I saw “Hidden Figures”

Here is a picture of my dogs sleeping.

What I saw: “Hidden Figures,” a movie, at a local theater in Mt. K.

What I did beforehand: riding lesson. Bacon and eggs. Dog walk. Watched my husband polish his shoes. Kissed the Bacon Provider goodbye (again). Sewing. Bought a ticket online so I wouldn’t be too lazy to go.


What I wore: very dirty jeans. Snow boots. Two coats. Mittens and scarf.

Who went with me: about 50 white people and 2 African Americans.

How I got tickets: online, a few hours before.

Why I saw this show: because my friend H. said to.

Where I sat: towards the front, right behind the only people of color.


Things that were sad: I sometimes remember not to be a completely disagreeable person. But generally speaking if you want me to stay away from a movie, tell me it’s inspiring. I believe this is not a movie about exemplary women doing exceptional things. I believe this is a movie about black women saving everyone’s asses and never getting credit.

Things that were not funny: did the women whose careers at NASA were dramatized in this film start a new, great tradition of American female engineers and mathematicians? No. No, through no fault of their own, they did not. Women were still underrepresented in the sciences when I tried to get a PhD in math in the mid 1980s, when I couldn’t get a female professor as a mentor because there weren’t any. Yes, we have female astronauts now (since about 1978), and people of color do become engineers, but it didn’t stop one of my master’s examination board from (successfully) getting me to crack  during my orals, and it didn’t dissaude the President of Harvard from saying publicly that under-representation of female scientists at elite universities may stem in part from “innate” differences between men and women (and not only did he never have to take it back, his career continued to flourish). Things are better, but they aren’t good.

Things that were funny: straight talk about Jim Crow laws.

Something I ate: popcorn.

What it is: a likable story about NASA in the 1960s, racism, the failures of white feminists, misogyny, and how technology destroys middle class jobs.

Who should see it: people who need to forget about a real or imagined episode involving urine, Russian women, the president-elect, and a hotel room; space buffs, math nerds, engineering enthusiasts, middle school social studies teachers, chalkboard fanciers, arithmetic fanatics, movie fiends, car-stuck girl junkies, NASA nuts, aficionados of scenes of women running in high heels. 


What I saw on the way home: I stopped for pho and bubble tea to take home to 19. There was a football game on the TV. A guy was sitting with his dad, their table crowded with plates, introducing him to Vietnamese food. He asked the waiter for the yellow sauce. It took the guy behind the counter a couple of tries before he found the yellow sauce the guy wanted. “What’s it called?” he asked. “So I know next time.”

“Fish sauce,” was the answer.
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