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16 March 2007 @ 11:13 pm
I emerge from journalling AWOL with a piece of snark. And yes, it's Jane Eyre geekage. Of an extraordinary sort.

See, I'm not above watching fanvids. Really, folks, in case you haven't noticed, I seriously lack taste. If I like something, I will milk it for every pixel's worth of viewing pleasure, up to and including ridiculous remixes of very familiar footage to a tune. And really, they're not always terrible. Some of them are hi-larious. And sometimes, they're even intentionally so.

I just don't understand making fanvids of period pieces. A lot of it has to do with the obvious clash between the modern music and the historical setting. Especially when the fanvid uses footage of long dialog scenes, stripped of the soundtrack so all you see is their mouths flapping. Now, the BBC ad for the latest Jane Eyre used modern music, but it worked because it was short and dialog was included - and it does what an ad is supposed to do, it throws out juicy bits so you want to see more, and the music adds to that.

Unfortunately, out of morbid curiosity surrounding the obscene number of Jane Eyre fanvids flooding YouTube - and after chickening out once - I watched The Seduction of Jane Eyre, one of those ambitious fanvids that tries to make a point - this one being that Jane and Rochester did the nasty-nasty before she left Thornfield. I didn't think the music was too mind-bendy for me to handle - I've loved Massive Attack's "Angel" since the first time I heard it on the Snatch soundtrack. And despite the utter weirdness of listening to it while watching Toby Stephens broadcast that "tortured rake" smile, I have to give a gold star to the fan creator for good editing. There weren't many stripped-dialog scenes, and the action was always smoothly cut at natural points, while holding the music's beat...after all, editing is difficult, time-consuming and requires skill, perhaps especially so when you're trying to take something that already exists and turn it into something else.

On that subject...so, you take every single kissing scene in that miniseries. Now, string them together and strobe on your most suggestive choice. OMG, HOW DID I NOT SEE IT BEFORE? THERE'S TOTALLY SEX THERE! Actually, a little piece of me died inside.

Okay, that was mean. But the thing is, I think a lot of fan fiction and fanvids spring from the desire to see sexual tension that is not resolved in the original work get its screen/page time. Alright, sometimes it centers around a couple that ultimately end up together, but don't get that WOO BIG KISSY moment (the hordes of Pride and Prejudice spin-offs pre-Knightly/Macfadyen?).

Maybe I'm too much of a hopeless romantic to go in for the pure-porn impulse, but, uh...aren't things sometimes resolved enough? Maybe not in previous adaptations, but in this one it's pretty obvious that Jane and Rochester are going to get married and have lots of passionate blind sex. In fact, they practically get started for you right there. I don't look down my nose people who fantasize about that kind of thing, but to go to all that effort to "prove" something that's already been satisfied by the story? Seems kind of redundant.

But if you're still stuck on YouTube looking for something to waste time, check this out. These kids don't get a gold star for production value, but they do get 12 million points for bad Monty Python accents, minus 11 million for pointless minutes spent watching Bertha sit and be crazy (in fact, just start it at 2:00). The Real Ending of Jane Eyre: "Help yourself. I can't exactly see the tea." Be sure to read the explanation, too. Of course a bunch of guys would make this.
A Supremely Black Tai Affair: abstract - love felt so fine (slodwick)setissma on March 17th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
I think you can sort of interpret Jane Eyre in a very sexual way, though - I hated the book, but I wrote a paper on Jane's definition of love in it, and while I didn't come out and say it, I always privately felt that she couldn't be with St. John because he definitely wasn't enough of a top for her. ;) She really wants to "serve" the man she marries - a point I think carries across in more ways than one. Rochester is interesting, flawed, and kind of sexy in a dark and brooding way, but I was totally never able to see him as a woman's-pleasure-first kind of guy. I think they end up together for the right reasons, and he does love her, but I think they're overshooting it a bit to think he's seducing her (which is what it seems to be trying to imply, though I have to admit I couldn't get all the way through). He wants her, yes, obviously, but I've never thought Rochester was about seduction - more about just taking what he wanted and dealing with the consequences later.
Stasiastasia on March 17th, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
This is an interesting theory. I hadn't thought about it from this perspective before, but I think you're right. She needs someone who's a top.


The next time I re-read Jane Eyre will be very different!

and may myself do nothing usefullytea_and_snark on March 17th, 2007 05:25 am (UTC)
Oh, I almost completely agree - like I said, I didn't understand this music video because it was trying to "construct" something that's already there, i.e. the sexual tension and eventual fulfillment. It's like remixing Pride and Prejudice to imply that Elizabeth accepts Darcy the first time he proposes, just so the viewers get off. They're going to get together anyway, and you're going to see it - so where is the unsatisfied tension that the video is compensating for?

Not sure that Jane's reasons for turning down St. John are entirely sexual, though...just like her reasons for returning to and staying with Rochester weren't entirely sexual, though there were sexual elements in both situations. What crops up in my mind is the part when Jane is turning St. John down - something about "expressing all forms of love" like a wife should, and how that would be unbearable for her. I thought it was pretty clear that meant sex - but I think it's a combination of two things: first, like you believe, that they're not sexually compatible (she doesn't feel attracted to him, or allured by him), and secondly that she can't bring herself to "go through the motions" where love is so conspicuously absent.

And, of course, when Rochester - after Jane's return and the renewal of their attachment - exclaims "We must become one flesh immediately," I don't think he meant it purely in the Biblical sense of kinship.

Now, Toby Stephens as Rochester is a bit more seductive and softened-down than his book counterpart. And, in a way, the elaborate game of parading Blanche Ingram around to make Jane jealous was a kind of seduction. But beyond the sexual tension and weird master/servant stuff, their love actually springs from an equality of spirit - the bond that calls across the moors to Jane - though in the excitement of sexualized readings of the book, that detail can sometimes be left in the dust. She may want to "serve" her husband, but I still think she's a feminist figure because she makes a free choice to serve - she won't be trodden down or compromised, and in serving she does yield a certain power over her partner that balances them out - Rochester is ultimately the dependent, upon Jane's aid and love.
A Supremely Black Tai Affair: abstract - lie together like coatssetissma on March 17th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
I have to admit that I've never spent much time analyzing Jane as a feminist; I was too busy being annoyed over the endless pages where she wanders around the moors and then, spontaneously, finds a cottage! Full of her only relatives in the world that she didn't know existed! Oh bliss! Oh joy! Oh, gag me.
and may myself do nothing usefullytea_and_snark on March 17th, 2007 06:32 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, I can't argue with that. Not to mention the dead uncle she never knew, who left her the inheritance she was never aware of!

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I like the book, but I won't get angry at anyone who simply doesn't. Though I have remarked that people who don't like Jane Eyre are super smelly. I guess it's good we're talking online. :-P
suzycatsuzycat on March 20th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
She spontaneously changes clothes as well. She left in her boring daytime black stuff and woke up on the moors in her black silk (much nicer).