Posted by: Mark Nielsen | June 23, 2008

Facebook, Face Time, and the Three Faces of Eve

For those that don’t know your arcane Hollywood film history, The Three Faces of Eve was an odd, but high-quality, 1957 take on mental illness, specifically multiple personality disorder. It starred Joanne Woodward, one of the most underrated actresses of the Baby Boom generation. If I were a film historian, or teaching college (which I may in fact do sometime soon if I get myself together), I might do a unit on the good and bad portrayals of mental illness in film over the years. For example, how many of you have seen the sweet, early Johnny Depp movie Benny and Joon (subject: late teen onset of schizophrenia… not Johnny’s, but Mary Stuart Masterson’s)?

Maybe I’m thinking about Eve and Joon because I recently watched Robert Altman’s Vincent & Theo (1990), about another cuckoo, Vincent Van Gogh and his complicated relationship with his brother Theo. It was depressing and uneven, as many Altman films are, but I liked it nevertheless. Perhaps because I, too, am depressing and uneven.

Depressing, optimistic, whatever. All of the above and more. Therefore I finally put myself out there on facebook, which I think I’ve been avoiding for the past two years in the interest of NOT doing something trendy for once. Conformists like us all have to stake out at least one way to not be a lemming, right? (Same reason I’m not going to drive a hybrid, or probably get tats and piercings… I prefer to display my distinctiveness in what I say and do, not how I look.)

The cool part about facebook though –which, I know, will be stating the obvious for those of you who participate (sorry) — is the prospect of turning up old friends and returning them to New Friend status. Perhaps even friends you didn’t know you had, people you thought had dismissed you in high school as a dope, or nice but irrelevant. That’s the experience I’m having, anyway. Acceptance (or at least tolerance) from unexpected sources.

Still, nothing beats honest face-to-face conversation, like the splendid time that was had by all at the L’Arche Chicago Eighth Anniversary event on Sunday, June 22nd. My friend Spencer Foon was honored, along with State of Illinois disabilities advocate Sheila Romano. Sue and I caught up with old friends, made a few new ones, and just enjoyed the smiling faces of the core members.

Two highlights: Spencer in a suit and tie (it will be another five years before I see that again), and Reba/Sonshine Group pal Ron Polzella looking hale and healthy… and winning a bottle of wine in the raffle! I’ll drink to that, Big Ron.


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