Skip to main content

"Then You Get the Haze Coat"

Image result for Peggy Orenstein

Funny Story. SLATE recently ran an interview with Peggy Orenstein, the author of GIRLS AND SEX, a meditation on the messages young women, especially educated young women from at least relatively affluent backgrounds, receive from popular culture today.

At one point in the interview, Orenstein is commenting on how mainstream Hollywood movies -- not porn, not even necessarily R rated movies -- treat sex. There's a standard scene in many romcoms where the male and female protagonists rip half of each other's clothes off, then they have (under covers) simulated sex for a few seconds, then the point has been made and the movie moves on.

Orenstein then says, "maybe 30, 40 years ago, that shorthand would have been seen less often. Probably, actually, you wouldn’t have seen it at all. You would have seen kissing, and then you get the Hays Code or whatever."

Or at least that's what she tried to say. Here's the funny bit. In the first transcription of this interview on SLATE, the final phrase there read, "Then you get the haze coat or whatever."

I love it. Whoever did the transcription job: good work. Yes, you probably hadn't heard of the "Hays Code," i.e. the Hollywood production code in place from 1934 well into the 1960s dictating, for example, that a man and woman couldn't be seen sharing a bed together. (They could be seen sitting on a bed together, but each had to have at least one foot on the floor.) No kisses could last for more than three seconds. And so on. You probably hadn't heard of the "Hays Code," transcriber friend. No harm.

What you did was turn what you heard on the tape into a neat and evocative phrase for the kind of unfocused fuzziness that Hollywood sometimes does use to cover two lovers, as the early stage of a fade-to-black.  The "haze coat." I like it.


Popular posts from this blog

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…

Hume's Cutlery

David Hume is renowned for two pieces of cutlery, the guillotine and the fork.

Hume's guillotine is the sharp cut he makes between "is" statements and "ought" statements, to make the point that the former never ground the latter.

His "fork" is the division between what later came to be called "analytic" and "synthetic" statements, with the ominous observation that any books containing statements that cannot be assigned to one or the other prong should be burnt.

Actually, I should acknowledge that there is some dispute as to how well or poorly the dichotomy Hume outlines really maps onto the analytic/synthetic dichotomy. Some writers maintain that Hume meant something quite different and has been hijacked. Personally, I've never seen the alleged difference however hard they've worked to point it out to me.

The guillotine makes for a more dramatic graphic than a mere fork, hence the bit of clip art above.

I'm curious whe…