". . . 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

Monday, February 28, 2022

Ukraine Isn't Tuning Into New Orleans Right Now, But Russia Hangs In Cuba

     . . . . February ends. Another el sucko de dicko day – with the negative add of it being Monday.  However, here it is nearly the middle of the afternoon and the temperature is 27°, the highest it's been all day.  Russia supposedly in talks but beginning to reduce Ukranian residential areas to rubble, for all that world and his own nation’s opinion have almost moved Putin from a guy you can deal with, a guy you can live with, good for business, into the columns titled Monsters of History, providing moral and other sorts of support to Ukraine's resistance. 

Do any of soch media's newly minted Ukraine experts remember how not so long ago they hoorahrahrawed The Americans as the best thing that ever happened on television and how much they loved, admired, and sympathized with its two primary protagonists, who were planted Russian spies here in the USA to aid, assist and abet in any way they could devise, the downfall of the United States government?  Like a Russian yacht, from the gitgo it seemed more than likely that under the layers of production financing there was a deep connect to Russian money.  If that were suggested though, being in the realm of tinfoil hat delusion, well, one didn't, did one?  

Beyond that, it is still something nearly impossible to understand, why such middle-of- the-road, white, prosperous folks, particularly young males, enjoyed so much identification with these protagonists.  Well, one thing the 2016 campaign and elections and faux noose, and red caps and gerrymandering and hate campaigns against everyone who wasn't white, male and rich, outrage for public health and education and equality and justice and tolerance for all taught us -- why yes Russia has been meddling in everything, including the so-called US government head-up-Putin's ass giving Cuba back to Russia.

Which is taking a dreadful toll on Cubans and Cuba, by the way.  Which if  here was any fabric to spare and accessible on Cuba, we could well be seeing Ukraine flags there too.  But as the Cubans don't even have food, well -- and don't have a Fidel to tell the Russia "Go Fuck Yourself" now, and more porkalotetzy Russian oligarchs and their yachts are arriving every day as more ports close to them -- which means what little food available will be gobbled by the Russians.

We are in awe too, of the acts of courage being taken by Russians against this war, as well as having so much for that of the Ukrainians.  Doubtless one of the most common searches on internet images these days is this.

In the meantime, from From North Dakota's Fargo-Moorhead's InForum -- access to stories by subscription only.

"North Dakota tax dollars are financing Putin's regime in Russia

North Dakota's Legacy Fund is invested in bonds to the Russian government, and that needs to stop immediately."

 Dayem, now whose bright idea was it to do this, hmm? and now much did they get paid? 


     . . . . Easy to forget but, hey today is Lundi Gras -- and tomorrow's Mardi Gras.  Eat some damned King Cake you all.

The great New Orleans radio station WWOZ that streams and broadcasts specifically New Orleans music, had about 100 Ukrainians tuning in daily.  As of this afternoon there are only 8 tuning in . . . .

Update:  O my, here it is evening, and those same 8 listeners are still able to tune it – for a half hour at a time, but somehow, they keep returning to hear New Orleans music!

Yes, we tune in streaming from here as well.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Killing Eve - Again Watching Preposterous Clothes

      . . . . Killing Eve (2020) season 3 BBC-AMC. Continuing in this winter’s “Watching Preposterous Shows With Preposterous Clothes.”*

What to wear playing golf in Scotland when preparing to commit another murder.

I still have no idea why this psychopathic killer has the same name as this old and strict poetic form. Maybe the book series from which the BBC series was adapted says?  I've never read them.

Because I finished Inventing Anna (which I really liked, though I disliked all of the principal figures except Neff), and there's nothing compelling right now, I began watching season 3 of Killing Eve.  Which I'd been told by all and sundry of the media was just awful. So it must be its sheer makes no sense whatsoever that I enjoyed it so much? Also Jodie Comer's sociopathic grin?  Which comes so often? Especially after dumping a baby in a Parisian garbage bin, whose mother she had whimsically killed with a tuning fork?  Being given a new handler who is Succession's Shiv and Co.'s demented mom (Harriet Walter)? She is the world's meanest (surrogate)mom in Killing Eve too, (while Eve's birth mom is even meaner. We have one of this season's themes, folks.

Harriet Walker, being mean to her Succession kids

The cast is mainly terrific female actors, who, preposterous as the show might be, appear to be enjoying themselves in it, so whether the show itself makes any sense or not, there's plenty of value provided.  It's often a comedy, in its psychopathic way. I'm still laughing at the matter-of-fact manner in which Villanelle picks up the crying baby, carries him over to the garbage bin, comes back to the cafĂ© table, while elderly Dasha, her Russian Keeper/Handler of Assassins, doesn't even comment, and doesn't care. 
And ya, I do really like Sandra Oh's hair as much as Villanelle does.

Villanelle giving Eve the side-eye.

Plus the great plus that Carolyn's character (Fiona Shaw) is so funny, 

and even funnier with demure daughter, Geraldine, played by Gemma Whelan (the the heavy boots and armor, the sword and dagger, which never leave her side, playing Yara Greyjoy, a buccaneering ship's captain for the Iron Islands, in GOT), while mom holds meetings in the bathtub and beats down the guys who interfere with what she wants.

O Geraldine, whose mom won't cry.

This seems to encapsulate this season – women behaving w/o even being aware of the millions of social norms societies everywhere have decreed are to govern every bit of behavior performed by women, from how they dress, to how they should behave when being pushed out of their job, to how they treat children, even to how they should react to the death of a son, a death of a brother – Carolyn’s character doesn’t grieve, she pulls out every devious capacity she’s achieved through years of practice and experience to find out if his murder was committed by The Twelve. She's obsessed with cracking them -- this is her job! That her daughter, who cries, is played by She-Who-Once-Was-Yara Lovejoy makes Carolyn's behavior all the more pointed for me somehow. 

“Just so you know, I’m kind of a big deal in this industry,” says Villanelle, who -- movin' on up the career chain -- supposedly is training a rookie assassin.  As on the job, he's an under-performer, she kills him.  Villanelle hasn’t got time for this shit of overseeing and training-on-the-job. Season 3 is so much about these women and their jobs, their work, in one unexpected, and often, very funny satiric scene, after another. All of them mention often, how good they are at their jobs, and how often the higher ups attempt to replace them with time-servers and incompetents. Which isn't how women are supposed to be, either.

Among the many complaints that Killing Eve, season 3, wasn't very good, was the story that seemingly everyone wants, Eve And/With Villanelle, their mutual obsession and thwarting of their mutual desire, their hunger for life that isn't day-to-day** was split up.  Mostly we follow this season's events of Eve and Villanelle separately, as on a split screen.  I'm not everyone, so I particularly like this split screen effect, because just Eve and Villanelle is claustrophobic.  I liked following all the other figures the show gives us, as they interact with each other, as well as with Eve and Villanelle, and the variety of their obsessions and thwarted desires, particularly for family ties with mum and dad, and the endless variants of betrayal, treachery and intrigue. 

“Are You From Pinner?” Episode #5, in which Villanelle re-visits her family, is sound tracked to Elton John, with whom the youngest family member is obsessed.  It mostly takes place in Villanelle’s Russian family, out of which she was expelled by Mom Tatiana at age 9 when she dumped Villanelle in the orphanage for being ‘dark’ – “Like you!” ripostes Villanelle. It includes the cray-cray conspiracy convictions held by the masses of the hinterlands, i.e. the ‘rural’ population of Russia (like the sacralized ‘rural’ population of the US), that we are being manipulated by lizard people, the government is trying to kill us, etc. – shared by a goodly portion of USians also lost to facts and reality. The episode hits its peak bonkers splendor in the Harvest Festival scenes in which great fun is found in the Dung Toss competition -- which Villanelle, of course, wins -- as she wins everything in which she competes, disturbing her mother. 

Such overt satire – that is at least as much a satire of contemporary Russia as of the contemporary UK and contemporary USA – quite different from the first two seasons.  For one thing, now BREXIT is in effect, no longer can UK citizens move w/o trouble to any country in the EU. Which means the production can’t travel either, w/o adding headache amounts of time and cost to the budget.  Also, a lot of this feels foreshadowing the current Russian invasion of Ukraine crisis.

So much reference to Russian manipulation and nefarious international dealing are in this season. Among those particularly striking are in Episode #7, where we glimpse a man who went out of his way to bump into Konstantin seconds before Konstantin collapses with a 'heart attack ' -- pricking people with poisons is an assassin go-to for those the Russian powers want eliminated, and they have done so in broad daylight even in London. Helene, another Russian Assassin Keeper Agent, says she loves Villanelle because she creates chaos, chaos in which dysfunction thrives and in which power can be overthrown and power seized -- see, o, well you know, not just Russia but so many others acting or trying to act on the world stage such as Our Most Famous Chaos Demon here in the USA.  

Starting with how the characters compel our eyeballs to look at them (with the assistance of Preposterous Clothes), this season had echoes of Orphan Black, such as how it uses music, as well as Villanelle taking on one identity after another. In “Are You From Pinner?” Villanelle’s mother is even named, ‘Tatiana,’ recalling Tatiana Maslany.  Unlike the clones, though, Villanelle is always and only Villanelle, no matter how impeccably she acts, impersonates, and costumes. This is intentional, because these are personas for Eve for only so long as it is useful, entertaining, or she’s interested in wearing them, just as the clones intentionally were different individuals.

In the end, it’s just Villanelle and Eve, on London's Tower Bridge, still unable to quit each other, though, as Villanelle observes in an earlier episode, “This isn’t good for both of us.”  Their people, their families, the agencies, and the governments are all revealed to be toxic and corrupt, disloyal and dishonest, only using them as they see fit until choosing to discard them.  This was brilliant satire on everything from family ties, international conspiracies, secret services, and work.  As Russian Keeper Agent Dasha says to Villanelle, ""Management is not easy. It's watching someone do job worse than you. That's why it sucks." Villanelle handles the younger competition that Helene brings in and kills her -- which so many, in other lines of work, wish they could do too, many times a day.

I am looking forward to how the fourth season will play out, since now it’s 2022, in a world that has been re-landscaped by BREXIT, the pandemic, Russia and the rise of authoritarianism everywhere.

“If I killed everyone who betrayed me there wouldn’t be anyone left.”

---- Villanelle/Oksana season 3, episode #1, " Slowly Slowly Catchy Monkey"

* On this list of television I've watched this winter, beyond Killing Eve, in which the costumes, the more ridiculous the better, are often the point:  Emily in Paris, My Fair Lady, The Eyes of  Tammy Bakker, And Just Like That, The Gilded Age, Agatha Raisin, and, Inventing Anna.

** I would love it so much if season 4, premiering here on BBC America - AMC next Sunday, February 27th, gives us at least a scene of Eve and Villanelle during pandemic lockdowns -- can you even imagine being locked down with Villanelle in the vicinity?  We've already seen what she does in an orphanage and in prison.

I'm sorry I won't be able to watch it like I did Season 3, one episode every night, back-to-back until finished. This is one of those series that benefits a great deal from binging because there are so many subtle connections and commentaries going on that one will not notice with seven days separating each episode -- and especially, when the connection is to an episode that was 2 - 3 weeks ago. I'm guessing that's one reason so many people felt disappointed in this season, that and that the show's always darkly comic tone and viewpoints shifted some degrees overtly satiric.  So many male viewers, who just adore the cringery Succession, the 'dark comedy' that demands our sympathy and identification with the very people who have destroyed us and our nation, just hated this season of Killing Eve.

"Where's my hot lezzie sex?  I was promised sex! Women=sex!  Where is it?" 

Instead, women killing anybody they decide needs killing.  Doing it without sex.  Being very funny. In twisted, deranged ways, but they are their own twisted, deranged ways.  A room of their own, so to speak.


     . . . . In the meantime, it has been cold, so cold.  I don't quite remember it being like this before, here in NYC.  There were days in which nothing we did got us completely warm, no matter layers of wool and cashmere, no matter space heaters, no matter the radiators pumping, no matter the cooking and eating.  The only times were thoroughly warm all the way through, from top to bottom, from fingers, hands and feet, was in bed, sleeping cuddled together under blanket, quilt and comforter.  The good thing about that, was sleep was deep and peaceful.  Talking about this cold at the 6-person combo Valentine's and Birthday party some friends hosted for me last week, as one does/did, C said, "The only time I ever felt this penetration of cold right into my bones is when I've been London."  C nailed it.  That's exactly what it was like.  The air in this cold has stayed noticeably damp -- and more than twice we had snow, as well as rain for 12 - 15 hours straight.  Not heavy, generally, but constant.

Working on credit sequences, typefaces, and titles, getting Tierra Segrada in shape for the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, at the end of March. Continuing with Postmambo events and movie night via Zoom.  And cooking.  O lordessa, do I cook!  Tonight it's ground lamb, spinach, mushrooms and couscous.