". . . 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

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I Am A Bad Person + Poldark

For reasons unfathomable to mere mortals, the bare ankle has been a thing these last couple of years, summer and winter, for both male and female.

Having spend most of today, like yesterday, at a history conference on various matters of slavery in the Atlantic world I could not help but notice the Fashionable and Trendy hording upon on the streets and sidewalks, on a weekend, that if still quite cold, is at least sunny (or it was -- there are mutterings on AccuWeather of mixed snow and rain fall later). They are wearing, without sox, stiletto heeled boots, dazzling white $500 sneakers, rhinestone flatties, all kinds of very fine footwear. They also are all looking at their devices, talking, texting, whatever. Four times -- 4! -- I watched these fashionistas walk into the water gathered at most corners, filthy water from melted snow and ice and all kinds of stuff in it. The expressions of shock when that water went over their bare ankles was so amusing I laffed (though politely and hopefully inaudibly behind my gloved hand, of course). Splutters and swears, shrieks and screams, all of which I confess here to enjoying, very much.  I am a bad person, totally lacking in sympathy for my fellow women and men.  Nor do I give a gd. >g<

Now -- Poldark!

Tomorrow night begins the first episode on BBC1 of the remake of the 1970's Poldark series, which I had loved when amiga T and I would watch it in PBS re-runs on Wednesday nights. This one looks scrumptious -- see the trailer above.

Aidan Turner, the actor playing Ross Poldark, was the romantic male lead on the Brit Being Human, and he was why I watched the first two seasons.  Aidan Turner's character managed to be brooding in that dark moody romantic troubled soul way, and yet very charming and very funny too.  He might make a terrific Ross Poldark, though surely one very

different from the original BBC Ross, played by Robin Ellis -- who was also a very satisfactory period drama romantic male lead.

Among the elements that made this series, the original and this re-make, and the books on which they're based, so appealing to me, is that they take place during the Era of Revolution. This is the 1970's when neither British nor American movies and television had yet turned their backs from including any content in the scripted drama that commented on class and political - economic inequity.

The series begins with Ross coming back to Cornwall from America, where he fought for the King against the rebelling North American colonists.  He returns with sympathy for the rebels and revolutionary ideas about class and rank himself.  Recall, he's a Cornish man, not necessarily in sympathy with the King and the House of Lords.  The more I read in this era's history the more aware I am too of how tough the rank-and-file and poor had it in these times of war with France and Napoleon.  Everything was taxed, just for starters.

Being on the coast, as they are in Poldark, there has always been smuggling, doubtless even before the Romans invaded and conquered. But during these decades of war and taxes smuggling everywhere became the biggest business of all, other than army and navy matĂ©riel business.  As well, there were years of bad weather, in which crops failed, and business for everything dropped way down, as Europe was increasingly in chaos (though Napoleon as First Counsel, did manage to bring France back to order, including eradicating the bandits).  All of this is in Poldark.  Yum.

PBS, please bring this Poldark to the U.S. audience too!

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