F. Scott Fitzgerald in a letter to editor Maxwell Perkins
F. Scott Fitzgerald in a letter to editor Maxwell Perkins
This Boston Globe article pretty much sums up my relationship with most esoteric things I like. I have a tendency to want to keep them to myself, because if only a few people love them then I get to feel special about being a fan. "Keep
your sweaty remote-control-clutching paws off my 'Mad Men,' people. And
I truly mean that, too. I don't want to see one of my most cherished objects
become dissipated at the water-cooler, made into a "phenomenon"
that turns star Jon Hamm into a cover boy and inspires Slate magazine
to run brainy weekly analyses. I want to share all good things with you,
really I do, but really I don't. Once the universe - or at least planet
Nielsen - fully embraces a TV show, that show officially loses its innocence,
its diamond-in-the-roughness. It no longer has the allure of the underappreciated."
Mad Men, though, is so deliriously good that it seems almost spiteful to keep it from others:
Well, maybe not entirely. I also kind of hate the show because there are *no* black people on it. I mean occasionally, a black person will pop up and make some super trenchant comment that makes you realise the social injustice of the times blah, blah, blah. But 99% of the time they are merely absent, invisible, much as they would have been to the show's characters if they actually ever existed.
"Keep your sweaty remote-control-clutching paws off my 'Mad Men,' people. And I truly mean that, too. I don't want to see one of my most cherished objects become dissipated at the water-cooler, made into a "phenomenon" that turns star Jon Hamm into a cover boy and inspires Slate magazine to run brainy weekly analyses. I want to share all good things with you, really I do, but really I don't. Once the universe - or at least planet Nielsen - fully embraces a TV show, that show officially loses its innocence, its diamond-in-the-roughness. It no longer has the allure of the underappreciated."
The show is set in the advertising world of Madison Avenue in the early sixties. One of the agency's clients is Jewish and they all seem to have a hard enough time grappling with that. Still, I wish they would acknowledge that the fact these characters didn't see people of colour does not mean they weren't actually there. This is a show that is very concerned with accurately portraying the era it's set in: period phones, period clothing, period cigarette holders. To me, it almost seems as though they are so obsessed with reflecting accurately the invisibility of blacks at that time that they themselves begin to perpetuate it. This is not Jane Austen's England here. The people on this show lived in close proximity to people of every ethnicity, even if they weren't in the office environment proper and I wish that were acknowledged more explicitly. The show acknowledges racism but not people of other races, if that makes sense.
I'm sure there are all sorts of valid artistic reasons for their choices and sometimes (often?), paying lip service to diversity in a fictional work is inappropriate, but I think, on this particular show, in this particular instance, they could do a better job. To the main characters, blacks are just ubiquitous dark-skinned ciphers, to be alternately ignored or occasionally derided, but to look behind what the characters see would be illuminating. The idea of being so physically proximate to someone without ever engaging with them, it's fascinating. Fascinating.
Hmm...so that was kind of a hatchet job on a show I claim to love. Sorry. It really is fabulous. Just not perfect. Anything worthwhile usually isn't.
So if you are a regular reader of aplace, you know, I have an ongoing tally of resolutions and accomplishments that I would like to cross off my list before 2008 rolls around. One of these is to go to Europe before year's end. Now it looks like, god willing, I will be able to cross of this resolution off my list ! I will be leaving December 2nd for a week long sojourn to France and Italy !!!!!
I am so excited !!! Excited because I am going to Europe, but also excited because I'm crossing something off my list, something that has been a bit of an albatross for the past 4 to 5 years. I did it! Mind you, there isn't much involved here, apart from putting some cash aside every paycheck and booking the flight and hotel, but obviously this had stymied me in the past, so, go me! The trip is quite short, and I've heard from many quarters that it's too brief, blah blah blah. All well and good but the fact is I'm ecstatic.
In fact, it's doing wonders for my mental health because I wouldn't have been able to go on this trip, if I wasn't living at home and saving money. So whenever I lie in bed, waves of despair crashing over me, I can think to myself, hey, at least I got to see the leaning tower of Pisa for all my troubles. Y'know?
Anyways, lately I've been feeling uncomfortably carpe diem-ish. I say, uncomfortably, because I seem to see a lot of diems pass by without necessarily being carpe'd. Youth is a gift and I wonder if I haven't squandered some of it.
First, Mel Gibson, now...Kramer? Yes, it's true Michael Richards, who used to play Kramer on Seinfeld, went on a mad racist tirade during an appearance at a comedy club on the weekend. Someone in the audience heckled him and he responded with a crazy tirade that included no less than 20 uses of the n-word as well as some jokes about lynching. Isn't that nuts? I mean, I understand that people will have racist thoughts and views. Being a celebrity doesn't exempt you from that. But I don't understand why these celebrities are going on crazy tirades in public locations. One would think that their instinct for career self-preservation would outweigh their need to spout off their crackpot ideas. Also, Kramer? I mean, Mel sort of tipped us off that he had serious issues what with the Passion of the Christ situation. But Kramer, I never would have guessed. In any event, he is appearing tonight on the David Letterman show to address the situation. Not sure what possible context could be added that would make his comments acceptable in any way but we shall see.
I've come down with a *really* bad case of this ailment. You know: you're surfing the web, end up on someone else's blog and realise that, although they've had their site for about half the time you've been maintaining yours, they somehow have acquired an international readership of total strangers numbering in the dozens, if not the hundreds, most of whom leave adoring comments along the lines of "X, you are so brilliant and witty, I love it here. [Signed] Ingmar from Helsinki." Sigh.... I suppose if I were really keen on becoming a blogging superstar I'd actually post here on a regular basis, maybe put up a few slutty pictures or start churning out some brilliant political commentary but we all know that's not going to happen. Still, whenever I come down with blog envy, you (the aplace afficionado) benefits because, for a few short days, I will try to live up to the standards I suspect the superstars strive to reach.
Sorry kids, still no Chicago pictures, because, because my SD Card Reader has fallen apart. Never buy anything at Radio Shack or whatever it's called now. My trip was a *lot* of fun. In my mind, although, I suspect, not in the mind of my travelling companions, this trip was all about Bueller, Ferris Bueller ! We did all these Ferris-y things, like going to the Art Institute of Chicago and a Cubs games and we walked up and down Michigan Avenue (although, unlike Ferris, we were not involved in a parade).
In other news, I also got a new cellphone which I encourage you to call me at ! Please please please! It would mean a lot.
Not Kingston, Ontario
It seems that when I have the most things to do and, I might add, the most free time to do them in, I can't get my act together. I can't prioritize. I just sit there like a vegetable listening to my iTunes playlist and cursing whoever it is who just leaves their laundry in the machine for days on end, so that there is a load in the machine, a load in the dryer, a load on top of the dryer and then my load orphaned abandoned with no place to call home. *cleansing breath* So, right, to do, to do. I tried to do laundry but was thwarted, I should go to school and drop the conference cheques off, I should go to the bank, I should write my utilities cheque, I should go to A&P, I should do the Crim Pro reading, I should check the balance on my Indigo card, I should go to Cardio something at 11:35 at the PEC. Okay, so this list is taking shape. Sometimes, you don't want to get your act together. It feels better when it's flying apart at the seams.
Last night, I went out to dinner for Shadi and Hasini's birthday. Tango (again!). I've been there three times in a week during a time of alleged belt-tightening on my part. Dance practice was cancelled on grounds of ridiculousness (well, actually tiredness but ridiculousness would have been just as appropriate.)
There was a time in my life when I thought I was impervious to the common cold. I never got colds or the flu, I was SuperFred. No longer, my firends. As I sit here battling the snifflies and sore thoat and cough that a few short years ago were strangers to me, I realize that luck, and not a super-amazing, medical marvel-like immune system was the cause of cold-free streak. In the silver lining department, I've discovered that the coating on Cold and Sinus Advil is slightly different (but just as tasty) as the coating on original Advil.
Okay, I have to get back to reading the riveting page-turner known as "Making the grade: A survey of drinking water reports in Ontario."
Okay, I've tried I've really tried to rescue this blog from the mire of "my life and why it sucks". But right now I'm bored out of my mind ! I finished my book, I do not understand Alias, and I'm soooooooo hungry, there is NO FOOD in this house. Literally. There are a lot of condiments, I'll grant you that but no actual food. My only options are to order unnutritious food for delivery but I am trying to use reading week to improve my eating habits. If only there were an all night tofu restaurant that delivered. I would eat tofu. I am that hungry. Oh god. Please stop reading this. I've lost it totally. I am actually appreciating this episode of Larry King. How can that be ? Save yourselves.
A lonely tree on the shores of lake Ontario
One of my favorite things about living in Kingston is looking out the window and seeing lake Ontario. It's really something to actually see the horizon... I think humans beings actually require it from time to time. While I was walking along the lakeshore, this tree seemed kind of lonely so I went up to it and touched it then took its picture.
Of course, some people when confronted by pristine natural beauty can only think of the obvious: hovercrafts. Is it wrong I find this idea sort of cool ?