H8ful

Last night, Ben and I sat at the front of the balcony for the Roadhouse screening of Hateful Eight. On the ledge we placed four plastic packages of pork kim-chee dumplings, four different dipping sauces, a small buttered popcorn, Snow Caps, two paper cups, and a screw cap bottle of Malbec. Is it wrong to want to live in a world of fur hats and leather gloves and wrought iron beds and hooks hanging from the ceiling and stovetop coffee and insides that are basically outsides?

I did not find the relentless brutalizing of Jennifer Jason Leigh misogynistic, or I should say I didn’t find the film-making misogynistic. QT comes across as a moron most of the time he’s trying to actually talk about identity politics, but in his movies he is so gifted at rubbing our faces in all the worst stuff we need our faces rubbed in. Characters wonder if it’s unseemly to hang a woman, then think nothing of punching her in the face for talking back. This is a broad, cartoonish depiction of patriarchal hypocrisy, which is exactly the kind of depiction it needs, and Leigh’s performance elevated my spirit in its defiance. If you live in a wicked world you must be wicked. You must use eye contact to unsettle men and grin the grins that say, I survived that too. By the end, when she is covered in blood and gore and shrieking her intelligent, resourceful, mastermind deal-making, she is a woman who has been dragged to hell by circumstance and can’t help but talk her way out of it. I had a moment of recognition. This is what it feels like sometimes to be a woman in this world.

When I was in a punk band in the early/mid-aughts, we drove a 1990 Ford Econoline (#wejamecono) on tour. We also drove it to band practice out on Cesar Chavez St, and to Trader Joe’s. If we were lucky, we found a parking spot on Treat Street for four days between street cleanings. The Econoline had a heavy fuckin sliding passenger door, and in order to shut it from the inside, you had to stand slouched over next to the bucket seat with your knees bent for leverage, slinging the door forward like you were throwing a shot-put. Every time someone new got in the back, they tried to slide it closed and it would just bounce back. So when someone new got in the van, we all yelled, “YOU GOTTA PUT YOUR ASS INTO IT,” which became the name of our ’07 national tour.

This is what I thought about every time the door had to be replaced in Minnie’s Haberdashery, and I laughed and laughed.

During the intermission I dashed downstairs, following the signs to a narrow hallway. In this hallway was a strange unformed congregation of people. I turned around — the sign did in fact say, “Restroom.” I turned back, and realized every single one of this strangely shifty crowd was male. Finally, one of them said meekly, “There’s no line for the women’s restroom.” I turned to the one woman behind me. “It’s because it’s intermission during a Tarantino movie!” I yelled. We laughed at the men, who all stuffed their hands deeper into their coats, remaining inexperienced and unsure how to line up for a bathroom. In the ladies room, we high fived. There were tumbleweeds in there.