On movies, morals, and reading cards

Jean Harlow in “Red Dust”, 1932


Greetings from puritanical America, where Europe has been dumping her religious fanatics for centuries and gay marriage is actually considered controversial in entirely too many circles. If you’re a card reader, you might be more enlightened than most – we’re fringe people, after all, and tend to be more accepting towards people of different sexual orientations, races, and religions other than Christianity. But sadly, there’s narrow-mindedness in the community, as well. First I’d like to talk about movies, though. There’s a reason for this. 😉 Read on:

We probably all grew up watching old movies, and movies made between 1934 and 1968 were made during the enforcement of the Hays Code. The Hays Code, if by some chance you don’t know of it, was a puritanical list of things that weren’t allowed in movies, like race mixing, lampooning clergy, and “excessive or lustful kissing”. Any behavior deemed to be immoral had to be presented in an unsympathetic manner, and the characters had to be punished, which made these movies utterly predictable for the most part. You knew that any “immoral” character would be dead or jailed by the end of the movie. It didn’t matter if it was a psycho killer or just someone stepping out on their spouse, they were doomed.

Pre-Code, however, tells another story. Sometimes things caught up with people, sometimes not. A lot like real life. The characters are usually well drawn, and you can often sympathize with them and the things they do. Marlene Dietrich cheats on her husband and goes on the lam with her little boy in Blonde Venus (1932), but you can see WHY. You WANT her to make it, and if she’d ended up dead or jailed at the end, it would be too depressing to ever watch a second time. Good people can do bad things if they have good reasons.


Sometimes people have to make a buck.

Same with Jean Harlow, there at the top of this post. In Red Dust she’s got a heart of gold, and she lands Gable in the end, even though she was hooking in Saigon prior to that. I’m not sure what my all-time favorite movie ending is, Harlow landing Gable at the end of “Red Dust”, or Harlow landing Gable at the end of “China Seas”. 😀 In “Red Headed Woman” (also 1932), on the other hand, she has NO heart, wrecks a marriage, attempts to kill a man, has multiple affairs and uses sex simply to get ahead. In the end, she’s got a filthy rich old husband in Paris and a young lover. She’s neither dead nor jailed. Sometimes things happen that way. The movie is hilarious though, one of those things you have to see to appreciate.


So what the hell is all this doing on the card blog, you ask? Very simple. Chances are the movies you grew up with were code. Very old movies have always been hard to catch without putting some effort into tracking them down. If you don’t hunt for them, you probably won’t see many, if any at all. How many hours have you spent watching code movies? What you see again and again gets ground into your head, and you have to do a little housecleaning from time to time by thinking about it rationally. (And I know this well, I grew up in TEXAS, and I’m there now. I do a LOT of reflecting and brain-cleaning. 😛 ) There’s lot of moralizing by otherwise good people in online card reading groups. It’s AUTOMATICALLY assumed that the married guy somebody’s asking about IS JUST USING HER FOR SEX AND DOES NOT CARE, that the Snake is the OTHER WOMAN, that naturally poly people are ASSHOLES, and the world is full of DIRTY BIRDIES WHO MUST BE STOPPED. Sounds like a code movie to me. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a nice person – that stuff is for harpies who snoop in their mens’ cell phones, not you! Don’t fall in with that kind of thinking. The world is more complex than that. The CARDS are more complex than that – read them and see what they say, don’t twist them to what the current, dry Bible-thumper culture would have you say.


If you don’t do that kind of stuff (and a lot of you don’t, you’re awesome) just do the world a favor and don’t let it go unremarked if you see it, OK? Thanks.


If you go pro, you’re going to get all kinds of clients and you won’t approve of everything they’re doing. But the fact is, they’re consenting adults and it’s their business, so it’s key for us to keep our personal standards for ourselves and read their cards. If they wanted a sermon, they could get that easily enough without paying for it. They called YOU and spilled their guts to a stranger. Maybe they have good reasons for the things they’re doing. Maybe not. I’ve had a few who were so dishonest and oblivious to others feelings that I felt kind of repelled, but most are just very human, and for the purpose of reading cards, it doesn’t really matter.


The world is kind of like pre-code movies, and nothing like all those code movies that got ground into our heads at an early age. And this is a GOOD thing. 😉 Now loosen up, you’ll feel better. I leave you with the most incomparably expressive actress of all time, Miss Clara Bow:

“Hot sox – give me HIM!”

9 responses »

  1. Brilliant indeed! Sharing mt fb comment on repost here too: Fennario calls a spade – spade… enjoy her razor sharp tongue (i must add though, that some of Europe’s countries, mine among them, has kept all its fundies… anyone, please have them, we’d be most obliged to you ;))

  2. Pingback: Queen of Wands as a Second Wave Feminist | moderndayruth

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