Outraging the American family
This is a new start. Whereas it was implied before that June abandoned her Midwest family for a bright new future – a venerable American tradition – we see now how Chloe is trying to destroy her own family. She attempts to set June up with her father because she hates her mother, a wheel-chair bound woman, the soul of kindness. As Chloe explains, it makes no difference to her whether her mother couldn’t be more fun or just wouldn’t, the fact is she wasn’t. Child Chloe wanted a mother that could walk – is that too much to ask?
Chloe’s father is a bourgeois version of Chloe. He shares her relaxed attitude about moral rules, but he is far more conventional. He wants to be young, possibly forever, crippled old age has no attractions – nor no consolations – for him, but his fears have not driven him so witless that he remembers how much youth is associated with daring – for the time being, his sartorial flair is the only real victim. This, we may pause to note, is a portrait full of political implications…
June falls for this markedly older man. He is gentle, he listens to what she has to say, he remembers, too, & he shares her silly opinions about cleanliness & her moral outrage on issues of hygiene. The proximity between family love & erotic love is enough to raise an eyebrow. This man could be both father & husband to her; this may be something she wants.
Who will be shocked to hear that love outrages moral rules? But civilization makes things worse. Public opinion would have been enough to protect June in the Midwest. In New York, older guys might just become the fashion – various predatory actions often do.
James is in a crisis. He needs prestige, because he suspects popular adoration is not the strongest foundation on which to build celebrity. Some other actor taught an acting class & now he wants to do it, too. Kids who have the combination of ambition & calculation to go to acting school need the proximity of celebrities to deceive themselves that they have any chance of success. This is acting as such: Being slavish & conniving.
But mankind do not want to hear James talk about Hamlet. Reprising endlessly his role in a kid’s show is enough for them. He needs to learn to be satisfied being a has-been. Happily, he eventually meets a beautiful Russian girl & learns his show is new in Russia. He realizes his image on film will serve to win him girls maybe forever. He is suitably impressed that people in the third world are willing to celebrate him, rather than work for food…