High standards

Letters to the Boston editor, January 28, 2011
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  February 1, 2011

I've just read Eugenia Williamson's piece about the fifth season of Big Love (see "Big Patriarchy," January 14). I so enjoyed her sense of the show, which is larger and more profound than that of just about any Big Love review I've seen over the years. There is indeed a very real critique of straight marriage implied in the show — I think.

The way I've come to think of Big Love in connection with marriage is this: the institution of marriage is in big trouble in our culture. Not just in practice, but in theory. We have been trying — and failing — to live up to what are badly conceived ideals. But there is a true taboo against saying so. As a culture, we are not ready to have that conversation. So we are fascinated by examinations of marriage on the fringes of "real" marriage — gay marriage, polygamous marriage. We are trying to make ourselves ready to have the conversations about men and women that need to happen. And Big Love has been a part of that preparation. (I know . . . my optimism may trump Fish's naïveté.)

I have thought of myself as lucky enough to be a part of that preparation, but with pretty much no one to whom I could say such a thing, until now.

As you might well imagine, not everyone "gets" me. You have made me feel most appreciated, and I thank you.

I would be most interested to hear what you think after the finale!

Grace Zabriskie
Los Angeles

EDITOR'S NOTE Grace Zabriskie plays Lois Henrickson in HBO's Big Love.


Forget the fact that I thought the guy inside the pickle jar on the cover of last week's Phoenix was the reincarnate of Alfred E. Neuman, and wondered what kind of pharmas that Chris Faraone was inhaling (see "Best Decade Ever," January 21). My one simple question is: how in the name of Hades is this once-great city going anywhere without any apparent semblance of leadership or vision, from the neighborhoods to City Hall and the State House? And, speaking of the neighborhoods, Mayor Menino has often said that the strength of the city is in its neighborhoods. If that's a strength, I'd hate to see a weakness.

Mike Arnold

Related: Letters to the Boston editor, May 27, 2011, Art appreciation, HBO's Big Love shows us the inequalities in every marriage, writ large, More more >
  Topics: Letters , Menino, Grace Zabriskie, Big Love,  More more >
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