Torch and My Changing Perspective

So since the wedding, Sujal has been indulging in lots of toys. I believe he is thinking the pre-kids-having rush. So he bought the GIGANTIC TV. It’s huge, plasmatic, and high-definition, which basically means it’s no better than any other TV, but it is a lot more expensive. Okay, so I may be overstating it, but as you can tell, I was not thrilled with the idea of the puchase. Nonetheless, we have it. Now we have fancy cable channels, too. Not so thrilled with that, either — and here’s why. It’s a temptation. I watch too much TV as it is. I want to throw it out the window and have us sit by a fire and read aloud to one another. Doesn’t that sound like something newlyweds would do? Doesn’t it?

So now that we have all these fancy entertainment tools, I recently watched the last 3/4 of Torch Song Trilogy on IFC, great channel by the way. I saw the flic in ’89 or early ’90 when I was still in high school. I recall thinking that Harvey Fierstein was an older guy, perhaps even an old man. It was funny to me to watch it now at 33, my perspective having clearly shifted. I was surprised how young he looks in the movie. He was a young, good-looking guy. What I remember about seeing the flic when I was in high school was that I thought it was a bit schmaltzy, a bit too tear-jerker-y, though I liked it for the most part. I’m not a huge fan of tear-jerker dramas, but it actually does not take the cheap emotional shots that I seem to recall from my earlier viewing. Watching it, I can see how it would make a great stage play, though it works well on film, too.

I’d forgotten Matthew Broderick was in it, or perhaps I didn’t know who he was back then. He’s a good actor, and I’d like to see him on stage. One thing that seems “missing” to some degree was mention of AIDS, but then I thought that perhaps Fierstein did not want his story to be about AIDS, to be about disease. Instead he wanted his story to be about the challenge of finding and keeping love. Mention of AIDS would have completely tainted the story. The film does a great job of portraying the universality of the challenge of finding and keeping love. I would not go so far as to say that one could merely drop in characters of different genders, but not only is it easy to identify with the characters, as many good flics aim to do, it’s easy to see similar representations in our daily lives. Nonetheless, I came across this explanation on Wikipedia:

“The combined play runs at roughly four hours in length, so New Line Cinema insisted that Fierstein restrict the film to a two-hour maximum. Despite the copious excisions, the film is also made in three distinct acts: “The International Stud”, “Fugue in a Nursery” and “Widows and Children First!”. The dates given below are the dates from the film; the plays were set two or three years more recently, but New Line Cinema couldn’t understand how a gay film in the mid-1980s could not mention AIDS, so Fierstein moved the film to before the AIDS crisis.”

It’s funny to compare how we react to films as kids vs as adults. I remember feeling very “cutting edge” for watching it as a child. Damn, was I ever cutting edge.

When I was a freshman at Bennington, Harvey Fierstein gave the commencement address. Here is a link to the text, a pretty fabulous speech. I recall sitting outside the graduation tent with some other not-yet-graduating students listening to him speak. I was pretty wowed.


2 thoughts on “Torch and My Changing Perspective

  1. sujal says:

    Our GIGANTIC tv that fits in the same space as the 32″ TV that came before it… right, that’s GIGANTIC alright.

  2. beth bye says:


    Thanks so much for your support!

    We lit dropped at 6 am on your street today — should have been on your paper.

    We’re still working really hard. Going to walk the Mountain in a bit today. It is so much of the Mountian this district!

    Not sure how — but your blogs go right to the top of the google.. and for me — that is very good.

    I will be at Kingswood homecoming football game today — look for me. I love high school football and follow Ben Levison and Mike McGuire — friend’s kids. Look for me if you’re there.

    Hope to talk to you soon.


    Thanks again for your support!

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