Monday, August 31, 2009

Monastery of the Holy Spirit

This is where Dear Husband and I went on Saturday for our anniversary. It was wonderfully peaceful. We saw a video about the history of the monastery. I couldn’t hear it very well. Someone behind me seemed to be slowly working their way through a roll of candies, slowly tearing the paper wrapper. The brother who was there to answer questions couldn’t hear a word anyone was saying. Seems his hearing aid wasn’t working so well. I don’t think anyone minded – he seemed such a nice fellow. There was a group there from Mars Hill (which one I don’t know) led by a man with a booming voice. He already seemed to know so much about the community that the brother sent him off as the tour guide for his group. It’s amazing how noisy people who don’t mean to be noisy can be.

The church is beautiful, quite simple but with lovely gothic arches and stained glass made at the monastery. I love chapels and cathedrals. They calm me the moment I walk in. Perhaps it’s the influence of years of prayers. The only cathedral I’ve been in that didn’t affect me that way was Trinity Cathedral in New York City, which has so many tourists going through it’s like a ride at Six Flags.

Later we went to the noonday prayers. I was keen to be there, because I’ve never sent that sort of service. Guests who were there on retreat could sit in the pews across from the brothers, but we had to stay way back. I’m not sure what scripture text they read from and I’ve no idea what they were chanting, but it was able to quiet my soul.

We had a little picnic under one of the trees on the grounds. The weather was perfect – mellow blue sky with soft clouds. A good day to rest and talk.

The monastery has a green cemetery, where people are buried without embalming, in biodegradable caskets, or in a simple shroud. That’s how I would like to be buried. I’ve never really understood embalming people and sticking their bodies in an airtight casket, where I assume it liquefies or something disgusting like that. Seems to negate “ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” After all, we aren’t ancient Egyptians who need our preserved bodies to march into the afterlife. Actually returning to the earth seems like a good idea. I only saw photos, but their cemetery seems to look like a natural habitat. The markers are not elaborate, and some people choose not to have them at all.

I, of course, was very interested in the bookstore. Poor Dear Husband had to drag me away. I did get a CD of songs from Taize, but I had to write down the titles of the books for another time. The CD is beautiful. Some of the churches in Atlanta have Taize services, but I haven’t tried to get to one. Can’t take the kids since they offer no childcare and Dear Husband’s work hours are difficult. Someday. After the experience of sitting in the monastery church, I found the service at our own church particularly jarring and the music flat and banal. Since all the worship is contemporary, with video screens, there are no windows, no natural light. The loss of natural light seems sad to me, as if we were in God’s nightclub. I complain about these things far too much, I know. There’s no reason I shouldn’t worship amidst the clamor and music, except that I find it makes me feel overstimulated and distracted, which is not how I want to be in church.
Enough about that. We had a lovely time together. Someday perhaps we will be able to go on an overnight retreat there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Marry Me a Little - Marry Me a Lot

Dear Husband and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary today. I am very blessed to have him with me on the journey. He puts up with a lot (he will say I do, too, but I have to say that my faults loom larger to me) and he is always thoughtful, always looking out for us. This morning he came by my workplace with coffee and bagels to surprise me. Those sorts of gestures come naturally to him. I am not nearly so thoughtful or intentional, even though I love him dearly.

I did not have a good model for marriage. My parents really sucked at it. In fact, when I was in my teens and 20s I was pretty forceful in expressing my disdain for marriage. I was positive I was not going to get married, that the whole institution of marriage was a farce. I wasn’t interested in any potential spiritual aspects. Given this, I don’t think it’s any surprise that my first marriage failed. We married as an expedient. We loved each other, but what we really needed was a green card for him. That’s how I made my peace with a trip to Manhattan City Hall. From the outside we seemed a perfect match. We had the same leftist political opinions, the same love of literature and art, the same educational background. I have not much memory of those years, because I did not develop in any way. I was happy to be in agreement. Marriage seemed so effortless I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about. This was nothing like my parent’s angry, vitriolic marriage. He was a very forceful personality, very ambitious, and it was easy to simply stand in the shadows. Until, of course, I started to think that I needed a bit more light. Actually, “think” is a bit too strong. I would never have admitted that I wanted out because the fear of being alone was so deep, but I took a way out, a very messy and hurtful one.

I learned a lot from that marriage and from being married to Dear Husband. We began on somewhat shaky ground, with me pregnant after only a few months of dating, so we had to learn a lot about each other as we went along. We have different political views, different educational backgrounds, different tastes, different approaches to religion. I’ve found it necessary to actually articulate my own opinions and pursue my own interests. I’ve had to work at understanding his point of view. Marriage no longer seems effortless, that’s for sure. Sometimes I still coast along. That’s one of my big weaknesses. My desire to avoid conflict is strong. Retreat and isolation are top of my list for self defense. Not possible to maintain that in our household. I often feel that Dear Husband carries the majority of the burden – where I’m scattered and disorganized, he does the budget and pays the bills and remembers to take the cars into the shop and get the grass cut. I have trouble planning and estimating time. He’s great at that. Sometimes I wonder what on earth I DO contribute (you can find his thoughts here). I’m thankful he thinks I’m an asset.

Now, if only marriage were available to everyone. England at least recognizes civil partnership, and we haven’t even managed that. Churches are roiling with conflicts over marrying gay and lesbian couples, and with the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. I have never understood, will never understand the opposition. I reject any biblical claims (which I think have been misrepresented, exaggerated, and often flat-out fabricated) on the matter and am simply dumbfounded that anyone who knows how scripture was used to advocate slavery would dare to use it to advocate another kind of oppression.

But let me get off my soapbox. I will leave you with a song that I like very much. And much to Dear Husband’s chagrin, no doubt, the version I found on YouTube is sung by John Barrowman (Torchwood again!), who in 2006 entered into a civil partnership with his boyfriend. Way to go, John Barrowman. “Marry Me a Little” (by Stephen Sondheim) pretty much sums up the wrong way to look at marriage and is pretty close to what I used to think.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Anything Goes

Indulge me. I’m having a theatrical moment. I don’t often listen to show tunes. Actually, I don’t usually listen to much of anything. I enjoy music but hearing music I like doesn’t happen very often. DramaQueen is convinced everything I listen to is as dull as a nursing home corridor. I have hundreds of classical, jazz and opera records that I never hear, because if I try to play them a mutiny ensues. It's difficult to convince a 7yr old and a 9yr old that Mahler's symphonies are wonderful and Frank Sinatra singing Paper Moon is brilliant.

Anyway, this is getting around to Cole Porter. I’m not sure how anyone could not like Cole Porter. His lyrics are so clever and witty and often naughty in that urbane way people used to be naughty before raunchiness was mistaken for honesty. I feel positively squiggly with delight when I hear his songs.

Imagine how heartened I was to come across John Barrowman singing "Anything Goes." He’s performing on the set from one of the Torchwood episodes. I think he has a beautiful voice.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cough cough cough sniffle

I feel horrid. I don't have anything useful to say. I have no energy to be amusing. I just feel awful and tired and yet can't seem to rest. For the last two nights I have to sleep on the sofa in a semi-upright position. In other words, not much sleep going on.

1. I can't seem to read books anymore. Or rather I read them by starting at the beginning, skipping almost to the end, going back to where I left off near the start and working through a bit more, then skipping to the end. The bulk of the book never actually gets read.

2. I hate laundry. We live in mutual antagonism.

3. I burned myself with the iron in a mad rush to press Dear Husband's shirt one morning. You're welcome, sweetie.

4. DramaQueen is obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an obsession I'm indulging a bit too eagerly. I tell myself that a kick-ass female protagonist is good for a girl. Also, I'm really tired of Demi Lovato.

5. We're renting out a number of cubicles in our office to a call center. We have been a very quiet office up until now. I've been snuggled in a little cocoon of silence for months now.

6. Dear Husband thought Children of Earth rocked. He's probably the only person I know whose response to the deaths of Owen, Tosh and Ianto was, "Finally!" I think I heard him breathe a sigh of relief when Ianto collapsed. Sometimes he is a Bad Man.

7. Dear Husband is eagerly awaiting Battlestar Gallactica. I thought it was fair play for him to have someone he could oggle for a while, namely:

Thing is, I'm happy to oggle her, too. I think this annoys him. It makes payback more difficult. But it's not my fault I'm so versatile.

8. I'm convinced I will never have another original thought and will never write anything interesting ever again. It's all gone. Kaput. Thpppt. I will have to curl up in the fetal position and bemoan my fate.

Nothing more. I'm going to go rest. Either that or investigate Warehouse 13. Full episodes available online.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Holding a Wake for Fictional Characters

We finished watching Torchwood: Children of Earth last night, and I cried my eyes out. I'm mourning the death of fictional characters, folks. A bit of text, some light and dark on a screen, and blammo, I'm a blubbering mess.

In fact, I couldn't sleep last night because I was so upset.

About the death of people who don't exist.

I haven't cried like that since Beth died in Little Women.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Scorched Earth

I’ve just started watching Torchwood: Children of Earth.

And I’m having bad dreams.

I thought of Torchwood as a great lark of a show – a little edgy but leavened with frolic and ridiculous aliens and silly props and sets. It was getting darker by the end of season 2, but it was a sort of noble, heroic finale. COE is a different beast.

With regard to narrative, special effects, cinematography and acting, COE is light years beyond the first two seasons. It’s also far more grim and disturbing. Although I admire the advance in overall quality, I miss the playfulness and snarkiness of the previous episodes. They always seemed to say, even when touching on serious topics, “We’re having a jolly good romp here. Don’t worry, it’s just a game.” The atmosphere of COE is sinister and oppressive, and there’s no “we always pull through” optimism or swashbuckling “we’re here to save the day” action. I think that’s because this alien 456 isn’t nearly as scary as the government. The government in COE is ugly, self-serving, and vicious, happy to cover up past problems with assassinations, run by leaders who evade responsibility and blame by hiding behind civil servant scapegoats. All too real, in other words. I was more confident in Captain Jack Harkness when he was fighting creatures from outer space.

And the hub, that little sanctuary, the crazy repository of gadgets and artifacts, the center of Torchwood action, has been blown to smithereens, along with, I assume, all the aliens, former employees, and Jack’s homicidal brother who were cryogenically frozen in the morgue. I suppose the pterodactyl died, too. That’s like ripping the heart out of the show. That’s like a big flashing sign announcing “Fun’s over, folks!”

Now at the end of Day 3 we find out that back in the 60s Jack sent off a group of children as a gift to alien 456 – to heaven knows what fate, but it can’t be good, given the thrashing, acid-vomiting, lives-in-a-poisonous-fog nature of 456. No doubt there was some sort of hard choice involved but, well, that just sucks. Of course we sacrifice children every day to war, poverty, illness, exploitation and abuse, which I suppose is part of the message, that we don’t face up to that savage truth about ourselves. The last thing I expected Torchwood to deliver was a nasty, unanswerable moral conundrum of epic scale.

I will see Days 4 and 5 in the next few days. I know Ianto dies and am not looking forward to it, and I know generally what happens in the rest of the series. Ianto’s death sent fans into a tizzy, I gather, and some are worried the show is about to be “de-gayed” for BBC 1. No idea about that (though I’m cynical enough to think that is exactly what they intend to do), but I’m not particularly convinced by creator Russell Davies’ argument that Ianto’s death was inevitable, that it would have somehow been unrealistic for them all to survive. I mean, hello, fantasy sci fi here. Did you really need to sell the show’s soul to the existentialist devil? A season 4 is planned, but I’m having trouble imagining it. You can’t go back to playing scary tigers after this.

On the upside, we got to see John Barrowman naked.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I Have Discovered a New Word. Let Us Celebrate.

“Heteroflexible.” How did I not know this word existed? From what I can tell it has been around for a number of years. I am appalled at my ignorance. It’s such a useful word. “Heteroflexible” is perfect for describing half the student population back in my college days. I had been making do with “experimental,” which you have to admit pales in comparison as a descriptor. (I wonder if the word “homoflexible” exists, for those you are usually gay but sometimes fall for a person of the opposite gender. Yes! I just looked it up and it does exist! The English language wins again.)

Heteroflexible is so much better than other recent neologisms such as, say, “metrosexual.” I am not entirely convinced this word is necessary. It seems to refer to a 21st century version of Beau Brummel. I admit that calling someone a “dandy” sounds quaint and completely out of touch with the world of contemporary male fashion. I suppose we need a way to say “he’s straight even though he wears Prada and gets a weekly manicure.” Another trendy and rather silly new word is “bromance,” which means a close relationship between two men that isn’t sexual, something we women call “friendship.”

And then there’s this word “omnisexual” that I keep running across. This seems to have replaced “bisexual,” perhaps because it sounds more inclusive. You know, in case you have sexual feelings for your iPod, your cell phone, your dog, your avatar, your breakfast cereal, and so forth. I cannot hear it without thinking of “omnivore,” thereby connecting sex with both dinosaurs and a wide-ranging gustatory palate.

Friday, August 07, 2009


In the waiting area an old woman places a different offering of food in front of each candle. These are the kind of candles I see in the market – candles in glass holders decorated with an image of a saint. I don’t know what gods these saints represent. I am vaguely curious, but I don’t want to ask the old woman. She is dressed all in black, like so many of the old women here, and her face is hard. No, I do not want to talk to her, but I wonder, how long is the food left before it is replaced? I imagine vermin, maggots, but there are none here. Everything is orderly and clean.

There are a few other people sitting in the worn sofas and chairs. One, a thin blond woman, hugs herself as if she is cold. We look out of place here, where everyone is Hispanic. She speaks with a German accent, which surprises me. I think, how did a German girl end up here? He is very helpful, she says. She looks desperate. Do I look desperate? Am I desperate?

The palero is a young man dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. He is a little heavy, with a pudgy face and wavy hair, jovial but not particularly charismatic. He reaches into a small cloth bag and tosses what look like shells on the table. You have a lot of anger, he says, from when you were a child. Someone has hexed you, someone from a long time ago. My mother will prepare a mixture with herbs. You must pour it over you when you bathe, to protect you. Hexed, I say. It may not have been intentional, he says, but the results are the same. Not intentional. Perhaps I hex people many times a day, I think.

What do you want me to do, he asks? I hand him a photo. I want her gone, I say. I hand him a second photo. I want him back.

He says, I have a servant, a spirit from among the dead who does my bidding. If you want this, my servant can break the bonds between these two.

I have the skull that belonged to this spirit in life, and he must stay there until I call. I ask a question. He hesitates. From a cemetery, he answers. You do not need to know the details. There is a ritual. The skull is placed in a cauldron and I call upon the spirit to act. This is not a ritual you are allowed to watch.

By my car in the dirt lot, I look around. I do not know this part of town at all. The desert sky is wide and emptied of color, but the air is still hot. I feel confused, then panicked. I can’t find the paper with my scribbled directions. I can’t remember the street names, the turns I need to make.

I am lost. I am so lost.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Jesus Is John Donne's Boyfriend

My mind has hopped on its little hamster wheel again. I’ve posted this before, sometime last fall. No one commented on it then, which either means it blows or no one came to visit that day. So I’m going to repeat it, with some alterations and additions. Actually, quite a bit of addition. And dammit I expect someone to say SOMETHING.

Jesus Is My Boyfriend, Jacobean Style

I love this poem. I love it so much I wish I could step back through history, find John Donne, and give him a jolly good time.

Batter My Heart, Three-Person'd God

Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

I love his playful intellect, that double-edged sword. “Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend.” But it doesn’t of course; it keeps us captive. I relate so well to his frustration. You find out you're reason's love slave and there's damn all you can do about it except hope the Hero takes you by force.

How often do you hear someone talk about the peace that surpasses understanding? When we have serious problems, everyone prays for that. But exactly how do you find that peace—or put it another way—how do you let God establish that peace in you? I’m here God, ready to feel that peace. Bring it on, Jesus. Is that it? Sort of. Maybe. Wait, I don’t feel peaceful—all hell’s breaking loose. Am I missing something? I said I was happy to accept peace. More than ready. Sigh.

What does that peace look like? Serene? Calm? Stoic? Eye of the hurricane? How do you feel peace when your mind is always churning, synthesizing, analyzing. I take comfort that Jesus himself doesn’t seem all that calm to me. You don’t knock over tables and sweat blood because you have a serene nature, although he’s so often depicted as spouting wisdom with this sappy beneficent look on his face.

How are we supposed to feel God’s presence? Is it warm and fuzzy? Is it in the grass, the trees, our children, other people, the rocks, my computer, everything—or is that too pantheistic? And what about the shadow we see out of the corner of our eye—gone so fast maybe it wasn’t there at all. Frustratingly unknowable. Tantalizingly unknowable. We are always pushing out and reaching beyond and our hands close on air. We can’t stop thinking. We toss and turn, feel hemmed in and stifled, but don’t know how get out. And, if we can’t do it because it’s supposed to be all God’s work, well, we can turn that against ourselves, too. Gee, is that God now? Is He doing something? Am I feeling free? Wait, am I imagining all this? What if I’m imagining all this?

I love those last two lines “I, except you enthrall me, never shall be free/Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.” I wonder if Donne felt a bit daring writing that? Maybe it was a commonplace expression of religious piety at the time. Hah. Any commentary will be quick to point you to the bridegroom imagery in the Bible, which I think is a bit weird in itself. Oh, yeah, that’s right – it’s about “spiritual” union. When confronted with wedding bed imagery, Biblical literalists suddenly discover metaphor. Because, of course, God doesn’t have a body, except in Jesus. And don’t even THINK about going there. Jesus doesn’t have a penis, at least not one that’s supposed to be called into service at any time.

And yet, there are those naughty, naughty mystics with their suggestive imagery. Oh, how the mainline protestants distrust the mystics, who make union with God sound like a really great shag.

I think of the statue of St. Theresa in ecstasy, and St. John of the Cross’s delirious poetry:
Upon my flowered breast,
For him alone kept fair,
There he slept
There I caressed,
There the cedars gave us air.

I drank the turret's cool air
Spreading playfully his hair.
And his hand, so serene,
Cut my throat.

Sweet! The love of God is like having your throat slit…after you fool around a bit in a turret!

Or Rumi:
If anyone wants to know what "spirit" is,
or what "God’s fragrance" means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
Like this.

When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.

Like this.

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.

Well okey dokey, then! Knowing God as erotic seduction. There’s an explanation of miracles I can live with. Yep, I’m ready to give that a go.

And in Donne’s poem: “ravish” – which can mean “overcome by emotion” or… “rape.” Donne is asking God to rape him. How often do you ask God to rape you? Of course, if you ask, it isn’t really rape, is it? More like a “give it to me rough, sailor” kind of plea.

I often hear complaints about (or contempt for) Jesus Is My Boyfriend songs or Jesus Is My Boyfriend sentiments, mentality, and so forth. It's too me-focused, or bad theology, or too romantic, or too eroticized. It is pretty sappy and sounds like some sad consolation prize. You've signed that abstinence-only pledge, but you can still date Jesus. He's safe. I think the real problem is this: God isn’t the gentle purity-ring wearing boyfriend who’s going to nervously hold your hand and shyly ask permission for a kiss. You’d better be prepared for something a little more forceful.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Time Keeps Slipping

Just warning you – don’t expect anything profound, deep, or spiritual. So if you’re looking for that, move along. I’m not up to it.

Instead I’m going to write about sex.

Not really. I just couldn’t resist saying that.

But it might crop up later, if you stick around.

The thing is, I have finished season 1 of Torchwood. Give me a sec - don’t stop reading now. You don’t have to be a Torchwood fan. You just have to be willing to let me rattle on for a while. It’s very edifying, and good for my soul. My brain is humming and sparking like it used to do in my college class on postmodern literature, thinking on themes and subtext. In other words, I’m itching to take something from pop culture and give it the sheen of respectability, thus justifying my absurd infatuation with my shiny new TV show.

Dear Husband is not particularly enamored of Torchwood. He has started calling it "Torturewood." He thinks it’s a bit silly and cheesy. From what I can tell, the British have an affection for spectacularly cheesy special effects. I’m willing to go with that. Dear Husband probably would, too, if more people were naked and there was more sex. I can’t really argue against the value of more naked people, particularly a naked John Barrowman, and who's going to balk at more sex? If you are, then you might as well close this right now and go read something serious.

But let it be said that my liking for this series has nothing whatsoever to do with Captain Jack’s unholy good looks or even that adorable gap between Gwen’s two front teeth that I can’t help staring at. But I digress.

I admit season 1 was a bit uneven, and I think we do CGI much better than the Brits. Also, I think they must shoot on videotape, because their shows look more like our soap operas than our TV shows. Some people prefer videotape, but I think our TV shows look more polished and cinematic and those qualities definitely works better for paranormal subject matter, in my opinion. Oh but who cares. So what if a man with a ridiculously fake fish head is driving a car around Cardiff? Everyone seems to be having a jolly good time even if they don’t remove their clothes often enough.

So far I thought the strongest shows involved time travel. It’s hard not to feel for the displaced and confused, such as the characters who flew in from the 1950s and got stuck in the 21st century, where they have to cope with the loss of their families and with the culture shock of their new era. One man, after finding his son in a nursing home and suffering from dementia, gives up. How would you feel if the only part of your child’s life you got to see was the bitter end? He can’t find a way to adapt, and Jack, after an attempt to keep him from suicide, finally sits with him as he dies. I was about ready to weep, except that Jack looks tasty and noble when he’s helping people die.

But even better was the episode in which Captain Jack Harkness (with his colleague Tosh) slips through a time rift into WWII Cardiff and meets the real Captain Jack Harkness, whose identity Jack had assumed.

This episode is just beautiful. For one thing, they got all the period details perfect. The music, the costumes, the set – they’re gorgeous. And the 1940s segments have this delightful warm glow to them.

Jack knows the Captain will die the next day in the line of duty. There’s nothing Jack can do about that, and the more he learns about the Captain, who is an honorable, kind, and courageous leader - and remarkably handsome to boot - the more that hurts. There’s quite a lot going on in this episode. When Tosh asks him how he came to take the Captain’s name, Jack refers to himself as a conman. He won’t say what his actual name is, and he has to make up a fake one on the spot. The Captain is the sort of heroic leader Jack would like to be but isn’t quite. Jack’s life is hidden, a mystery, and now we find that even his name is a lie. He can be loyal, kind and brave but also ruthless and sometimes cruel, willing to kill without hesitation or, it seems, guilt. The episode moves between the 1940s and modern day Cardiff where the rest of the Torchwood team are searching through the now derelict dancehall. Events and time overlap. We see the hall full of happy soldiers and their girls, and then the hall as an abandoned and empty wreck, a reminder of mortality and the cruelty of time.

Now for the sex part. I WAS getting to that. Well, it's not exactly about sex, but if you've got this far you might as well continue.

This episode is known for the kiss between Jack and the Captain, which I have to say was beautifully done and possibly one of the sweetest screen kisses I have ever seen.

(Dear Husband, on the other hand, choked out an irritated “OH GOD” before looking unhappily into the distance. Is this still the typical straight guy reaction? Do straight women get all weird when women kiss? I certainly don’t. Then again I can hit most of the notes on the Kinsey scale so what do I know? Women still seem less squirmy though. Nothing seems to freak out straight men more than male gay intimacy, and then they feel they need to go do something manly, like dismantle a car.)

The final scenes in the dance hall are achingly sad, full of yearning and loss. I was delighted that the Captain asked Jack to dance. So what if no one in their right mind would have done that in a crowded 1940s dance hall full of soldiers? - it serves very well as a symbol of emotional courage and honesty. It costs Jack nothing to love whomever he wishes, but for the Captain, the cost would be very high indeed. He chooses to be honest, while Jack is veiled in layers of deceit. The Captain has broken through Jack’s carefully constructed persona. Jack cares that this man, whose name he took without much thought, will die. When they embrace the dance music fades and is replaced by a more haunting theme. This isn’t simply attraction, or rather the attraction isn’t merely sexual, but a recognition of the other’s truest self and an attempt to hold to that in the face of inevitable loss. I think that final kiss transcended any sort of hip nod to gayness, or the sad knowledge of impending death, and became something transformative or maybe restorative.

I mean, besides being totally hot.

The clip from the BBC is excellent but includes a portion of the scene prior to the one at the dance hall. The dance hall scene starts around 1:04: