Noah, Martha Stewart and Dressing for the Apocalypse

I'm a huge fan of and regularly load inexpensive audio books into my shopping cart to listen to while driving. While some books are duds, most are pretty good and I expose myself to a much wider range of material than I'd typically read. Recently, I finished listening to The Best of Friends: Martha and Me. The book is written by Mariana Pasternak, Martha Stewart's former best friend and witness for the prosecution in the stock trading trial that landed the domestic diva in jail. The book is riveting, not only because it provides a fascinating glimpse into the rarified life of Martha and her people, but also because Pasternak is such an unreliable narrator. Sometimes she is almost unbearable in her narcissism and other times you cannot help but cheer for the single mother who, after fleeing Romania, came to live the American dream. Mainly, I thought that she and Martha deserved one another as friends.

The book makes me bitter. It is sooo unfair that cousin Sharkey gets to travel by jet. 

At the end of the story, I found myself hitting repeat on one of the tracks. After the dramatic ups and downs of Mariana's life, she takes stock of what she has learned:
The real worth of a life cannot be measured by its mortar or its materials. The real worth of a life is best assessed by the pain one feels upon that life's undoing, and the lengths one will go to gather all the pieces, join the joists, and, relying part of prayer, part on muscle, and mostly on love, resurrect the roof.  
I just love this and have had it rolling through my brain for the last two weeks. I love that Pasternak knows that, at some point, everyone's life will come undone. Because I've learned this to be true. And I love that she recognizes that the natural instinct is to rebuild that life: to gather the pieces, join the joists and resurrect the roof. And I think she says it all so beautifully.

But what Pasternak does not ask is what happens when the life that is lost is not worth salvaging. What if you decide, instead, to scatter those pieces, pocketing a few gems and leaving the rest behind? What if the original plans no longer make sense? What then?

This weekend I saw Darren Aronofsky's Noah, which is film that is, in some ways, about doing exactly that: scattering the pieces, ripping up the plans, and building something new. In Noah's mind, God did not want to put together the pieces of a broken world. He wanted to eradicate it and build something new: tabula rasa, save for the animals and the only seemingly-incorruptible family on earth. Whether this was the right interpretation provides the film's dramatic tension.

To be clear, the film is, in the sound assessment of Bruxy Cavey at The Meeting House, wacky. I spent half the film going like, 'whoa, did they have rebar back then?' and 'hmm, who'd have thunk that robotic rock monsters played such a significant role in the flood story." I know that Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel pulled a lot from extracanonical texts like the Book of Enoch, but to me it's midrashery on meth. As a person who, in Engage the Fox, is using forest creatures to illustrate a Jungian-influenced approach to business decision making, I'm not in any position to judge out-there thinking at all. I think that their interpretation of scripture is creative and thought-provoking. But it's wacky. I would not bring a young Sunday School class to see it as a first go at the story but, frankly, I'm not sure a complicated story of genocide to explain God's love for his people is better handled by singing about building the arky, arky either.

The film is also disturbing. I used to be a big fan of Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream, so I should have prepared myself better by consulting the parents' guide. I found one scene in particular very disturbing and it bugs me that I can no longer go to a movie without being triggered. Even Captain America, which I also saw this weekend, had my heart elevated at one point (it was only a scene of someone running out of options in spite of valiant attempts to keep fighting, but it was disturbing to me.) I spent many years of my life enjoying all types of film and I'm now limited to the tween movies on Family. It's not a bad thing but it's a different thing. And it speaks to Pasternak's quote: sometimes the house cannot be rebuilt; sometimes the foundation is too damaged. Sometimes the house should not be rebuilt: a better solution awaits. In both cases, better to build anew.

On the lighter side, Jennifer Connelly keeps looking better and better. And I love what she wore as Noah's long-suffering wife:

Michael Wilson did the costuming and I loved this article about lead textile artist Matt Reitsma over at Tyranny of Style. It might be my dour frame of mind of late but I'd seriously buy from this collection. I love organic materials and one needs to look good in case of the apocalypse.

The always delicious Rick Owens makes a nice RTW version:

I'm finally able to get some of my spring pieces out. One of my favourite pieces is this ancient suede Banana Republic shirt jacket. It's the most Coachella piece I own (my hair stylist is going to see Lana Del Rey and the gang there and I'm deeply jealous.) I was able to pull out my Tod's boots too without fear of breaking my head on the ice covered sidewalks.

Well, I have another week of busy busy. It's good. The busier I am, the healthier I become. Serena, in the meantime is working on her yoga headstands and thinking about a new article for her fashion column.

Have a great week.


  1. Love this post! We are hitting Captain America later this week - will keep an eye out to stay grounded, though for some godforsaken reason I am hooked on GoT and spend half of the time watching with my eyes closed as I abhor gratuitous violence. Yes - I do have issues!

    I will actually read this book after hearing about it from you. I recall the story of the trial and will be curious to see it from another perspective.

    You look smashing! I actually took the plunge and did my spring shopping in one fell swoop and now must cease being lazy and take some pictures, but it has been so wretched there has been little enthusiasm.

    Tell Serena that Indy thinks she looks swank!

  2. The Noah movie is getting lots of buzz and doing gangbusters at the box office. Busier is healthier is right although our Serena does the 'lady of leisure' quite well.

  3. For some reason, I have no desire to see Noah. Am curious about the book though. Not a Martha fan but do think she pissed off the wrong people and should not have been sent to jail. Puppy looks quite content :)


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