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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Time Capsule: Joe Biden and Quven-zhané

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Quven-zhané Wallis
As I was reading the Sept. 10 Time magazine special convention issue titled “The Democrats,” I was especially drawn to two articles. One is about Vice President Joe Biden and the other is a brief tidbit in The Culture section about the lead character in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Regarding my Delaware homie, Joe Biden:

This is at least the second article I’ve read about Biden that talks about his ability to warm up the crowd and identify with the everyday man and woman. In his article, “Let There Be Joe,” David Von Drehle discusses how Joe’s ability to schmooze with the people compliments Barack Obama’s coolness  -- in other words, the Obama-Biden ticket is well balanced.

Von Drehle writes:

Biden is Dixieland swing, Obama is Miles Davis. Biden's a banana split, Obama is grapefruit sorbet. Biden's a bubble bath, Obama a dip in a Minnesota lake. In the coming campaign for the hearts and minds of America’s remaining undecided voters, the hearts part is Biden’s brief.

No wonder. Biden, who affectionately calls his wife “Jilly,” and gives her all the credit for healing his family after losing his first wife and young daughter in a tragic car accident, seems to genuinely identify with and care for the hearts of Americans. When a woman at a diner said she might just invite him to visit the Walmart where she works, he tells her, “ I’m like a poor relative. I show up if I’m invited.”

And I bet he would. He’d probably even help to bag some of the groceries.

The very description of Beasts of the Southern Wild is enough to make me want to see this highly imaginative film, directed by Benh Zeitlin. Quven-zhané Wallis plays Hushpuppy, a 6-year-old who lives in a fictional town on the Louisiana coast struggling to survive a Katrina-like storm. The levees break and most of the animals die off in this fantasy tale about a girl whose resilience and imagination help her to not only stay alive, but also to save her ailing father and overcome the devastation. The glimpse of poetic voiceover by Wallis draws me even more to this story:

“When all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me, flying around in invisible pieces. Me and my daddy, we stay right here. We who this earth is for.”

Time writer Lily Rothman calls Wallis a breakout star who "could become the youngest actor ever nominated for an Oscar.” I sure would like to see that. I will definitely see this film very soon.

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