarify. As the saying goes, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” (er, myself) while watching Netflix last night. I literally just watched a movie and chilled. But the sentence still seems to work, so Ima keep it.  

I chose a movie that I had long ago added to my watch list, one I had never seen before. And, although I was unfamiliar with the plot itself, I was well endeared to a famous line called out by a young Marlon Brando, one that had endured the 72 years since. “Hey, Stella!” I could hear him shouting at the woman who I assumed was his girlfriend or wife, though I had never actually heard him call out or seen to whom. And then? The ever-famous line, as a tormented Stanley Kawalski yells louder, “Stelllllaaa!” 

I was excited to watch A Streetcar Named Desire – and eager to settle into the flash fiction of what was surely a simpler, more innocent time. And after less than 30 minutes into the old black-and-white film? Um… Simpler? More innocent? Nope. This shit’s always been here.

The multiple controversial themes the Tennesee Williams play had from the get, were all crammed into a 90-minute film. According to Williams himself, themes such as desire, relationships between genders, dependency, and the fragility of mankind are represented. What I saw? Abuse – both physical and mental, alcoholism, homosexuality, suicide, prostitution, sex with a minor, mental illness, rape, classism, ageism, xenophobia, and self-esteem issues.

Holy-to-the-fuck. These are the same themes we are still exploring, the same ol’ shit, as it were – and then some. (And, on a semi-related squirrel moment aside: Why the actual fuck are we still finding suicide and sexuality so intertwined all these many years later? It is ridiculously heartbreaking in its lack of necessity – and it’s not the ones hurting themselves who are typically the problem – it’s those around them! And, while I got a good rant going, it’s more than mere “acceptance” we ought to strive for – it’s I love you enough to not fucking give a shit who you are attracted to because YOU ARE YOU and it is absolutely not once ounce my business.)

So, turns out when our parents laughed, asking us if we thought we invented sex, no, no of course we didn’t. Nor did we invent Xenophobia – which in ancient Greek terms literally meant “stranger fearing”. And here we are, making the post-war parents proud, still fearing things we don’t understand, still calling out people as “wrong” when we believe otherwise, and still jumping on bandwagons that strengthen attitudes and attributes of malevolence.

So here’s my personal thought about it all in summary of this weird entry ol’ Stanley & Stella sent me on: Come the fuck on, People, just, come the fuck on. I know I’m an idealist at heart, but I don’t believe I’m going overboard when I succinctly suggest that we? Can be better humans than this. Fo sho.

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