Symbolic Bleed

Liev Schriber talks about his role as Vilma in Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock.

According to Schriber, Ang Lee’s vision of Vilma is an “angel” who proves to the protagonist that if she can be comfortable in her own skin, anyone can, affirming the possibility of transformation.

Yeah. Vilma is a stylized and symbolic character who plays her part in the story.  She is constructed to make a point, not to breathe.

Just like Miss Vida Boheme in To Wang Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.  “Is it OK if I think of you as an angel? ”  “That’ll do.”   When she has to pee, does she have to use the little Angel’s room?  No.  Fictional characters don’t have to use the toilet.

And when she got played back to me as the way a transperson can be in the world, well, I wasn’t happy.

It might be different if people knew a range of transpeople in their lives, knowing them as people first.

But when our only media representations are as symbolic characters, most often played by non-trans people, well, that smells.

“I see the negro character as a representation of oppression, and the way that Woody Harrelson plays him is really transcendent.”

Somehow, I don’t think so.

Every character in a story may carry symbols.

But when they don’t carry the blood of human truth, well, that makes me feel like they are reduced.

And that hurts.