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Films >> Rose, The (1979) >>

1) Janis in some sense was the great unrecognized protest singer of the 1960s. No, Janis was not singing explicit protest songs. But in her voice, what people heard was somebody who was refusing the status quo. (Echols, qtd. in Sydell)

2) Playing is just about feeling. It isn't necessarily about misery, it isn't about happiness. It's just about letting yourself feel all those things you already have inside of you but are trying to push aside because they don't make for polite conversation or something. But if you just get up there -- that's the only reason I can sing. Because I get up there and just let all those things come out. (Joplin, qtd. in Sydell)

3) Joplin gradually evolved a philosophy and life-style that focused on ecstasy, either of joy or of sorrow. This raw emotionalism found its natural base in sex, booze, drugs, and any other “intoxicating” experience she could discover. (David Emblige 341)

4) The tragedy of the diva is not that she falls apart at the height of her career, or that she becomes irrelevant, but that she can only fall apart at the height of her career, or become irrelevant, because we cannot, will not, imagine a viable alternative ending to her story. The diva serves as a microcosm of cultural attitudes toward women more generally, of fundamentally misogynist response to female ambition and success, save that which falls within the rigid narrative of capricious triumph for a handful of exceptional women. (Melissa Bradshaw 71)

5) Magnetized by the crowd, impelled by the relentless pounding beat of the music, one is then drawn in out on the floor. Here there is a feeling of total immersion: one is inside the mob, inside the skull, inside the music, which comes from all sides, buffeting the dancers like a powerful surf. Strangest of all, in the midst of this frantic activity one feels supremely alone; and this aloneness produces a giddy sense of freedom, even of exultation. (Goldman 344.)

6) It was not the draft alone that spawned the unrest that would change the way America behaved at home -- and the United States behaved abroad -- not only in 1968, but also for twenty years afterward. It was the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and marijuana and LSD and a thousand other things besides our vulnerability to the war that gave us that fleeting sense of ourselves as a generation apart, a generation with a mission. Certainly our opposition to the war was rooted in self-interest – or, more precisely, self-preservation – but it was the best example of enlightened self-interest in our time. (Kaiser, xxv)

7) Joplin was a new kind of aggressive female singer who became a unique rock superstar and inadvertently a feminist heroine by crossing gender lines and raising gender issues. (Jerry Rodnitzky 8)

8) By framing Joplin, that quintessential symbol of both 1960's rock-and-roll culture and feminist rebelliousness, through the diva narrative, with its formulaic destruction of the ambitious woman, the film gets to reimagine Joplin as appropriately punished for her strength, her ambition and her gender. (Melissa Bradshaw 74)

9) Like other popular arts, rock helps to generate a “new” aesthetic attitude, grounded in a sensibility less politically prejudicial about the sources and uses of artist's materials and about the size and socioeconomic character of audiences. This sensibility emphasizes uninhibited sexuality, intense sensory experience, and the value of intuitive, nonrational understanding. The rock styles of the late sixties illustrate some contrasting ways in which rock musician express this sensibility. (David Emblige 351)

10) [Lillian] Roxon thought that Joplin sometimes looked homely and sometimes looked beautiful, and that she “taught America that beauty didn't have to be a constant, it could ebb and flow and surprise you by being there one minute and not the next.” For Roxon and countless others, Joplin “personified the new woman -- blunt, straightforward, honest, unfettered, impatient, and brave.” (Lillian Roxon, qtd. in Rodnitzky 11)

11) She [Joplin] concluded that “there's no patent on soul. You know how that whole myth of black soul came up? Because white people don't allow themselves to feel things. Housewives in Nebraska have pain and joy; they've got soul if they give in to it. It's hard. And it isn't all a ball when you do.” (David Emblige 342)

12) We [society] crave the slippage between representation and autobiographical confession. The Rose examines our investment in this suffering on a number of registers as it self-consciously engages the myths of the diva. But the film takes this aggression to another level, punishing not just one woman but, through her [Rose], all women for the excesses of a decade in which women demanded political, sexual, and artistic autonomy as their just due. (Melissa Bradshaw 74)

13) She [Joplin] was a casualty, in part, of the war between the sexes. Ironically, she was a victim of sexism within a sexual revolution that she helped fuel. (Jerry Rodnitzky 8)

14) There are those who would like us to forget the Sixties, because they have not forgotten it, and the memory frightens them. It was a time of rebellion, defiance of authority, acting out hopes and dreams. It was a time of reconsidering the way we lived, the way we behaved toward people in this country and abroad. (Zinn in Morgan, ix)

15) The Doors think of themselves -- as their name signifies -- as the means or channel through which their audience passes from ignorance to knowledge, from ordinary consciousness to ecstasy, from control and inhibition to revolt and freedom. (Goldman 361)

16) Joplin hated boredom more than anything. Probably in one sense the intensity of her commitment to ecstasy as the core of her life-style was a reflection of her loneliness and the pressing need she felt to escape that pain. (David Emblige 342)

17) Her incredible rise signaled America's move away from the rigid categories of postwar culture, but it also, and above all testified to her extraordinary talent. . . . In a nation coming out of the fifties, Janis's unapologetic sexuality proved irresistible, especially to the reporter's whom she supplied an endless stream of outrageous copy. Janis likened performance to orgasm, swore like a sailor, and dressed like a psychedelicized hooker. Forget beachheads – Janis was like an invading army, seizing that rock 'n' roll land of desires in a way that no white woman ever had. (Echols xvi)

18) Of all the phenomenon of the Sixties, few were more widely feared and loathed by mainstream America than the counterculture. Longhairs, "mod" Edwardian costumes, public nudity, uninhibited sexuality, passing the joint, flower children, shabby dress, dropping acid, the Love Generation, communes, rock festivals, Eastern mysticism, group marriage, street theater, light shows, open form poetry, be-ins, underground papers, speed freaks, bumming around the country, acid rock, free clinics, and cooperatives – all were manifestations of a distinct culture that emerged from the creative, prefigurative politics of the young and retreated from a violent American society that seemed beyond redemption. (Morgan169)

19) I don't know if this is grossly insensitive of me, and it may well be, but like the black man's blues is based on the have not. I got the blues because I don't have my baby, I got the blues because I don't have the quarter for a bottle of wine, I got the blues because they won't let me stay in that bar. Well you know I'm a middle class white chick from a family that would love to send me to college and I didn't wanna. I had a job, I didn't dig it, I had it real easy and then one day I realized it in a flash sitting in a bar, that it wasn't an uphill incline that one day was going to be all right, it was your whole life. You'd never touch that fucking carrot, man, that's what the Kozmic Blues are. (David Emblige 343)

20) Getting Janis clean – of drugs, booze, and self-inflicted pain – could only be achieved by dislodging her feeling of being deeply unloved and unlovable. Methadone and a month's worth of counseling wouldn't have done it -- only great discipline, support, and self-reflection would have. The world she moved in encouraged her addictions, with its commitment to living on the edge and beyond limits -- its dedication to recklessness as a matter of principle. (Echols, 302)

21) Janis was not a card-carrying member of any feminist group, nor did she lend support to specific feminist campaigns. Her feminist influence was indirect and subtle, but also powerful and long-lasting. Joplin did have a clear stake in feminist issues. (Jerry Rodnitzky 8)

22) Feminists were quick to confess that they had been taken in by rock music because it had challenged the status quo. (Jerry Rodnitzky 8)

23) Sixties movements were grounded in a democratic vision that is as compelling today as it was then: a belief that all people should be full members of society, that individuals become empowered through meaningful social participation, and that politics ought to be grounded on respect and compassion for the individual person. Sixties politics were infused with a quest for community – the sense of place, belonging, and purpose gained from engagement with others. (Morgan xi)