Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Fall of the House of Darwin (with bonus movie review)

When the three older girls walked in the door from their retreat, I was ready with the nifty new ear thermometer. Each was nabbed in turn as she entered, and subjected to the test. And sure enough, all three were running low grade fevers and were medicated and sent right to bed.

Why should I know to check? Because over the weekend that they were gone, everyone but Darwin has fallen. Fever, cough, sniffles, aches, lethargy, from baby to the 11yo. The girls had been fine when they'd left for retreat Friday night, which was 72 hours after I started symptoms, 24 more hours than the incubation period I'd been told to watch for. But ho, a mystery. If the girls had started flu symptoms the moment they'd walked out the door, they would have been too sick to drive home, too sick to do anything on retreat. But by all accounts they were hale and healthy, and started with a cough this morning. So when was the exposure? How long is this incubation period?

I have a three-day start on the next victim (which is strange there, because shouldn't it be 48 hours?), so I'm able to move around and take care of people. Darwin is still holding out, and we're trying to keep it that way. Someone has to be able to leave the house.

Come tomorrow morning, it's going to be me and seven children with flu, and the worst is definitely ahead of us. Of your courtesy, toss us some prayers.


A movie review, did I say? Darwin made a library run to stock up on sickday videos, and someone requested a Harry Potter movie. Those were Right Out, but there on the shelf was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Right at the beginning of the movie, a customs officer wants to search Newt Scamander's suitcase. As Newt slides it over, he nudges a little switch that pops up a small tab: "Muggle Safe" or some such. And when the officer opens the shuddering case, it's full of normal travel stuff and a ticking watch. That's the last time in the movie we get any fun, silly, Harry-Potter style magic -- most everything else is waving wands and dreary special effects.

Here's what it is. I went and IMDb-ed the movie to see who played who, and found on the page a few photos from a presser, in which one of the actors was wildly, inappropriately cross-dressing. And it brought home to me: everyone involved with this movie has forgotten, or chosen to ignore, that Harry Potter is a children's franchise. Perhaps that makes sense -- the earliest fans are adults now, and perhaps wanting more adult fare, but wrapped in the familiar, feel-good magical style of HP. Wands, capes, tricks, wahoo. But the movie is dark and sinister -- not necessarily always in content, but often in style. With exceptions, the color palette is muted, grayed, somber, dirty.

I was disturbed to realize that the grotesquerie of the No-Maj (American Muggle) characters bore much in common with the BBC's new's Agatha Christie remakes, brainchild of scriptwriter Sarah Phelps. They're ugly, sinister, not entirely coherent, and more based on horror images and concepts than the real ways people behave. This is not something we need influencing our children's movies. I don't know that it's good in any artistic context.

Fantastic Beasts was way too long, and didn't hold up under any kind of scrutiny. We learn next to nothing about the American Magical World, and most of it makes no sense -- where are the native Americans? It's cool that the American Magical President looks like she draws from New Orleans or Creole traditions, but why give her a generic American accent then? The only person I wanted to see more of was the Muggle who's caught up in the whole business: Jacob Kowalski, who just wants to open his own bakery. At one point, a character asks him, "Are all Muggles like you?"

"I'm the only one who's like me," he say, tossing back his drink. And in this movie, that's true.

I pondered watching Crimes of Grindelwald to see Johnny Depp and Jude Law (swoon) chewing scenery at each other, but I don't know how much more of this new grotesque style I have the stomach for. One thing I know -- if I do see it, I won't watch it with the kids.


Ana Maria said...

Prayers for you all. Oldest was sick last week and I'm trying to fight it.

I remember being bored watching Crimes of Grindewald. In fact, both movies bored me so that's the extent of my review.

Jenny said...

I was under the general impression that the flu incubation period is 5-7 days.

Antoinette said...

Healing prayers for your family.

mandamum said...

I think generally you need to make it through 2 cycles of incubation period to be clear? We once managed to make it 8 *days* from the last Norovirus victim's fall (incubation 24-48hrs) before the next one went down. Sooooo disappointing. Surface exposure despite my assiduous bleaching, shedding from the recovered victims.... I assume with the Tamiflu you wouldn't be infectious any more after a certain point, but perhaps that point was further out than expected? And kids are AMAZING vectors, keeping and shedding the viable virus longer and spreading it with greater abandon.

Get well soon, Darwins! I'll be praying for you as we fight our family cold.
It is a small blessing that you are marginally functional first, rather than your industrious 2yo :)