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Mary Poppins and COVID-19

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I was watching Mary Poppins Returns again recently when I noticed something I hadn’t before.  Toward the end of the movie, Wilkins – aka the wolf aka Colin Firth – says something like

“Who would’ve thought the Slump would be so good for business?”

He’s referring to the Great Depression here, (in England they called it The Great Slump), but I couldn’t help but think that this also applies to the current global pandemic.  Throughout the past four or so months, America’s problems have been amplified.  One of these problems is that the rich accumulate more wealth while the poor live paycheck to paycheck.  We need to reopen business so that people can return to work.  In order to do that, however, we need to get the virus under control.  This includes more testing so that we can figure out who has COVID-19 and who doesn’t.  It also includes wearing masks and social distancing so that the virus doesn’t spread any further.

Until we have adequate testing and everyone wears a mask and practices social distancing – how wearing a mask became a political issue I will never understand – or better yet, someone somewhere comes up with a vaccine, people will need to stay at home.  And if they don’t have the luxury of working from home, they’re not making money.  Which is why we need another stimulus package.  Or else the rich keep getting richer while the poor continue to suffer.

Other countries like New Zealand and Germany have been able open schools and get back to somewhat normal, but that’s because they have COVID-19 under control.  So, America needs to get it under control.  In order to do that, we need to take care of people until they can safely return to work.

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Movies

I like that you’re broken

“You feel the things most of us run away from, the things the rest of us are too bottled up to feel”

Colin Firth, Arthur Newman

Picture this: Colin Firth and Emily Blunt’s characters are sitting by a motel pool.  Emily Blunt’s character (Mike) is having a panic attack like you’ve never seen because she’s afraid that she will end up schizophrenic like her sister.  Colin Firth’s character (Arthur) sits with her and says the above.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks; I don’t think I’ve ever related to anything more.  Because I’m the same way.  I feel everything so powerfully, especially when I’m trying to make sense of something.  

Hearing Arthur say that to Mike was liberating for me.  Someone finally said that it was okay to be overwhelmed by feelings some times.  It’s not necessarily fun, of course, but it doesn’t make me crazy.  And as long as I have a grip on reality — for example, I don’t start thinking fictional characters are real — it can actually be an asset as a writer.  If certain characters didn’t mean as much to me as they do, I wouldn’t be able to come up with my own stories about them.  My fan fiction wouldn’t exist.

However, there’s also another reason I love Arthur Newman.  And no, it’s not just because Emily Blunt is important to me, though she is the reason I wanted to watch the movie in the first place.  I was able to relate to the movie as a whole.  Colin Firth’s character was actually a man named Wallace Avery, a man who faked his own death to get a new lease on life.  He sees Mike in the aftermath of a car accident and takes her to the hospital.  

After she’s released from the hospital and she hitches a ride with him, Mike realizes Arthur isn’t who he claims to be — she find his real ID in his car, which he stole (or maybe he paid for it, I can’t remember).  Wallace/Arthur is obviously annoyed, but he doesn’t get mad or tell her to go away.  He’s not afraid his secret will be exposed.

As they spend the next few days together and get to know each other, Mike spills her own beans — her real name is Charlotte.  “Mike” is actually a nickname of sorts for her sister, Mckayla, whom she dropped off at a mental hospital and whose identity she stole.  She wanted a fresh start in life, too.

This next part gets a little crazy.  In the course of their whirlwind relationship, they break into people’s houses and … hang out, to put it lightly.  It was a bit triggering for me because I didn’t want them to cross the line and lose their grip on reality — that’s my own worst fear.  At the same time, I gave them the benefit of the doubt because I know what it’s like to want to be someone else.  Their brokenness and need for escapism brought them together, and that’s what really resonated with me.  They eventually went their separate ways and back to their own realities, but it was nice while it lasted.

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Movies

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

In the second movie of the Kingsman franchise, Eggsy and the rest of the Kingsman agents have to team up with their American counterparts, the agents at Statesman, to bring down a drug cartel.