Santa Evita

3Teri McGrath

This is long, ill-informed, brain-spraying. I’m putting it here because y’all know me.

Terry Gresham and I are reading a book called Santa Evita, about “Evita,” the mummified corpse and all the trouble it caused. It’s pretty great. I think we have to take another road trip to get back to it.

It’s a lot about the way our whole world is just made up of stories. She was a living piece of art, in a way, because she was subject to interpretation, and then when she died she was turned into the literal embodiment of a bunch of conflicting ideas. All of the stories of what she was were told by other people–she was a whore or she was a saint. I haven’t done any research. I just saw this play a couple times when I was a kid, and Terry read me part of a book. So basically I have an idea of what Evita is in my head that is just for me, and she was a bad ass. She was deeply powerful. Maybe she had an understanding of all those narratives and she used them to shape her as much as she shaped them. The tangible power she was born with was nothing at all. In fact, I feel like the preservation and display of her corpse by her husband–even though, according to the author of the book we’re reading, she had asked that NO ONE look at her dead body except her mother–is the ultimate symbol of how women are used by men in our culture as objects, as idols, etc. But it’s also the ultimate symbol of the real, deep, earth-shaking, untouchable and uncontrollable power that she possessed.

I don’t know. Obviously I haven’t thought all of this out. I’m just putting it down here. I guess this is what it is. The author says a lot about the distance between reality and story…or basically the non-existence of any reality that isn’t a story. And I’m trying to connect that to the idea of power. All of the power we perceive is also story. It’s a story told by the people who have power, and, most crucially, it’s the story we agree to believe. One benefit of recognizing this is that we can use those stories to shape the whole world. And the other benefit of recognizing that our world is a bunch of stories is that we can walk right through whatever narrative we presented with as if it is a program on the Enterprise holodeck. It can mean everything, or it can mean nothing. It is up to us.

I do think of my life as a narrative. I imagine the A&E biography of myself and what I hope people will say about my quirks, flaws and powers. Plus, I have facebook. so I can always make up stories about me and other people. Evita would have been great on twitter.

Español: Juan Domingo Perón y Eva Duarte, en o...

Español: Juan Domingo Perón y Eva Duarte, en octubre de 1950 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The author of the book we’re reading says that she was in a contest with Peron to love each other more, and she won, and that was part of her power. Something like that. He said they worked all of the time. It seems clear that she eclipsed him, especially in terms of how much the people loved her, but that’s because she wielded her love as a tool. She recognized it as power, and it was real. I don’t know what was up with him, but I assume he was pretty in love with her. It’s a cool story. I think she wanted to be loved and useful, and that is what drove her. I think we’re probably all driven by that, but maybe actors and other performers have come to more direct terms with it. It would probably be good for us all to do that. To think, “What can I do to make the world love me.” lol

So, say she recognized Peron as her next lover, and the next step up whatever ladder she was climbing. I don’t see a problem with that. Especially since she was moved up that ladder by love and a desire to be loved. They both made each other great. I don’t see a better reason to be in a relationship. And–I guess people say she “slept he way to the top,” but in my version of her, she loves her way to the top. I don’t think she had a magical vagina. I think she was good at loving men and being loved. She was real and beautiful.

That’s probably the biggest reason rich people hated her. The values and aesthetics of the world of the very rich is such horrible bullshit. The worst thing she proves to them is that nothing sets them apart from the rest of the “rabble” except vanity and brutality. They wanted love, too, but they probably figured they were too horrible to deserve it. I’m guessing that’s how it feels to be super rich.

I don’t know anything about how they ruled, btw. I haven’t gotten to that part in the book yet. So don’t tell me.

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1 Comment

Filed under books

One response to “Santa Evita

  1. Terry M Gresham

    Reblogged this on okieprogressive.

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