". . . 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, February 10, 2015

Grantchester -- Episode 4 - PBS / ITV

I liked this series from the first episode.

It's odd that I did, and even more odd that my liking has increased as season's episodes roll on PBS.  Grantchester is a quiet show, with a fairly superficial treatment of people's moral dilemmas and personal stumbling blocks to being good, the individual's obligation to strive, life-long, to become a better person, as part of, and within a social community.  I even think of its softly delivered lessons during the week. It's the sheer generosity of spirit that infuses this series, so different from just about anything else in current entertainments, that has grabbed me, I suppose.

Our attractive vicar, Sydney Chambers, and Dickens. 

 Like everyone else in this episode, Detective Geordie Keating learns lessons in Gross Indecency and Judge Not . . . .
This week's episode delved into dimensions of seriousness regarding being a gay man in semi-rural 1950's homophobic England. This theme has already been touched upon via continuing character, Leonard Finch, Our Attractive Vicar's curate, who is referred to as "the pansy" as a matter of course by Detective Keating.

Leonard Finch, who has hoped to find a refuge from his conflicted instincts within a quiet life of contemplation by serving the Church of England.  His situation, however, leaves little time for contemplation and his Vicar is teaching him that his calling is not to serve the Church per se, but people and a community.
So we have already seen a gay man's conflicts of living in way in which one must conceal who one really is. Even the Church of England that Leonard serves condemns him to damnation as a "sodomite."  But the focus this week is not on Leonard, but another young man, and an older, married man,.

Mrs. McGuire, Vicar Sydney Chambers's housekeeper, who, he assures a German visitor, "hates everyone."  Mrs. McGuire does seem to learn her lessons in  Christian charity from Sydney, but tends to forget them from one episode to another.  But that means the viewer has the pleasure of her softening repeated from episode to episode.
The episode's message of how harmful and wrong it is, socially and morally, for both individuals and communities to shun and condemn those who are different from "us" then broadens in scope to include Germans. Recall, everyone in this community has been afflicted by Germany in both WWI and WWII.

To the sorrow of so many, the harm of such phobias remain in their lives, even after lessons are learned. What happened in this episode, it is clear, has permanently affected the lives of at least three men, a woman and two children.

The episode also depicts the casual sexism that is so common among almost all men that it continues even now. Did the episode connect homophobia, xernophobia and sexism?  If it did, it so merely by presence, not by preaching.

Next thing you all will hear is that I've joined an Episcopal congregation, the closest thing here to Church of England.

OTOH, if I was seeing it back-to-back instead of one episode a week, it might not be so appealing?

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