Part 1: A Complaint
Will someone ever do justice to the 12-step way of life?! Film-makers, please get a real consultant from an authentic AA group? Your advisors portray AA as sentimental and ineffectual when it is the most advanced spiritual liberation technology ever clarified!!!
Yes, I'm talking to you, too, our beloved Ava Duvernay; Darla's sponsor in Queen Sugar comes off as a worried co-dependent. In "A Star is Born" there are myriad travesties: the interruption of the 12-step meeting to defer to a celebrity, the pseudo-sponsor's (?) superficial chat at rehab, the failure to really listen to and hear the story of Jackson's boyhood suicide attempt, the shabby amends to Jackson's brother and Ally...
Jackson was sober when the manager's insidious lie corroborated, verified, justified his self-hate. With alcoholism untreated, his obsessive mind compelled him to believe the words were true. He's tortured, gritting his teeth in their final encounter on the bed; he kills himself in the delusion that he is making a decision, rather than simply powerless over alcoholism - operative sober or drunk. Booze is a solution, NOT the problem.
Part 2: Addiction
"For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long." (Psalm 32:3)
One beauty of the movie is Ally's gritty understanding of the disease as a disease, stemming from her father's alcoholism. However, she sees the "splinter in Jackson's eye" (his alcoholism) and Jackson sees "the splinter in hers" (her sell out) but both fail to see "the log in their own."
"...first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7:5)
Wait... Ally wasn't an addict...
Really? Or do we just have compassion, forgiveness, and some genuine enthusiasm for her addiction since there is no pants-pissing but rather a case of "wow! our beloved down-to-earth, super-talented friend is making it big-time!" (yes to scenes with trannies and on the private plane before the "deal!")
Didn't Ally make a deal with the devil? Jackson saw it and after futile attempts to wave red flags, surrendered to the mask of wanting it for her. I kept waiting for her to see it but got caught up in the "yippee" of her adrenaline-soaked ride to the "dream."
Kalamu ya Saleem talks about getting into and being in the "hustle" of the music business in "Be About Beauty."
"Even when we can't win, even when the deck is stacked and our getting hustled is a foregone conclusion, even then, if we don't play, we're worse off than if we play and lose. in the long run, our only chance is to play, to keep on losing until we win, because if we don't play, for sure we will never win." - page 112.
So we love Ally because she plays; she relishes theatricality, is no snob about being in the mix. She came up for air a bit when nixing the dancers and questioning the hair but ultimately went under. Wouldn't we all? After all, the devil proclaims "no choice" if going for the prize to which only he knows the route on the narrow highway.
Ally belts out the final song - tragedy elevating her to even greater celebrity. (Maybe the disease dances when its victims bleed so beautifully.) The aftermath includes facing (or not) a paradigm implanted long before Jackson "discovered" her. We hear and cuddle up to it in poppa bear's pride: so so sweet. Truly.
Or maybe she realized the price she paid before she sang and therefore reaches beyond the "shallow" to a deeper more womanly authentic place. "Yup I sold out but I truly did love the man and we truly did love one another. Innocent. I plead innocence then... but am awake now. Was blind but now I see."
Alcoholism is real and everyone, no exceptions, has some form of addiction.
The Bible calls it "sin."
Let's live life, love, get in the mix, but not delude ourselves that we are above a "hustle" - yes even with God, even while living in the 12 steps with one foot in the 4th dimension, one foot, generally fast asleep, is always here on Earth.