On Post: Another Time, Another Place
Date: January 7, 2014
So here’s the thing. When I read the lyrics to this U2 song, I immediately had the idea of that opening gag. In revisiting the piece for the commentary, I confess that I’m not sure it really works/needs to be there. I mean, when does nudity need to be there, right? (A lot more, am I right?! Hey-o!)
It was born of two things for me. The obvious one is that Bono is singing of being naked in bed so that’s a pretty direct translation there. The second is my ongoing frustration with the way sex is depicted in film. I won’t say that no one has sex with their partner in a bra or camisole, but I’m betting it is rare. Rarer still is that both people get up and get dressed and then go back to bed. And yet, film after film and TV show after TV show depict this phenomenon.
Now I grant this is hardly a big deal and I understand there are certain other things to consider: the MPAA, the FCC, and so on. But the fact is that you can shoot thing in such a way as to not create a situation in which you have to shoot an actor or an actress as dressed (however small the outfit) moments after an act of passion. Why shatter the illusion you are creating if you do not need to?
Anyway, because of that, once Bono ID’s the whole naked in bed thing it felt a violation of that principle to not have it be part of this monologue. And yet…it does not add all that much, does it? I’m still struggling with it as I write this. It does promote a certain intimacy with the character right off and you can certainly make a sort of symbolism argument between her initial actual nudity and her emotional nudity as the monologue progresses. Additionally, people do sleep naked, from what I understand. (I personally sleep in several layers and a parka to protect myself from any invading ice trolls who might burst into my bedroom in the middle of the night.) And yet, we rarely see that in art, so there’s something to be said for authenticity.
On the other hand, I get there are some problems here. For one thing, there’s the aforementioned “does it enhance the work at all” element and while I don’t necessarily think everything you do in writing has to build to the conclusion of a piece, with a monologue as short as this, I also recognize it might feel a bit more divergent and wheel spinning than in a more complete work. There’s also, obviously, the whole element of male gaze which can always be an issue with a man depicts a naked woman, regardless of the medium. That paired with the fact that she is describing a same sex relationship can give the monologue a whiff of exploitation.
Now, I don’t think it is exploitative. Certainly the content of the monologue is not trading on “oooo, two women loving on each other” descriptions. However, individuals might feel differently and I want to take a moment to acknowledge that while I’d disagree I could certainly appreciate the lines they might draw to feel that way.
Boy, I do go on, don’t I?
Anyway, overall, this one is a pretty clear through line from song to entry so I won’t waste more words drawing this out.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions on the original piece or this commentary.