“Nothing human disgusts me”

| May 1, 2012

Staff Writer - Katrin Callender

I absolutely loved the 1964 film, Night of the Iguana, based on the Tennessee Williams play of the same name.  I thought it was a fine example of storytelling and filmmaking, an exploration of fascinating characters with beautiful performances from the cast particularly the powerful Richard Burton and the breathtakingly beautiful and talented Ava Gardener.  I was immersed in the film as I watched it for the first time. I hung on every word uttered by the cast. And suddenly, a character made me blush.

She described to Burton’s character, that once while travelling with a man who appreciated her charms, she had granted his request for a piece of her clothing. When asked what he did with it, she could not say because she had looked away. She then uttered the line that had left me speechless, “Nothing human disgusts me”.

I still smile, feel moved, apologetic and empowered by that line. How evolved must an individual be – even this fictitious one- to be able to say that? How much must she have lived and seen to be so accepting and free of judgment? It was especially interesting since that discourse seemed indicative of a view of sexual behaviour that was ahead of her time. This is a hurdle many of us still struggle with. It is a challenge to determine whether there is a correct or wrong viewpoint in relation to sexual behaviours or acts. We look to our religious leaders and our families and societies to tell us. Sometimes, we go with our heart or gut and, other times we base our responses on impulses a bit further south.

Photo courtesy itunes.apple.com

This is true of articulating our position in other spheres as well. And as we struggle to find out where we stand, and to stand there with conviction, we sometimes deal with our personal turmoil by shutting out all messages to the contrary or even those in favour of our viewpoint. We do not want to be influenced by the media or by others. We want to feel confident that our perspective originates with us.

Yet in many situations, we cannot make an informed decision- one we can feel confident about and stand by no matter what- without listening to alternative arguments. Many of the things we refuse to speak about today, and a few of the ones that we have recently began opening up about are or were taboo until society realized that silence on a subject merely pushed it into the corners and pockets of society where they grew and bred issues that were infinitely worse. If an issue concerns us as a species we must address it. If we can come to a sound decision- one that doesn’t compromise any group within society or otherwise hurt our environment- we will thrive.

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Category: Culture & Society, Lifestyle

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