I have been in Paris for a few days and yesterday, sunday May 26, I carefully avoided to cross path with a huge demonstration against the new law allowing gay marriage in France. I really don’t get it. For decades there has not been a soul in French churches, yet this law garners against it a considerable amount of folks, who see gay marriage as an unbearable cultural change shaking “French” values at their core. Ondine Millot and Willy Le Devin in Libération reported that entire families from all over France came to the the demonstration in Paris, claiming for the children of France “traçabilité.” Translation: the same way people want to know the where and how of a good, children do want to trace “real”origins in their making and a “kosher” upbringing, that is they want a “real” father -a man- and a “real” mother- a woman- as they grow up.
Really? When I thought of this “traçabilité” business today, I could not help connecting the dots with the movie “What Maisie Knew” (directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel) which I saw some three weeks ago in New York. To me it’s not exactly the brilliant piece that some have said, but the movie makes its point in a very sensitive way. Maisie is a little girl whose parents divorce. Mum (Julianne Moore) is a rock singer, dad (Steve Coogan) is a wealthy English businessman. They nastily fight over Maisie’s custody, most of all because they want to deprive the other one from Maisie. Interestingly enough, the story takes place in New York State and Maisie’s parents end up with shared custody, on a ten-day periods rotation. A long, long time ago, joint-custody must have existed in New York State, at least for rich folks.
In any case, mum and dad are careless parents, and one happens to seriously fear for Maisie, especially when she has to change hands. Fortunately, rock star mum has gotten a boyfriend and busy businessman dad has remarried. Willy-nilly both new partners of Maisie’s parents have to cope with their mistakes and get to care for Maisie. Punchline: at the end of the movie, Maisie ends up with her accidental step parents in a beach house somewhere, because once more, mum did not pick her up on time. As she finally arrives, Maisie tells mum she wants to stay with the couple who really cares for her and not go with her.
I remember leaving the theater wondering if my girls would acknowledge me as their father, even after all these years without seeing them. Incidentally, I happen to be their biological father and straight. But truly, one could care less.