Earlier this week, I saw the Turner Classic Movies montage of those who died last year. And as is usually the case when seeing one of these “In Memoriam” pieces, someone died and I didn’t know it.
Bradford Dillman was a working actor, probably best remembered today as Robert Redford’s best friend, J. J., in The Way We Were. But my teenage crush on him stemmed from a titillating movie from 1965 called A Rage to Live, a potboiler based on a novel by John O’Hara. In it, Suzanne Pleshette plays a rich girl who couldn’t say “no,” and it was in association with this character that I first heard the word “nymphomaniac.” Dillman plays the Yale man who marries her after she drives her mother to an early grave and who ultimately leaves her after she continues her wicked ways, most notably with a young Ben Gazzara.
Intentional or not, the message of the movie was simple–good girls don’t, and if they do, they will lose it all. And while Ado Annie “cain’t say no,” every female living outside of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! were expected to do exactly that. “Cain’t say yes” would be more like it.
When Nancy Reagan led the “Just Say No” campaign against drug use in the 1980’s, it was pretty clear that being able to say no, whether to drugs or sex or anything else, was what good people do. And those who couldn’t say “no”? Well, it would be another 20 or 30 years before we even started talking about addiction as a disease rather than a moral failing. And we’d try mass incarceration before we even started that discussion.
But regardless of the context, being able to say “no” has pretty much always been a good thing. And another Nancy, Pelosi this time, just said no to Donald Trump and his wall this week. I suspect it was the first time he had ever heard that from anyone—much less a woman with the power to back it up.
And, oh, the shade she is throwing at him. She’s reduced his pissing contest, in which having male genitalia is an advantage, to one involving skunk tinkle. Tinkle? Oh, Nancy, that is so cute!
As for the wall, she said that “he’s already backed off of the cement—now he’s down to, I think, a beaded curtain or something.” Oh, Nancy, if you give him one, will you get one for me, too? I’ll pay you back.
And then aiming at the sore point from his father tried to save Trump’s failing casino business, Speaker Pelosi said that Trump thinks that unpaid Federal workers “could just ask their father for more money.” And why not? What’s the point of having a rich daddy if it’s not to bail you out of your own bad decisions?
But her most emasculating comment was one following that Oval Office meeting last month when Speaker Pelosi said, “It’s like a manhood thing for him—as if manhood could ever be associated with him.” Why would she say that? Did she come to a conclusion based on her personal observation of the size of his hands? Or did she see Stormy Daniels take the mushroom challenge on Jimmy Kimmel?
Regardless of how clever what she says might be, it is what she does that is really important. And when it comes to that, it may be that we end up seeing a real pissing contest. One in which Speaker Pelosi may be better “equipped” to win.