I was in the audience on Saturday evening — 5 o’clock showing — of “I, Tonya,” and heard the laughter of many people throughout the film: That is, throughout the sight and sounds of a derailed, hardworking, bitter mother who physically injures her beautiful, talented child; throughout the continued battering and terrorizing of that little girl as a young woman by her hapless husband and his delusional friend.
I love Saint Helena. I love the beauty of the people and of her landscapes. All of us who have lived here for any time at all are privileged. And I’ve also lived and worked with children who are not protected. Let me promise that you never know who, in a town like this as well, is hurt day after day in domestic rage. No one is immune.
So I’m baffled by the laughter: is there something funny about poor, uneducated white people in general? My heart is sickened by that sound in that context.
I could not help wondering how Tonya Harding would feel sitting among us as we watched scenes from her life.