". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, April 26, 2010

*Treme* 3rd Ep -- "Right Place, Wrong Time"

Rushing about, prepping for Vaquero's SF gig, last night's Treme stays in mind.

Central to last night's narrative was Batiste's bone. The episode begins with with his foolish focus on the little bone, and his thread concludes with the literal loss of his trombone. How will that play out? Typical narrative expectation is that Annie rescued his 'bone, and then maybe Sonny sells it. But musicians like Bonnie Raitt provided immediately for musician relief, even prior to her other benefits soon after. She donated $200,000 outright for musician relief, and the relief wasn't contingent on doing this or doing that. Maybe this is how Batiste gets a new 'bone? Just speculation on my part. He needs a dentist. Such professionals are pretty much mia at this time, but there is one in Baton Rouge, right, Batiste's ex-wife's husband. Almost a part of the family, not to mention he lives with Batiste's sons, who Batiste has been neglecting shamefully. Or maybe Batiste sees his ex-wife's husband, receives some pro bono work, but still hasn't got an instrument. Maybe his embouchure has suffered some long term damage. Maybe he's gonna have to fly right, at least for a while, and maybe look long and deep into who he is -- and isn't? Maybe he'll even have to get a job, maybe working with Albert? But that's pretty typical tv narrative development, which isn't necessarily true to life either, though sometimes we flawed and failed human beings do have a come to Jesus moment.

Pierce has been doing a splendid acting job, though that opening scene of him humping the stripper looked less like sexual congress than anything seen on screen for quite some time. Naked women on screen as window dressing is kind of offensive too and this stupid strip club in Treme's French Quarter always brings to mind the strip club in The Sopranos, as if the Treme team are making some sort of comment on the show that got all the emmys.

Batiste's ribbing from the other band members in the strip club was straight up though, and also sad, right after that convo in NYC among the musicians playing with Mac for the benefit concert, about whether to stay or go NO. But their conversation? never have I heard any musicians talk like that among themselves. But then, the deal has to be made clear to us all who don't hang out with musicians or in NO. Never had there been so many New Orleans musicians and New Orleans music in NYC as in those weeks after the Catastrophe. And that hasn't changed. Regular gigs in NYC for Big Sam and a lot of other NO musicians. And, of course, now NYC is gonna play Mardi Gras whether or no it has a clue (part of that is all the students who came down to help, to intern with Spike, and all those rebuilding vacations -- they all come back with cds and beads). The other day a jazz arts venue director had to be carefully talked through her not brilliant idea to hold a second line in downtown NYC because, well for starters, it just couldn't work, for so many reasons.

Gads, how good the character of LaDonna is! She knows damned well how creoles view somebody like her, but she isn't having it. So that kind of makes up for the bs of the strippers. Speaking of strippers as we are, are we certain those va-va-va-voomers moved into Davis's neighborhood are not transvestites or transexuals? It would be fun if they were and very slowly Davis figures out that these neighbors he does approve of, unlike his gay neighbors (because they have money and he thinks they are destroying the neighborhood), are not who he thinks they are.

Why was Creighton was so suspicious of Davis in terms of his daughter? That scene seemed a time waster of the sort we never saw in The Wire. Whereas the YouTube bit was perfect, and perfect timing.

The motiveless beatdown of Batiste (and last week's arrest of Delmond), plus the run-around Toni gets from the sheriff – we're getting a picture here of law enforcement and 'security' that is not in control of itself or controlled from the outside either. It's in this period that the mysterious murder of musician Hilton Ruiz took place. We drank some weeks back by chance with an NO homicide cop and he confirmed what we thought happened – that it was indeed a murder and covered up by the NO PD.

It was terrific to see Bacchus in this episode, looking exactly like Bacchus looks. They made things so much more tolerable for so many in those days.

How difficult it is to have an honest critical reaction to this show. Shoot, excellent amigo, Tom McDermott, was central to one of the threads. How can I judge something like that critically as television?

The final scene, starting a funeral, honoring the dead discovered in the lower 9th, celebrating an Indian's funeral, honoring the dead discovered in the lower 9th, with Albert and the friends come in from their diapora to honor their brother's end, is stunning. There's Cherice! And, then, all up in their funeral rites, there's a tour bus that wants them to tell what's up.  Sheeee-it.

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