Saturday, August 9, 2008

Whose Story is it Anyway?

He finds me interesting, the photographer, precisely because I am not particularly interesting. He finds my profound average-ness intriguing. His mind is sparked by my simple ignorance.

I think he also likes my sense of humor. My recap of my stand-up routine in which I talked about a sex-toy party I hosted particularly amused him.

I first met him at the dinner. He and a photographer friend/colleague filmed the evening. They filmed all of us. He was at my house a week later, when I met with the group founder and two more group members. I was a bit taken aback when he pulled out a camera and proceeded to film (what the f*ck???), but I let it go.

He is doing something—I am not quite sure what—with the material he filmed. As he was leaving the meeting at my house, he mentioned a documentary. He wants to feature me. He said so at the end of the meeting at my house. I demurred. "I am not particularly interesting". "But that is what makes you interesting" was his reply.

I let it go; on the basis that there was nothing to worry about until there is something to worry about.

Two days ago, there was an email in my mailbox. "I hope you remember me. Please send me your phone number. I would like to talk to you about continuing filming".

It was official. There was now something to worry about.

Or, at the very least, to be disturbed about. If only I could figure out precisely what was disturbing! I simply could not put my finger on it. It certainly was not that featuring me would be violation of my privacy. I mean, I have gone on speaking tours in three continents. I have a public, non-anonymous blog. When it comes to the bombing and anything even remotely related to the same, I have done a pretty good job of raping and pillaging my privacy all by myself. Just call me a poor, sad, heroic, exhibitionist victim of terror®.

Nonetheless, there was something wrong....

Is it that this would make me look like a publicity hound? See above. I have already done a pretty good job of that on my own.

Is it that I disagreed with his politics? No. I had not the foggiest idea what his politics are. Well, that is not true. I could guess. But I never discussed them with him so I could not honestly say that I disagreed.

Is it....? Oh hell. נמאס לי כבר. I was sick of this. I did not know what it was. I decided not to respond. "If I ignore him long enough", I reasoned, "maybe he will go away".

(When it comes to strategies for dealing with unpleasant and difficult tasks and decisions, I am particularly fond of avoidance).

Today, I went biking. For ten hours. Apart from being in charge of avoiding cars on the road and big rocks, gravel and sand off the road, my mind really had very little in the way of responsibilities. It was bored. It started to think. It drifted. It (for some inexplicable reason) happened on "To Die on Jerusalem". It started to toy with it, like a cat with a dead mouse.

Suddenly, the answer happened.

I started my blog because I wanted to finally tell my story, without having to worry about taking into account anyone else's needs or expectations. But I have given away my story before. I know the drill. Once I let someone else tell my story, use my story, direct my story, mold my story… it is not my story anymore. It is someone else's story. It is whatever he wants to make of it and however he wants to cut and shape and paste it. I am whatever he wants to make of me. I will support his agenda, whatever that may be and whether I agree with it or not.


When I got home, before I showered, before I napped (but after I ate—there is a limit to everything, after all) I wrote him back.

"I am sorry, but I am really not interested in being in your film".


Unknown said...

Shakespeare wrote, "To thine own self be true".
As good advice as I've ever heard.

Anonymous said...

Good for you. The whole thing was a way to generate pro-Palestinian propaganda in the first place.

That is why I was so surprised that you associated with the group to begin with. You are very savvy and the comments you made showed it.

Baila said...

I think you are so right. It's your story and no matter how much you trusted someone else to tell it, they still won't tell it they way YOU do (Pro-Palestinian, Right wing, left wing, whatever).

If you wanted it filmed in some way, you are probably talented and resourceful enough to do it on your terms.

TEN HOURS on a bike??? I'm very impressed.

Anonymous said...

What Baila said!

Anonymous said...

TEN HOURS on a bike??? I'm very impressed

So am I

If you're ever in my neck of the woods (almost literally, I almost do live in the woods...) and need a caffeine or whatever fix, you're welcome, I'll "ride you in" (as in I'll go out on my bike, and show you the way, no innuendoes intended).

you have my mail still?

Rony and Talia said...

I'm with Baila too. את לא מייבת לאף אחד שום דבר. Other than yourself, that is.

Oh, and if Ellie reads your blog, HI ELLIE!!!

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Oh drat. And from the teaser I saw in Google reader I thought it was going to be about a DATE.

Don't let anyone twist you Gila - I like the way you twist yourself. :)

Anonymous said...

I am glad that you are standing with your people and against those who will exploit your injury to make pro-Palestinian propaganda.

I doubt you will be attending any more of these gatherings.

Well, now if anyone asks you to participate in one of these things and you decline, and then they say you don't know what it will be like until you go, you can say you went.

Gila said...

Quietus--Well said...

Annonymous and Ted--actually, I have every intention of continuing to do group activities. I just am not willing to allow someone else to use my experiences towards his own goals. I have my own agenda! As Yehe put it--I am quite capable of twisting myself. For that matter, I am not clear as to whether the movie is a "group" movie or this guy's individual project.

Baila/ Tafka/ Taltalk: oh, yofi, you get it!

Asher-will send you an email--need to find out where your woods are so I can visit. I need to work on my off-road skills.

Yehe--so well said that I quoted you.

RivkA with a capital A said...


Rabbi Avi Weiss, whenever he is interviewed, simply repeats the same answer over and over again, no matter what the question.

He knows what he wants reported, and if that is all he gives them, then that is all they have to report.

He controls the story.

It takes a certain finesse.

It is so easy to be taken in by reporters/filmmakers/etc. They ask complicated questions, we do our best to answer them, then they pick out the bit they want to use and quote us completely out of context.

oh, yeah, and about that 10K, let me just say... WOW!

Anonymous said...

Why would you want to continue meeting with Palestinians when you know it's all going to be filmed?

After all didn't you say there were two people that night filming things?

Surely you see the agenda this whole group is about and it is very anti Israeli.

Gila said...

Anti-Israeli? Where did you get that idea? Because the group is trying to achieve peace through non-violent means?

In respect to the views of the documentary maker...

1) I did not ask him what his views are. Some members of the group are very left wing, but others are quite right wing. I am assuming that he is left wing, but I could be wrong.

2) Left-wing and anti-Israel and/or Self-hating Jew are not mutually inclusive. You may think differently, but that is your opinion. IT IS NOT MINE. I know left-wingers who are proud Jews and proud Israelis who love their country. I know right-wingers who hate most everyone.

3) My problem was not that my experience would be used to support views that I do not agree with. I very well might agree with his views. My problem was that there was an element of risk involved. Whatever I support or do not support, I should be in control over exactly what message I am communicating.

Ahuva said...

*hugs* You are in control of your own story. I'm glad that it's going to stay that way.