". . . 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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

HBO Treme, Season 2, Penultimate Ep. 10,

My Treme Viewing Partner (MTVP) groaned when the credits for "That's What Lovers Do," ep 10, rolled up the screen.  "Dayem!  I start thinking I'm in New Orleans when I watch.  I wish I was in New Orleans.  I wish I was going to New Orleans!" 
I share in this. I already miss the show, meaning I miss all these people we get to know through their ten episode season.  I miss New Orleans. It's particularly frustrating because we were supposed to have been in NO once already, since getting back from the Eastern Shore, and to go again in July.  But the funding for the events got pulled, or never materialized, so, no.  Dayem!

August we teach the course in West African geography and history, so no go then.  If one isn't being threatened by a hurricane, New Orleans in August is very pleasant.  At least so I've found it to be.  We moved to NO in August.  We've been in NO in August for large chunks of the month most years.  We were there just days before the Katrina criminal catastrophe.  Hot as hell, yes, but the nights are magic (and the beer is very cold). Because it is so hot, and so many people are gone, it feels more than at other times of the year, that supposedly leisurely city that so many fantasize is New Orleans, but is anything but for those who are living and trying to make a living there.

The opening sequence was just right, and brilliantly edited, not too long, but unrushed -- it was soul satisfying. Harley was surely pleased.

Setsuma Cafe and Sandwich Shop PLUS FREE WIFI, plus Piety Street Studios just around the corner.  That was fun.  I have put in a lot of hours at Setsuma, where Sofia is working the paid job her lawyer ordered her to get for herself -- and she likes it.

Transplanted Dutch Sonny's arc this season was my personal favorite.  This episode contained a Wire kind of mirroring  -- after Annie tells Sonny she saw a photo of him hung in the Ogdon, pulling people from the Katrina flood waters, i.e. he is who she thought he was -- she learns Harley was not who he represented himself to be: Harley was from Washington, not from Texas.  It's as though Sonny getting himself back on track brings back the Sonny that perhaps Annie fell in love with, and she can see him again, though she has moved on -- and so has he.

Both Sonny and Annie have become a part of New Orleans with the help of people for whom NO is their soul and in their dna: Sonny, with the help of bass player, Cornell Williams, and Annie from Davis.  Harley, with his song-writing, made himself a part of New Orleans as well.  That's how it works.

New Orleans is old and deep and rooted, filled with insiders, but it is open to new people, as is anyplace must be that stays vital instead of becoming a museum.  Irish and Italians came in large numbers in the 19th century. That the show is willing go out of New Orleans, to the boat and the fish market, the Vietnamese community, is another way Treme is a different kind of show all together from The Wire.

Young, creative and passionate people come from all over now to New Orleans.  It is a dangerous place, yes, but it is vitally alive-O! and very exciting these days.  The worlds of Treme are not closed, claustrophobic communities as in The Wire. Many of these Treme characters are not trapped by the corner, by jail, deadends, as were so many of the inhabitants of The Wire.  That included the cops too.  (Attorney Toni may have to let go to a degree or she will get stuck like McNulty did, in The Wire.)

That's the tragedy of the 'knuckleheads.'  They don't feel a part of this place and they are trapped in their violent pathology.  Their pathology even pushes out of New Orleans those who are most deeply rooted in the city, like LaDonna, perhaps.

That final vignette was sad.  Yet, Larry's hand touches LaDonna, even as she'd turned over and away from him, almost spitting, "We're just out of practice, that's all." Last week he didn't dare touch her.

I wonder what will happen next year.  Hopefully Janette is going to come home, we'll finally learn about Toni's backstory and why she and Sofia are so isolated, and everyone else is going to keep on keeping on.  And there will be someone to be a new friend.  I miss the old friends of Treme already.

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