Anger / Diary / Love / Pop Culture / This Filipino Life

Kill Bill: An Ode to Parenthood

This is the training we all got. In the context of the narcissism of today, meaningless acts become exciting and meaningful acts are obscured. – TLP 

I. Why the Story of Kill Bill Had To Be Told In Two Volumes 

In Kill Bill Volume 1, Beatrix Kiddo (aka The Bride, aka Uma Thurman, aka That Yellow Suit) kills a lot of people in a terrifying manner.

In Kill Bill Volume 2, Uma Thurman kills a few people, then she snuggles with her baby daughter.

 

Without the denouement of the story in Volume 2, the violence in Volume 1 (the violence dealt to Beatrix Kiddo and the violence dealt back by her) makes no sense. Yes, you understand that it is for revenge, but that doesn’t explain why she doesn’t just kamikaze Bill, and how she chooses whom she kills and whom she spares.

Here is the denouement, for your convenience, though you really should watch the whole of the second volume:

Beatrix is ready to kill Bill. What she is entirely unready for is that, upon bursting into Bill’s home, she finds that her child (whom she thought had been killed in the massacre which she survived) is alive, and being cared for by Bill. Bill has orchestrated a play scene with the child to make her think that this is all entirely normal, and Beatrix plays along. After dinner and a movie together, Beatrix leaves her sleeping child and begins the climactic scene with Bill. 

Beatrix: Do you remember the last assignment you sent me on?

Bill: Of course.

Beatrix: That morning, I was sick. I threw up on the plane. Then I started thinking: Maybe I was pregnant. [So I took a pregnancy test.]…

Before that line turned blue, I was a woman, I was your woman. I was a killer who killed for you. Before that line turned blue, I would have jumped a motorcycle onto a speeding train. For you. But after that line turned blue, I could no longer do any of these things. Because I was gonna be a mother.

Bill: Why didn’t you tell me?

Beatrix: Once you found out, you’d claim her. And I didn’t want that. She would have been born into a world she shouldn’t have.

Bill: Not your decision to make.

Beatrix: I know. But it was the right decision, and I made it for my daughter. I had to choose. I chose her.

Got it? Bill owned her. He’s referred to as her “master”, literally, at one point in the movie. Many people in the world now can’t even turn away from a freaking box of doughnuts even though they know full well that their arteries are already filled with gunk and their pants don’t fit anymore. Each person has a certain thing, an addiction or obsession or love,  for which they would do ANYTHING. Hers was Bill, until it was her daughter.

Remember, this is all before she ever saw or held her daughter. Her decision was made the moment she found out she was pregnant. In that moment, she decided to change her whole life and give up her obsession.

And then Bill tried to kill her and her unborn daughter.

That’s the reason for her revenge. Not because of her life, but because she thought her daughter was dead. This is why she stops her “roaring rampage of revenge” when she realizes that her daughter is alive. The ending statement is: “The mother lioness is reunited with her cub, and all is well in the jungle.”

But hardly anyone talks about this because it’s so much better to talk about the yellow suit and how it’s so cool when the blood spurts.

 

II. Why You Are Your Parents

A similar trope of deadly-warrior-turned-loving-parent occurs in Spy Kids (one of my most favorite movies, which suffers from terrible design, though I don’t see how it could have been made any better except with a higher budget). This is the story in a nutshell: There are two top-level secret agents who meet when they are sent on missions to kill each other.

Her mission was to [kill him]. You have to understand that these were dark and confusing times of enormous turmoil between countries. But when she got there, she couldn’t do it. He was different than she expected. And she began to wonder if years of detached, emotionless violence had taken its toll. So they kept in contact…

[Later on], they decided to marry. 

On the day of her wedding, she felt like she would rather brave a thousand deadly missions than go through what she was about to do: the difficulties of staying together and raising a family. But when she saw him, standing there, with no doubt whatsoever – she took his hand, looked deep into his eyes, and said the two most trusting, most dangerous words you could ever say to anyone: 

“I do.” 

Fast forward several years later, they have two children. One night, they are discussing their children:

I: I spoke to their principal. Carmen’s been skipping school twice a month. 

G: Why? 

I: I don’t know. And those friends Junie talks about? 

G: What about them? 

I: They don’t exist. He has no friends. They’re keeping secrets from us, Gregorio. And I think it’s our fault. They’ve gotten this from us. 

Hardly any parent is smart enough to make this observation or big enough to admit it: That their children’s problems are their fault. That whatever bad characteristics their children have were picked up from them. It’s our fault. They’ve gotten this from us. 

Nope, never that. It’s from their friends at school. It’s from television. It’s from video games. It’s from listening to the rap music. It can’t be us – after all, they only spent all their formative years with us, picking up our bad habits, or in neglect.

“But Trinity,” says my audience which is probably nonexistent at this point, “This sounds like you’re saying that everything you are is because of your parents?”

Yep. EVERYONE I know is like their parents, including myself. Sara Duterte is a fair and effective leader like Rodrigo Duterte. Brian Llamanzares is an entitled prick like Grace Poe. My friend Red tends to be tempestuous and sharp like her mom, with moments of unexpected tenderness. My friend P. has this live-and-let-live attitude like his mom and dad, with a bit more of the democratic and permanent annoyance for mankind in general that his dad has. My parents are basically misers, critical and cruel and mostly friendless, just like their parents.

And me? Critical, cruel and friendless as well, but I’m working on changing that.

III. Okay, Back to Kill Bill; or Why Most of Us Are So Fucked Up 

Given that your child inevitably becomes whatever you are*, it is then imperative to get your shit together before you even think about getting knocked up  / getting someone knocked up. What does this mean? This means basically that you have to address all your emotional issues and secure your finances. A child cannot be exposed to adult issues that they cannot understand and are powerless to help with, because this will create issues inside them and they will grow into fucked-up adults.

This is why Bill orchestrated the play scene for when Beatrix saw her child for the first time. He knew that Beatrix would be emotional and he had to set the stage for her to demonstrate emotion in a way that would not make the child think that there was anything wrong or unexpected.

This is why Beatrix put her child to sleep before she went to talk with Bill and have their final battle.

This is why after she killed Bill, she lay on the floor sobbing pitifully and then walked out, all smiles, to watch cartoons with her child.

Most parents now don’t have the decency nor the strength to pretend for their child, to put on a show when doing so would be to the benefit of their child and not doing so would be detrimental to their child. Can’t pretend that they don’t want to rip their partner’s guts out. Can’t pretend that vegetables taste delicious. Can’t pretend that they respect the law.

If you’re not perfect, you’ll have to pretend, and they can’t even do that.

IV. Back To Me Me Me Me

Yesterday I drove my girlfriend’s family around so that they could save money. The only car we could afford was a shitty manual and I was having a really, really, really hard time with it. I was ready to cry and sleep. But it was late at night and the house was very far so I did not say anything because I didn’t want anyone to worry about me. When we got home I went in a room, closed the door and cried.

In the morning the eye infection that had been starting up the previous day swelled up so much that I could hardly open my eye anymore. Luckily, there was a doctor nearby. I drove the shitty car there. I walked in with my eye swollen shut and oozing slimy tears. I had an appointment, but I noticed a mother with her child so I let them go first because I thought it wouldn’t take too long. I was wrong. About half an hour in, I started crying quietly, without a sound, from the pain and the tiredness.

My girlfriend hasn’t been treating me very well because I have gotten very good at hiding my pain. I was always good at it, but even more so now. I am practicing because I want to become a person who will do whatever it is it that needs to be done, delivers what I promise, and doesn’t make unnecessary complaints. However, people are so used to others making random excuses and demands that they think a person can’t possibly be in need unless they make a scene. So we have been in trouble. But we’re talking about it.

The reason I’ve been so quiet is because I’ve been busy. I should be sleeping now, but my eye hurts so much that I can’t sleep. I’ve already watched Kill Bill Vol 2 for the 4th time and finished The Lost World and listened to my Korean tutorial audio tapes so there’s nothing else to do lying down with just one eye. And now I’m done with this so again I don’t know what to do.

 

 

*note that these are the fundamentals – for example, a loving Christian can end up raising a loving atheist, or a hateful atheist can raise a hateful Christian, but a completely loving atheist cannot possibly raise a hateful Christian and a completely hateful Christian cannot raise a loving atheist.

 

 

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