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Thoughts on "Bringing up Baby"

Sky Gilbert
From:   Digressions of a Naked Party Girl. ECW Press, 1998.

It was a sad Sunday
And I didn't like it at first
I was all prepared to be cranky about Howard Hawkes
I mean let's face it
It's all a set up really
Katherine Hepburn's little voice is very annoying and fake
And Cary Grant's coke bottle glasses are so obvious
It wasn't delightful at all, to me
As I struggled awake through Saturday night's hangover
and memories of bad sex
the night before
And then somewhere, I think it was when I realized
she was carrying a butterfly net to catch a leopard
yes, it was there, I think
that I realized that this movie had absolutely nothing to do with reality
and that's what made it so fabulous
So I was gone
And when they're singing
"I can't give you anything but love, baby"
to the leopard outside the psychiatrist's window
and the leopard is howling along, and so is the dog
and the psychiatrist's wife says to Katherine Hepburn
with the condescension of the sane:
"You just keep on singing dear"
and Katherine Hepburn doesn't miss a beat when she says "Oh, I will!"
And that is, of course, what we all have to do, in the midst of all the
insanity and death
(sorry, I didn't mean to mention death)
we have to keep on singing
And before long, everyone is in jail, and no one knows their names anymore,
and Katherine Hepburn is acting butch, and this is what we've been waiting
for, the whole movie, for her to drop that plummy accent and the femmy
gestures and just get down to business
And the point isn't merely that the insane are more sane or that power
structures must be toppled (hence the dinosaur skeleton falling at the end)
no it's that there, within insanity lies truth, beauty
Yes beauty
or else why would I have been at the baths the other night
with a boy I love
watching him screw other people?
I can't explain why I love him
It's like when David says he just has to get fucked up the bum
or else he thinks the guy doesn't really love him
It's like when Pasolini explains that he is obsessed with boys
because their body hair keeps on growing until they're twenty-five
One tries to categorize and organize one's love, one's desire
And then one realizes that one is using a butterfly net to catch a leopard
isn't one?
For there is a certain blessedness in being hysterical
Forgetting who we are is perhaps the only answer
And for certain we will find out if there's a "good leopard"
or a "bad leopard"
at the end of that rope
It will either tear us to pieces or purr
But as Katherine Hepburn reminds us
at the end of the movie
all the time we were merely searching for a good bone
a good hard clean bone that might finish off that dinosaur skeleton
Watch out!
The skeleton is shaking...
But oh, what a fall

Sky Gilbert's works copyright © to the author.

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