". . . 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

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Another Son of *Deadwood* - *Ripper Street*

Ripper Street (2012)  BBC 1.

Why yes, both of these Important  Female Characters are whores.
But you knew that, didn't you.  

HBO rudely refused Deadwood its entire planned run.  But it seems to live again, allbeit that its genetic footprint is a diluted one. As well as Ripper Street, it appears to have sired BBC-America’s Copper.

For reasons that aren't part of what we see in the episodes BBC 1 Ripper's signature theme score and soundtrack sound more American than English -- much more so than BBC-America's Copper.  It also alternates a feel on occasion that's more Scorsese's Gangs of New York (which Scorsese’s now adapting for a television series, it is said, to follow up his Boardwalk Empire production) with a  Sherlockian in the London Victoriana-ness.  None of this seems to be connected to the inclusion of two regular characters who are Americans on the lam from Something.  (Everybody in Ripper Street has Secrets.)

Not to mention the number of whores, o the whores.  Whatever would writers, show runners and producers do without whores?  (Maybe write something imaginative, creative, fresh and good?)

Whores, whores, whores.  Yes, yes, yes! the nineteenth century was crowded with women and children who had little or no other recourse to keep fed. (Though that wasn't necessarily so in medieval times or in the 20th century, at least in the U.S.  Yet Game of  Thrones has no women except nobility or whores.  Mad Men has brothels and whores galore, or else scheming, gold-digging cold wives -- how different then is in these matters from Got?)  Nevertheless: HISTORY NEWSFLASH!!!!! TELEVISION PROGRAM PRODUCERS, SHOW RUNNERS AND WRITERS: there were more women alive who did not live in bawdy houses or walk the streets than who did.

ANOTHER HISTORY NEWSFLASH: There were also more doctors who were neither drunks nor drug addicts than who were.  Got that?  You're welcome.

Is it safe to say none of these late nineteenth century period productions -- Copper the earliest period with the first season taking place in 1864 and Ripper the latest with first season set in 1889 -- the year North Dakota became a state (see Deadwood) --  would have happened if not for Deadwood?  (The Civil War revisionist Hell on Wheels can be included in these too.)  All the shows feature elaborate rhetoric whenever a character opens his / her mouth – particularly his mouth.

So do for that matter, the contemporary entitled to commit violence and murder series, Justified and Sons of Anarchy.  But with Justified that may have as much to do with Elmore Leonard's writing style, since the series is based on three of Leonard's works: Pronto, Riding the Rap, and his short story, "Fire in the Hole."

Both Ripper and Copper are returning for a second season.

1 comment:

Foxessa said...

This is seriously outraging me now. Deadwood which I loved, has wrought a terrible thing for women and for women in the business of television and movies.

I realized this when a production team sent us a Bible for an HBO-sort of show they hoped to get into development. Set in early 19th century New Orleans, they wanted our input. We read the first scene, and guess what that first scene was?

Why yes, a whore-slave was getting beaten in the front of the women of color whorehouse (for what reason? that wasn't given -- it was just background for one of the protagonist's first appearance, swaggering down the street), nekkid of course, because whores are always nekkid heheheheheh.

We declined to work with these people, just on those grounds alone.

They were completely baffled by our objection to this sort of thing.

Love, C.