05 February 2011

The King's Speech

Peanuts 1951 Comic Strip 16
"Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." 
- Ansel Adams

Every now and again, it is a refreshing thing to sit and watch a good story-telling absent the mindless violence, sordid sex, and profane-laden vocabulary. Well, two out of three ain't bad. Such was the case when I got to watch "The King's Speech" earlier this week. I didn't know how well I'd receive the tale, but every now and then a recommendation for its worth found its way to me. The latest came from a elderly couple that I met while ordering a bagel and coffee in a Dunkin Donuts. The man was a retired baker. I do not know if his Mrs held a profession in her time, but she was very high on this movie and made the fact known.

As I said, I did not know what to expect from this showing, but it honestly spoke to my heart in that it revolved around my own mother's profession. I called her up to admit my amazement at the ability of someone to make an Oscar-worthy movie about Speech Therapy. Mama worked as a speech therapist early in her career, but it evolved into teaching children with learning disabilities and capped her career as director of the Headstart program where I grew up. Many people fail to ascertain the area of my upbringing and are surprised when I tell them I hail from Texas. I've been told I don't sound Texas and on several occasion, that I don't even sound Black. Most of that talk is from grounds of ignorance, as they don't truly mean that I don't sound Black as much as they really mean, I don't sound uneducated. The fact of the matter is that growing up as the eldest child of a speech therapist will most times leave you absent of any tell-tale accent of your homage. Oh, I'll grant you that over the years, I've picked up a little tone and inflection in my voice. I don't speak quietly. Ten years in the Army barking orders to infantry ground pounders will do that for you.

I loved my time served though. My hand surgery has left me thinking back to those days quite often now and the memories seem much more clearer and vivid. I made a special effort to try to let go, sell off much of my gear, and let my Army days be behind me. They've come flooding back and I tell you I am in awe at some of the things my friends and I had to endure. I was having lunch with Felix today talking to him of this matter. I miss blowing things up. I miss holding a rapid fire weapon in my hands and watching tracer rounds streak through the air at a rate of 1 every fifth round because otherwise you heat up the barrel too much. (I've had to crack heads catching one of my joes linking a belt of all tracers.) I miss sitting back to back with my RTO in the middle of an LP/OP while the men in the perimeter try to stay awake in their two-man positions with dummy cords strung back to me from each of them. The North Koreans pump Korean opera through loud-speakers stories tall and almost a click away to lull you to sleep as well as mask the sound of their own movements. I do miss it.

Peace from a position of strength. It is this dichotomy that tug at me for the moment. I miss the weaponry of my days in the Army, yet I can appreciate a good movie absent all of it. And it ended with one of my favorites - Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, 2nd Movement (A Major Op 92. Allegretto)


unbearable lightness said...

Thanks for the movie review. Shockingly, I had no idea this was about speech therapy until I read your blog. There has been a lot of hype about the movie, but not even a trailer I've seen that made this point.

Great pictures here, too, T!

Dave Levingston said...

We loved that movie too. Good stuff...good acting, good script, good story.

And as to your quote, someone said in Lenswork, probably Bill Jay but might have been Brooks Jensen, that as a young photographer you think that Adams was very pessimistic, but when you become an old photographer (like me) you'll be amazed at how optimistic that statement is.

Photo Anthems.com said...

Carla, I don't think as many people would have ventured to go see it, had they known it was a speech therapy movie. That's the profession of Geoffrey Rush's character, and I didn't realize it was based on actual accounts until midway through. Then I had to go look it up just to be certain. Surely, the King of England would not have had those challenges...but yes, by all accounts, it's as is.

Dave, I originally thought Jerry Uelsmann had made that quote since he did such extensive work in the darkroom. I know he only produced a few good prints on an annual basis. Either way, I must be getting old, because I certainly understand it!