Girl Power

I had already watched this entire tv show before it was a choice for this prompt which was exciting as I knew I could now have a reason to rewatch this amazing show and dig deeper into the meaning. Although this was a gruesome watch, in the end displayed an important message of empowerment, something I didn’t notice when I watched it the first time around.

This show begins to explain the all too common issue our country faces everyday of serial rapists walking the streets freely. The viewers are first put into the show by being told and shown that a young troubled girl, Marie, gets raped by a masked man in her apartment. After clear signs of her being uncomfortable and scared, it seems as if she is almost coerced into retracting her statement by two male detectives as her stories and past are a little off putting. At this point, they completely shove Marie to the side and even charge her with false statements, something she could go to jail for. Immediately, the audience understands the dramatic irony being played out as we have to watch the scene take place over and over again in Marie’s mind.

The most interesting aspect of this show to me was power in each female characters presence and motive. This is shown particularly when we are introduced to the two lead female detectives, Karen Duvall and Grace Rassmussen, begin to search for the same rapist, due to many separate incidences happening very close to them. We learn that within the system, rape cases are more often than not pushed to the side because of homicide cases, something a lot of people deem as more important or catastrophic. Although this is a common speculation in the real world also, rape victims, in most cases, seem to be more traumatized for the rest of their lives than those of the family and friends of homicide cases. Although this is not always true, there is still some accuracy behind this.

Finally, when many women are group together as all violated by the same man, the two powerful detectives work together to find the horrific man behind all of these twisted crimes. Although they are pushed to the side numerous times by different detectives, police officers, and FBI agents, all who are males, they continue on only to find many more victims of similar crimes.

We continue to hear about Marie’s story as although she is suffering through many criminal court system due to this false charge, she is put on probation and everything in her life begins to fall apart. The saddest part about this show is that it takes the last episode for anyone to even believe her. She tells her mandatory therapist that this all happened to her and other girls everywhere because “if the truth is inconvenient, […] they don’t believe it”. However, unknown to her at the time, there are two powerful and successful women trying to find her and give her the truth that no one wanted to believe.

Although this show and message is not trying to discredit every male presence that enters the plot, and that is not what they display. Instead, it emphasizes the importance of female intuition and what it means to do the right thing, even if it isn’t the most convenient or popular. Even after they have the man in custody it is found out that he may have many more pictures of victims on a hard drive that is password protected. Instead of truly caring about this issue, the state prosector gives up and acts like he almost doesn’t care because he is getting what he wants out of the charges.

In the end, The serial rapist is charged with the maximum sentence of 300+ years in prison and will never walk as a free man again. Just as important, he eventually asked to be interviewed to “explain himself” but requests a male interviewers as, ironically, “women make him uncomfortable”.

Although this show is a great display of powerful police work and the intuition of women, the most prominent theme of each episode is the strength within each victim, like Marie. Although these women will never be the same, they each have their own story to tell and life to carry on with. It takes an extraordinary person to be put in a horrific situation like this and come out stronger, and many women of this show did. As Marie was wronged for many things while in the system, she decides she will no longer just take what is given to her and decides to sue the state for these injustices. although they do not go to trial, she is given a great amount of settlement money that allows her to move on and leave her current life. She eventually talks to detective Duvall and explains that although his maximum sentence was great, and the money she recieved was needed, she confides in her that the most important part of everything was knowing that there were two women, from different parts of the country, looking out for her, when no one else was. This female power shown through this show was empowering and convincing and allowed the audience to feel a lot better than an everyday story usually would.

The Tragedy of the TRC

Within the movie, Long Night’s Journey Into Day, we are taken through personal stories and actions during the Apartheid’s rule in South Africa which lasted from 1948-1994. This film is startling yet beautiful in the way it recounts the experience of real people with real emotions. This movie is raw and explicit, but then again, so was the Apartheid. This film follows the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the court-like body assembled in order to distribute justice after the end of the Apartheid.

As many people were put on “trial” for crimes they committed against the South African people, it was explained that it almost had seemed like the TRC was similar to the reenactment of an ancient tragic play. This was especially interesting as this association is unique when you look at the other traits of the film. “The audience actually plays the role of a chorus in [this] ancient tragic play (Long Night’s). The purpose of the chorus within ancient plays is to connect the audience deeper to the characters and play itself. As they reenact and retell the horrid stories of what happened to many innocent people, when the audience “squirms” naturally, so does the audience. Although the chorus of the TRC is a sensible and composed group of people, they are still people fighting for their freedom and justice.

In this presentation of justice you notice the audience, or the chorus, as one cohesive unit, fighting for what is right. One protester during this time is recorded saying that “when you kill [him] you create more enemies […] my family is becoming your enemy and my friends become your enemy” (Long Night’s). This reference of one united force, fighting for justice, this “tragedy”, to me, becomes a lot more of a battle cry for the citizens of South Africa.

When I first watched this movie and they brought up the connection of the play, I actually restarted the film in order to do my best to understand how they would display the trial and chorus. Although just a glance into the issues of the Apartheid, we get a close comparison of how the innocent people of this area were affected by such an actual real tragedy.

Eichmann, a Tragic Hero?

Within Eichmann in Jerusalem, written by Hannah Arendt, we learn about the historic trial of war criminal, Adolf Eichmann. This novel is especially important because of the author’s depiction and narrative of Eichmann throughout his criminal trial. Within the epilogue in this prose we get to see very different illustrations of what kind of man Adolf was. Although one of a major organizers of the Holocaust, Eichmann is “terribly and terrifyingly normal” (276). Arendt continues through the entire book that although this man has made terrible decisions, she believes that he is not necessarily guilty of all of the crimes he is being charged with.

As a man whose job was to follow orders, Eichmann did that well. Although many of those orders was to contribute to the eradication of an entire race, Eichmann claims he is not AntiSemitic. Not racist or discriminatory, Eichmann was just a man doing his job. This understanding explains why the trials of this man could be covered in a novel over 290 pages long.

Although Arendt didn’t fully believe this man was the villain, she knew that “it would have been very comforting indeed to believe that Eichmann was a monster” (276). It seemed as if her heart wanted to believe this man and his story but her conscious stopped her. This can be seen in her final pages of the epilogue as she creates a fictional court ruling of why this man deserves to die. Although never directly stating Eichmann as guilty of helping the genocide, she talks about why this man is still guilty of supporting and standing by a cause that commenced the massacre of millions of Jewish people.

This depiction of Adolf is uncommon as almost everyone in the world can agree the architects of the Holocaust are some of the biggest monsters in the world. Personally, I don’t think the author put enough guilt on this man but I can see her point of discussion when she doesn’t think he is as bad as people see him as. this book and debate will flourish on through generations and hopefully even begin to spark new conversations in the future.

The Property of “Whiteness”

This set of prose was especially interesting to me as I had never read an article where the idea of privilege and institutionalism was directly related to the property of citizens, also known as “whiteness”. The author, Cheryl I. Harris, goes into detail about how whiteness is property based on the laws of America and having that particular amount of property, gives you the advantage above most people who don’t have it. The author defines whiteness as “the characteristic, the attribute, the property of free human beings…” (279). It is so important to begin with the definition of the advantaged within our country before we understand why that is.

Property and the advantage during this time is described as wealth and privileges. The idea that the government is there to protect your property at any cost during this time is not only biased but just blatantly racist. In this article we can understand that even poor white people had more of an advantage than free African or Native Americans. This means that the whites would have had more support and rights than anyone else even though they might own less property. For example, whiteness was seen as “-the right to white identity as embraced by the law-is property if by ‘property’ one means all of the person’s legal rights” (280). Overall, the property of their “whiteness” gives them the leverage needed to create a great life and social status.

Even according to Harris, although “blackness” is organically property, it is not looked at the same way that “whiteness” is. The advantage is that the whites, since the beginning, have dominated other races, even buying them as property. Therefore, “It is contended that property rights and interests are not “natural” but “creation[s] of law” (280-281). To explain, the only reason other races have been put down and are considered disadvantaged, was all based on the laws of our country. For example, slavery, sharecropping, etc. were all legal ways of life, supporting the white idea of gaining social status by owning and the repression of other races.