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Elektra Boogaloo

Episode 253. Cats

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Correction: Jason says Victoria is played by Cynthia Erivo and Paul says yes. She is not. The actress is Francesca Hayward, who is a ballet dancer. And I feel bad for her because this was supposed to be her big film debut and they barely even have her dance. 

Here she is starring in the Nutcracker.

 

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8 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Not to mention that it seems to completely miss the point of the character

Or it could be that the point being made is that we (the audience) are supposed to make superficial assumptions about her because we're all just a bunch of lousy cats, too. I think this might actually be pretty likely. I still think she's just a stray though.

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1 hour ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

Correction: Jason says Victoria is played by Cynthia Erivo and Paul says yes. She is not. The actress is Francesca Hayward, who is a ballet dancer. And I feel bad for her because this was supposed to be her big film debut and they barely even have her dance. 

Oh yeah, that was driving me nuts. She doesn't even really look much like Cynthia Erivo.

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2 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

I have to respectfully disagree, forum June. While I agree some of the cats are sexualized, and there are certainly hints of promiscuity (Rum Tum Tugger and Taylor Swift’s cats, for sure), I would argue that Grizebella is one of the only cats that isn’t sexualized. And, I have to stress, an assumption that McCavity is her pimp feels patently absurd. I don’t believe they even share a single scene together! 

I just don’t see any evidence of prostitution. I’m not even sure what would be exchanged for sexual favors. Cat treats? Is it coded in a language that I just don’t understand? I guess I need something more solid then, “She just comes off as a sex worker.”

I think it’s exactly as it says on the tin. Just like they have literal railroad cats and literal barge cats, she was literally a glamorous cat. I think her tragedy is far more universal. It’s essentially, “I used to be amazing, but things went bad, and now everyone’s forgotten about me. So much so, that, even to myself, I am completely unrecognizable as the being I once was.”

I think a more apt parallel for Grizebella would be aging actress - which, to me, makes a lot of sense for a stage production. In her heyday, she used to be center stage, but despite her obvious talent, she got pushed further and further to the wings, until one day, her agents just stopped calling altogether. This is why she gets the big number at the center of the movie. She’s saying, “Look at me! I still have worth! I’m more than just the pretty face I used to be!”

Again, there’s nothing wrong with it if she is supposed to be a sex worker, but to make a superficial assumption based on, I guess, how the character looks, without further evidence to back that up, feels fraught to me. Not to mention that it seems to completely miss the point of the character.

I have been thinking about WHY I thought this for awhile now. And I don’t know what to say. Maybe it just says more about me (and Paul!) than anything else. There is the line that she went off with Macavity, that is what happened to her. And I don’t know why I interpret that to mean he was her pimp and not just that  he was abusive or stole all her stuff or any other scenario. 

I guess the world seems so dark and it seemed like she was out on the street waiting for someone to come pick her up. I thought that was what she was doing. And everyone was like, “oh there she is on her corner again.” 

What’s weird, and what I have been thinking about it since you brought it up, is that there shouldn’t be prostitution in a Cat world. That is a human vice. So maybe it just says I was never convinced they were actually cats is the problem. But I don’t know, maybe if the world felt more silly and joyful (and I have seen clips of the stage show that seem that way) then my brain wouldn’t have gone there. 

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9 hours ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

There is the line that she went off with Macavity, that is what happened to her. And I don’t know why I interpret that to mean he was her pimp and not just that  he was abusive or stole all her stuff or any other scenario. 

I think of McCavity as generally being a corrupting influence, literally rotting those around him from the inside out (My Cavity). I don’t think he has a specific modus operandi, however. More of a general malignancy that poisons everything around him. 
 

9 hours ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

What’s weird, and what I have been thinking about it since you brought it up, is that there shouldn’t be prostitution in a Cat world. That is a human vice. So maybe it just says I was never convinced they were actually cats is the problem. But I don’t know, maybe if the world felt more silly and joyful (and I have seen clips of the stage show that seem that way) then my brain wouldn’t have gone there. 

I think that’s my biggest hang up on the “sex worker” theory. I’m not saying it’s not right, maybe it is, but it doesn’t exactly hold water based on everything we do see. I think we are supposed to see occasional expressions of humanity in the cats’ behavior, but I don’t think we’re supposed to impose human motivations upon them. 

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I'm sorry but is nobody going to address how McCavity shouts his own name when he disappears people?!?!

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3 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

I'm sorry but is nobody going to address how McCavity shouts his own name when he disappears people?!?!

Well, how would you do it?

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4 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

I'm sorry but is nobody going to address how McCavity shouts his own name when he disappears people?!?!

Not sure, but I think this means he's a Pokemon.

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On 11/21/2020 at 11:21 PM, Cameron H. said:

I’m not sure we should just breeze right past the fact that Paul referred to Grizabella the Glamour Cat as...the “sex worker” cat?!?

The cats in the movie are supposed to represent real cat personalities, traits, and behavior. For example, Rum Tum Tugger is supposed to evoke a horny alley cat, while Mungojerry and Rumpleteezer represent the more mischievous nature of cats. Even the more fantastical cats like Mr Mephistopheles, represent cats who do amazing, seemingly magical things. You know what cats aren’t known for? Sex work. I’m...not even sure what that would even be.

Basically, Grizebella is a cat who was once beautiful and pampered. She had a cushy life, but has since fell on hard times. She would have been a cat you’d put in a competition or something. And while it’s never mentioned explicitly, I believe the audience is supposed to come to the conclusion that, as she grew older and her beauty began to fade, she was abandoned by her owners. This leaves her in a decidedly un-jellicle existential dilemma. What happens to you when you can no longer be the thing you were born to be? Not only that, what happens when you lose your entire support system when you learn that the love you thought you had turns out to be superficial and conditional?

The song “Memories” is Grizebella remembering the good life she used to have, wishing she could go back there, accepting that she can’t, and trying to find the courage to carry on.

So, while there is certainly nothing wrong with sex work as a profession, no, Grizebella is not meant to represent a “sex worker cat.”

 

14 hours ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

I hate to disagree with you, forum Paul. But I do think that is a logical conclusion based solely on the film. Sure the poems are for kids and it’s a family musical, but in the FILM the cats are weirdly sexualized. And the Taylor Swift song , if I recall correctly, has catnip and it is sort of implied she is bewitching them. I don’t know. I got the impression she was once like the Taylor Swift cat and then she sort of fell into prostitution. Why else is she out on the STREET? She became a streetwalker! 

I don’t think Andrew Lloyd Webber would say she’s a sex worker... but, again, the movie is weirdly sexual in a way that I don’t like. And that is what I thought she was as well until I fell down the poetry rabbit hole (still mad at T.S. Eliot). 

Obviously everyone has read "Prufrock," but who else here has read XJ Kennedy's "A Prominent Bar is Secaucus, NJ"? It's a narrative poem about an old woman -- who could be seen as either a prostitute or maybe just an old floozy -- who talks about how she used to live the high-life before she became an old junkie. The speaker in the poem made her life sound pretty glamorous in her youth, but the climax of the poem is her being led away by police as she says:

"For when time takes you out for a spin in his car
You'll be hard-pressed to stop him from going too far
And be left by the roadside, for all your good deeds,
Two toadstools for tits and a face full of weeds."

The woman in the poem sounds like she could be a Grizzabella- type ... once a gorgeous dame who in her prime had money and attention, smoked cigarettes rolled in gold, bet on the horses, and stayed at the best hotels. Now, she's an old woman who causes a scene at the bar and gets arrested. Maybe a sex-worker, or maybe a girl who took all advantage of her lot in life to party hard while she could. Of course, the main difference is that while the speaker in "Prominent Bar" lived the high life in her story, Grizzabella's song tells a different tale:

"She haunted many a low resort
Near the grimy road of Tottenham Court
She flitted about the No Man's Land
From "The Rising Sun" to "The Friend at Hand"

So Grizzabella is not from the same side of town, it would seem. But that doesn't automatically make her a sex worker -- perhaps she was just aping upperclass glamour, and now that she's been brought low by time and age, everyone around her takes a certain schadenfreude in her current state. 

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1 hour ago, Cameron H. said:

Well, how would you do it?

I'm a classic guy so I'd just go with your standard "Yoink"

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Look I know the scale of the cats has been talked about to death but the main issue I had with scale were the cockroaches and mice. The average mouse's body is 95 to 120 mm in length and from the band scene we can see that they are roughly two matches tall. The average match is 40 mm so this checks out so far. Meanwhile the roaches are about the size of two strawberries. Strawberries come in a variety of sizes but I'd argue that an average store bought strawberry and a match stick are roughly the same size with a strawberry being a tad smaller. Which means that mice and roaches would be roughly of equal size. That means these cockroaches are also in the 95 to 120 range. The world's largest cockroach, the megaloblatta of central America, can grow up to 97 mm meaning these are indeed terrifyingly large cockroaches. 

However, if we want to take this a step further we can extrapolate some information as to the size of these cats. The cats interact with the mice and roaches and pick them up. When they are holding the roaches they are the about the length of the cat's fingers. Your middle finger is approximately the length of your palm, so the cat's hands are approximately double that of the mice and roaches, putting them in 190 mm to 240 mm range. Studies have shown that our body is made up of many ratios that tend to be consistent. One is that your height is about nine times that the size of your hand. So take those numbers and doing a little math show that these cats are 1.71 m 2.16m tall. Given that that roaches were slightly smaller than the mice let's focus on the lower end of the spectrum and say that these cats are 1,71 m tall which is the mean height for adult men globally. These are indeed human sized cats.

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11 hours ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

What’s weird, and what I have been thinking about it since you brought it up, is that there shouldn’t be prostitution in a Cat world. That is a human vice. So maybe it just says I was never convinced they were actually cats is the problem. But I don’t know, maybe if the world felt more silly and joyful (and I have seen clips of the stage show that seem that way) then my brain wouldn’t have gone there. 

Prostitution is unknown in cats but not strictly limited to humans. But I think a lot of this is humans interpreting animal behavior in human terms and the study on Capuchin monkeys specifically involves human intervention. So, saying it's natural or how these animals behave isn't necessarily accurate in my mind. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_among_animals?wprov=sfla1

I never really thought of these as cats either. It's humans writing cats and humans putting personality into cats that aren't there (which is true of all pet owners but that's an entirely different discussion). The cats are wearing clothes, and singing and dancing and a leader cat sends them to heaven for reincarnation. These aren't cats or, at the very least, ascribing human behaviors to them is totally fine for this movie because the writers already did. Not to say I necessarily thought Macavity was her pimp (as I couldn't follow this at all) but I definitely thought it was more than she was just down and out

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1 hour ago, The_Triple_Lindy said:

She haunted many a low resort
Near the grimy road of Tottenham Court
She flitted about the No Man's Land
From "The Rising Sun" to "The Friend at Hand"

So Grizzabella is not from the same side of town, it would seem. But that doesn't automatically make her a sex worker -- perhaps she was just aping upperclass glamour, and now that she's been brought low by time and age, everyone around her takes a certain schadenfreude in her current state. 

The rest of those lyrics, however, don’t seem, to me anyway, to suggest that it was ever just an act:

And the postman sighed as he scratched his head
"You'd really had thought she ought to be dead"
And who would ever suppose that 
That was Grizabella, the glamor cat

Since the movie never plays with irony, I think we have to take it at face value. She was truly a glamour cat, and now she isn’t. Or, maybe, she still is, but is no longer recognizable as such.

I also have to go back to my theory of “jellicle” being synonymous with a kind of self-actualization. If her jellicle nature is “glamour cat,” then existentially, she can’t lie about that. In my opinion, either she was or she wasn’t. 

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37 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Prostitution is unknown in cats but not strictly limited to humans. But I think a lot of this is humans interpreting animal behavior in human terms and the study on Capuchin monkeys specifically involves human intervention. So, saying it's natural or how these animals behave isn't necessarily accurate in my mind. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_among_animals?wprov=sfla1

I never really thought of these as cats either. It's humans writing cats and humans putting personality into cats that aren't there (which is true of all pet owners but that's an entirely different discussion). The cats are wearing clothes, and singing and dancing and a leader cat sends them to heaven for reincarnation. These aren't cats or, at the very least, ascribing human behaviors to them is totally fine for this movie because the writers already did. Not to say I necessarily thought Macavity was her pimp (as I couldn't follow this at all) but I definitely thought it was more than she was just down and out

I might need to leave. I went to this Wikipedia article. It made me sad for penguins. But then I thought, “hey do cats rape (like dolphins do because I never miss a chance to tell people with dumb dolphin tattoos or jewelry that dolphins are known rapists. See Jaws 3) Cats are not listed among the animals, in case you DON’T want to bum yourself out by learning about animal rape. 

Then the next thing I thought was: if Macavity did rape Grizabella, did he shout “Macavity!” as he came.

i will show myself out.

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5 minutes ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

I might need to leave. I went to this Wikipedia article. It made me sad for penguins. But then I thought, “hey do cats rape (like dolphins do because I never miss a chance to tell people with dumb dolphin tattoos or jewelry that dolphins are known rapists. See Jaws 3) Cats are not listed among the animals, in case you DON’T want to bum yourself out by learning about animal rape. 

Then the next thing I thought was: if Macavity did rape Grizabella, did he shout “Macavity!” as he came.

i will show myself out.

This is upsetting

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1 hour ago, Cam Bert said:

Look I know the scale of the cats has been talked about to death but the main issue I had with scale were the cockroaches and mice. The average mouse's body is 95 to 120 mm in length and from the band scene we can see that they are roughly two matches tall. The average match is 40 mm so this checks out so far. Meanwhile the roaches are about the size of two strawberries. Strawberries come in a variety of sizes but I'd argue that an average store bought strawberry and a match stick are roughly the same size with a strawberry being a tad smaller. Which means that mice and roaches would be roughly of equal size. That means these cockroaches are also in the 95 to 120 range. The world's largest cockroach, the megaloblatta of central America, can grow up to 97 mm meaning these are indeed terrifyingly large cockroaches. 

However, if we want to take this a step further we can extrapolate some information as to the size of these cats. The cats interact with the mice and roaches and pick them up. When they are holding the roaches they are the about the length of the cat's fingers. Your middle finger is approximately the length of your palm, so the cat's hands are approximately double that of the mice and roaches, putting them in 190 mm to 240 mm range. Studies have shown that our body is made up of many ratios that tend to be consistent. One is that your height is about nine times that the size of your hand. So take those numbers and doing a little math show that these cats are 1.71 m 2.16m tall. Given that that roaches were slightly smaller than the mice let's focus on the lower end of the spectrum and say that these cats are 1,71 m tall which is the mean height for adult men globally. These are indeed human sized cats.

Not just human-size, but above-average humans. I'm 6'8" which translates to 2.1m, roughly ... I only know that because I learned my metric height before touring Germany because literally any time I meet a stranger, they remark about how tall I am.

So a cat that's 2.16 meters tall is slightly taller than the tallest person your average person has ever met in real life (if we go by what I'm told during these conversations). 

See ... we were having a nice little chat about poetry and prostitution, and you had to bring math into this.

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35 minutes ago, Elektra Boogaloo said:

I might need to leave. I went to this Wikipedia article. It made me sad for penguins. But then I thought, “hey do cats rape (like dolphins do because I never miss a chance to tell people with dumb dolphin tattoos or jewelry that dolphins are known rapists. See Jaws 3) Cats are not listed among the animals, in case you DON’T want to bum yourself out by learning about animal rape. 

Then the next thing I thought was: if Macavity did rape Grizabella, did he shout “Macavity!” as he came.

i will show myself out.

Believe me. It brought me no pleasure to link this article or to already be aware of that study on Capuchin monkeys.

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51 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

The rest of those lyrics, however, don’t seem, to me anyway, to suggest that it was ever just an act:

And the postman sighed as he scratched his head
"You'd really had thought she ought to be dead"
And who would ever suppose that 
That was Grizabella, the glamor cat

Since the movie never plays with irony, I think we have to take it at face value. She was truly a glamour cat, and now she isn’t. Or, maybe, she still is, but is no longer recognizable as such.

I also have to go back to my theory of “jellicle” being synonymous with a kind of self-actualization. If her jellicle nature is “glamour cat,” then existentially, she can’t lie about that. In my opinion, either she was or she wasn’t. 

I don't know. For me, the word "glamour" will forever be tainted by its association with "Glamour Shots," which are decidedly "lower-class-aping-upper-class."

taking-glamour-shots.jpg

Taking your point about what "jellicle" means, I don't think that precludes the possibility that Grizzabella was the most "glamour-shottiest" of all the jellicle cats.

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5 minutes ago, The_Triple_Lindy said:

Not just human-size, but above-average humans. I'm 6'8" which translates to 2.1m, roughly ... I only know that because I learned my metric height before touring Germany because literally any time I meet a stranger, they remark about how tall I am.

So a cat that's 2.16 meters tall is slightly taller than the tallest person your average person has ever met in real life (if we go by what I'm told during these conversations). 

See ... we were having a nice little chat about poetry and prostitution, and you had to bring math into this.

But math is nature's poetry...

...

I'll kick my own ass.

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1 minute ago, The_Triple_Lindy said:

Grizzabella was the most "glamour-shottiest"

grizabella_112811.jpg

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1 minute ago, Cameron H. said:

grizabella_112811.jpg

............................. something something "taste is relative"? Something something "cross-species cultural difference in beauty standards"?

 

 

Fair enough, I guess.

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