Jonathan and I saw the terrific and multiple Oscar Nominated Movie, The Shape of Water.
Guillermo Del Toro’s masterpiece illustrates what it is like to feel unseen and unheard.
The actress, Sally Hawkins, plays Elisa Esposito a night janitor who is mute. Her discovery of an amphibious man, which is reminiscent of the Creature from the Black Lagoon filmed in 1954, and their immediate bonding…is a beautiful allegory of two creatures who have been marginalized by their differences.
So it is in our time. Many in our society and around the world are invisible to the powerful and the elite.
Elisa was a night janitor and she and her cleaning partner, Zelda, played by Octavia Spencer, were questioned by the man in charge of security for the amphibious man, Mr. Strickland, played by Michael Shannon, and at one point he exclaimed…’what was he doing questioning the help…the shit cleaners and the piss wipers.’
And, so, many of us feel invisible to the majority.
We think, we feel, we bleed, and we die…and yet we are truly the silent majority.
In the early 1960’s, Jim Crow laws were well in force.
Women could be housewives or teachers or secretaries or nurses.
African Americans could not set at the lunch counter and could not use the same rest room as whites and could not sit on the main floor of theaters and could not lodge in many hotels or be a member of the audience for many productions or performances.
Gay individuals were not only looked down upon but persecuted and not afforded the simple dignities of heterosexual couples.
This was in the early 1960’s…before the Civil Rights Bill.
Before the assassination of President Kennedy.
Before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Before the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.
And, still, we wait…for a government that will accept all of it’s citizens and will not categorize or demonize or ostracize anyone who does not fit the narrow mold of the ‘secret society of the white elite.’
Hunger is rampant in America. The richest country on the face of the Earth.
Our schools now serve both breakfast and lunch to their students. It is noted that many of these students do not eat over the weekend. Many schools have summer breakfast and lunch programs…although they are not in session…due to the food insecurity in our nation.
I had a African American friend tell me that she had lived in the south and in the north but that she preferred the south…in that they were open regarding their prejudice…while in the north…people endeavored to hide it…unsuccessfully.
The amphibious man in The Shape of Water was loving and caring and compassionate and appeared to many, at first glance, to be a monster.
Truly Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote is more true today than ever before:
‘We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.’
‘We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.’ G.K. Chesterton
I began hiring people from the disabled community, many years ago.
These were, wonderful and hard working and brilliant people, that it was an honor to work with.
I learned more from my intellectual and physically disabled staff than I could ever offer them in return.
They were not blessed by me…I was blessed by them.
They were the highlight of my career!