". . . 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

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Crime In Our Hands (Books), Crime On Our Screens (TV)

     . . . . Horowitz, Anthony. (2016 in the UK, 2017 in the US) Magpie Murders.

In some ways this is an odd, if clever, duck of a crime novel that is two novels in one.

There is The Magpie Murders itself, the last novel by Alan Conway, a best selling crime author whose series features Atticus Pünd, a detective much like Poirot, though German, not Belgian, and rather younger than Poirot, having gone through internment in a nazi death camp. His rescue by the British allowed him to remove to England, thus the series's plots are set in the 1950's. The second, the framing novel, is set in our present, narrated via Susan Ryland, the verging on middle-aged editor of Conway's Atticus Pünd series.

Throughout the two novels, past and present, do homage to the golden age of British crime fiction divas such as Christie and Allingham. They also reference constantly the crime novel series that Horowitz has been instrumental in producing, adapting and writing series for television, which are many, and all of which I've watched, just starting with Agatha Christie's Poirot, Foyle's War and o my, but not only! -- Midsomer Murders!  To be sure, the opening chapter of the framed Conway novel feels right out of the opening shots of the pre-Neal Dudgeon Barnabys of Midsomer Murders, with a pan of the village and the character-suspects

Magpie Murders was a thoroughly engaging whodunit until -- soon in the second section of the framing novel, with us back to Susan Ryland's pov and narration. It sags then, going on too long, and ultimately the solution of the crime within it and who did it, is as unsatisfying as the one at the conclusion of the framed Atticus Pünd Magpie Murders. 

.... Horowitz first developed the concept of Magpie Murders during the first season of Midsomer Murders, which premiered in 1997. He has stated that he wanted the novel to "be more than just a murder mystery story" and to be "a sort of a treatise on the whole genre of murder mystery writing. How the writers come up with the ideas; how these books are formed."[1] ....

It is that indeed, which is entertaining and even useful in itself for anyone who likes to read and watch such series, and anyone who wishes to read them.  Additionally, the book is as overstuffed as candied fruit in a Christmas fruit cake with real life best selling crime series writers’ and reviewers encomiums to Pünd, such as Ian Rankin, Ann Cleeves, etc.  Does one need to say Horowitz is adapting this novel for Britbox and PBS? 

.... In July 2020 Deadline announced that PBS’ Masterpiece would adapt the novel into a six-part drama series and air it in the US, and will air the series on BritBox in the UK.[12] ...

This Horowitz guy, never stops writing!  Check it out here.


     . . . . And yet more village crime!

In For A Murder - W Jak Morderstwo in Polis (2021) Netfix Poland Original.

It revolves around a murder that takes place in a small town in Poland and Magda, a resident in the neighbourhood takes it upon her to investigate the case and solve the murder. However, when the case draws back to some past incidents, the events that follow seem to get complicated.

An updated, Polish Agatha Christie given the screen treatment we know so well by now from Brit tv, like Midsomer Murders etc. and by now later updates such as the Daniel Craig Knives Out.   We even begin with long tracking shots of a lovely youngish blonde woman, riding a bicycle on lovely wooded tracks, getting lovely veg and fruit and honey from the street market, returning home to cute kids in a lovely house. But the husband, nope, not so much . . . 

The W/V necklace we see here is significant to the crime and mystery In For A Murder.

I enjoyed this very much, not least because of its location, which isn't either England or the US,

 in the same way I so enjoy Candice Renoir, the French policier featuring a blonde verging on middle-age detective who is a divorced mom, kind of messy, anxious about her weight, but not that much! brillian  -- and whose smile should be registered as a dangerous weapon.  She turns that smile on someone and any resistance goes out the door.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Incidental Reading

Beran, Michale Knox. (2021) Wasps: The Splendors and Miseries of An American Aristocracy

Why have book covers become so ugly, all across the board, whatever genre?

     . . . . Beran does bludgeon us with his theme that this class felt de-centered and emasculated somehow post the War of the Rebellion, and indeed were, and that the 1960's finished the job.  I don't necessarily swallow all this, as not everyone was Henry Adams, but nevermind. It's engaging partly due my attempts to figure out what it is that makes sorts like Beran obsessed with these media-declared aristoi all their lives, even building their careers around investigating and  writing about them, and, like Dominick Dunne, even to covering others like them such as Truman Capote. The ilks such as Babe Paley, the Astors, Vanderbilts, etc. who in the 50's and 60's got labeled "the beautiful people" by the ilks who hung around in their entourages.

For myself, however, the earlier figures out of Gilded Age New England* who happily get the most text, including even William James, etc., are often fascinating, though usually for what they did, even sometimes in spite of themselves, like Isabella Gardner, not their failures. Santayana is among them, though one doesn't feel he really belongs, as neither a Bhramin nor a WASP, and because he left the US all together for Italy, where he softly voiced his ingrained anti-semitism and sympathy for fascism.  IOW, no better than the ones of the 20th C, for whom one cannot at times feel the tumbrils should have come, useless arrogant jerkwaddies of self-importance founded upon nothing, that they were.  There. My own class roots show.  Ha!

Beran adopts that slightly mocking, self conscious tone reconizable among both the Brits and the USians of both birth and non-birth poshie membership when writing about these classes. (see Brit Simon Winder, who wrote three books of German history, in which he claims to love Germany,  in which he does nothing but mock them, for their food, their cutesy pie imitation middle ages villages, etc. -- he a Brit, from the land of bring the tourists to our manufactured village fetes and terrible food, mocking another country for terrible food and tourist attracting non-authenticity??????? -- and he's much nastier, btw, in that supremely nasty manner that is the signature of the post colonial Brit asshole superiority**) which further irritates me. Beran even snidely references Dominick Dunne, while coyly refusing to type the man's name, so one speculates then, that Beran is rather envious of Dunne, who now, of course, is dead and gone, like the world, and the scandal ridden jerkwaddies who populated it, whom Dunne devastatingly described in journalism, television, films and fiction.

I do admit to liking Dunne to a degree, since he doesn't project that personal petty meanness, in his writing at least.  Or maybe it's that Dunne was the first informer about these 20th C types I met, in Vanity Fair, which I bought every month, with many other magazines and books, across the street when bookstores were a thing here.

Regarding books and bookstores, btw, two weeks ago, their absence broke my heart again.  Walking along Our Street, here was an empty storefront in the process of becoming a rare and used book store, with floor-to-ceiling shelves filled, comfy chairs and everything else one could want in such a place! I hadn’t seen or been inside such a one since my last visit to Royal Street in New Orleans! Brimming with indescribable happiness and excitement I pulled out my phone to so inform el V and B -- and then was told this was a movie set, not real. My spirits plunged.  Again, I cannot tell you how happy I was at the very idea of a bookstore! in our neighborhood that has nothing of use in it at all. Only horrible restaurants filled with mannikans, whose only thought in head is “SELFIE!”

*Why does Beran insist upon including Theodore Roosevelt and the other Roosevelts among these New Englanders, when their fortunes and defining characteristics are hereditary membership in the NEW YORK ruling class, not New England's, despite having attended Harvard?

** Winder, Simon (2010) Germania: In Wayward Pursuit of the Germans and Their History (US) / A Personal History of Germans Ancient and Modern.

Author an editor at UK Penguin.

This is confusing as the subtitle differs, I think, in the US from the subtitle in the UK. There are two other books as well, in the same vein, Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe (2013) , and Lotharingia: A Personal History of Europe’s Lost Country (2019).

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Women -- Lucan (2013) ITV-Britbox. 2 episodes.

     . . . .  “I’m an Earl!  This country’s gone to hell when an earl can’t get his wife committed into an insane institution just on his say-so!”  Scripted drama around the late 1970’s disappearance of a Lord Lucan who lost everything gambling and can’t understand why he should lose just because he lost.

So, yes, I’ll kill Veronica, he thinks, because she harshes his joys of losing all their money to his gambling, and because she doesn’t like he hits her, and doesn’t like that he chases around, and he's afraid she'll ask for a divorce. Damn this country where the courts will give guardianship of HIS children to the mother. So murder is the only solution. Plus, you know, I am LORD LUCAN, the courts won't / can't touch me -- except they'll take away guardianship of MY CHILDREN, so what the hell insanity is going on here?  Gotta kill her.  That what manly sorts who are at the top of evolution like gorrillas do!

Such ignorant, entitled, hereditary horrors these aristo Brit males of the 1960’s and 70’s! Stupifyingly stupid, incompetent to do anything, except cheat, whine, whinge, and blather endlessly about their infinite super manly superiority. Imagine this guy – he killed Sandra, his children's beloved nanny, ‘by mistake’ because he couldn't tell the difference between Sandra and his wife, Veronica. He then does his best to kill, Veronica, right next to Sandra's dead body, on the same floor, when the wife comes down the stairs to investigate what happened.  When Veronica brilliantly incapacitates him by squeezing his balls even as he's viciously beating her, then talks down this evil manbaby, he politely suggests Veronica kill herself with an overdose of pain medication, and is somewhat bewildered and quite bothered that she rejects this proposal.  She made him lose the money and kill Sandra, strive to get her institutionalized, and finally he had to kill her because there was no other choice, because MY CHILDREN. I OWN THEM! I AM A MAN!  A lord man! A man kills! A man is entitled to kill! A man must kill because he is a man!

He and his circles are all up in alpha male, white eugenic nonsense that only the entitled aristos are entitled by birth blood and breeding to rule all those inferior to them which is everyone, plus All women. This is the BS we hear out of these same groups here and the UK about what makes a manly man manly – being white and rich is a good start!  Good grief you’d think it was 1900, an era of the perpetual boy, with ilks of the forever-boy child such as Teddy Roosevelt, blathering on subject. Are these the same blind to anything but their own childish, temper tantrum desires man babies who are running England now and got the country the disaster of Brexit?

One of the narrators matter-of-factly observes that in those days “the toffs just hated women”.  The women in their circles hated women too, echoing their men's perceptions and judgments like the successful, good women they are. That was what was wrong with Veronica, they tell us, which certainly qualified her to be institutionalized – she had thoughts of her own that didn’t agree -- including not like having all their assets gambled away, while having three small children to educate and start in life.  One might speculate this hatred of women, rife among the aristos, young, middle-aged and elderly, male and female, had something to do with the trajectory of Princess Diana’s emotional wreckage upon entering the royal circles. 

This is an unpleasant, disturbing watch, though it is a fascinating period piece, which, alas doesn’t seem that period-y in our time, filled with incels and other overtly women hating groups and men -- and women too! -- who think it perfectly obvious, sane and right that women, gotten uppity, like the Speaker of the House, should be removed, punished and even killed. These ilks are the reasons women are marching today for their reproductive rights and their personhoods, all over the country,  as well as in D.C. for yet again, as they had to do in the 1970's.

     . . . .There was an earlier television drama movie with these events as the subject, The Trial of Lord Lucan (1994). Also on Britbox.

"An imagined trial of a man who, in 1974 London, is thought to have killed a woman he mistook for his wife in order to regain custody of his children. He disappeared the day after the killing and was never found."

Anthony Head, beloved Giles the Watcher, from the beloved 1990's US television series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, plays Lucan.

However, this is what Lucan really looked like, flabby and soft as any other manbaby who assaults women, whining whimpering, tantruming, because barred from Twitter . . . .

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Tempe Na-Ri-Véh -- Haiti

      . . . . El V made this in an attempt to assist those who are struggling so hard to provide assistance. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The First Day of Autumn Is Dark, So Dark -- The HermanCain Award Subreddit

     . . . . The Unbelievable Grimness of HermanCainAward, the Subreddit That Catalogs Anti-Vaxxer COVID Deaths

This is not a forum that attempts to change minds. It’s much darker.

Despite the subject, describing a site that catalogs the deaths of covid deniers, anti-vaxxers and anti maskers, this piece effectively shows just how awful this disease is, how awful to die from it, and millions have -- we're creeping up to a million mark right here in the US.  From the beginning the descriptions of this disease scared the stuffing out of me -- and many others of us. Which is a massive driver for doing the right things that may keep us from contracting it, and not doing the wrong things that up our chances of contracting it.

"....It is cruel, a site for heartless and unrepentant schadenfreude. This is a place where deaths are celebrated, and it is not the only one. While endless ink has been spilled on the anger of Trump voters and Fox News viewers and QAnon adherents, there are other angers that haven’t been nearly as well explored. The exhaustion and fury doctors and nurses feel, for example, as they deal yet again with overwhelmed ICUs. Instead of being hailed as heroes, this time around they’re risking their lives to serve while walking through anti-vax protesters and being called murderers or worse by misled family members demanding or indeed suing for sick unvaccinated relatives on ventilators to be dosed with ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine or vitamin C. There is the anger of family members of those without COVID who are dying or sicker than they should be because treatment was delayed or denied to them at dozens of hospitals that had no beds available. There’s the frustration of parents trying to keep their children safe, the constant, destabilizing calculations and adaptations people are forced into when (for instance) the governor of Texas prohibits schools from taking safety measures and then two teachers at a single school die, forcing closures once again. There’s the run-of-the-mill anger of those weary of living under pandemic conditions and demoralized—in the most literal sense—by the selfishness of their compatriots.

Subscriptions to the HermanCainAward subreddit are increasing exponentially, from 2,000 subscribers on July 4 to 5,000 at the beginning of August to more than 100,000 on Sept. 1 to 243,000 Friday to 276,000 today. If that rate is any indication, rage is growing toward anti-vaxxers deliberately prolonging the pandemic out of an anti-social and deadly understanding of their rights. Now, it’s true that not everyone on the subreddit assents to its spiteful premise: One exhausted nurse wrote a long post about how much one of her anti-vax patients suffered, as an attempt at counterbalance. She acknowledged her own compassion fatigue but also urged readers to think harder about how we got to this sorry pass. Plenty of the discussions do orbit around that basic question. But most of the comments are angry. A collection of screenshots generally elicits a common sentiment: The person got their just deserts...."

It's important to notice the author reporting on these sites which catalog the deaths of the covid-denying anti-vaxxers and what they have done and said throughout this catastrophe isn't excited or pleased. The author is reporting and witnessing. The author is asking questions, trying to make some sense of all it, while working out how this deranged, self-killing (and killing of others) fits into morality, ethics, community, even families, the very dilemmas and paradoxes and contradictions we are all being driven bonkers by. I.e. where is the reconciliation? Ultimately the covid-denying  anti-vaxxers etc. are irrational, thus there cannot be reconcilation.  Leaving the rest of us even more frustrated and despairing -- including, with such numbers of them, driven on by FB, Fox News and other Big Tech, can even we who try to follow the right paths, despair of evading this dreadful disease. We have reached the point where it cannot be waited out.

Because as the author says, even for those dying of covid, there is no conversion.  Nor is there after their deaths, as they are characterized by friends and family in the terms of "God gave her angel wings this week;" "God called him home;"  "His time came and now he's with his wife;" etc.  Not a word about, gee whiz if they'd gotten the vaccine and worn a mask four kids wouldn't be without parents and penniless.  They're just "beloved parents of ...." That 2 week old baby? Don't think so, since that baby never knew his parents at all. Not to mention the other 3 kids are under 8.

"Are these projects productive?" someone asks.

Someone else says, "Totally unproductive.  The effort would be better spent in integrating these lumpenized antisocial types back into the current system of biopolitical management. Something less horripilatory than re-education camps, obviously.  Sadly the don't-tread-on-me crowd doesn't take even the most tepid advice well. "

But we see from the comments of those who are dying, before and and during, and those of their families, by and large, that reeducation is not possible.  They've left that state which could allow for such rehabilitation years ago already.  We're talking people who died, not only believing covid and vaccines are a big hoax and grift designed by Dems, but also believe satanists are stalking the schools and eating children RIGHT NOW. Thus they have devoted their lives to fighting Dems and feminists tooth and nail. Then, o jubilee! They found the more entertaining, the more fun, conspiracy of covid. More fun and more entertaining because it provided a completely protected space to be as overtly abusive and bullying to as many people as any single person or group can manage -- even to the point of physical harm, while feeling safe from any official retribution from police or anyone else. Nor do the people they bully have secret service details and other protections.

You know, in all these endless dragging years of horrors as I've witnessed them -- a very few of them let me haste to add compared to Haitians and those living in so many other places -- since 9/11 and the WOMD lies, Katrina "heck of a job, Brownie," and hurricane after hurricane battering friends throughout the Caribbean and the South, and my own home too, shoggoth and his minions taking over the country -- in some ways this reddit site is the most horrible because the most depressing, the most despairing and hopeless in what it tells us about the people who live in this country.  Because it is determined derangement that is literally killing people I love and so much else that has made life worth living, despite the horrors.  It's Cthulhu manifest in our time and space. And it's from CHOICE, because, honestly? they cannot bear women and other Others having anything from decent jobs and housing and health care to R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Jesus and his saints weep.

Even with the historical highly documented evils, such as nazism and the Holocaust, you can see how there were people who saw personal advantages of various sorts from propagating evil lies, whether or not they truly believed the bs they said -- though whether they didn't, they still committed the acts, let us not forget.

But there is nothing to be gained by these deranged populations in what they are doing to themselves and others.  Though I suppose they, as cannon fodder, are helping those who designed all this for the sake of power.  Power over smoking ruin and ashes.

Well, then, there is that.  They take all the rest of us and everything wonderful with them.  They owned us, they really really really did. 

You win.  That's what you want to hear. 

So, can you get vaccinated now?

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Warm and Woolly September

      . . . . Ay-up, in the 80's, fuerza sunshine.  Of course this is the day to trek to REI and buy serious wool sox, and hit the shops on Broadway for cashmere sweaters. To balance this out, my personal air conditioning unit is arriving tomorrow.  I'll continue to have use for this for at least another three weeks, I suppose.

     . . . . .Other significant news: CNN reports that as of today, 1 in 500 people in the US have died of Covid.

~~~~~~~~~ Books

Some serious reading has arrived in la casa, because people send us books. 

Just today we received Libros Y Grabaos De Artistas Cubanas: 1985-2008, the catalog for the exhibit held in a different world, held at the Museum of Modern Art, and funded by the Grolier Club of Manhattan. It's a beautiful volume, splendidly fabricated, with equally beautiful content.

Illuminating antiquity, somebody I don't even know -- though I do know his name, I've never met the person -- sent me a copy of the massive, annotated, mapped, appendiced and encyclopedic indexed The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories (2007), edited by Robert B. Strassler.  It's so big it's too heavy to hold. It has to rest on a lap desk or some other support. A reference resource. I have read Herodotus's Histories -- or at least read widely in them. The Polish journalist, Ryszard Kapuściński has read them all, many times.  He annotates Herodotus with his own book, Travels with Herodotus (2004) which focuses on a lifetime of reading Herodotus on the road, studying and reporting. He never traveled without the Histories. Even if one isn't familiar with or care about Herodotus, as with all of Kapuściński's writing it well worth reading, because so goo.

Now for the busy, busy 19th Century.

The title is unfortunate because it make the book sound like a Victorian sensationalist 'true crime' tale, when The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge, and the Phoenix Park Murders That Stunned Victorian England (2021) by Julie Kavangh, is a serious work of history. In Serbia it was the Black Hand, the open-secret society that funded and planned the assassination of Duke Ferdinand and his wife in 1914.  Here in 1882, it's the Irish American funded, Invincibles, the militant arm of the Irish Independence Movement. At the moment when talks between the Movement and the British government were making headway, the day after Gladstone's emissary, Lord Frederick Cavendish arrives, he and the Irish undersecretary, Thomas Burke, are assassinated by the Invincible in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politic (2021) by Mae Ngai, traces the anti-Chinese racism in the gold fields around the world 1848-1899. It was remarkably the same in South Africa and Australia as it was in California.

People still buy our books. We just heard a school in New Orleans is purchasing two hundred copies of The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square. In the meantime, most of New Orleans's power was restored by the end of last week, but not so out there in Cajun Country.  People we know have organized a truck convoy to take supplies to Thibodeaux and Houma. With our contribution I requested sanitary supplies in various sizes be included. People, even when women are part of the organizing and planning, tend to forget this necessity.

~~~~~~~~~~~ Watching

Tomorrow Postmambo Movie Night presents The Rumba Kingsfollowed by a conversation with filmmaker Alan Brain.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~My Favorite Thing This Week (so far)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, at Monday night's Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala (part 1), in a borrowed dress from her designer girlfriend and 'escort':

The meta and the irony of this.  So much reading one can do -- 
"I don't really care - do you?"  That one has never attended any Met Costume gala!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Fire In The Hole. Again. A Rant



I can't hear you because don't do media beyond radio and newspapers and I shut off the radio, and I stopped reading the newspapers too.

 . . . .  Twenty-one years later, here we are again.

All the same blobmediaidiots blathering the same things TheyBlathered after 9/11, Afghanistan, the Middle East, terrorism, immigrants, and with Hurricane Ida and New Orleans, all the same blobmediaidiots blathering the same They Blathered after Katrina and oil in the Gulf and and and and, which brings us the periodic resurrection of recognition there is climate change, by golly, and it is here, it really is here! as with Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and NYC, Ida and New York. All discovered, like Madonna's virgin, for the very first time.  

Does anyone remember the blobmediaidiots blathering climate change and rising ocean levels after Venice's flooding, o way back in 2019. 

By month's end this all will be down the irrelevant-and-forget hole, until the next occasion for the Same blobmediaidiots to resurrect and rewind. 

The same politiciansidiotblobblather also.  Who in hell thinks bushwa qualified to say anything in 2021 about 9/11, terrorism and Afghanistan?

This time with Ida, somehow the same blobmediaidiots missed their blather about loooooooooooooooooooooooooooters!  Could it be that some of them heard from people who weren't able to escape to their second homes in the country what real looters are like?  O wait they saw it on NYC tv, they didn't need to hear.  Maybe they got their looter fix back last summer.  Funny how that event immediately got shoved down the irrelevant-and-forget hole. Will it return, ya think, around mayoral election time?

Do not confuse the criminal looting that we lived through here with the ongoing BLM protests, at which there was no rioting, no cruelty, etc. etc. etc.  Except from cops.  The same cops who just stood there and did nothing when the actual looters, organized and equipped by professional criminals, did the deeds for at least two nights.

The idiots are never more idiotic than times such as these, except the covidiots who are having Glory Times non-stop.

When we'll learn all over again it's all Biden's fault, every single every bit. Or it's the fault of AOC.  Or Obama. Or Clinton. All of them But somehow never Bushwa's 1 & 2, Brownie's or the orange shoggoth's or Bolton's or Cheney's or Gingrich's or or or or ....

O give it up.  We know all of it whatever it is is the fault of Others, not ourselves. Most certainly never the fault of faux noose and big tech and white supremacists, bigots, haters of all kinds. Who must be respected and catered to by blobmediaidiots at all times because reality and facts hurt their feelings and make them mad at us and then the advertisers go away.

In the meantime one cannot walk on the sidewalks or get through the streets from about 6th Ave and West 4th, down into our neighborhood below Bleecker because all firemen, all very very very drunk, without masks, smoking cigars.

And us, in the meantime?  The 9/11 trauma for us manifested into a phobia, a deep reluctance to be anywhere from whence we couldn't make it home on foot.  Fear of leaving the neighborhood, fear of leaving home. This lasted nearly a year. It returns again with every Something that takes place that affects us, even if we aren't presently there on the ground.  But never to the extent of 9/11.  Until pandemic. We really don't want to leave our familiar haunts, our comfort zone.  So much reluctance. Even though we're all overrun by those who leave their own haunts with greatest enthusiasm.