Tuesday, August 31, 2010

glenn beck at rally

one of the great quotes of all time...

''i felt like  god dropped a sandbag on my head....''

indeed.....He did that very long ago....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

congratulations to osama!

 dear mr. b:

i just wanted to say that i am very impressed with your skillful use of p.r. these days.  it must have cost a lot to hire all these people, but i'm sure it's worth it! all these anglo-americans fighting against the rights  fellow americans who are muslims; why, you even got a minister to create a burn- the- koran day for all his parishioners!

i hope you know what a great job you're doing.  i'm sure this tactic is convincing many young muslims   who might otherwise support  a muslim community center and peaceful mosques around the country that your portrait of us as dangerous muslim-haters is accurate, and that their place is with al qaeda. your brave crew of recruiters are doing a bang-up job --and i mean that literally.  the ground zero business is truly splendid.  here, you are killing two birds with one stone.  not only are you showcasing american racism, but you are disarming one of your worst enemies, a sufi imam!   what damage such an imam can do to your cause if allowed to freely expound a nonviolent approach to islam!  hey, it's muslims like him that give  terrorism a bad name!

if you don't mind my asking, how much are you contributing to the extremists in congress who are doing such a splendid job encouraging anti-muslim bigotry?  many are campaigning for the november elections, and i know you'll want to help them in their tireless efforts to create more and more hatred for america around the world.

and by the way, the campaign to discredit obama by 'accusing' him of being a muslim is truly the icing on the cake. as i'm sure you foresaw, this equation of obama with islam, and islam with your terrorists, will work wonders for your efforts to destroy america.

your campaign is an inspiration to bigots everywhere!

yours untruly ......

then and now

i've just finished teaching the watergate hearings in my Television in American Life class.  it occurs to me that much has changed since those days.  gone are the arduous break-ins to democratic hq or psychiatrist's offices.    today it's much easier.  now you simply look into the camera and lie.  obama is a muslim.  the constitution doesn't separate church and state.  taxing the rich will make the middle class poor.  say it often enough and everyone will believe you.

get rid of the messy burglars of yesteryear! easier, faster, and the perfect soundbite!

Monday, August 23, 2010

this morning

i was running late so i got dressed in a hurry, deciding i'd look quite fey in turquoise pants, a turquoise blouse, turquoise shoes and turquoise sox.  as i ran out the door, i caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.   i looked like i was going to a costume party dressed as a vat of cotton candy.
i'd forgotten about this by the time i changed trains at park street, and found myself scurrying to the red line behind two men who were holding hands. i felt a flash of pride in massachusetts, which allowed these men the freedom to so un-self-consciously display their love.  i hoped they'd get married, and silently wished them a joyful life together.   then i got closer and realized it wasn't two men, it was one man and a short-haired woman. so i stopped caring about whether they got married and had a happy life together.  
i thought of both these events as i got on the train, and realized with some comfort what a totally human jackass i was. grinning back at an invisible Puck on the train, i found a seat, and read my book all the way to the jfk-umass station.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

how to cure the world of evil

okay, so here's my idea.  it covers so many bases--a multitasking idea.  it was inspired by an article in today's NY Times about how the increasing, or increasingly visible, anti-muslim attacks are fueling the taliban types' calls for destroying the west b/c it wants to destroy islam.

first, we build a huge coliseum on the site of the world trade center.  then we get hold of [i'm not sure yet how we get hold of them; it's an idea in progress]...anyway we get hold of all the taliban-types in the world, and all the western bigots who really do want to destroy islam, and we put them in separate cages, and on special days--i'd recommend religious holidays of any persuasion--have huge gladiatorial combats.  like the real ones, you know, to the death.

this will help the economy enormously, b/c of course we'll charge high admission fees, and there will be plenty of seats in our coliseum, with the first few rows very expensive, with special prices for group orders. tourism to new york will soar, and pay for tv will cost a lot;  if we limit it right, hotels all over the country will do whopping businesses because they will be the only place you  can watch it on live tv.

of course our main market will be reasonable muslims and christians, but that's a large market, and if the first few combats do as well as i think they will, we can find ways to market to other constituents.   there must be many jews who would enjoy watching christians and muslims battle it out.  buddhists will be a harder sell, because they don't believe in violence, so maybe we can arrange for a few combats that aren't to the death, like those compassionate bullfights where the bulls don't get killed.  that would add another advantage because any combatants we don't get killed can be recycled for a later performance.

i know this isn't a new idea--i've read numerous fantasties about putting all the warriors together so they can kill each other off and then leave the rest of us in peace.  but you have to admit it's a very 21st-century spin.  and even some republicans might support government funding for such a useful public project, when they realize how much money it will bring in.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

a call for a universal burn-the-bible day

this is something i would never have considered, but the church group planning the universal burn the koran day has made me see how important it is.  since we know that the koran is directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks, we must also realize that the bible is responsible for all the sexual abuse of children by catholic priests.  and of course, we must realize that all christians are, by extension, child rapists.

come to think of it, it seems a shame to waste a couple of good bonfires.  let's find all the other books some among us find offensive, and track down the beleifs of those books' authors--and of course of anyone who has read the books.

if there are any books left afterwards, let's find the 10 innocent people left in the world and they can all sit down and read.  anyone checked on the bobbsey twins lately?

the thought that dare not know its name

i keep wondering about the upsurge of conservative hate, which seems more prevalent, or larger, or more acceptable than it's been in past years.  i've lived through the civil rights movement, the vietnam war, the birth of the 2nd wave of feminism and of the stonewall-inspired gay rights movement.  i've lived through the 2 presidencies of george w. bush.  i've been pretty attuned to the hostility of the right against all sorts of things.  but nothing prepared me for the open lies and the cruel small-mindedness of the recent right wing. it seems like in the bad old days, unless you were Bull Conner in  the 1950s south, you muted the ugliest of your hates and you attempted to lie with some degree of subtlety.

rachel maddow recently noted that by today's standards, dwight eisenhower would be seen as a liberal.

everywhere you turn, it's hitting at you. legislating bigotry against arizona hispanics, so that american-born citizens must carry proof of citizenship wherever they go, if their ethnic origins are hispanic. so that the claim of gay citizens to marriage is knocked down by people who, ironically, are self-described as ''pro-marriage.'  so that a church calls for a 'koran-burning day,' while a debate about the right of muslims to build mosques is carried on around the country.  so that a serious political candidate can proclaim that he deserves to win because he's 'the only one not wearing high heels.'  so that roe v. wade is being dangerously threatened by, among others, conservative women who use feminist rhetoric in their self-descriptions. and a talk show host nearly gets away with  reciting a litany of 'nigger' on the air, and resigns because her 'freedom of speech' is being curbed.

[yes, i used the word. it's an ugly, hateful word and in this context, it needs to be named. i promise not to repeat it 10 times, or even once.]

and what i don't want to face, but seems increasingly clear, is that it is very much connected to one of the proudest moments of our history:  the election of a president who is black.  as a country, we showed that we were capable of voting on the issues, on the best candidate, regardless of skin color.  that he has failed to be the messiah may be a cause of disappointment for some of us, and his liberalism, however mild, displeases others,  is not enough in itself to trigger this extreme venom.

the almost obligatory need for right wing talk show hosts and their cronies to seize on the word 'racism,' turning its meaning around, using it as  a word describing perceived black attitudes towards whites, is telling.  racism is exactly what's happening--real racism, not this perverse invention of the right.  one of those n-folks has gotten into the white house, and [whatever he has said on any related issues] has brought with him all his devils--homosexuals, muslims, mexicans, liberals, africans, lazy unemployed people,  enemies of big business, exaggerators of dangers to the planet, and lord-knows-who-else.

the lies about obama are many and strange--and all rooted in the great lie.  what other president has been accused of, literally, not being american?  this lie, with all its absurdity, echoes the underlying wishful thinking of many americans.  it's not because his family traveled to different countries, in any of which he might have been, but was not, born.  don't you get it? the n-people can't be real americans.  even one whose  mother is white, who is himself more intelligent than probably 9/10th of all of us, regardless of race.  maybe even because he's more intelligent than 9/10th of us. we won't get any minstrel show from this guy.  we won't get any uncle-tom shenanigans.  we won't even get displays of anger against whites, so we could dismiss him as some sort of hostile militant.

all they can do is lash out, lying, attacking all 'foreigners,' real or imagined; all liberals who would vote a black man into the presidency.   it's sickening, it's pathetic, it's tragic. and it's dangerous.

say it isn't so......

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

war, heroism, and human beings

i've been watching msmbc on the departure of the troops from iraq.  touching, frustrating.  [there will still be 50,000 troops still there, so how final the war will be is questionable].  the program is 'countdown,' and keith olberman, god bless him, is pointing out and highlighting the length of the war, the lies that our president used to get us into the war, the deaths of american soldiers, iraqui troops, iraqui civilians.   olberman has been a constant truthteller in this and other situations of american policy that has been based on lies and deaths and government cynicism.

and yet--like his brilliant colleague rachel maddow--olberman has adopted the universal euphemism about the american troops.  they are all categorically 'brave' and 'heroic.' they have risked and often lost their lives in the service of our country.  they are all noble and wonderful human beings.

okay, we learned from the errors of the antiwar movements in the vietnam era; too often and too publicly, the troops were categorized toward the end as vicious murderers of innocent civilians, and when that image spread to the public, the soldiers who returned were greeted with sneers and hate.  so we have gone back to older images of soldiers--plaster saints.

in my last post i quarrelled with one sentimental synonym-- the site of the world trade center bombings was 'hallowed ground.' now i am quarrelling with another one.  it is also one i find ultimately unfair to the people described.  soldiers are not devils or angels.  they are young people trained to kill, to hate, to view the enemies as monsters to be destroyed.  it's probably a wise way to train them; if you're going to be in combat, with people aiming guns at you, you'll need instincts that tell you to shoot first. you need to be brave, yes. noble and heroic? no.  whatever decent, compassionate elements are in your personality, you must have the ability to keep them locked up a lot of the time.

so that the original training teaches hardness, cruelty.  what must the battles themselves do? to be thrown into daily horrors most of us can't even fathom, you need that training to guide you.  and you can't always drop the training when you're not in immediate danger.

and who are 'you'?  you are a lot of different young people from a lot of different families and different life experiences. you are not a legion of cookie-cutter figures.  you have been formed until now by a lot of different forces, and you are now formed by one major force.  if you are decent, with luck that decency will play out where it can.  if you are sadistic, that sadism  will have a freer range than it ever had.  if you're like most of us, you are some  combination of wise and stupid, loving and hating, compassionate and mean-spirited....all sorts of things.  and your new experiences will change you in all sorts of ways.

heroism?  that's there for you to exercise.  remember a few years ago, that guy in the NY subway who jumped onto the tracks of an oncoming train to save the life of a stranger who had fallen there? he became, at least for awhile, a folk hero, and deservedly so. few of us are put in the face of potential heroism.  he was, and we celebrate his response to it.  i love to imagine that in his place i'd do what he did.  but i doubt it.

soldiers face situations as  profound as that one, daily.  many of them respond as that man did, risking their lives to save civilians, or their own comrades.  it's heartwarming to see the features on tv showing american soldiers in afghanistan providing food and medicine to local children--good human beings, acting nobly when the opportunity presents itself.

but equally, soldiers face more opportunity than the rest of us to act with impunity on their uglier instincts. they are allowed to kill, and to survive they sometimes must kill. will they all restrict their killing to the times when it's absolutely essential? not always.  who knows what extremes of both heroism and sadism go on in battles, unmarked, unacknowledged?  sometimes the sadism spreads out of the battlefield; we see small reports of this occasionally. sometimes the rest of the world finds out about a particularly awful example. mi lai. abu graib. how many such events don't get reported or even witnessed?  people who work with soldiers in hospitals sometimes hear terrible confessions from men now dying, who have lived with the horrors of what they did to others in war.   again, the rest of us must ask ourselves whether, given free range, we would kill and maim innocent people. and again, i want to believe that i would be incapable of such brutality: i want to believe that of myself even more than i want to believe in my innate heroism. but it too is unlikely to open itself to the test, and i have no way of knowing if my  pretty self-portrait is real.

it sickened me in the 1970s to see what happened to returning soldiers when americans found out about atrocities.  to come home from war as damaged as anyone must be who has been through all that, and be greeted with scorn and anger from civilians---the very people they have been told they suffered for--is horrible.  equally horrible is the subtler abuse they go through from the the government that sent them there: refusal to pay for medical and psychological care for these people?  or only so much care, and then  it's your own problem?  soldiers are by definition in the dual position of  victims and victimizers.

perhaps it is the realization of how much they have suffered that causes us to give them blanket adulation.  but it's phony, as phony as blanket blame.  what is real is to allow for the human complexity that follows them through all the experiences they have been through, and to make certain they get what they need to heal, and get it from the government that has  caused their  conditions in the first place.

so i watch on tv, those huge tanks going back across the border to kuwait, on their way home.  i hope they are greeted with welcome and compassion. i hope they have families and friends who love them and will support them as they try to make new lives, even to help them through whatever guilt they  carry over things they have done.  but i don't thank them for what they did; i don't know what they did. each of them has done some different combinations of things, and each will deal with it based on who they are. there are surely some heroes among them. there are surely some sadists. very surely, there are some who are complicated mixtures of both.

they should be greeted kindly; they should be helped when they need help.  but they shouldn't be canonized by mass sentimentality.  let them be saints in heaven.  as long as they're here, they're people.  there are reasons popes create their saints only from the dead, who have lost the opportunity to sin.

in my most hopeful moments, i believe that rational humanity is something we are capable of.  i believe in those moments even more--that we are capable of expanding this humanity to all soldiers, including the "enemy" soldiers, who have believed their governments as much as american soldiers have believed theirs.  we all respond in some ways to the truths and lies our governments and our societies have told us.
we all are capable of trying  to face our responsibilities to humanity.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

on freedom and 'hallowed ground'

i don't feel like writing about the muslim community center that is being inaccurately called a 'mosque.' i'm a fan of accuracy. i hate bigotry.  i hate stating the obvious.  it's uninteresting, and unchallenging.  but not arguing against an injustice, even when others are doing so and doing it well, seems to be some sort of complicity with the injustice.

so i'll try  to echo only breifly what so many other liberals, leftists, humanists, etc. are saying. my first echo is this: freedom of religion means freedom of religion. it doesn't mean, we have freedom of religion but your religion is bad so please shut up and go away. echo number 2 is that 2 blocks away from ground zero is not ground zero.  echo number 3 is, muslims were killed in the attacks on the world trade center,  which means that muslims lost loved ones, which means that muslims overall are unlikely to think the attack was good. and it also means that the tragedy 'belongs' to all americans; hence it belongs as much to muslim americans as to christian, jewish, hindu, buddhist, atheist, and any other americans.  so much for the echo.

so what do i have to add?  that i cringe when people use the expression 'hallowed ground' to describe ground zero. it's vague, it's sentimental, it's inaccurate.  ground zero is the site of an horrific mass murder.  its victims included a range of people, and unless the only thing happening there on 9/11 was a convocation of saints, that range very likely included good people and not so good people, heroes and cowards and villains. PEOPLE were murdered. humans. their deaths don't make them holy; they make them dead. they make them victims. all of them.  'hallowed ground' sounds cruelly dehumanizing, like a bad painting of gentle saints wafting up to heaven.   maybe they are in heaven; i certainly hope so.  but they still deserve to be remembered as once-living humans. they deserve better than being morphed into memory as something sacred and unreal.

and they deserve not to be used as instruments of bigotry.  islam is a religion. believe it, don't believe it. love it; hate it.  maybe even try to learn about it, since it has become such a visible part of american life. but as long as we can allow churches and synogogues and other houses of worship or associations of religious believers to be built anywhere, we cannot allow anything less to muslims.  nor should muslims be asked to politely make themselves invisible in lower manhattan, as though, simply by being muslims, they should feel guilty about 9/11.  they shouldn't.  and the rest of us should damn well understand that.

Friday, August 13, 2010

of laughter and remembering

 it seems a while since i've blogged, and i've missed it. summer classes are hectic and demanding; and a summer cold-cum-asthma exacerbation has used up whatever energy i've had. i was looking forward to today as a self-proclaimed holiday during which i would catch up with the television show post, or maybe shakespeare, or maybe another thought i've taken notes on, the wonderful weed flowers on the tram track. but this morning  at breakfast , while i was reading milan kundera's 'the book of laughter and forgetting,' i knew what today's post had to be.
i read 'the unbearable lightness of being' earlier this summer at the anonymous advice of some of my castle students, who in their evaluations suggested i teach that book in the section of european literature i devote to czech works, right before we have the class trip to prague.  i was pretty underwhelmed by the book, which for my taste is  often irritating and tiresome, with occasional bursts of moving  and/or intriguing writing, but deciding to give kundera another try and see if there might be a shorter piece that would be useful for the class, I plunged into the odd combination of short stories and demi-essays that make up this 'novel,' as kundera calls it.  i had the same reaction, but in reverse: moving and intriguing, with bits that are irritating and tiresome.  i had planned to finish it and put it away until late fall, when i start preparing my spring castle classes.

But then i came across this wonderful section on the dead body. 'death has two faces,' he writes.  'one is nonbeing; the other is the terrifying material being that is the corpse.'  because the mind can't really envision nonbeing, we see it as blue space, 'and there is nothing more beautiful and comforting than blue.'   a few quotes and paraphrases from this section do little to convey its power, and i want to get on to the next part, the physical presence of the corpse.  and that part is not beautiful.  "one minute you are a human being protected by modesty--the sanctity of nudity and privacy--and the next you die and your body is suddenly up for grabs.  Anyone can tear your clothes off, rip you open, inspect your insides, and--holding his nose to keep the stink away--stick you into the deepfreeze or the flames.' he illustrates this in part through his character, Tamina, who has watched her husband die, and through his own experience of his father's death.  This reaction is, inevitably, the reaction of the living, both to their experience of another's dying and to the imagining of their own.  Few of us could face these feelings and explore them as kundera does, but most of us, i think, have experienced them to some degree.   The imaginings of one's own body after death is pretty scary, and we tend to run away from the thought as quickly as possible.  we run away from death in general anyway, but the idea of oneself as corpse is so visual, so physically real, that it has its own component of horror.  i still have that horror, as i had done for as long back as i knew there was such a thing as death, and i try not to see the body when i'm at an open-casket funeral. yet the last time i forced myself to look at a body, at the funeral of my uncle mick a few years ago, i found myself very peacefully bending down to kiss him goodbye.  it didn't bother me at all. it didn't bother me because i knew--in the core of my being, i knew--that mick was there with us, but he wasn't in his body, which had lost its use to him.

I knew because my brother keith told me so,  in october 1981, at his funeral.

until that day i had never seen a dead body.  i was not expecting to then, as i walked into the funeral parlor.  i had not considered that keith's wife, who is from equador, would arrange an open-casket funeral.  so there i stood, staring at my brother's corpse, the first i had ever seen.

to understand the rest of this tale,  you need to know a couple of things about keith.  one is that he had always been a clown.  most of my family have been jokers of one sort or another. none of us have been especially happy people, and we had all been, as my remaining brother, warren, and i, still are, wise-crackers.  humor keeps us alive, or at least sane.  keith was the silliest of us all; he had loud, high pitched laugh, and once something amused him, he never let it go, like a dog extracting every morsel of flavor from a long-used bone.  he and his closest friend spent much of their time together spinning out a pun long past its origin, for minutes, half hours, hours at a time.
the other thing is that in the year and three quarters of his illness, keith had developed a spiritual part of himself the rest of us never suspected was there.  it was a large, undoctrined faith, that helped him a lot. it also helped me. i liked, still like, to send healing energy toward people, envisioned as it so often is in the form of white light.  it's the kind of praying people do when they don't believe in a god but do believe in a something.  and whatever else that does or doesn't do, it gives us the only power we have in the face of a loved one's dying.  we can't perform surgery or administer chemo or do any of the things that might make someone better.  but we can pray, we can send light, we can love.  keith and i grew close around that. i found him a psychic healer who worked with him, i surrounded him with healing stones, i sent light whenever i wasn't doing something else.  he hated his chemo treatments and tensed up when he had them, so the needle hurt when it went in. i asked him to tell me  when he knew what time a treatment was scheduled , so i could stop whatever i was doing at that time and send light. he always called; i always worked around the time so i could send the light.  and each time after that, he told me, that as soon as he'd start to tense up at the sight of the needle, he'd say to himself, 'it's okay, karen's sending light,' and the muscle would relax and the needle wouldn't hurt.  nothing in my life has meant more  to me than knowing i was able to do that one thing for him.

there was a church near his house.  keith never rejected the church deliberately, as warren and i did; he was a fairly typical 'lapsed catholic' and so it seemed natural to him to go to that church for spiritual solace.  i suppose he was looking for a priest, but he found a Brother, Brother Ronald, with whom he formed a deep, and deeply comforting, bond. when keith died, my father, agnostic as he was, tried to call a local priest who spoke at funerals, but no one answered the phone, and i was glad.  i knew that was a sign--we didn't need a stranger priest, we needed the man who was so close to keith's spiritual life, and so brother ronald came for the funeral.

i wanted desperately to be there when brother ronald spoke; i thought it would be the most spiritual instant, the forces of faith connecting us to my brother.  eventually, through all the odd partying quality of such gatherings, i had the most banal of human needs: i had to go to the bathroom. sitting on the toilet, in that absolutely graceless position, i started to sob and sat there sobbing and sobbing. the image of keith lying there in the coffin burned into my brain; he seemed to be there, on the door in front of me. I started talking out loud to him. 'i'm scared.  i'm afraid i'll never sleep again,' i sobbed.  'i know you've left your body and you're not there anymore, but i'm so scared i'll always see you there, in my  mind, for the rest of my life.'

so keith jumped up from the casket, stood on top of it, and began tap dancing.  'but seriously, folks,' he laughed in a sort of groucho marx voice, and grinned down at me.  and i laughed back, we laughed together and i sobbed out, 'thank you, keithie,'   and laughed again, because what would keith enjoy more than the sight of his big sister sobbing and laughing and peeing all at once?

when i left the ladies room, somebody came up to me, upset.  'we looked all over for you,' she said. 'brother ronald just gave his talk and we knew you wanted to be there!'  i thanked her and tried to look sorry that i'd missed it; it was kind of her to care.  how could i tell her that i really had been 'there,' at that moment when all keith's loved ones were surrounding his spirit, when all the things that we call prayer and love and communion were centering and mingling with him beyond his body?

i have never doubted that moment of seeing keith. had he come to me in a more traditional vision, solemnly announcing that he was at peace, i would have taken it for, at best, a metaphor from my own mind.   keith didn't do those things.  keith...tap-danced on coffins.  it was very very funny, and the most spiritual experience of my life.

he has come to me since, when i've needed him, though never so dramatically. his signs have been more traditional and less intense. he came a  few times in 1994, the year both my parents died, when  i called to him that it was too much for warren and me alone and he had to help us.  i have also strongly felt my father's presense once in a great while. but i've never had another experience like i had with keith at his funeral---maybe because i haven't needed it.

now, reading kundera's passages, it comes back to me very strongly. it pulls together some threads in my life--i still don't like thinking about my body being dead, but it doesn't bother too much.  i have willed my body to the harvard medical school, as a sensible sort of recycling which will also leave whoever gets stuck with my death the least trouble and expense. friends have found the idea horrifying, reminding me of what some medical students do with the corpses they work on.  i don't mind that. if my corpse can help someone learn medical skills, i'm happy. if it allows some laughter to relieve the grimness of their studies, so much the better.  i'm fairly sure that if i am aware after my death of what goes on with my body i'll be there with keith, and we'll giggle together---'but seriously, folks.....'

Friday, August 6, 2010

my summer of television

my summer these days is usually sharply and neatly divided into two parts. part one begins late spring when i return from my netherlands semester, tired and happy--and tired. between then and mid july, i have no classes, so the time is devoted to resting a lot, working on whatever writing project i'm involved in [this summer began with the later drafts of the new edition of DR SUSAN LOVE'S BREAST BOOK, and continued with working on and exploring this blog], and various catchup projects involving doctors and dentists and my very messy apartment. mid-july my two U. Mass summer classes begin, pretty much consuming my life until late august.

for all their drastic differences, both components of my summer involve lots of watching TV. the courses are both related to tv--Television in American Life, and Women in Media. so tv watching counts as a large part of my work.
There are worse jobs in the world, and not many better ones, though my semester abroad each year certainly qualifies.

anyway, summer tv has radically changed in the age of cable tv. i have never minded the old summer-rerun season, since i get to play catchup with my favorites missed while i'm away. but i have been charmed by the medium-tier cable season-- TNT, USA, and now Fox and Lifetime have originals series that are aired only in summer, in what one of them advertises as "100 days of drama."

okay, melodrama is more like it. but why not? tv has evolved good formulas over the years, and variations on a theme can show a  lot about current american culture.

they can also be a whole lot of fun.

so for the next few days, i'll focus on those series, especially in terms of my favorite themes, women in tv, and fun.

let me start with the one you won't ever see, except if you're lucky in reruns. SAVING GRACE began last summer, and began filming for this season before they found out they were being cancelled. sadly it wasn't even because of ratings: the ratings were good. but the overseas sales and DVD rights sales weren't. so we got half a second season, mostly not a very good one. but its one full season was amazing. first of all, it played with the freedom you usually see only in expensive cable. that in itself isn't a sign of quality, as 'sex in the city' illustrates. i'm not sure that either nudity nor grittiness in themselves are particularly virtuous, but they do lend themselves to a larger range of material than network drama usually gets by with. it also helps the reduction of cutesiness in presenting sexuality. 'grace' never provided a naughty-wink opportunity. and nothing was gratuitous. grace was a mixed character whose strengths and weaknesses were often the same--independent, honest with herself and usually with others, promiscuous, loudmouthed, crude, and loving.

oh dear, it's 8 p.m., time for dinner and 'countdown.' and since i'm sick this weekend, bed soon afterward. more on 'grace' and a bunch of others tomorrow....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

prop 8

the teeniest of entries; everyone has already said it, but it seems like something anyone who cares about human rights should mention on a blog--------so bless judge walker. with all the threats, and losses, to progressives lately, and everything looming on the horizon, there is something worthy of real celebration.....

remembering joan baez singing 'carry it on,' a lifetime ago...."Every victory/ leads to another. Carry it on; carry it on...."